Religion, nationalism, and international security: Creation myths and social mechanisms
The tri-partite relationship of religion, nationalism, and security is currently obscured by two myths. The ﬁrst is what William Cavanaugh (2009) has dubbed “the myth of religious violence.” According to this myth, religion is always a source of violence, and secularism is always a source of peace; complete privatization of religion is therefore the only solution to the problem of sectarian conﬂict. The second is what Anthony Smith and others have called the “modernist theory of nationalism” (Smith 1998). According to this myth, nationalism is a speciﬁcally modern phenomenon which replaces religion as a source of integration in secularized societies. In the ﬁrst half of this chapter, we will show why both of these myths are myths, and in both the historical and anthropological senses of the term: they are at odds with the historical record, but serve to legitimate a certain cultural world view, namely, the kind of philosophical liberalism advanced by political theorists like John Rawls.