General Question

ninjacolin's avatar

Is there a difference between being a Patriot to a Country and being a loyal member of a Religion?

Asked by ninjacolin (13798 points ) April 4th, 2009

In either case you’re showing faith by following the prescribed rules/guidelines and going along with any changes and new ideas that come down from the authorities.

In either case, the rules and guidelines are there to benefit you and others.

So, why is your Country not also considered a religion?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

58 Answers

upholstry's avatar

There was a famous book written after WWII called ‘The True Believer’ by Eric Hoffer (highly recommended), which describes ‘movement psychology’ which very much applies to today’s ‘movement conservatism’ or the conservatism of the religious right. Another example is the Jewish nationalism toward Israel. Many American Jews embrace it as a movement of their own.

I think when people become part of a ‘movement’, whether nationalistic, religious, or whatever, then it’s much the same thing. Psychologically speaking, it fills a need that people have, and provides meaning for them.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

you can prove a country is wrong… religion is nothing but he said she said…

fireside's avatar

I think that many people do hold their country in as high regard as their religion.
The main difference, from an idealistic perspective, is that religion can transcend national borders and create broader unity.

eponymoushipster's avatar

in some ways, nationalism and religious worship are similar. for example: many are willing to die for a nation’s cause, as are many for a religious belief. The flag or emblem of a country is given as much, if not more, respect and “worship” as a cross, or other religious icon. How is the flag salute at the beginning of a school day any different than a moment of prayer (or silence or whatever) at the beginning of the day? not much, really.

asmonet's avatar

Well, you can’t take a country around with you wherever you go.
Eh, some ways yes. Some ways no.

crisw's avatar

I see a few differences. A country, indisputably, exists, while the existence of gods is entirely conjectural. Likewise, one can be a patriot because of actual, demonstrable things the country does or does not do, versus the fact that there are no actual, demonstrable things that gods do.

However, blind faith in either religion or patriotism (“My country, love it or leave it” vs. “The Bible said it, I believe it, that ends it”) is totally illogical.

ninjacolin's avatar

illogical meaning poorly rationalized. I agree.

bea2345's avatar

there is a huge difference. I love my country but I don’t worship it. I will live for it, and fight for it and even die for it; but I don’t worship it.

ninjacolin's avatar

define worship.

bea2345's avatar

@ninjacolin “The adoring acknowledgment of all that lies beyond us—the glory that fills heaven and earth. It is the response that conscious beings make to their Creator, to the Eternal Reality from which they came forth; to God, however they may think of Him or recognize Him, and whether He be realized through religion, through nature, through history, through science, art, or human life and character.” – Evelyn Underhill.

ninjacolin's avatar

Like a hymn or.. national anthem?

bea2345's avatar

@ninjacolin Not quite. The true religious enjoys a kind of confidence that whatever happens, however terrible, it has some significance in the scheme of things, which in time will become plain. I have met people with this confidence once or twice. It is not something that I have and I wish I did. The reason I stopped listening to the evangelists – Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts and that lot – is that they did not evoke that sense of inner peace.

Patriotism is not like that. It is a worry-worry-worry, nag-nag-nag all the time because your government or some other entity is making a mess of things and dammit, this is my home! sort of feeling.

fireside's avatar

@bea2345 – “a kind of confidence” = Certitude

bea2345's avatar

@fireside thanks! I am reliably informed that the first part of your brain to go after one is 60 is the one that processes names, that is, nouns.

fireside's avatar

@bea2345 – that started happening to me at 20 : P

ninjacolin's avatar

I have to say, I didn’t get your definition of “Worship”
You’re saying “Worship” = “acknowledgement of a thing.”

How is that different than acknowledging a country?

fireside's avatar

@ninjacolin – I can’t speak for bea2345, but what i got out of the response is that to be a “Patriotic American” one can sometimes think it means their duty is to protest against where they see the country going wrong. A patriotic Republican can love their country but speak out against its ills.

You see less of that equivocation in religion.

At least, that is how I understood it.

ninjacolin's avatar

well, that’s what I got out of it too.. but i figured that couldn’t be what he means because that only seems to indicate a difference in protocol in obeisance.

(eg. there are differences between a greek wedding and a hindu wedding.. but they are both still weddings.)

fireside's avatar

Another question that raises is whether religion is thought of as something like Christianity, or is more specific. There are thousands of sects of Christianity, so I can see that as a sort of infighting akin to the different political parties..

The_unconservative_one's avatar

Very simply, a country definitely exists and the actions of a country are concrete and evident. A person can love their country for what it does. Religion is based on nothing more than faith in an unseen deity which may or may not exist. Huge difference.

SeventhSense's avatar

@crisw
A country, indisputably, exists
Many Palestinians and Arabs would beg to differ.

SeventhSense's avatar

Nationalism is an idea that it is used to propulgate and expand a nation’s territories which serve the interests of certain individuals to a great degree and others to a lesser degree. Politicians use propoganda and public opinion to promote their ideas. Politicians like priests try to understand their constituents and use instruments like fear, gain and loss to maintain their positions of authority. Both patriots and religious adherents fear the loss of something significant that is worth dying for. In the case of both it is an authoratative structure which defines the agenda.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

Because you can point out a perceived similarity between the two doesn’t mean there isn’t a difference between them. That is a logical fallacy

fireside's avatar

Is this a logical fallacy?

“Religion is based on nothing more than faith in an unseen deity”

SeventhSense's avatar

Of course not. Only a high degree of probability since they are based upon the same instinct in man to identify with an authority.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@fireside No it isn’t. Can you tell us something, other than faith, it is based on? I challenge you to tell me anything in that statement that wasn’t true or has a logic flaw.

fireside's avatar

Community

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@SeventhSense your logic presupposes that if there are any similarities between two things, then the two things are identical. That is severely flawed thinking.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

Religion is NOT based on community. Christianity is based on belief in the bible as God’s word. Islam is based on belief in the Qu’ran. Etc. Each religion is based on a set of tenets it espouses. None of them have any tangible proof and they ALL ask their followers to believe in their truth based on faith.

fireside's avatar

oh, ok.

I guess that’s all they are based on then.
Just like Fluther is ONLY based on questions.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

You’d have to be a pretty extreme patriot to go home and read a book called “America” every day, try to model your life after the greatest American on a daily basis, meet up with other patriots one or two days a week to talk about how great your country is, travel with your fellow patriots to conventions where people sing and proclaim the greatness of your country and listen to mainly country praising music on your radio every day when you drive to work.

With “religion” this sort of thing is a common occurrence. And why shouldn’t it be. The concept of God is vastly larger than something so minuscule as a country. The concept of God transcends the concept of patriotism in too many ways to count.

One one hand you’re talking about your favorite property on the monopoly board.. on the other you’re talking about the Parker Brothers (so to speak).

ninjacolin's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater you would have to consider someone who has left the country and hasn’t been home for a while. In canada, there are many Cultural Community Centres established by the immigrants who became citizens: Caribbean, European, Asian and African Culture Centers from many countries.. decorated with their nations colors. The people regularly visit and sing and dance to their nations music and they obsess in the culture of their heritage.

This sounds very much like what you described.

ninjacolin's avatar

Thanks, @SeventhSense Countries don’t indisputably exist. They are concepts just like the Trinity which without humans to uphold them, would cease to be apparent to an outside observer.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater I don’t understand why those things you stated aren’t fairly obvious for all to see. I dunno, It just seems like a complete “no-brainer” People don’t go around quoting the book called America as a guide for living.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@fireside Yes that IS all they are based on. While they may have community as a part of their religious gatherings, it isn’t in any way based on community. Name ONE Religion based on community?

fireside's avatar

If they were ONLY based on personal belief, then there would be no need for gatherings.
But you are clearly speaking from a point of bias that I cannot accept as rational or logical.

So have fun convincing yourself of your own opinions.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@ninjacolin Are you being serious? People celebrating their country in no equates to what I described.

@The_unconservative_one I know right?

SeventhSense's avatar

@The_unconservative_one
your logic presupposes that if there are any similarities between two things, then the two things are identical.
No that is not what I am saying but in this case it’s highly probable. What are you saying?
The premises of religion and patriotism being similar is based in the following premises:

1.authority.(the leaders of the nation)(the leaders of the religion)

2.those who use authority to influence and control others (the priests, pastors, rabbis who interpret the teachings and stand as representatives)(the politicians who stand as representatives and interpret the constitutions and nation’s mission-democracy, socialism, etc.)
3.A common identity(the religion as identity/cause)(the nation as identity/cause)
There is no such thing as a nation until people create it. This country was expanded through a concept called Manifest Destiny- Manifest Destiny is the historical belief that the United States is destined and divinely ordained by God to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.
That’s not my opinion.
Religion is NOT based on community
??
This guy certainly believed that religion was community.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@fireside Wow! how deluded. Buh bye.

SeventhSense's avatar

@The_unconservative_one
Don’t forget your ball. :)

bea2345's avatar

@fireside You see less of that equivocation in religion. That’s the big difference between religious belief and patriotism. One can have both, – many religious people are prepared to fight their country’s battles – but religious belief, the real McCoy, is not to be persuaded or argued away, it is a matter of faith. The Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard, explains it thus. One brings all of one’s education and intelligence to the questions raised by the logical inconsistencies of religious belief; and then, when all ratiocination fails, one must make the “leap of faith”.

bea2345's avatar

@ninjacolin I think that you are confusing religious belief and religion. To take Christianity as our example: a Christian is a person who believes that Christ died on the cross for our sins; was resurrected; and that he was God incarnated in human flesh. The truth of this belief, its historicity, are not relevant at the moment. Christians believe this, the way I believe that the earth is not flat like a board (not quite the same thing: we do have some proof of it, but you get the idea). Religion, the trappings of belief – sermons, scriptures, rites and ceremonies, Christian life and worship – must provide the supports necessary to keep the belief an active force in one’s life. (To that extent religious belief is a community effort.)

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@bea2345—”(To that extent religious belief is a community effort.)”

I can tell you that being forced to be in a country I don’t enjoy.. having no real church to attend.. my active belief is entirely a personal effort..a personal relationship between myself and God.

ninjacolin's avatar

new rule? Show a clear difference. Full sentences too. It will help, I promise. For example: “A religion has this feature and a Country does not have this feature.” For starters, here’s a bunch of comparisons showing how they are similar in my opinion:

I think the community difference is no difference at all. Obviously everyone works together in a country to make it run and stay viable. Observing the local news and staying on top of matters is easily a “religious practice” just like meeting at church. Gossip abounds and causes problems and is spoken against just like in church. People sometimes help others and sometimes they don’t just like in church. People are celebrated for their good works just like in church… people are reminded of their values by other members just like in church.. people sing hymns to their nation.. people defend their nation with fervor.. all just like the would for their religion.

What are some distinct differences? Please highlight the contrasts..

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I think I outlined some pretty good differences in my previous post…what did you think of them?

SeventhSense's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater
Your point regarding religion:
You’d have to be a pretty extreme patriot to go home and read a book called “America” every day, try to model your life after the greatest American on a daily basis, meet up with other patriots one or two days a week to talk about how great your country is, travel with your fellow patriots to conventions where people sing and proclaim the greatness of your country and listen to mainly country praising music on your radio every day when you drive to work.
Sounds pretty bizarre to me to, but truth is stranger than fiction.
It’s called Talk Radio, they’re called political conventions and they are filled with characters like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’reilly who are cults of personlity. They suggest countless books and literature. It crosses lines from church to state and back again until the lines is so blurry as to be barely recognizable. It matters not what the argument is to some people, they will hold to party lines. This is very much like a religion and people tune in every day to be given their daily dose.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Ok… so… talk radio… .. what about the rest of it.. do all these people listening to talk radio struggle to model their lives after rush limbaugh.. i think that’s a bit of an overstatement.

SeventhSense's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater

They call themselves dittoheads. A ditto is an exact copy.

From FansofRushLimbaugh.com

“A definition:
What is an American patriot?
A·mer·i·can pa·tri·ot – a person who loves, supports, and will defend America and its interests with devotion.
An example of an American patriot – Rush Limbaugh.(cult of personality)
Even if you disagree with Rush you will find it hard to dispute the following facts.
* Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are motivated by his love and support for America(benevolent leader).
* He defends American freedoms by spreading the truth(mission) about the issues.
* He is one of the strongest individual allies of the American people that ever lived.

ninjacolin's avatar

model their lives after someone? I’m not sure that’s a requirement for Religion. it could be argued, in any case, that everyone models their lives after an ideal version of themselves. who is still a somebody considered as fictitious and real as Jesus himself. Besides this person, they also model themselves after many people for different parts of their lives. Jesus is only one person that people model themselves after. regardless of what they say, no christian (for example) actually only models their life after Jesus. So, this doesn’t seem truly special or different from an agnostic american who models himself after his grandfather or uncle or bon jovi.

ninjacolin's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, said: The concept of God is vastly larger than something so minuscule as a country. The concept of God transcends the concept of patriotism in too many ways to count.

One one hand you’re talking about your favorite property on the monopoly board.. on the other you’re talking about the Parker Brothers (so to speak).

be sure to tell me if this is too far reaching of a view.. when it comes to “territory” isn’t “choosing” to follow god a siding with one thing or another? Isn’t it still just a philosophical approach to territorial behavior on the “turf” of moral ground?

i’m not perfectly sure this “difference” is pertinent..

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

If you folks can’t see the basic differences I’ve pointed out as differences at all then I’m just beating my head against a brick wall here.. if you think the two are even remotely comparable, I can only suggest you look into “religion” further because you seem to have a tweaked view of it.. you seem to look through the eyes of someone who sees nothing spiritual in “religion”..

Having said that.. the answer to the original question would appear to be quite subjective.. much like many of the “answers” here on fluther… so spinning our wheels isn’t going to get us unstuck…

SeventhSense's avatar

Imagine
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@SeventhSense Great poem. So sad that it can never be. Even without all those things .. people would find a way to disagree I think.. hilarity ensues.

ninjacolin's avatar

i see the differences you pointed out but I challenged them.. i thought rationally. i’m only expecting a critique of my critique.

here’s your last comment as a poem as a gesture of good will
Such a lovely poem,
so sad it can never be.
For all the souls who would listen to’t
are doomed to disagree

:) no, you’re random!

SeventhSense's avatar

What few realize about that poem by John Lennon is that it’s an experience and it’s the same one experienced by every enlightened teacher from Buddha to Martin Luther King. Experience Satori and there’s nothing to be taught, it’s quite plain.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther