Monday, March 01, 2010

As long as our actions haven’t become mere rituals

[Taking exception to American exceptionalism by George Shulman, The Immanent Frame, Feb 26, 2010 No doubt, “democracy” is a discourse authorizing American nationalism and state power, so creedal assertion does not assure any particular (e.g., egalitarian or non-violent) political outcome; and indeed, as Talal Asad argues, “democracy” as a discourse has historically justified state violence. But as Asad also argues, we need to see religion less as creedal assertion and more as embedded, embodied practice. In just these terms, in turn, David Morgan’s post redefines “civil religion,” not as a set of beliefs, but as a body of practices that convene people and conjure their aspirations toward a future. While Morgan holds onto the national frame, and repeats the futile effort to distinguish a “civic patriotism” from its dark double, his turn toward practices is incredibly important as a way to think what “religion” means if we put the focus on democracy, rather than nationality. 1:58 PM

When you have no objection to putting up their photographs in a private room, why raise such a hue and cry over the placing of their photographs in meditation halls or conference chambers? As long as our actions haven’t become mere rituals, there is always scope for the right expression of our feelings, especially in the midst of other like-minded people. Let us not forget that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother gave their photographs to disciples for their spiritual help. Posted by Raman Reddy at 2/22/2010 12:03:00 PM]

[Embedded religion in Asia The Immanent Frame, posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009 by Richard Madsen
Asian religious practices are less individualistic and more communal, socially embedded, and locally particularistic.  This makes it more difficult to imagine how Asian religions could be accommodated into the standard liberal model for political incorporation (often based on the American experience), which officially considers religious belief a personal preference of individual citizens, who will then form all sorts of different but overlapping private religious associations in an open religious marketplace and expect that these private associations will share enough in common that they will tolerate one another but have enough differences that they will not coalesce into any unified opposition to the state.  We are becoming more aware of the limitations of this liberal model, even in established Western liberal societies like the United States.  How much more difficult might it be for this liberal model to accommodate the local, particularistic, communal religions that are becoming newly visible in Asia?]

Religion and rituals as part of fleeting faith dynamics require a more considerate and sympathetic theoretical accommodation than what is held rigidly at present. [TNM] 

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