On the Consequences of the Confluence of Religion and Politics

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: Is there a parallel between the rigid values of religious and political groups? It seems to me there are similar patterns.

A: These two social movements have several aspects in common when they influence one another:

Religion is predominately a Sixth Ray expression of the Divine Mind: devotion, obedience, and adherence to moral values characterize it.

Politics is predominantly a First Ray expression of the Divine Mind: it seeks to gain power and impose its values and vision on others.

In modern society, we see the blending of these two streams: when politicians, who embrace a faith, seek to gain power to impose their religious values on others.

In this confluence of politics and religion, we find common principles. A zealous adherent of this conjoined worldview might believe:

Beliefs and values – “Only my party’s beliefs and values are correct; others are deceived.”

Trust – You can only trust our doctrine; the devil vitiates the principles of others.”

Conformity – “You must not deviate from our doctrine, lest you serve the agenda of the other side, which is evil.”

Voting – “You must always vote in accordance with our principles, and never support the other side.”

Objective – “We must win at any cost or by any means, as the other side is the emissary of the devil.”

Mission – “We are on a mission to enact our agenda, and to block the agenda of the others side. Our values must triumph over the evil values of the other side.”

Loyalty – “You must be unwaveringly loyal to our side, lest the other side make progress on their evil agenda.”

Commitment – “You are either with us—and we are good, righteous, and true—or you serve the other side, which follows the devil’s evil, ungodly, and false agenda.”

This bifurcation of reality into good (us) and evil (them) generates several problems:

  1. It obscures the ability to grasp the big, inclusive picture.
  2. It demonizes and rejects potentially viable and effective solutions.
  3. It rebuffs any form of compromise, which could at least make incremental progress towards addressing societal problems.
  4. It blocks the resolution of the thesis/antithesis polarity working out through synthesis. Instead, the problem remains in a state of conflict.
  5. It excludes important information from consideration, when it does not go along with their doctrinal position.
  6. It creates divisions between people and political parties, instead of working together to resolve a common problem.
  7. It locks people into a limited mindset, which lacks the vision to produce a comprehensive solution to the problem.

If things go wrong, it is a knee jerk reaction of these politicians to blame the other side, instead of analyzing what happened and attempting to find a solution. These conflicting doctrinal positions freeze the gears of government, and do not resolve the pressing needs of the people.

This is frustrating to the populace, as government seems to be unable to get things done—due in large part to the unwillingness of the politicians to roll up their sleeves and find solutions. Rather than cooperate, they obstruct. Rather than work together, they sabotage the other side. The net result is that little gets done.

You have identified a key, contributing factor to this intractable stasis: applying religious doctrine in the political arena leads to inflexibility, tenacious adherence to an unalterable doctrine, and the presumption that they alone possess the truth. To get past this wall, politicians need to find a way to expand their view beyond the narrow mindset they champion and protect, and work for a synthetic, “big picture” that considers all factors and stakeholders involved. Until this happens, deadlock will continue and the public will continue to feel frustrated and angry.