Religion and Power: No Logos without Mythos
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There are few more contentious issues than the relation of faith to power or the suggestion that religion is irrational compared with politics and peculiarly prone to violence. The former claim is associated with Juergen Habermas and the latter with Richard Dawkins. In this book David Martin argues, against Habermas, that religion and politics share a common mythic basis and that it is misleading to contrast the rationality of politics with the irrationality of religion. In contrast to Richard Dawkins (and New Atheists generally), Martin argues that the approach taken is brazenly unscientific and that the proclivity to violence is a shared feature of religion, nationalism and political ideology alike rooted in the demands of power and social solidarity. The book concludes by considering the changing ecology of faith and power at both centre and periphery in monuments, places and spaces.
revolutionary violence and the issues raised by Weber on the economic ethic of the ‘small sects’ of the USA. As already indicated, I wanted to show how many alternative ways there were to modernity, unless you defined religion as essentially pre-modern. There really are several different routes. I stressed the route to modernity that included Pietist, Methodist and Pentecostal religion as a major component. That is a key element in my whole approach to secularisation. But there is also the
Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2013, pp. 245–60). 26 S.N. Eisenstadt, ‘Multiple Modernities’, Daedalus (Winter 2000: 129, pp. 1–30). 25 Religion and Power 24 Moreover, Eisenstadt also argued that the radical millenarian tradition of Christianity had resurfaced in Jacobinism.27 That was highly contentious, but it could well be related to Nicolai Berdyaev’s claims about the origins of Russian communism and to Geoffrey Hosking’s comment that the appalling suffering endured by the Russian
wary of loose statements about hypostasised ‘entities’ like ‘religion’ and insist on attaching a massive qualifying rubric. None of the verbal concepts of sociology can be treated unproblematically as a bounded ‘entity’ constructed on a crude version of the natural science model. The semantic depth and historically inflected nature of concepts in the social sciences drives a deep ditch between them and the natural sciences. Some natural scientists maraud across the ditch without having the
as a whole, picking up from the discussion in Chapter 5 about kinds of truth and sketching the relation between the kind of truth elicited by sociology and the kind of truth re-presented, uncovered and exposed by theology. I develop Weber’s arguments about the spectrum of axial religions, their inter-relation and the different kinds of grammar that they generate. (The arguments in Chapters 5 and 6 were developed at the same time as I finalised the Prospect and the Retrospect of my intellectual
current interest in ‘materialising’ religion, especially in urban ecology, and I have risked including them. Chapter 15 brings together most of the themes treated earlier: it is a spatial-temporal realisation of secularisation and de-secularisation, ethnoreligion and voluntarism, organised around the distinction between centre and periphery. It illustrates the geopolitical constants of violence over time and cultural space, whether the governing ideology is Christianity in the Orthodox style,