Religion's Flame Burns Brighter Than Ever
August 20, 2006
In this opinion piece, the authors argue that global politics is increasingly marked by what they call “prophetic politics,” a phenomenon in which people claiming transcendent authority fill public spaces and win key political contests. These movements are diverse and employ a variety of tools; whether the field of battle is democratic elections or the struggle for world public opinion, the result has been more competition among religious groups. Historical examples—including the 1979 Iranian revolution, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the activism of American evangelicals—point to the fact that people have consistently chosen the sacred over the secular in a period of increasing education, wealth, and democracy. The spread of democracy, instead of controlling the power of militant religious activists, will probably enhance the reach of prophetic political movements, many of which will emerge from democratic processes that are more organized, more popular, and more legitimate than before.