Religion / 19.07.2009

By Anjum Altaf Religion is so central to life that its impact on society needs to be studied quite independently of the beliefs of the analyst. Religion has both individual and collective dimensions. At the individual level, it can provide a sense of meaning and predictability and be a source of comfort and solace. The individual dimension can cast its shadow on the collective depending on selective emphasis by those who interpret God’s will on the religious tendencies of resignation or revolt (qana’at versus jihad, for example). At the collective level, religion inevitably gets intertwined with politics and more often than not ends up as a tool subservient to larger political objectives. Any objective analysis of the history of religion has to record the terrible costs inflicted upon society by this combination. It was a realization of these costs that spurred the European movement to separate Church and State...