Political Religions - Sharonhathawayforrest.com

Sacralized Sovereignty®
Contemporary Convolution as a
Catalyst of Crisis
Introduction to
the Theory of Convolution
The convolution of two functions U(x) and V(x) is the function:
U*V(x) = (integral from 0 to x of) U(t)V(x-t) dt.
that is, “the integral of the product of the two functions after one is
reversed and shifted.”
“Two distinct functions U and V that, when combined, produce a
third function deemed to be a modified structure of either of the
two original functions.”
“The third function (U*V) in a sense represents the amount of
overlap between U and a reversed and translated version of V.”
The Journey Begins…Oxford
From Leytonstone to London
Izzadeen in Leytonstone
Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park
Political Religions in Critical Eras
Crisis as Shock and Impulse Response of the Convolution Function
“The state appropriation of civil religion is more apparent in times of profound
political crises.
…while some generalized form of a national self-sacralization may be a constant
of any society, we may also expect episodic manifestations of specific civil
In other words, the transcendent reality identified by Bellah (civil religion and its
politico-religious symbol system) may not be a permanent feature of society, so
much as something that varies with particular historical or national
Consequently, civil religious themes would tend to emerge or become more
visible in periods of national or international crises (Purdy 1982: 313).
It follows that a specific model of civil religion “may prove to fit one era but not
others.” (Wilson, 1974: 136)
From: Marcela Crista, From Civil to Political Religion, 2001
Voegelin: The Missing “Radix”
Failure of intellectual
analysts of National
Socialism in 1937:
“…denying the process of
decay that has its origins
in the secularization of
the spirit and in the
separation of a merely
worldly spirit from its
roots in religious
Hitler & Mussolini
in Venice
“Mussolini speaks of fascism as a religious idea and of the politics of the
regime as religious politics, because Fascism proceeds from the
assumption that man is in touch with a Volonta obeittive, and archives
personality through this connection in a spiritual realm, in the realm of
his people.”
“A certain difference exists on this point (the sovereign as representative)
between Italian and German symbolism, insofar as the spirit of the Italian
people is understood more spiritually, while in German the spirit is linked
to blood and the Fuhrer becomes the speaker of the spirit of the Volk and
the representative of the people by virtue of his racial unity with them.”
(Voegelin, Political Religions, 1937:67, 68)
Symbolism as Symptom
In civil religion, the religious factor is provided
by linking the political system with a
transcendental power, meaning, or
symbolism, often derived from an
established religion (the Judeo-Christian
tradition, for example, in the case of
American civil religion).
By contrast, in political religion the religious
factor is more markedly embedded in the
“sacralization” of a particular political order,
program, or leader (Zuo, 1991:104).
From Cristi, 2001
Transcendent Sovereignty in Islam
The Excellent State
“This is the sovereign over whom
no other human being has any
sovereignty whatsoever; he is
the Imam; he is the first
sovereign of the excellent city,
he is the sovereign of the
excellent nation and the
sovereign of the universal
state (oikumene).” – from On
the Perfect State
The Umma
“None has the right to exalt
himself over others. You must
all enter into God’s servitude
as equals. Thus, the Islamic
call is universal, inviting a total
change. It is to God alone that
the right to rule belongs, and
none else.” – from Prologue
Surah 8, Al-Anfal (The Spoils of
Transcendent Sovereignty
in Christianity
Corpus Mysticum
Collective Will & Civil Religion
“The office of the ruler acquires its
status in the Corpus Mysticum
and is thus no longer
differentiated from the functions
of priests and teachers. No
boundary separates the political
and the religious spheres. The
Corpus Mysticum constitutes an
internally differentiated entity in
which there is a sacrament for
anointing the king alongside the
sacrament for ordaining priests.
The performance of the King’s
office is a sacred function
alongside others.
(Voegelin, 35)
Once all wills are united in a
single one, and the general will
is declared, it becomes “an act
of Sovereignty and constitutes
(Rousseau, 1762:183)
For Rousseau, sovereignty has an
“abstract and collective
existence” and he coined the
term civil religion as “the
handmaiden of the state.”
(Cristi, 135)
Transcendent Sovereignty
in Judaism
Maimonides (1138–1204)
"The anointed king is destined to stand up and
restore the Davidic Kingdom to its antiquity, to
the first sovereignty. He will build the Temple
in Jerusalem and gather the strayed ones of
Israel together. All laws will return in his days as
they were before.” Misneh Torah, Hilkhot
Melakhim Umilchamoteihem, chapters 11 & 12
Apocalyptic Sovereignty
Sovereignty and the “End of Kingdoms”
“The Christian ‘Kingdom of the Apocalypse’ and
the symbolism of the late Middle Ages form
the deep historical foundation for the
apocalyptic dynamism in modern political
religions.” (Voegelin, Political Religions, 45)
Convoluted Political Religion
Convolution involves two distinct functions that, when combined, produce a
third function deemed to be a modified structure of either of the two
original functions.
 Two distinct functions – religion and politics
 The amount of overlap between religion (or politics) and a reversed and
translated version of politics (or religion)
 When politics and religion are combined, they produce political religion – a
third function that is a modified structure of either politics or religion.
 Religion is intertwined (convoluted, … ) with politics – each impacting the
other as in the convolution function
 Deconvolution – reversal of the effects of convolution
Beyond Spheres of Sovereignty
“All societies contain competing sources of power, the
most powerful of which are usually articulated through
political society in a broader sense….Internally however
fascism leads to a transformation of the relationship
between state and society, changing the structure of
internal sovereignty by eroding the state/society
(Woodley, Fascism, Sovereignty, and the State, 2010: 104)
Development vs. Destruction
Venice – La Serenissma
Somalia – Al-Shabaab
 “Striving Youth”
 Tyranny with Corrupt Trade
 Hunger/Deprivation
 Concentration on one
preferred/dominant religion
 Mass Migration
Trade is allowed to flourish
Diffusion of Diverse
 Flow of Persons Amongst
WISC 2011 – Porto, Portugal
August 18, 2011
Sharon Forrest
David Cherry – [email protected]
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