Why Religion Influences Politics More Now Than 50 Years Ago | Monica Duffy Toft

So religion has become more influential in
global politics, and it really started taking off in the 1970s, Whereas people today, if
you read contemporary newspapers and magazines and journals and stuff, you would think that
it all started in the post-9/11 era—that as a result of 9/11 people started noticing
or thought that’s where it really took off, but it actually really started taking off
in the 1970s. And there’s a threefold story to it. The first is the failure of the postcolonial
regimes in the 1960s and ’70s. So you understand these are states that got
independence after World War II and they were given a chance at sort of directing their
states, as running their states. These were people—you could think about
Gandhi and others who were educated in the West, go back to their countries and bring
ideas, Western sort of ideas, out of the university systems—Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Tufts—and
tried to implement those ideas at home, and they failed. And so by the 1960s and the 1970s you start
seeing failed and failing states emerging and populations challenging their statesmen
and saying, “Why is it you’re supposed to be the one providing for the basic goods
and services for my society and for me, why are you failing?” And so they started challenging political
authorities and helping them to challenge them were church leaders and religious ideas. Because many religions are based on the idea
of justice and equality, and there were some things that happened: in the 1960s the Catholic
Church started talking about the equality of all people; all people deserve human dignity,
not just Catholics. And so religious actors were there with some
ideas and they were also not fully delegitimated in the way in which mainstream, secular political
actors were, and so they helped to propel a set of ideas and a set of activities that
challenged states. So it was sort of the collapse of the modernization
theory, that this was all going to lead to good: the end of poverty, end of disease,
end of war—it didn’t. And religious actors were there to capitalize
on that, to help; they were there to help—both clergy and bishops but also laypeople who
were part of different churches. And this is across different faith traditions,
it’s not just the Catholic and Christian faith tradition, but also within the Muslim
community. Shia were reinterpreting what it meant to
be Shia among Muslims, that they needed to be more politically active. And this lead to reinterpretation of doctrine
and it culminated in the 1979 revolution where they felt that they had the right, actually
the obligation, to overthrow the Shah, who was a secular leader and bring about Sharia
law within Iran. So it wasn’t just Christians. So that was one: it was the failure of modernization,
and religious actors were there to help the people who were struggling and suffering within
these societies under autocratic regimes. The second is democratization—it’s related
to it—that you do see an increase in the number of countries, globally after the 1970s,
that democratize. So voices and ideas, similar to the religion,
were being voiced and put into power. So democratization helped propel religious
ideas into the global and political arena. And lastly is globalization. Religious actors or transnational actors—their
ideas and their people, their personnel—traveled the globe. Why does the pope travel? The pope travels because his church is made
up of church members; that is what constitutes the church, and he needs to go visit them. When Khomeini was thinking about the revolution
and changing the Iranian government he had digital cassette tapes that he sent from Paris—he
was in exile in Paris in the ’70s—and he sent them back to Tehran. And so as a transnational actor he had ideas
that were flowing across this community. Similar to the Catholic Church: Pope John
Paul the Second was going around Eastern Europe in the 1980s, basically wagging his finger
at these regimes saying, “You need to do better by your people. You have an obligation. These people are relying on you.” And so this globalization of ideas and movement
of people really helped propel religious ideas into the global arena, and it empowered domestic-level
actors to be able to challenge their states and their regimes—and they did. Now it’s 2017 and religious actors are not
going anywhere, and if anything they’re becoming stronger. We now have this fight against ISIS. You can look at votes around the world: people
want religious actors to have a say in politics. They don’t want religion to necessarily
be a private matter, they think that it should be and needs to be part of the public discourse. This is a change. This is a big change from where we were in
the 1960s and ’70s where the idea was secularism: separating religion from the public space. In the public square you were not allowed—and
this was a global phenomenon. And you can think about the Eastern Bloc:
they were atheistic regimes, they cut religion out of the entire system, but then with the
end of the Cold War it came back. And so orthodoxy is now married again with
the Russian state. And then around of the world you’re seeing
this demand to have more and more religious ideas as part of public policy.

  1. No one cares about your religion please keep is private. I fucking hate religious idiots who demand stuff because of their skydaddy wants them to.

  2. Africans/blacks and Carribeans are the most superstitious, religiously and bible thumpers in the world. The Christians churches from Mormonisms, adventist, Jehovah witness and all other denomination has attack Africans to follow and brainwashed them in the centuries of colonialism. They have Bombarded east- africans to combat the spread of the other ridiculous cult named Islam. So, from both sides of the fences, you have Islam and Christianity brainwashing and indoctrinated Africans to their cults. Africans doesn't need religion. It's need doctors, scientist, engineers, and it's own resources intact for Africans to build wealth. Religious has broken africans and the con artist priest are getting rich off of it. It's the longest running con job in the history of humanity. The selling of a product you can't see, touch or verify that it exist. A snake oil salesman dream product is "God". They get mad if you try to open their mind. They want to stay brainwashed and indoctrinated. They will kill for their fairytale sky daddy. Faith by definition is about believing in anything or everything without emperical evidence. Faith is the worst human trait. It requires no evidence. In that example; she believe trump was a good person despite the obvious flaws in his character. Faith; either from a religious perspective or a political perspective is ultimately false and dangerous. We as a society have to make decisions on facts and evidence based criteria.

  3. It boils down to anti-science. Religious people don't like being proven wrong, therefore they oppose science because science will ultimately remove the overwhelming majority of myths and superstitions that religion provides. Without heavy influence of science you get poor education concerning objective reality and a lack of critical thinking due to anti-science sentiments being forced by politicians and parents. That lack of understanding of the nature of reality and lack of critical thinking leads to mass ignorance. Ignorant people elect ignorant leaders who, in turn, spew more anti-science propaganda. It's a vicious cycle.

  4. Seems like everyone in the comments section is united on this one thankfully.

    We have enough manipulated facts. No need for manipulated beliefs!

  5. I guess this just underscores the need for secularists to make our voices heard. We know we are right, we should be proud to share our beliefs anywhere and everywhere.

  6. Religious leaders wanted to help? Really? That statement alone disinclines me to take this video seriously. I would say most – not all, but certainly a lot – of religious leaders are hardly motivated by a desire to help. Religion is a business, nothing more, nothing less. An exploitive business that, then combined with political and economic power (eg. the republican party and big business) creates a perfect storm of power and influence. Like terrorists, they too make use of fear to herd people into the direction they want them to go. The video also speaks of failed states that gained independence from the Imperialists being dominated by religion. If that was entirely true, then why do we see the same rhetoric you see in Eg. Uganda uttered in the USA and Britain? It's not because the Ugandans saw their state failing. it's because the US and Britain exported (or left) their religious fundamentalists into these nations. Look it up. See how megachurches grew in Africa, and where most of them come from. Also, the regime changes happening in Iran was motivated because religious people and leaders saw their secular leaders failing? Really? There's this pesky little thing called history, and if you bother to read it, you find that the regime change that happened in Iran ain the 1970s had very little to do with that, and much to do with western powers interfering in much the same way they did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. That was hardly motivated by religion. Sure, for the people doing the actual fighting and dying, but not those who made use of them to effect regime change. Those flames were artificially fanned by the west, and now it's coming home to roost. No. Religion has power in this day and age because politicians saw an opening to exploit and made use of it, both domestically and internationally. Look at almost any US politician and tell me I''m wrong.

  7. At 2 minutes and 18 seconds,.. Of course the churches were there to capitalize on peoples pain and suffering. Religious organizations have always been parasites. Psychological snake oil sales people. They love it when pain and suffering exists… just like the privatized prison system, the value of religion goes up the worse Society gets.

    Fucking parasites.

    Churches are non-profit businesses. Just like any other charitable organization if they actually fixed anything they'd be out of a job.

    Bunch of fucking Pretenders That only care about money, power and attention just like any other capitalists.

  8. Total failure of separation of church and state. Absolutely disgraceful. A bunch of blindfolded Children of the universe Running With Scissors and they think their opinions matter.

    What a fucking joke.

    Every religious person needs to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. They have no idea what they're talking about 99% of the time. Filling in the blanks with opinions is not a reasonable approach to anything at all.
    Pretending that you know things that can't be known is delusional.

    We don't need delusional people making any choices for the rest of us.

    So fucking sad.

    When will this so-called species grow up?

  9. At 3 minutes and 35 seconds,.. She keeps referring to these organizations or people as actors. Religious actors. Because they are acting like they make sense and their opinions matter. Because they are PRETENDERS. Lmao

    Pretending as if they're logically flawed and cognitively biased bullshit perspectives should be respected and even more ludicrous they think that we should respect them as respecting their religious beliefs and then they use that old Chestnut to further manipulate the majority into giving them their way like a manipulative teenager.

  10. As much as I believe in religious freedom , I know that religion is about destroying freedom and both Christians and Muslims have made that clear to me . Smile and be friendly but understand they can not be trusted .

  11. At 4 minutes and 38 seconds,..

    She talks like people wouldn't challenge abusive regimes if not for religion. As if religion just saves the fucking day. What a fucking joke.

    Aggrandizing religion out of sheer desperation because she knows,.. just like the business of psychological snake oil that is religion knows,.. that it's on it's way out.

    We don't respect it.

    We are not going to continue to respect it.

    We want rid of it.

    We know how damaging it is.

    Get the fuck off your high horse is.

  12. At 4 minutes and 47 seconds,..
    Yeah, we've got more religious wars. They're not going anywhere. They need to go somewhere like to whatever hell they pretend exists and get the fuck out of the way of progress…

    Bunch of petty fucking children arguing in a sandbox.

    Every person who believes things that cannot be proven is delusional. You're fucking retarded and you're arguing over who was less retarded. You're all violent and dangerous… just like most delusional people are.

  13. At 5 minutes and 14 seconds,..
    This is the cultural Bridge of Doom that I keep warning people about. This is the beginning of the downfall of our civilization. When the stupid demands have equal value in intellectual matters that's when we all begin to die.

    The stupid, or the phenotype expression of our biology that produces these fucking morons how to become an invasive species. They are a cancerous mass on the biosphere.

  14. Because people are afraid, knowing full well they cannot actually complete in a global society, so they fall back to imaginary protectors and tyranny to enforce their delusions on others. They pray to an all-powerful god, but then realize that god does nothing himself.

  15. Read the fine print: Sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation.

    OMFG BIg Think… I know that the adpocalypse has been bad but this is not a solution.

  16. Big think!? Yeah right…. More like big honeydicking pile of shit. Sellouts. Keep telling the majority what they want to hear.

    You can label yourselves some big thinkers if you like but that doesn't mean that it's true. It's kind of like a religious belief. You're creating your own church out of your diarrhea of the mouth opinions. What a fucking joke.

  17. For almost a century religious people have been outbreeding secular people, the latter have depended on constantly deconverting people from the rising mass of religious people. The rich secular educated upper class in many islamic countries 50 years ago had only 2 children while the poor highly religious uneducated masses still had 6-8 children per woman. The faithless have simply been swamped by demographic shifts. Unless irreligious people can create cultures that can have selfsustaining populations they are destined to become a historical curiosity.

  18. Funding from the Koch Foundation… Like I said,.. she is a shill.

    High-priced sophistry.

    The elites are trying to protect their mental enslavement machine which is called religion. Doesn't matter what religion it is, all of the thought modeling that people acquire from those dangerous shill mongering manipulative teachings are what makes us all prisoners of the Mind.

    Control the mind and you control the body… Controlling the economic slaves. AKA employees.

    Wake up Jesus Freaks, you've all been lied to so that you can be easily manipulated with your fear of death, the artificial scarcity of tribalism that is created by the concepts of excessive individualism, and then the church is capitalized on when you get your tribal fix by joining their group… Then there's the bifurcated thought models of right and wrong, good and evil, Heaven and Hell, night and day and any morality that they can tie too that in order to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. Be good little behaving children that respect authoritah.

    Wake the fuck up.

  19. She’s completely right, which is why we’re doomed. Soon, a large portion of the world’s countries will be theocracies armed with 21st-century technology, and they’ll destroy all our hard-earned social progress. Sadly, my fellow leftists are helping this happen.

  20. This video was brought to you by the Koch Foundation.
    I think the money would be better spent cleaning up the toxic waste from your factories than spreading disinformation.

    There is no demand for more religion in politics from any right minded person.
    The established religions see the opportunity in oppressive regimes to usurp the leaders and establish themselves as the controlling power.
    There will be lack of resistance to regime change, or even support, from the population, not because they support religion, necessarily but because they are in a terrible situation and hope any change would be for the better.

  21. I swear i am done with damn channel if you keep giving spaces to corporate shills from the koch foundation. I love having different perspectives, but only so long as they arent paid to have there beliefs. This woman started her research looking for things to back up her beliefs rather than to openly look at the issue, a thing that all religious people have in common. While this is tolerable in private, dont bring it to a forum like big think were you are supposed to be an expert in what you are discussing.

  22. Friends I am here to tell you that it is true. The cult of Dionysus is the true path to liberation. Lord Dionysus watches over us all with love and is the only one with the grace and power to pull your soul from the underworld. Was it not Ronnie James Dio who proclaimed "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean". It's all true, my friends. All true!

  23. This channel is filled with either indoctrinated morons or propagandists. The current chaos in the world has NOTHING to do with religion, it has to do with division and religion is just a basic tool of division.

    Until you worthless monkeys start evolving past your own ego and dissolve all religions and divisive aspects of society like Democracy, other political parties, other nations, other languages, capitalism and its divisive mechanisms like patents, IP, copyrights and trademarks your only future is fire.

    Those that have evolved are already withdrawn from your pile of shit you call social evolution. We will stand by and let you moronic little divisive monkeys kill yourselves and then roll in and do it right when you are all dead.

    Die quietly.

  24. Just remember the best antidote to religion is NOT more religion but critical thinking. Religion is just a vast pile of woo thinking which another pile of woo thinking will not defeat. Teach your children how to think.

  25. The actual video is fine. Downright interesting, in fact.

    But really?

    The Kochs are amongst the most evil people on earth.
    They actively fund politicians and 'think tanks' that spread propaganda and 'fake news.'
    In other words, the EXACT opposite of what something like 'big think' should represent.

    Even if this presenter is fine, do NOT support the Kochs in any way.

  26. I'm think democracies tend to education and science . Really is hard to look at but the trend is to more enlightens no less.The fight is hard though and some setbacks have been the user, Iran, and The Trump genome a.

  27. Western religon and Eastern religon needs to be seperated on this topic , honest it makes no sense saying any follower of the two sides are basically the same ,crazy

  28. Big think, this was very small , name non secular countries , Iran prime example , most middle eastern countries except Syria , where coinciedentall is a war going on , N kores where their political leader is called a God , come on this video was truly s joke

  29. Also she mention Ghandi abd said he failed ? Is India not the largest democracy in the world now thanks to him ? , most christian countries are just in name only , because people are allowed to practice whatever religon they want freely , eg Europe , mom secular countries you have to PAY a TAX to practice your religon

  30. Of course some posters think this is about Islam.

    It takes a lot of concentrated hatred and cognitive dissonance to pretend Islam has even a quarter of the influence Christianity does in Europe/The west.

    I get you guys hate those pesky brown muslims these days…but don't apply such ridiculous cognitive dissonance to them. You sound like hating Muslims is your religion.

  31. Wow! Big Think, your videos are getting worse. I mean what you are suggesting is that religion shapes up the political game. That's ridiculously nuts!! Since that would mean that people who believe blindly in a religious faith with no logical reasoning, will become the new politicians who rule their "cooked up" democracy. Anyone who does not abide by their religious rules will be heretics and be considered as a democratic threat.

    And also consider this, if a religious group with majority of votes elects their designated faithful as ruler and are prone to faith conversions, then the other minority of religions are at risk since what are their chances of practicing their religion without being dictated by those who do not belong to that particular faith. They will revolt which we have already seen some examples in the world already.

    We all know that most politicians are born liars. Why would they not pretend to be faithful to a certain religion, just to be elected. Does that not make sense?

    I firmly assert that religion should not remain in the same room as politics. Let's try the worst case scenario and use reverse psychology, a lunatic religious leader makes it as politician and conspires with other political leaders of same faiths from other countries to propagate their religions across, put embargoes on all trades routes, controls all information of their respective borders only to their faith and decide to erase all trace of other religions. Then it is blatantly clear that the Third world war will be a war of religions. Complete Chaos!!

    I am not against any religion at all and do think that the less we use it as a political shield the safer we will all be in this world. In the end, there is no guarantee when someone's brain starts to malfunction, and since doubt is not all common in faiths. It is practical to assume we need to use our best judgement before we vote someone of any religious faith. I am already living that experience. I am not happy at all, trust me.

    Edit: Religion and correct logical reasoning in symbiosis does influence politics for the betterment of our humanity, ethics and rights.

  32. Religion came back into politics with the concrete emergence of Political Zionism with the foundation of the State of Israel…

    All geopolitical/geo-religious fault zones align themselves like iron filings around a magnet with the motives of the Israel and it's strong arm the US.

    The Rothschilds who control the international banking apparatus via BIS in Basel Switzerland ( 👉YT interview with ex-Illuminati banker Ronald Bernard 18,000,000+ views) ultimately have a hand in creating social chaos, scarcity and poverty and the funding of reactionary religious belief systems that support their endgame Israel as No.1 in the world according to biblical prophecies!

    Historian and author Christopher Jon Bjerknes goes into painstaking detail about this in his books and interviews… 👉TheRapeOfJustice

  33. Wtf is she talking about,? None of the big 3 are based on or even include the concept of equality.Actually all three great women as property all through their holy texts

  34. "Professor of International Politics Monica Duffy Toft [from] the Center for Strategic Studies [which] is made possible through funding from the Charles Koch Foundation"… Is that the same Koch that owns every politician in Washington and who is now attempting to rewrite history?

  35. religious institutions will not lie down and leave us alone, even in secular nations the devoutly religious continue to seek and gain high political office.

    The majority of humans are devoutly religious. There is only a small percentage of humans who are not religious.

    Science has not killed god.

  36. When I say freedom I mean something much more important than the freedom to make money and spend it . Freedom of thought ,sexuality ,enquire , political and so on , those freedoms will be taken .

  37. I hear a lot of claims with only a few anecdotes to back them up. Not a very convincing set either. It seems to assume the Pope and religious groups did not have a huge influence before the 60-70s while that is about laughable if you have studied world history. Even in the 30s-50s everything seems to revolve around religious influence.

  38. I don't understand why you're saying it's more influential now like most of Europe wasn't ruled by Catholicism ever before and there wasn't Moslem theocracy until after the 1970's.Did I miss something in your speech?

  39. In the case of the US foreign policies, there were strategic meetings after the fall of the UDSSR on how to proceed internationally. The concensus back between 1989-92 which was put up on c-span an can be looked over there still, was that without the enemy image of the UDSSR there would be a chance for inner struggle, unrest and public disconnect with the nation. So it was 'decided' there and then that a new enemy image was needed and it was named 'Islam'. 911 was just a carriage for the policy makers in many ways they used for their agendas. One of the results, the understanding of religions, a process which was regularly mentioned in the 1990's disappeared from the newspapers.

    That is one aspect additionally to what was mentioned here. I don't understand it as being appart from that.

    As a result i think you could say the Abyss is looking back into us, as with any enemy you always need to get to know him, to understand him, so you would be able to defeat him. That then also results in taking on some of the values or at least them being reflected like a mirrow image in a pond within our societies. I don't think policy makers forthought all the consequences that would have. After all a religion is not quite the same as a political system.

  40. A superficial analysis. It fails to highlight the key part – that people actually are religious, and their religions are and always were claiming a place in the public square. It is the democratization that pushed these opinions onto the public sphere, and the decline of support of Western values amongst the elites helped this process.

  41. Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ——-Steven Weinberg

  42. I have nothing but support for religious values – such as caring for the poor, the sick or the stranger – as part of an enlightened society. I do have a big problem with religious dogma being inserted into the political sphere or the insistence of a particular religion being politically instituted.

  43. If this then continues it will lead to human extinction. Religions number one goal is not to seek truth and peace but orthodoxy.

  44. This message is brought to you by Koch industries, propagating shitty neo-liberal ideology since the 1970s. File under libertarian rubbish and promptly burn.

  45. "So it was sort of the collapse of the modernization theory… that this was all going to lead to good … the end of poverty, the end of disease, end of war. It didn't."

    No theory could end poverty, disease, and war in such a short period of time. Certainly, religion didn't end those things either – even with thousands of years to do so.

    In the 1950s, Alan Turing said it would take 5 years before we had robots that could act like humans. In the 60s he said it would take 10 more years, in the 70s – 20 more years. We still don't have AI resembling human thought or movement. In the 1950s, everything we knew about vision fit on ONE page of the medical journals. Now there are volumes.

    In truth, NO ONE had realized how complicated the world (and especially the human brain) actually is. But we are learning and making amazing progress in many areas about how the world works (see Circular Economy) and about human development and optimal outcomes (see Harvard's Center on the Developing Child).

    There ARE dangers associated with modernization – such as creating a homogenous global consumer society at the expense of cultural diversity. However, this does not have to be the end result if we are vigilant in protecting human rights and honoring democratic values. Perhaps the religious have been helpful in slowing down progress enough for us to put important fail-safes in place. But eventually, we can hope that modernization should also have a corrective effect on religion (curbing fundamentalism and literalism in favor of actually building healthy communities that sustains personal growth and provides meaningful traditions).

  46. Politics is just a popularity game so religious actors may rise in democracies but the exclusionary nature of religion and group mentality does not leave this phenomenon sustaining.

  47. Anyone who wants to send a message to Big Think about taking money from the Koch's must unsubscribe.  It's not enough to just write a comment.

  48. Right after "religion became more influential in global politics after 1970" you should go and get rid of this professor title.
    Just another fake scientist.
    Why are you doing this to me?

  49. IMHO, "religion" and "politics" are different works with the same meaning. They are both systems of worship. One is worship, allegiance, and veneration of the state and the other worship, allegiance, and veneration of a deity or deities. They are both contentious and divisive. Both have blind followings. They both exercise great power, control, and influence over people. And, if you listen to people, they have very heated and "emotional" debates and arguments about who is right. They are the same thing.

  50. SATYAGRAHA- that seems a Western "sort" of idea to you? What a dumb way to put it! Hats off to this pseudo intellectual lady. She mentions the name of Gandhi but does not know where his most potent weapon was first experimented. It was not in the halls of Western University but in the land of South Africa! What a comfortable take on distorting history! And SHAME on her when she mentions that post WW II, colonial countries were given a "chance"! I want to know what chance did Britain have? It bled to shreds that time and she sees this as a chance. God bless her head!

  51. Religions are the enemy of God.
    God only wanted people to love each other, spread equality, respect women, respect parents and any other entity created by God. God wanted us to recognise his existance. God didn't wanted us to divide and play chess over people's lives.
    All those religious leaders who are in politics are the biggest brain washers.
    God don't want us to protect him. He can protect himself.
    All he want is the belief in him.
    I can go on…

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