How Religion Created Order

Evan R. Goldstein reviews Francis Fukuyama's new book, The Origins of Political Order:

"There is no clearer illustration of the importance of ideas to politics than the emergence of an Arab state under the Prophet Muhammad," Fukuyama writes. "The Arab tribes played an utterly marginal role in world history until that point; it was only Muhammad's charismatic authority that allowed them to unify and project their power throughout the Middle East and North Africa." Fukuyama's portrayal of religion as a unifying force in history will irk some atheists, for whom religion is at all times a source of intolerance, conflict, and violence. He does concede, however, that religion's role in the contemporary world is more problematic. Pluralistic societies require religions to coexist in proximity. As a result, he says, "integration today has to be based on shared political values, not deep, religiously rooted cultural beliefs."

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

Just In