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Clash of Civilizations, Interfaith Dialogues & Political Forces

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The Part I, appeared as “Lies and Men of God “Proselytizers

Part I of the blog was primarily devoted to lies by the politically motivated men of God and how they manipulate proselytizing to manipulate people of other faith to convert. Part II describes behaviors of politicians, both dictators and elected officials manipulating public opinions.  

  1. Clash of Civilizations
  2. Interfaith Dialogues
  3. Common Purposes, Political Ideologies and Community Norms
  4. Modernity and South Asia
  5. Laws of nature and human laws
  6. Capitalist, Socialist and Hybrid Democracies
  7. Bipolar Political Forces  

Clash of Civilizations 

Historically (6th century to present) European and Caliphate brand imperialist have inflicted wars in others’ lands to expand the colonial rule all across the globe for power and looting wealth in occupied lands. My blogs have identified some reasons including political ambitions, heritage and awakening, etc for the rise and fall of European and Islamic Empires (3rd century – present).

Many of the conflicts were associated with faith and flawed beliefs. The increasingly secular modern societies are industrialized. An unanticipated advantage of industrialization is it helps improve human understandings or coalescence of people of all faiths that work together to generate wealth. The secular outlooks can help sustain mutual respect of faiths.

Wars are destabilizing forces and drain on national economy, especially in nations with skilled workforce empowered to generate wealth. Skilled labor force is needed for manufacturing industry, construction business, education, tourism, hospitality industry and public transportation, etc. These are essential businesses to build a developed nation.

The industrial economies heavily invest taxes and other national revenues in infrastructure for industrial activities including education of skilled masses for good industrial jobs. Good infrastructure helps development of tourist industry and also facilitates movement of manufactured products. Good infrastructure is backbone of military defenses and export businesses. The industrial jobs produce value added products for wealth generation. Tourism brings in wealth in exchange for services provided by hospitality industry. Such nations work very hard to peacefully eliminate religious conflicts to avoid the Clash of Civilizations, which is a theory proposed (1992) and developed (1993) by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington.

The terrorist attacks on the US by al Qaeda operatives have precipitated a decade long two wars in the heart of Islamic nations – Iraq and the Af-Pak region. Muslim nations are not industrialized societies. It leadership is obsessed with personal agendas and dominated by the purveyors of purity faith. Some leaders are delusional to dream of the Caliphate brand imperialism.

The misinterpretation of Islam fuels a belief system endeared by the al Qaeda and jihadi private armies raised by Pakistan for low intensity proxy wars.  Al Qaeda, Taliban, and more than two dozen terrorist organizations based in Pakistan are co-linked. Unless the US is able to quench fires of jihad originating in Pakistan with use of high tech drone attacks and stationing of less than 200,000 allied forces in Afghanistan a conflict between the nuclear powered rivals can potentially precipitate the Clash of Civilization.

Interfaith Dialogues  

For survival in 21st century avoiding religious clash of civilizations is a must. In recent decades, Christians and Muslims have been conducting interfaith dialogues. In a world (2011) with 7 billion populations the followers of the book – Christians and Muslims – represent about 50% of population and the remaining more than three billion people are of many faiths including Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Janis, Sikhs and Zoroastrians, etc.

The orthodoxy dominated radical fundamentalist conservative evangelicals of two major faiths belong to numerous sects. The sectarian wars are common in Muslim dominated lands. Politically motivated Christians and Muslims as well as evangelical clerics of these two faiths are at each others throats in many European lands. Some times these conflicts have international flavors as the inflamed public opinions force politicians to make inflammatory statements. In first decade of 21st century after the terrorist attacks on America and Europe a round of inconclusive interfaith dialogue were initiated to prevent a potential clash of civilization.

Common Purposes, Political Ideologies and Community Norms 

By most counts there are 196 countries in the world. After WWII the UN membership grew from 61 (1945) to 192 (2011) with demise of colonial Empires. Four countries are not the UN members.

The world is now dominated by established and emerging constitutional democracies. In increasingly globalizing world, with spread of WMD (weapons of mass destructions) a political need for leaders of nations is to establish political norms for peaceful coexistence.

The political ideologies, common purposes and the community norms are connected and they evolve with time. The needs for survival in 21st century requires understanding the prospects for meeting grounds; identifying ways to advance or how to bring together the forces of the progressive democratic and radical conservatives’ political agendas. A question is if it is necessary for the second Renascence to happen in Muslim lands to reform the evangelical forces and their cronies before the forces from two camps come together in a spirit of live and let live.

Modernity and South Asia 

Independent South Asian nations appeared as the British Raj peacefully ended in 1947. In last two decades, India became an emerging power. The growth of urbanization and industrialization for modern amenities may make life for Indian masses relatively comfortable compared to hardships of a tribal lifestyle in agricultural countryside with no PURA (providing urban amenities to rural areas) amenities.

The jihad, terrorism and extremism emanating from the Af-Pak region have politically destabilized Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is an urgent need in the Af-Pak region to reeducate masses to be tolerant of different faiths and traditions.

I believe mankind will be better served by BACWAS (bureaucrats, armies, clerics, warlords and scholars) establishments anywhere, if they focus on modernization without upsetting traditional social and cultural norms. A will to reorient the political ideology from hate and intolerance to mutual respect for each others faith and traditions can go long ways to improve peace and tranquility. More on the topics is in my previous blogs.

Laws of nature and human laws 

There are three sets of laws that govern human nature. Laws of nature are the basis for sciences. All proven laws of nature are inviolable. Laws of nature are objective and experimentally verifiable and hence true. All laws of nature are not known. Scientists work hard to check and recheck proven laws with objective experiments and occasionally discover new laws of nature or new boundaries that redefine existing laws.

If a nature’s law can not be verified, then it ceases as a law. In last few centuries nature’s laws of mechanical physics were discovered. Modern sciences form the basis for industrial revolution. More recently with discovery of the Einstein’s theory of relativity modern sciences advanced leaps and bounds to explore space. The digital world was made possible with applications of recent nature’s laws. As human knowledge base improves, humans are likely to make more discoveries of nature’s laws.

Laws in the scriptures are prated by the purveyors of purity as the laws for believers of God and they insist that the laws of God must be obeyed at all costs. Contrary to what purveyors of purity claim the so called laws of God are not iron laws. The interpretation of scriptures is the authority of self appointed purveyors of purity.

Purveyors of purity hate and are intolerant of modern sciences as the scriptures of the people of book often do not conform to the nature’s proven laws. Physicist Galileo (1564 – 1642), the father of observational astronomy established that universe was centered around sun and not on earth as described in the Bible. Following scriptures the Catholic Church convicted for “vehement suspicion of heresy” and persecuted Galileo. Three hundred and fifty years later in 1992 Pope John Paul II acknowledged that the Catholic Church tribunal was wrong in convicting Galileo and he is now restored as a scientist.

Social and cultural practices are man-made purported to be based on laws in the scriptures. With time changing conditions require that traditional social and cultural practices be changed to conform to practical realities. Once non-conformity of traditions to the nature’s laws is established societies adapt to new realities and cultural changes are established to start new traditions.

There are laws by politicians and their associates that most democratic governments adopt. Unlike laws of nature, all other laws, whether or not prated as laws of God, can be changed to accommodate realities.

Politicians and politically motivated purveyor of purity want to control people to maintain authority. In democracies will of the people dominate. Free will is fungible so politically motivated leaders shade or distorts truth to manipulate people for desired political results. Publicly stated lies by such people are essentially attempts to preserve power and authority for personal gains.

Capitalist, Socialist and Hybrid Democracies 

The US democracy is a capitalists system built around personal responsibility and personal choices for everyone to seek upward mobility based on individual’s ability and intelligent risk taking to capitalize in the free market economy. The US constitution empowers its citizens to take personal responsibility and make personal choices. Some salient features are:

  1. The government offers empowered citizens’ chances to generate wealth. The national wealth growth is through personal growth.
  2. The capitalist economy is a merit based growth model tilted in favor of skilled labor, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives. The social mobility creates an environment for upwardly mobile but economically stratified society.
  3. The government offers some social nets that are a political football. The social nets include an unemployment insurance program as well as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs that offer limited retirement benefits and a reasonable chance for healthcare for all.

 

Unlike in the US the nations that practice social democracy – Eastern European nations, China, and most theocratic or pseudo-theocratic Islamic nations – the governments manages and promotes social equality or inequalities by controlling operations that in general promotes mediocrity and obedience to authority. Its salient features are:

  1. The system is rigged for widespread corruption by authority figures, bureaucrats and politicians responsible for providing necessary services.
  2. Judging from low level of education empowering masses with skills needed to generate wealth, the Islamic social orders, democratic or not, lack adequate incentives for innovation and entrepreneurial risk taking for wealth generation.

 

In many other parts of the world – China and Western Europe, etc – a hybrid system with some combination of the US style market based capitalistic model of governance and social democracy are practiced.  Communism is ultimate socialism.

Bipolar Political Forces 

World is polarized into modern progressive and orthodox conservative forces. A fundamental difference is that the progressive forces are for a compassionate society and the deeply radical conservative’s extremists believe their chosen God has the power to protect them from the undesirable consequences of their actions.

  1. We come across many stories of angry and cynical  people with extremism tendencies when it turns out that the particular God can’t protect them from consequences of their actions. A ploy of  he extremist leaderships is to promise paradise to brainwashed jihadi terrorists and suicide bombers.
  2. We also have stories of progressives promising what they can’t deliver. These are not lies as the opposition politicians would like the public to believe. These are practical realities and attempts to cultivate a progressive base for a compassionate nation.

 

Not only progressives but economists like Friedrich Hayek a compassionate conservative, declared in his book, “The Road to Serfdom” support for a comprehensive system of social insurance to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health care in particular. Dr. Hayek is unlike the evangelical radical fundamentalists and their bigoted, crony Tea party Republicans.

Unlike Dr Hayek, the politically motivated ideologues including evangelicals wedded to proselytizing tend to promote bigotry, hate and intolerance of all those who do not belong to their particular ideology and faith.

Concluded

References and notes

  1. Matt Rosenberg, About.com Guide, “The Number of Countries in the World,”  http://geography.about.com/cs/countries/a/numbercountries.htm
  2. Kishan Bhatia, “American Wars: Remembering the Victims of 9/11,”
  3. Kishan Bhatia, “Whither Pakistan?

 

 

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Social activist, social entrepreneur and blogger on contemporary issues of interests to US and South Asia


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One Response to "Clash of Civilizations, Interfaith Dialogues & Political Forces"

  1. Dr. McClay says:

    “Interfaith dialogue is a must today, and the first step in establishing it is forgetting the past, ignoring polemical arguments, and giving precedence to common points, which far outnumber polemical ones.”
    Fethullah Gulen
    More

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