DO WE NEED RELIGION?- 3 (Post .8701)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8701

Date uploaded in London – – – –18 SEPTEMBER 2020   

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DO WE NEED RELIGION?

RELIGION AS BASIS OF IDENTITY – 3

R. Nanjappa

Religion and National identity

In a way, we can see that the modern states are also coming round to such a view. In the wake of the phenomenon of Muslim immigrants / refugees going to the West, (and not to other Muslim countries) and the problems it poses, there is suddenly a realisation about the national identity of the local people. After the Second World War, these democracies adopted a liberal secular (non-religious) multicultural image. But the Muslim immigrants do not subscribe to this ideal and do not accept its implications. They enjoy the benefits of a liberal secular Western democracy, (which imposes financial and civic burden on the native societies)  but do not accept the secular civil laws. This is a problem because immigrants of today become ‘citizens’ tomorrow! This has forced some introspection on the Europeans.

 Some time ago, former British PM David Cameron reminded his countrymen that after all they were all Christians and it was those values which had shaped their character.

State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron- BBC, 5 Feb,2011


The Spectator, 24, December, 2015


Commentator Isabel Hardman noted:

David Cameron says Christian values make Britain successful

Now he seems to think it more important to talk about British identity not just in terms of culture but in terms of faith, which might seem rather intriguing given the general decline in church attendance. But he clearly thinks it’s a point worth making, even if stating that Britain is a Christian country inevitably attracts grumbles, even at Christmas.

Identity- determined by opponents!

It is a rather curious situation. Left to themselves, none bothers about an identity. But when the native people face external threats or are overwhelmed by immigrants who refuse to share their values, however secular they may be painted, the question of one’s own identity crops up. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that our identity is defined by our opponents or critics.As Aleks Krotoski pointed out in The Guardian 15 May 2011:

Historian Peter Furtado argues that the 17th century inspired the evolution of a national identity because Britain had to negotiate who she was within the global scene 


 When immigrants [mainlyMuslims] do not accept secular ideals, how can the British identify themselves- except as saying that they are Christians, ( i.e non-Muslims) after all! [ Even if they are not church-going ones !]

Who are the Americans?

This realisation came to the British rather late.  Writing in 2004, Samuel Huntington had said about the Americans that a mere political ideology would not serve as national identity.

He said in his book “Who Are We ?”:

“adherence to the American Creed is by itself not enough to sustain an American identity. An example of a state that attempted to use ideology alone was the Soviet Union, which attempted to impose communism on different cultures and nationalities, and eventually collapsed. A similar fate could lie in store for the United States unless Americans “participate in American life, learn America’s language [English], history, and customs, absorb America’s Anglo-Protestant culture, and identify primarily with America rather than with their country of birth”.

 In particular, Huntington suggests that Americans turn to Protestantism, and recognize that what distinguishes America from other countries is that it is an extremely religious Western country, founded on the principles of the Enlightenment and Protestant Reformation. [Wikipedia ]

So, after all the looney talk we have heard on secularism, multiculturalism, etc, all these years, we now realise how valuable it is , how indispensable, for  a people to have a national identity based on religion!

Will Hindus learn any lessons from this ?

After all, Muslims and Christians in India have their identities firmly and formally established as Religious Minorities. So, where do Hindus stand? This has to be explored separately

                               ***                         Concluded

tags-  need, religion- 3

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