Democracy is a system of government by the people, directly or by representation, and a country may be said to be truly democratic only when its political organization abides by this criterion. Now if an approach to the understanding of democracy is made by examining all those countries who call their governments democratic, and then trying by a process of induction to form a clear picture of it on the basis of whatever common denominators present themselves, the image which will emerge, rather than being crystal clear, will be like muddied water stirred up by some floundering animal. Democracy, as a term, will then be meaningless.
Consider the democracies of Britain, America, China and Egypt. Do they really have anything in common? In what way is the democracy of India similar to the democracy of Pakistan? The term democracy becomes even more confusing if all the varieties of democracy in the world today are placed within an evolutionary framework. A study of the development of democracy in France—its very birthplace—will show that at a later stage of its evolution, it was synonymous with the military dictatorship of General de Gaulle (1890-1970).
Such a study of religion, in which the process of induction is unlikely to yield correct results, might well bring one to the conclusion that the idea of God can be dispensed with, because the history of religion presents the example of Buddhism—a religion without a God. Today, the idea is widely advocated that religion should be studied, but that God, as a possibility, should be excluded.
Advocates of this course tend to argue that even if religion is necessary for the inculcation of discipline, belief in God should not be regarded as compulsory. They feel that a godless religion serves the same purpose. Citing Buddhism, they maintain that, in the present advanced age; such a form of religious structure is more suitable to the needs of society. To such thinkers, society, along with its political and economic objectives is itself the God of the modern age. ‘Parliament is the Prophet of this God, through which He informs mankind of His will, and dams and factories rather than mosques and churches are His places of worship.’
To be continued, Insha Allah…
THE LIMIT OF SCIENCE
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
AGE OF IGNORANCE
THE HISTORY OF RELIGION