January 31, 2001
Little democracy in any religion
Much applause for Mr. Mahdavi for an argument that was well done and
1- It can be well argued that Shiism did not give rise to minoritarian
forces; it was the other way around: minoritarian political forces gave
birth to Shiism. A group of political activists, disillusioned by the dilemma
of succession after the prophet's death, needed an ideology to legitimize
certain political activity. Shiism was born out of that.
2- The contrarian nature of Shiism branch did not stop in 500 AD with
the birth of Shiism, it went on to gave birth to a number of other minoritarian
and contrarian forces, the most prominent of which was Bahaism - again
a movement born out of a political and perhaps an economic necessity.
3- Lastly, there is little democratic flavor in any of the world's unitarian
religions, whether it is Islam (in all its varieties), Catholicism or Judaism.
No unitarian religion can honestly allow for majority rule since unitarian
religions by their nature are absolutist: They rely on the notion that
there is a legitimate authority named God who is beyond the scope of normal
human understanding and needs to be interpreted by a learned religious
figure. This renders the idea of a theologically-endorsed democratic order
forever an impossibility or a hypocrisy.