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Foments of War (the impact of religion on society)

les religions dans le monde

The fundamentalist religious movements are being strengthened in a world where change frightens poorly educated populations that are suspicious of modernity. They are also strengthened by the political manoeuvring. This manoeuvring brings them closer to the seats of power. Their merging, now well underway, with the bodies of national power is a bad omen, especially if we combine this with the growing threat of financial crisis that could act as detonator. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro’s election, thanks to the combination of military interest and financial powers, but also evangelical churches, promises an era of persecution of ethnic and sexual minorities,[1] destruction of the Amazon rainforest, a return to oil-only, persecution of political opponents, conflict with Venezuela and a disengagement from the modern multilateral worldview symbolised by Brazil’s participation in the BRICS group.

In India, Narendra Modi is on a tightrope between modernisation and Hinduisation of the country. And any slip could lead to a blaze of violence against minorities and/or against neighbouring countries (Pakistan, China …). His presidential term will be questioned as part of the 2019 election. Everything is ready for the BJP to win, but which BJP? This political family is divided at the moment between those who find Modi too radical[2] and those who find him too moderate.[3] The nomination race seems to be underway within the BJP and on the outcome of this race will depend the future of the country and of the world.[4]

In the Balkans, between the political polarisation of the three regional tutelary powers (Europe, Russia, Turkey) and the ‘democratisation’ of this polarisation via the affiliated religious groups, the conditions are ripe for a violent interconfessional explosion to which the tutelary powers will not be able to remain indifferent, thus risking the same kind of conflagration that we experienced 100 years ago.

And even if the states manage not to get involved, do we not have here a model of the wars of the twenty-first century? A model inaugurated by Islamic fundamentalism, mobilising police forces rather than armed forces and justifying all the restrictions of liberty that have been growing since 11 September 2001, the dawn of a new century whose demographic and connective characteristics terrify our states. Seen from this point of view, it’s no wonder that they somehow have an interest in these radicalisation processes of ‘very bad guys to fight’ (terrorists) and the objective allies of a ‘totalitarianism’ of societies (the ‘authorised’ fundamentalists).

The last sector of society that will feed into this ‘axis’ is science. Ethical barriers to the application of scientific findings in cloning, artificial pregnancy and genetics will find essential ‘liberators’ in the states resulting from the process we have just described. Indeed, if these governments will be born out of a fear of the future, their fear of the other will lead them to implement the new forms of eugenics[5] that genetics offers, as well as the new forms of mass surveillance that artificial intelligence and blockchain will allow.[6] Sad paradox!

No wonder that Hannah Arendt, the great theoretician of totalitarianism and freedom, has been so much in the spotlight lately…

Download the full article on religious practice vs society in the GEAB 129

[1]    Source: The National.ae, 11/11/2018

[2]    Source: GulfNews, 23/09/2018

[3]    Source: The Economic Times of India, 12/11/2018

[4]    What will happen to 1.2 billion Indians will ultimately affect the entire planet.

[5]    Source: Wikipedia (Welcome to Gattaca)

[6]    Source: Medium, 21/02/2018


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