Sunday, December 4, 2011

Europe, Politics, and Religion

The face of Europe has been defined by countless wars due to religion and politics. They are the most significant factors that form the contours of the continent ever since its political history started. Wars cloaked in the name of religion were waged numerous times resulting to millions of murder cases. On top of this great loss of human life, grief, suffering, and material loss were part of the general destruction brought about by European religion and politics. Some of the most glaring cases of such conflicts were Hitler's Final Solution which massacred about 6 million Jews, and the crusade for the Holy Grail which left millions affected, including hundreds of thousands of people killed and wounded. Although the two World Wars, which also resulted to several millions of people greatly affected, were not directly products of religion and politics mixing, they were said to be the start of weakening of religion. The era of industrialization in the past century brought gradual decline to the influence of religion in Europe's political sphere. Or so most people thought. Religion has always been an inherent aspect in the life of everyone in the continent; it has even become an even potent force that can engineer political changes in Europe at the start of the 21st century.Examples of conflicts due to religion and politics The Irish Civil War is one of the best examples of a conflict due to the mix of politics and religion. This decades-long war was waged between Catholics and Protestants, with each side claiming they are on good side. Affecting millions of lives, the Irish civil war is just one of the many conflicts around the world between Protestants and Catholics. Another influential factor that still resonates in the bullrings of many European states even today was the catastrophic anti-Jewish activism initiated by Hitler before and during the Second World War. The effect of Hitler's fervent anti-Semitism was the mass murder of 6 million Jews. The cause was Nazism, viewed almost as a religion, but fortunately a failed one, in Germany and its occupied states at the height of Hitler's reign. Both sad incidents all stem from a basic problem of religion spilling over the influence of politics in the continent. The religious unrest in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia also resulted to a number of genocide cases, instability to the region for several years, and Balkanization or the birth of smaller Balkan states.Today's form of religious and political unrest The present issue on terrorism actually comes from religious matters that overlap into the political sphere. Islam fundamentalism is the manifestation of incompatibility of religion and politics. This problem has grown to such extreme that no country in the world today is spared from it. The growing animosity between Islam and other major religions affects other aspects of life. Personal religious differences can sometimes spark into bigger conflicts ranging from simple street fights to country-wide inter-religious upheavals.As a personal note, there should always be a clear-cut boundary between politics and religion. Although this is easier said than done, governments must ensure that civic activities such as the Australian Federal Election, or any other national elections in countries should be properly defined to minimize religious and political mix.