Religion And Ideology
Many issues and arguments surround the topics concerning religion and ideology. Controversial arguments have been raised by different ideologists and religious factions each defending their cause. More so, atheists tend to criticize both religion and ideology in having flaws based on past religious or ideology causes which had seen much bloodshed to serve their order, transcendental meaning or spiritual causes. Both ideology and religion have ‘total’ systems of their own and simultaneously being concerned with questions of conduct and questions of truth. Moreover, the differences between religion and ideology get more focus than their similarities. A lot of confusion is generated when comparing the similarities and differences between these two sides, there this study is going to evaluate the two diametrically opposed groups.
Similarities between Religion and Ideology
Religious beliefs are universal social phenomenon where major civilizations have integrated religion basing their beliefs and ideas on a particular religious component. Reality of religious theory is constructed upon its divine order and only focuses on this aspect just like ideology which seldom diverts from this order (Mitchell, 2007). Similarities are observed from the basic statements, attitudes and activities to the social functions that ideology and religion perform in a society. The organizational order, rank order of individuals and activities is similar where they have functionaries, members and dignitaries at the various levels. Both religious and ideological consciousness is exhibited by followers who passionately defend their ideologies and beliefs and consequently show impatience from factions that differ with their beliefs or views. Their likeness is mostly expressed based on their attitude and behavior exhibited from these diametrically opposed groups.
Differences between ideology and religion are constantly confused in where both beliefs can lead to outcomes in same actions whereby the underlying drive is to influence people to behave and think in a particular way. Despite the familiar surface similarities, the underlying foundations for these two groups are significantly different. The primary overriding difference between ideology and religion, is where religion has defined moral codes that are based on text usually scriptures contained in a single volume. The scripture teaching is the major source that influences behavior choices of followers. On the other hand, ideology does not refer to a single source with example of Karl Marx writings with critics arguing that a true Marxist cannot denounce his writings (Resch, 1992). Moreover, religion contrasts from ideology considering the spokesmen in text who are deemed infallible. Example is the hardened Communist believers who considered Josef Stalin as infallible. Consequently the Pope is as infallible compared to the scriptures in the Bible as he consistently perverts his individual purposes. However, ideology does not consider the application of infallibility of a person or text but the inculcation of ideas which are reproduced in through mediums such as the educational system, the media and also religious infrastructures prevailing in power.
Conflict by religion
Religion influences conflict on four basic forms, with the first issue being conflicts involved in identity issues which are I turn based in part of the religion. The second form involves conflicts in religious issues such as religious discriminations or demand by a minority group to have more rights in religion in particular country or state. Moreover, the religious institutions can be directly involved or use religion to propagate conflict from both sides in legitimizing their actions. This case of conflicts being propagated by religion has been observed in such case as the war in Iraq which was not only fuelled by oil and the aspect of globalization, but also religious conflicts are witnessed with Middle East being dominated by Islam. The driving force perpetrating the conflicts is the increasing divide among the Muslims, Jews and Christians found in the Middle East countries causing extreme fundamentalism among the followers who fervently protect their doctrines. Involvement of American fundamentalist Christians to single out Islam because of their ideologies in their religion in factions of dangerous terrorist has ignited more conflicts as Muslims contest this ideology to be far from the truth (David, 2000). Per se, its not the idea of Islam fundamentalism, but with the Americans Christians deeming Islam from these regions with vast oil reserves to combine economics and ideology in their religion to produce terrorists. Islam argues that just like Christianity, there are divisions in which some factions commit violent acts towards other religions like Christian nations or even Israel. Christian terrorism consequently focuses on views and moral oversights in matters like legal abortion which conflicts with ideologists.
Conflict by ideology
Alternatively, conflict through ideology is witnessed in religious groups and also ideologists who have different views in relation to religious factions. Ideology also encompasses fascism, environmental extremism and Marxism. Conflicts on ideology has been observed with the hysterical attacks thrown at the new Pope Benedict with the ban issued use condoms in the church for the continent ravaged by Aids. Atheists and ideologists perceive this prohibition of contraception use to be wrong as it would do more harm than good in banning usage. Moreover, the Jihad ideologists have also caused more terror and conflicts from the faction of Muslims by propagating terror in countries like America and where they have their interests, through suicide bombers who have killed many innocent citizens in accomplishing their cause termed as ‘Holy War’. The ideology in Jihad and its doctrine has led its fervent followers to result in drastic actions framed by their belief and purposely war against America for the injustices it has caused to Islam.
Consequences of Religion and Ideology
Ideology and religion have emerged to propagate different causes in history where much bloodshed from the past like Christian or Islam crusades, and the Nazi genocide where ideologies or religious beliefs were enforced through adverse means. Consequently, religious institutions like the church in the ban of contraceptive use for Aids ravaged countries shows its belief in the state of abstinence by following the doctrines of remaining a virgin till marriage (Cobb, 2005). This has driven the different factions of the church to condemn extra marital activities which they abhor. Ideologists, in turn view such a situation as unjust from different perspective of the contraception being a significant factor to reduce Aids prevalence in such States. Theists propagate legal abortions which most religions denounce giving explicit reasons that the act can be sustained.
Both Religion and Ideology have demonstrated that there are numerous and significant differences as opposed to the particular similarities they may have, generating insurmountable confusion of their differences as sometimes they may propagate the same outcomes regarding a particular issue. Moreover, religion and ideology have played a great part in human civilization from past eras in both positive and negative attributes. Modern conflicts between the two groups are observed mainly because of rapid globalization with diabolical issues arising daily.
Cobb, K. (2005). The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture. Blackwell. Oxford.
David, F. (2000) Religion and Popular Culture in America. University of California Press.
Eagleton, T. (1991). Ideology: An Introduction. Verso, London.
Mitchell, J. & Brent, P. (2007). The Religion and Film Reader. Routledge. New York and London.
Resch, R. (1992) Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory. University of California Press, Berkeley.