playing at religion

Whether we adhere to a religious tradition or a secular one, it is possible to fall prey to the allure of raising political ideology (and doctrine based on that ideology) to a position and level that is hierarchically above the truths encoded into the source documents of the tradition. Such a situation is most likely to materialize when politics and struggles for power, hegemonic contests for expansion of spheres of influence and control of resources is entwined with concurrent conflicts between different traditions and cultures. When this occurs it is likely that, in the absence of widespread and deep knowledge of the source-books of religion, these same books will become instead (to those who single-mindedly pursue their political obsessions) simply a mechanism, an accessory used to lend emotional weight and substance to ideological politics. Then religion (or in the case of secular traditions, constitutional or founding principle) becomes something that is played with, a football kicked across the political fields of nations in an attempt to score points in, what is at heart, a very worldly game.

“and leave those who have taken their path for a play and a sport….” (Qur’an 6:70)