– Gelvin argues that the role of religion in the Middle Eastern politics and society does not mean the absence of modernity. He argues that states in the Middle East subscribe to an alternative form of modernity, different from the Western modernity, which comes with secularism. Do you agree with this assertion? Does religion affect modernity in your view? Why or why not? Post your response in one paragraph
– Then reply to the paragraph below separately:
Although I can see where some people may disagree with Gelvin’s point, I personally agree. I agree that modernity, specifically Western modernity, comes with secularism, which simply means that religion does not play a major role in society. In the Middle East, the role religion plays in the public sphere is significant. Religion, specifically Islam, plays a prominent role in politics and political discourse in the Middle East. This is seen especially when looking at the main pieces of legislation. Additionally, I agree with Gelvin when he explained that the main thing separating western regions to the Middle East and their view on religion is their historical experience. Gelvin made an excellent point when he stated the possibility of why modern western societies believe separating religion from the state is the best fit, and this is because European’s suffered countless bloody wars over the course of their history due to religious disputes. Western modernity simply sees secularism as a way of avoiding such horrific disputes. Considering the Middle East has a different historical experience with religion, its modernity looks very different, and their states subscribe to a completely different and alternate form of modernity than the west. I agree with Gelvin that their historical experiences with religion are what separate the two and why Western modernity comes with secularism.
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