Collectivistic Religions: Religion, Choice, and Idendity in by Slavica Jakelic

By Slavica Jakelic

Collectivistic Religions attracts upon empirical experiences of Christianity in Europe to deal with questions of faith and collective identification, faith and nationalism, faith and public lifestyles, and faith and clash. It strikes past the makes an attempt to take on such questions by way of 'choice' and 'religious nationalism' through introducing the concept of 'collectivistic religions' to modern debates surrounding public religions.

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Collectivistic Religions attracts upon empirical stories of Christianity in Europe to deal with questions of faith and collective id, faith and nationalism, faith and public existence, and faith and clash. It strikes past the makes an attempt to take on such questions by way of 'choice' and 'religious nationalism' by way of introducing the suggestion of 'collectivistic religions' to modern debates surrounding public religions.

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43 Islam or Christianity thus may intensify or underpin specific national identities, as they do in Pakistan, Malaysia, Iraq, and Greece. Smith is alert to the affinities between Christianities and collective identities in specific historical and social contexts. 44 38 One of the first theorists of nationalism, Elie Kedourie, sees nationalism as a political religion; those within the Marxist tradition, like Tom Nairn, understand nationalism “as the most ideal and subjective of ideological phenomena,” see Smith 1998, 49.

A quick look at Gellner and Smith’s work will illustrate how the notion of the secularization of religions with the rise of nationalisms has an idealist conceptualization of religion in the background. For Gellner, we saw, whenever religion is placed next to nationalism, it necessarily loses: it loses its (structural) importance or “that” which makes it 66 For the argument that the notion of “religious nationalism” is used to focus on the role of collectivistic religions in social conflicts, see Slavica Jakelić, “Religion, Collective Identity, and Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” The Hedgehog Review, Spring 2004, Vol.

40 Collectivistic Religions for categories such as “ritual,” “soteriology,” “sacred,” or “transcendental,”123 which often have origins in Western theological contexts. 124 The inability to appreciate such dialectics stems from the fact that these two scholars conceptualize authority as interchangeable with power, and legitimation as identical with ideology. 125 The social scientists’ designation of the “problem of meaning” becomes exclusively situated in the realm of ideology. It is this approach to questions of power, authority, and ideology that allows McCutcheon and Fitzgerald to deny religion any agency—to think of religion as dependent on culture, as institutionally and symbolically embedded in power relations.

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