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 Religion and Nationalism

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PostSubject: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:10 pm

This is a thread based on a debate I started on P.ie: Religion, Identity and Education. I was amazed at the difficulty a poster had with the idea that he is naturally not Irish.
Quote :
being Irish is not a belief. I was born in Ireland. I am Irish. It's not a difficult concept.

Is it actually illegal not to be Irish in this country? If I had a child and decided not to register its birth or give it a nationality, what would happen? It was once illegal in many countries not to be the religion of the leader but that gave way to religious liberty.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:16 pm

You do have to register your child's birth under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act. Can't remember how long they give you (think it might be 40 days) or the penalty for not doing so.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:18 pm

It's possible illegal not to be an Irish citizen technically, but far from illegal not to be a part of the Irish nation. The nation is a community, the state is a society, they may overlap, indeed the existence of one may have precipitated the existence of another, but they are not the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:20 pm

Well we don't give an automatic citizenship right to children born here anymore anyway. But I do think that you have to register the birth.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:21 pm

riadach wrote:
It's possible illegal not to be an Irish citizen technically, but far from illegal not to be a part of the Irish nation. The nation is a community, the state is a society, they may overlap, indeed the existence of one may have precipitated the existence of another, but they are not the same.

An Imagined Community - Benedict Anderson Very Happy

More particularly a State is a legally constructed society within the International system.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:26 pm

johnfás wrote:
riadach wrote:
It's possible illegal not to be an Irish citizen technically, but far from illegal not to be a part of the Irish nation. The nation is a community, the state is a society, they may overlap, indeed the existence of one may have precipitated the existence of another, but they are not the same.

An Imagined Community - Benedict Anderson Very Happy

More particularly a State is a legally constructed society within the International system.

Look at you with your legal definitons Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:26 pm

Mmm, good point about the distinction between nationality and state. There's such a thing as a religious state though, is it really any different from a national one?
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:28 pm

905 wrote:
Mmm, good point about the distinction between nationality and state. There's such a thing as a religious state though, is it really any different from a national one?

A religious state is very much in line with the traditional idea of the "Nation-State". That is, for example, a Jewish State for the Jewish people or an Irish State for the Irish people. Owing to globalisation the viability of the Nation-State in the long run is rather weak. It is questionable as to whether it every truly existed in the modern era.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:30 pm

905 wrote:
Mmm, good point about the distinction between nationality and state. There's such a thing as a religious state though, is it really any different from a national one?

I'd imagine that a state that refuses to recognises any members that were not the citizens of a specific nation, would be on equally rocky ground with a state that did not recognise any citizens that were not the member of a specific church. Perhaps this is where Israel got off to a rocky start, though it did not engage in the first in an absolute sense. It does give preferential treatment of potential citizens of a specific nation though.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:33 pm

johnfás wrote:
905 wrote:
Mmm, good point about the distinction between nationality and state. There's such a thing as a religious state though, is it really any different from a national one?

A religious state is very much in line with the traditional idea of the "Nation-State". That is, for example, a Jewish State for the Jewish people or an Irish State for the Irish people. Owing to globalisation the viability of the Nation-State in the long run is rather weak. It is questionable as to whether it every truly existed in the modern era.

To be honest, I think the nation state was a response to the nation state. Nationalism was a response to nationalism. Irish nationalism developed because the UK gave preference to one nation over the other, the only way to balance this was to create an Irish state that have the Irish nation preference. Likewise with austria-hungary, nationalism grew among the ethnic groups, as they were not given parity with the dominant nations. Nationalism was the only way to guarantee their rights, their equality, with the dominant nation.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:42 pm

About the imagined community (undercut Johnfás and his legal mumbojumbo!), it is amazing how tenous a hold they get on people. But nationalism isn't the only community going; we're witnessing the rise of regionalism in many parts. The EU is a good example, with its insistence in carving up countries in order to administer monies better.

But it hasn't gone too well over in the UK where, Gordon Brown is fighting a losing battle with the Englanders and Scots wanting their autonomy. Funny enough, his greatest supporters (our friends the Unionists) are the ones he ignores. Indeed he'd probably love to get rid of them.

It creates enormous problems for some people such as the Spanish with their Basque and Catalan. The Serbs are an obvious victim, having lost Kosovo. Iraq was prevented from breaking up, providing relief for Turkey.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:50 pm

Both nationalism and religion promise the survival of your identity after your death in some form or other (shared in the case of a nation). Both are very powerful because they seek to persuade the individual to act as if immortal and as Aristotle teaches us this is how men reach their greatest achievements. likewise, that feeling of shared immortality makes groups more powerful. Religion is likely to be stronger where the national identity is weak. I think this may the case in parts of the middle east but I am not an expert. Usually people choose some sort of group identity. The stronger one in their circumstances, the one that can give them greater security and sense of empowerment, is what they will bind themselves more closely to and what will become dominant. Where nation states fail to provide these benefits, particularly where the national identity is weak, then religion will dominate and the power hungry will turn to religion as a means of obtaining and maintaining power.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:59 pm

Not neccessarily Zhou_Enlai; I have argued that nationalism has been weakened in recent times in Europe but with no subsequent rise in religion. Or is that where all these attacks on secularism are coming from? Nationalism is coming to be replaced by regionalism (or maybe it'll be a fad), one group identity is being replaced by another.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:56 pm

I don't see nationalism and religion as being on either side of a zero sum game. One should not necessarily rise if the other falls. In Iran you have both strongly. The EU may be getting less nationalistic but not hugely so. It is certainly more secular. If people had to be stirred to group action I believe that their country would get first call on their life. However, weakening nationalism and weakening religion could lead to weaker communities as a whole leaving the continent vulnerable. This is one of the reasons why people are so anxious to create an identity as an EU citizen. If it succeeds then it has the added bonus of diffusing the tensions between different identities within the Union, which is of course its core goal.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:25 pm

I still shudder at the idea of an EU citizenry. I think it's an example of Sletty syndrome: preferring a greater but more distant power to a weaker one that's close. Regionalism is on the rise, though within a greater EU frame. I think this is a more likely identity marker than EU citizenship.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:26 pm

905 wrote:
I still shudder at the idea of an EU citizenry. I think it's an example of Sletty syndrome: preferring a greater but more distant power to a weaker one that's close. Regionalism is on the rise, though within a greater EU frame. I think this is a more likely identity marker than EU citizenship.


Off topic 905, its good to see you back. I hope you find a new avatar soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Nationalism   Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:28 pm

I'm in mourning, so no avatar. And I go away every weekend. And we'd gone completely off-topic long before you arrived (well, actually just my last post there).
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