Disentangling Ideology from Religion

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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28 February 2016 01:46
 

I have often heard (for example, in the latest Podcast) defenders of religion declare violent extremists of their faith to be driven by ‘Ideology’ not ‘Religion’.

I do agree that religion is not just another kind of ideology, it is something else.

An ideology alone is insufficient to motivate anyone - ideologies need justifications. For example, economic ideologies need internally logical frameworks and real-world analogies to be taken seriously. That does not mean that they are right, or that proponents of such ideologies are willing to acknowledge flaws in the base assumptions or real-world applicability of their chose economic model. But it does mean that such ideologies (including political ones) are open to cross-checking and scrutiny.

Theism is another kind of justification for ideologies. But contrary to ‘secular’ justifications, ideologies invoking the supernatural demand to be put outside the scope of investigation - they are ‘true’ no matter how much reality disagrees.

In my opinion, the obvious way to prevent ideologies from hijacking a faith is, as a believer, to refuse to use religion alone as a justification for anything. Quoting a holy text or religious authority should never be enough to motivate an action, there must be some secular component in the justification process, too.
Using that extra criterion would be enough to separate ‘religious extremists’ from ‘ideological extremists’.


thoughts & comments appreciated.

 

[ Edited: 28 February 2016 08:26 by Twissel]
 
 
Celal
 
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Celal
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28 February 2016 10:18
 
Twissel - 28 February 2016 01:46 AM

In my opinion, the obvious way to prevent ideologies from hijacking a faith is, as a believer, to refuse to use religion alone as a justification for anything. Quoting a holy text or religious authority should never be enough to motivate an action, there must be some secular component in the justification process, too.
Using that extra criterion would be enough to separate ‘religious extremists’ from ‘ideological extremists’.


thoughts & comments appreciated.

 

Religion is more ideology, less faith when it is coercive. If the religion is imposed on the population via a state designation, it is most certainly coercive. That is why Islam qualifies as “more of an ideology” with a religious impulse. There is no overwhelmingly Muslim majority country where Islam is not a state religion. And it is most certainly not secular.

Communism is an ideology. So, is Islam. The oppression in both well documented. The members of both societies risked their lives to escape the security apparatus around the countries to find freedom.

Religion should advance morality, Islam retards it. Because it elevates a set of arbitrary rules over spirituality and personal faith. Religion should nurture individual’s need to pursue his higher nature, goodness, seek personal truth.  Islam’s morality cast in concrete, as set in the scriptures from centuries ago.

Religion should foster peace and social harmony. Islam, as an ideology, is a recipe for perpetual war. Divides the people into believers vs non-believers.

So, a simplest way to untangle a religion from an ideology is to ask whether it advances the individual’s need for fulfillment or does it protect the consensus faith of the community? If it is one size fits all and imposed on the community, it is an ideology. Just like Communism and Nazism.

 
EN
 
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EN
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28 February 2016 10:36
 
Twissel - 28 February 2016 01:46 AM

In my opinion, the obvious way to prevent ideologies from hijacking a faith is, as a believer, to refuse to use religion alone as a justification for anything. Quoting a holy text or religious authority should never be enough to motivate an action, there must be some secular component in the justification process, too.

I disagree.  For example, Jesus taught that we should “love one another.”  I don’t need any secular reason to justify that.  I can simply decide that this sounds like good advice and attempt to incorporate it into my life. It doesn’t have to become a major ideological issue.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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28 February 2016 10:40
 
EN - 28 February 2016 10:36 AM

I disagree.  For example, Jesus taught that we should “love one another.”  I don’t need any secular reason to justify that.  I can simply decide that this sounds like good advice and attempt to incorporate it into my life. It doesn’t have to become a major ideological issue.

It’s nice if that is enough for you. And if you are so certain about this truth, it should be easy to come up with a supporting secular reason why this should be so.

You don’t need the supporting reason, but it is a good test to see if the act makes sense even in the absence of belief.

As Bertolt Brecht wrote:
A man asked Mr. K. whether there is a God. Mr. K. said: “I advise you to consider whether, depending on the answer, your behavior would change. If it would not change, then we can drop the question. If it would change, then I can at least be of help to the extent that I can say, you have already decided: you need a God.”

 
 
SkepticX
 
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28 February 2016 11:45
 
EN - 28 February 2016 10:36 AM
Twissel - 28 February 2016 01:46 AM

In my opinion, the obvious way to prevent ideologies from hijacking a faith is, as a believer, to refuse to use religion alone as a justification for anything. Quoting a holy text or religious authority should never be enough to motivate an action, there must be some secular component in the justification process, too.

I disagree.  For example, Jesus taught that we should “love one another.”  I don’t need any secular reason to justify that.  I can simply decide that this sounds like good advice and attempt to incorporate it into my life. It doesn’t have to become a major ideological issue.


You have that precisely backwards. It’s the nature of social species to get a long. We’re just a very smart social species that’s worked things out so we have a lot of time for reflection, so we can reflect on loving one another to get along that much better. There’s no need for some kind of god (which has to just be presumed) to be pulling the strings.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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28 February 2016 15:27
 
EN - 28 February 2016 10:36 AM

I disagree.  For example, Jesus taught that we should “love one another.”  I don’t need any secular reason to justify that.  I can simply decide that this sounds like good advice and attempt to incorporate it into my life. It doesn’t have to become a major ideological issue.

Being nice to each other makes sense.  Otherwise our world would be a living hell where none of us could trust the next person.  We don’t need religion, Jesus, or any specific ideology to understand that principle.  I do what you do, I just don’t give “you know who” the credit.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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22 March 2016 23:57
 

As far as I can tell the apologists have it precisely backwards. Extremists are driven by religion. Moderates are driven by ideology.

 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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23 March 2016 12:27
 

I disagree.  For example, Jesus taught that we should “love one another.”  I don’t need any secular reason to justify that.  I can simply decide that this sounds like good advice and attempt to incorporate it into my life. It doesn’t have to become a major ideological issue.

But if the god precept, by whatever name, says “kill the unbeliever!“as does part of Islam at least as represented by Mohammed (sp?) that may sound like “good advice” by the believer as well.

Religion is an ideology, one that appeals to and justifies itself on some posited external authority.  Nazis and Communists both happily murdered millions, no religion needed, as do some interpretations of any religion.  The driving force is seeking power and control over others by reason of some justifying authority, “god” or “history” or “genetic superiority.”

[ Edited: 23 March 2016 12:31 by Dennis Campbell]
 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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23 March 2016 20:06
 

Back to the OP. It seems there are at least two categories:

- religions that are less ideological by default
- religions (like Islam), for which it’s fairer to say “Islam is a totalitarian ideology with a religious facet”.

It’s harder to deal with the 2nd type, than it is to scuttle folks who try to grow the first type into ideologies.