Can A Religionist Be Politically Progressive?
A continuation of a Twitter conversation
Of the three Abrahamic religions (spoken of in general terms for the sake of brevity), the easiest to dismiss with regards to this question is Islam. This ideology contains no internal moral dialectic; that is, there is no method to decide, by argument, if an action is right or wrong — there is simply “Islamic” and “non-Islamic”.
With Judaism, the situation is more complex, though few would argue that Orthodox Judaism is a progressive ideology. The Reform version of the Jewish religion is more an outgrowth of nineteenth-century liberalism, composed it seems mainly of those who retain some sense of Jewish identity while being assimilated to the general population.
Christianity has severe problems reconciling itself to any progressive doctrine. To take the example of the Roman Catholic Church, not only do you have an organization with an atrocious human rights record that has opposed every effort of human beings to improve themselves, you have a leader who is “infallible” — a creature that shares 98% of its DNA with a chimpanzee is incapable of error! Apart from this, Christianity is by definition a non-materialist philosophy, which puts it in direct contradiction with Marxism. There is no getting away with this: the Christian religion is not concerned with this world. There can never be a true reconciliation between materialist socialism and the ethereal doctrines of any Christian church — there is no argument here.
The treatment of these topics have been too brief, I admit; Marxism, for example, is not the be-all of progressive politics, obviously. Another point to ponder is this: At what point does a religion move so far from its original premises that it is unrecognizable as an ideology? Are Reform Jews “real” Jews? My answer would be ‘no’, though I expect to be hammered for that position. There is no group more correct in its interpretation of the Koran than ISIL. I’d rather be a devil on the side of Truth, than an angel on the side of untruth, as Feuerbach might say.