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Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

Challenge of Third World Development (Handelman) Chapter 3- Religion Modernization theorists predicted religion would disappear in politics when countries modernized, but this has not been true (i.e. Catholicsm in Latin America, Islam in Middle East/Africa, Buddhism in Asia, Hinduism in India) Shi’ites vs Sunni - Shi’ites have a hierarchical structure, revere Imams (direct descendants of Muhammad and Ali) - Sunnis usually hold greater political power, even when there are less of them State religions legitimize state authority, which is a necessary step to state-building. Some even argue that particular religions fostered development in some areas (i.e. Protestant/Confucian work ethic) Factors which help define a religion’s political involvement: 1) Theological views re: relationship between temporal and spiritual matters (this-worldly views would increase political participation) 2) Degree to which clergy is hierarchically organized and centrally controlled Donald Smith- 2 types of religio-political systems: 1) Organic - Weak or nonexistent religious hierarchy (less organized), so less able to influence politics (i.e. Buddhism) 2) Religio-political - Well organized ecclesiastical structure (i.e. Catholicsm/Islam) Islam- John Esposito- 3 types of Islamic regimes: 1) Secular state - i.e. Turkey: religious freedom and no special status given to Islam 2) Islamic state - i.e. Iran: governing philosophy is based on the Quran and Sharia law 3) Muslim state - I.e. Morocco: Islam as official religion and the head of state is Muslim, but the religion’s impact on politics is limited Catholicism - Pope at top of hierarchy, religious authority is unchallenged, papal declarations can carry considerable political importance (i.e. Pope Leo XII’s encyclical- capitalism’s exploitation of the working class) - Sometimes clashes between the church and state, although the church has influence on the political sphere while in most places being removed as the state religion Hinduism and Buddhism - Hindu social values (i.e. caste system) have affected Indian/Nepalese politics in significant ways, but religion is very diverse with no centralized hierarchical structure so it has no formal political voice - Buddhism is based on Hinduism but differs in that they do not believe in the caste system and it has an organized ecclesiastical organization (sangha)- however, is less centralized than Islam and thus less able to influence politics - Buddhism is also less theologically inclined to political involvement due to its otherworldly philosophy (places less emphasis on temporal matters like politics) Religious Fundamentalism and Islam - Argued that we shouldn’t even use the word “fundamentalism” because it falsely implies a unified threat to the West and lumps together groups and regimes with little in common - Should use the word “revivalism” instead because the word “fundamentalism” has Christian roots and carries significance which makes it offensive to many Muslims - Many Western writers distorte and exaggerate the nature of the Islamic threat and are unaware of the long tradition of liberal theology within Islam, which emphasizes religious tolerance, women’s progress and democratic values - “The mere fact of peoples being Islamic has been confused with that of their adhering to beliefs and policies that are “Islamist” - Should speak instead of a “radical Islamic threat”, not just an “Islamic threat” - Fundamentalism: wish to preserve traditional religion against reform efforts and to revive the role of religion in public and private life - Fundamentalism appeals to people downtrodden and fed up with injustice and inequality in their country, people who are strongly nationalist and chauvinist and are worried about exter
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