Religion and Politics

Historically formal religion is older than formal politics. Religions preach the followers to lead life in proper way as close knit community. They inculcate the idea of heaven and hell to control the followers from doing contrary to the teachings of religion. All religions are more or less ‘faith based’ and by and large hereditary. All religions have their leaders and followers. The leaders exert variable degree of power over followers. Some religious leaders also become cult figures.

Formal politics is an outcome of social dynamics over the centuries. Democracy, Autocracy (by individual or party), Theocracy, Monarchy are different form of governance. No society can function without its governing system. Here, the idea of governance is to allow the citizens to live and prosper in orderly manner. The emphasis is on this life and not on any life hereafter. The governing system in politics also revolves around some group of political/party/religious/royal leaders. Barring democracy, all other systems are mono-lineal. In democracy, different political parties fight election after specific years and the party wining majority constituencies comes to power.

Broadly speaking, religion and politics are two sides of the same coin. Religious leaders try to keep their folks together through rituals and teachings. Political parties try to attract voters towards them through promises. Both try to control society in their own way.

No form of governance is best and perfect. Everybody accepts this fact. However, democracy is still considered to be the best. It at least empowers the voters to reject a non-performing ruling party in next election. But in case of religion, this is not true. Here individual can change religion only by choice or under duress. Though each political party may claim to be the best and perfect, collective wisdom of the citizens ultimately prevails during each election. Similarly, each religion claims to be the best and perfect. But no collective wisdom can periodically judge any religion. And problem with religions starts from that point. Multiplicity of ‘bests’ and ‘perfects’ religions create intolerance and hatred among followers of different faiths.

Bangladeshi youths may think over.

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