Over the past centuries Western societies have believed in a myth. From France to Russia, religion has been veiled by ideology. Nevertheless, these ideologies look like religion by many aspects. The purpose of this article will focus on the closeness between religions and political ideologies.
The lessons from the French revolution
The fathers of the French revolution did their best to reduce the influence of the Christian Church. Around 1790s the French Kingdom is the target of its neighbors. At the beginning of the Revolution, they backed this movement because it could weaken France. Nevertheless, the new Republic started to scare the European powers. Robespierre was one of the most famous leaders of the French revolution. He understood that men needs transcendence to take weapons. Consequently, he decided to setup a new belief, in the spirit of Renaissance and individualism : the Supreme Being. This secular ideology was supposed to inspire soldiers of the Revolution.
Civil politics as a religion
In reaction to this downing Christianism, individuals started believing in other transcendences : nation, State, History and People. Voting became a religious act and nation-states became an ideology. The example of the USSR is also relevant. Stalin sacralized Lenin as the founder of the new country. Statues were erected on his behalf. Then, as every religion, sovietism needed heretics such as Trotsky. Civil politics has become the new religion and ideologies have replaced religions. The interesting point of this reasoning is that it doesn’t always function. Indeed, in order to motivate the troops to counter Germany in 1941, Stalin did argue that this war was paramount to defend Orthodoxy. Consequently, it has to be said that civil politics doesn’t function perfectly.
To sum up, it’s hard to assume that religion has completely vanished in favor of secularism and civil politics. Both of them are deeply entangled and inhabitants sometimes mix their loyalty.