Religion and Socio-Political attitudes

Democracy Jul 26, 2021

Socio political attitudes of individuals is one of the biggest criterias of how the citizens perceive the government they are under. Many studies have revealed how religion plays an important role in the attitudes one holds.

Studies have emerged that combine several countries and religions. Although other factors exist, religion seems to dominate most of them.

Max Weber and many others have emphasized the ways in which the beliefs, civic values accompanying different religions may affect attitudes and behavior. Some have argued that these religious influences on societal attitudes and values have changed over time with the appearance of new religious leaders, but with the lack of historical data it has been rather difficult to study the extent at which religion influences these views.

Between the 1970s and 1990s many analysts studied that with both the importance of religion reducing and secularism rising, the link between different religions and either democracy or capitalism would be weakening.

In the late 1980s, several data sets and breakthroughs had come along to allow individual level data on both religion and socio-political and economic attitudes to be related to one another, most of these were based on the USA because of the diverse religious affiliations it had.

US Supreme Courts faced a dilemma between offending religious groups and being fair to all when the cases of LBGTQ+ individuals began to rise. This is one such case where religion has seemed to affect social views of people.

Beginning in the 1990s, however, there had reportedly been a rise in religious fundamentalism, mostly among Christians and Muslims. Religious fundamentalism is defined as "A movement based on belief of a community (or individuals) in absolute authority of the sacred texts of its own religion or faith."

Many controversial claims were made towards the faiths and that could have possibly altered the views people of those religions held as well.

The extent to which religion can affect socio-political attitudes cannot be measured, there is no particular scale we can go by to assess these because it is individualistic in nature. The person's own belief in their religion will dictate the views they wish to have. In India, we have seen how religion based politics can turn events and not just religion, but caste as well.

Studies done on this particular topic have not been enough only because they have been done across countries or in a single one where one religion dominates the other but it is worthwhile to consider whether the influence of religion on our views is too much or too little?

This article has been written by Riya Rajayyan for The Paradigm.

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