Where are the Democracies in the Non-Christian World?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2014 6:54 PM GMT
    (For the record, I'm an atheist.) It recently occurred to me that I cannot think of a single Islamic country that is a true democracy, has the rule of law, does not have a corrupt government, where other religions are not persecuted, and where gay people can be open and have gay relationships. Are there any? If anyone can name one, I would like to know. Not to say that there are not also dictatorships in non-Muslim countries, or there are not evil governments that are not Islamic, but does the fact that there are no predominantly Islamic countries that have the characteristics of freedom say anything about the religion itself?

    (Someone might say Turkey, but its government is totally corrupt, and there is not freedom of speech, which I think is a necessary component of a free society.)

    http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/04/02/report-muslim-brotherhood-members-kill-christian-woman-in-egypt/

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303630904579417482632439814
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 01, 2014 7:11 PM GMT
    There are many fundamentalist Christians who would turn our democracy into a religious state, if they could. They just don't have the momentum of history at their backs anymore, because we have progressed away from allowing any one religion to control the government. I would think that with progress, the same will happen in countries that are run by fundamentalist Islamic regimes.
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    May 01, 2014 7:48 PM GMT
    I could find NO country, that's right, zero, listed as a democracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_system_of_government
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    May 01, 2014 8:19 PM GMT
    Recommended reading. Very illuminating. It's short and an easy read.

    The crisis of Islam

    http://tinyurl.com/nfca76p
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    May 02, 2014 12:07 AM GMT
    Speaking strictly of "the Non-Christian World," you might argue that Scandinavia is non-Christian, in the sense of being very largely secular. Of course, there's a history of Christianity, but I'd propose that from a non-historical viewpoint, democracy doesn't need religion at all.

    It also seems that the more religious, the more corrupt and totalitarian.
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    May 02, 2014 4:07 PM GMT
    Indonesia.


    And since you asked for non-christian in the title: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel.

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    May 02, 2014 4:09 PM GMT
    meninlove said I could find NO country, that's right, zero, listed as a democracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_system_of_government


    I think most non-pendants realize he meant (representative) democracy.
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    May 02, 2014 6:26 PM GMT
    tazzari saidSpeaking strictly of "the Non-Christian World," you might argue that Scandinavia is non-Christian, in the sense of being very largely secular. Of course, there's a history of Christianity, but I'd propose that from a non-historical viewpoint, democracy doesn't need religion at all.

    It also seems that the more religious, the more corrupt and totalitarian.

    Was a short-hand phrasing for countries that have, or used to have,a predominantly christian population. All of scandinavia would be included (they all have or recently had state churches) even though the population is not very religious. That would be true of all of western europe - not very religious, but formerly christian. And I would have to agree, that religions is certainly not required for a democratic government.
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    May 02, 2014 6:33 PM GMT
    sctsm saidIndonesia.


    And since you asked for non-christian in the title: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel.

    I could hardly agree that Indonesia qualifies, with the government having destroyed a christian church, and muslim mobs destroying churches and attacking christians celebrating christmas. The same religious violence occurs in India (which is not predominantly Muslim).

    The title was shorthand. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel would not have been covered by what I said in the text.
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    May 02, 2014 7:38 PM GMT
    Completely tangential but this question reminds me of a book that I read where the thesis was that countries that had democratic governments won wars against non-democratic countries. The reasoning being that in democratic countries the generals and admirals could more easily question the decisions and argue with the government; more flexibility as it were.
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    May 02, 2014 7:54 PM GMT
    sctsm said
    meninlove said I could find NO country, that's right, zero, listed as a democracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_system_of_government


    I think most non-pendants realize he meant (representative) democracy.


    Non-pendants?

    Mercy, I've just been insulted by being told I'm a necklace.

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    May 03, 2014 4:37 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    sctsm said
    meninlove said I could find NO country, that's right, zero, listed as a democracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_system_of_government


    I think most non-pendants realize he meant (representative) democracy.


    Non-pendants?

    Mercy, I've just been insulted by being told I'm a necklace.



    LOL, touche' icon_redface.gif. And your response to this is equally PEDantic.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14351

    May 03, 2014 4:44 PM GMT
    Isn't Japan which is a modern, advanced republic a mostly non Christian countryicon_question.gif
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    May 03, 2014 4:49 PM GMT
    Puppenjunge said
    sctsm saidIndonesia.


    And since you asked for non-christian in the title: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel.

    I could hardly agree that Indonesia qualifies, with the government having destroyed a christian church, and muslim mobs destroying churches and attacking christians celebrating christmas. The same religious violence occurs in India (which is not predominantly Muslim).

    The title was shorthand. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel would not have been covered by what I said in the text.


    And just a few weeks ago in the good ol' US of A, someone gunned down 3 people at a Jewish community center. The church demolition in Indonesia was done by local government. I doubt many would be surprised at seeing something equivalent happen to say a Mosque is rural America (or Europe for that matter) I don't think democracy automatically precludes religious intolerance/violence.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    May 03, 2014 6:53 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidCompletely tangential but this question reminds me of a book that I read where the thesis was that countries that had democratic governments won wars against non-democratic countries. The reasoning being that in democratic countries the generals and admirals could more easily question the decisions and argue with the government; more flexibility as it were.


    Karl Popper addressed this in The Open Society and its Enemies, in which he argues that totalitarian states were doomed by their own inflexibility, where democratic states could adjust to new ideas and challenges. It will be interesting to see how this works out in the case of Putin's Russia...
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    May 03, 2014 10:09 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob saidIsn't Japan which is a modern, advanced republic a mostly non Christian countryicon_question.gif

    Yes, absolutely.

    What Bernard Lewis explains in the book I recommended is that the fundamental problem with Islam is that it's both religion and laws. It's not the separation of church and state that we're so used to in the West; we're so used to it that it's hard for us to understand. When they talk about the clerics in Islamic countries they're also talking about their lawyers. Imagine if in order to be a lawyer here you had to be a priest (or minister, pastor, etc.) I couldn't explain it as well as Lewis does; buy the book or get it from your library. It's fascinating reading.

    But the point that he makes is that Islamic countries are the only ones that don't have a separation of church and state.
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    May 03, 2014 10:13 PM GMT
    I first read this book by Bernard Lewis, then he quickly updated it, so to speak with the one that I recommended it above. This one might actually be better; I can't remember because my memory is that they're quite similar in what they cover and explain.

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Went-Wrong-Between-Modernity/dp/0060516054/ref=la_B000AP9JRK_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399155094&sr=1-2
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    May 03, 2014 11:16 PM GMT
    sctsm said
    Puppenjunge said
    sctsm saidIndonesia.


    And since you asked for non-christian in the title: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel.

    I could hardly agree that Indonesia qualifies, with the government having destroyed a christian church, and muslim mobs destroying churches and attacking christians celebrating christmas. The same religious violence occurs in India (which is not predominantly Muslim).

    The title was shorthand. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel would not have been covered by what I said in the text.


    And just a few weeks ago in the good ol' US of A, someone gunned down 3 people at a Jewish community center. The church demolition in Indonesia was done by local government. I doubt many would be surprised at seeing something equivalent happen to say a Mosque is rural America (or Europe for that matter) I don't think democracy automatically precludes religious intolerance/violence.

    Democracy may not automattically preclude religoius violence, but to the extent it does not, the rule of law keeps it in check. And the guy who did that will be punished under the law - which doesn't generally happen in Islamic countries. And he killed 3? That's equivalent to the hundreds and thousands who die from religious violence in Islamic countries (and places like India)?
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14351

    May 04, 2014 2:34 PM GMT
    I would have mentioned the Republic of Korea (South Korea) but that country has been undergoing a major demographic shift in terms of religion from Buddhism to Christianity for the past three decades. Hopefully it will be a tolerant, progressive strain of Christianity where everyone is viewed as equal.
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    May 04, 2014 3:04 PM GMT
    sctsm said
    And since you asked for non-christian in the title: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel.

    Those are the major democratic non-Christian countries that came to mind for me, too. There's also Bangladesh, a poor country but with 160M citizens and an improving economy, so not insignificant.

    One might argue for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and some others, but their governments are so unstable and in many cases oppressive that it's difficult to confer the "democratic" title on them, despite nominally having elections.