A Religious World: Role of Religion in International Politics

Topics: Western world, Hans Morgenthau, Western culture Pages: 4 (1256 words) Published: March 25, 2014
A Religious World
Does Religion Play a Large Role in International Politics?

James Madison once said, “I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together”. Religion in the world plays a large role in everyday life. In an international sense, it promotes peace as a universal ideology without borders. However, this role of religion is not generally recognized as important in international relations between states. Throughout much of the work done by well known figures in the study of international politics such as Hans Morgenthau and Kenneth Waltz, the function of religion in politics is not mentioned (Abdi O. Shureye, 2011). In order to decide if the lack of explanation of religious influence in international politics is justified, one must examine the role that religion plays in state behaviour, or if there even is one. Also, it is important to look at the degree in which the role of religion in international relations is growing or declining.

The distribution of power amongst states is the most important explanation of international relations, but it is also important to understand how states get there, and if these methods are able to last in the long run (Monica Duffy Toft, 2010). The ways in which states in many circumstances gain or lose this power can be attributed by the use of religion. Therefore, instead of being the force that drives a state, religion in international politics is used as an instrument to gain power or to break down a political enemy. It is a tool that can be used to gain support and power for a state, and to create tensions with others. For example, Hamas, the Palestinian Sunni Islamist organization governing the Gaza Strip, gained its power from the strong religious ideology it possesses. Hamas uses this religious affiliation to create a...

References: Morgenthau, H. J. (1967). 11, 12, 14. Politics among nations; the struggle for power and peace (4th ed., pp. 99-104). New York: Knopf.
Nye, J. S., & Welch, D. (2011). Understanding global conflict and cooperation: an introduction to theory and history (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson Longman.
Shureye, A. O. (2011). The Failed Assumptions of Some Social Scientists on the Role of Religion in International Relations. International journal of Humanities and social science, 1(3), 11-16. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._3;_March_2011/3.pdf
Terrorist Organization Profile Hamas. (n.d.). National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_collections/tops/terrorist_organization_profil e.asp?id=49
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