RELIGIOUS MEDIATION OF SOCIO-CULTURAL:
CONCEPTUAL DIFFICULTY OF SECULARISM
In what follows, an attempt is made to highlight the logical difficulty there is in the ways of formulating the idea of secularism as a principle of disjunction between the affairs of spiritual and natural world. Drawing insights from the historical conditions in which the conceptual formulation and reformulation of idea of secularism have become a theoretical imperative for the modern civilizations, an argument is advanced here to show that secularism serves to provide a different logic of religion itself. Contrary to the understanding of religionist, anti-religionist, or agnost (irreligionist), secularism seems to be a disguised logic of theologiocracy which has been substituted for theocracy with the emergence of liberal democracy. Theocracy is a system of governance where political decisions are made to fulfil the divine will represented by a particular religious head. Whereas, theologiocracy is a process of governance in a society with no declared state-religion, one or many theologies exert political power in their favor. The intangible means of power-holds of theologiocracy seems felt more apparent in controlling the social affairs and civil politics of faith community than in organizing policy decisions of the state.
The citizens of modern liberal democracy wanted a pure humanistic politics of social justice from the part of state government, devoid of an appeal to any spiritual entity or religious institution. And the modern religionists wanted a pure spirituality without any external interference from the side of non-religious agencies. A democratic secular state wanted to protect both the camps by being a neutral umpire. However, the world wide experience of the secularist governance and the civil politics, both in the Capitalist and the Socialist nations, seems to make us sceptical about the viability and the availability of a spatiality of non-interference. It is in the context of such a supposed terrain of functional divide between different partakers in a secularist life situation that the present paper wants to bring in the question how do we go about the persisting experience of religious mediation of socio-cultural.
The doctrines and rituals of most of the religions in the world over seem to be addressed towards certain ultimate divine reality. The ultimate reality conceived by every religion has a universal appeal and significance; despite the articulation of each one is found to be in variant name and form determined by regional cultural specificities. All religious practices are, thus, seen to be directed towards the establishment of a relationship with the single transcendental divine reality that could be realized through different pathways. The universal performativity of religion is apparent, especially in the case of so-called ‘world-religions’ which are having a transnational/trans-cultural outreach, instead of being confined to the regions of inception. Accordingly, the doctrinal or mythical content of every religion, which is found to be the binding force of its community hold, remains the same at the national and global areas of reception. Even then, what is supposed to be the transcendental principle of the universe in a particular faith itself has often been conceptualized and explained in variant terms contradictory to its original doctrine. Thus religions get changed when they expand to different cultures. In both cases of plurality of divinity; within a religion and among the religions, its potential, mode of actualization, the way of access, etc. are imagined differently in different cultural/national contexts. This seems to point to the impossibility of an objective description or understanding of what aught to be the objective, eternal, or absolute religious reality. Such a difficulty might be taken to affect the logical consistency required for an ascription of ‘ultimate’. That means, the phenomenon of spiritual plurality makes deficient the attribute that is ascribed to the ultimate spiritual reality.
Does this paradox, the ‘non-objectivity of the objective’, amount to a logical invalidation of the entire faith practices of people? This problem is not brought here as an attempt to present the difficulty of seeking a logical justification for religious beliefs. Rather, this paper wants to raise the logical difficulty of invoking the idea of secularism in seeking solution to the problems emerge from the so-called politicization of religion or religionisation (communalization) of politics. Fundamentalism, Revivalism, Terrorism, Communalism, etc., are some of the nagging problems of the contemporary world that have often been attributed to have caused from the failure of secularism. When the so-called religious, communal, ethnic, racial, tribal unrest and violence of the present-day are identified with the collapse of the secularist governmentality, one is bound to be self-reflective about the potential of secularism itself. An exploration on the constitutive violence of the conception of secularism per se might stand in need of the hour. It is to this effect that the present paper wants to bring in the plurality of transcendental divinity to u understand the logical validity of a puritan religiosity presupposed by the secularism. Hence, we would argue that the socio-cultural modulations of the transcendental provide ground for a logical invalidation of the conception of secularism, rather than for the dismissal of religiosity as such.
If we go by the conceptual diversity of the phenomenon of spiritual/religious reality, one has to admit the fact that religious imaginations are very much intertwined with the socio-cultural interests of the respective community of people who are bound by the different conceptions of the ultimate reality. The cultural traits in the conceptions of transcendent also seem to be accompanied by certain regimentation of rituals, lifestyle, and other institutional practices related to beliefs of the followers. As the regimes of esoteric and institutional practices too are not found to be homogeneous and changeless even within different sects of a particular religious fold, their justifications are to be construed as socially and culturally negotiated. This does not mean to say that what is taken to be the transcendental force that works behind the cosmic structures does not have any power of its own to influence on human life. Nor does it say that there is no possible means for human beings to influence back on such cosmic working or change its cause by establishing a special relationship with the cosmic forces through psycho-physiological practices capable of altering the existential/functional modalities.
However, when there is a claim that particular way of spiritual pursuit is the most authentic means to the ultimate, and so it is imperative for all to be the followers of that path in order to have an intimate relationship with the transcendent, it becomes a matter of ethno-spiritual (ethno-religious) centrism. The process of socio-cultural negotiation gets involved by the political interests of the concerned. That is, in this process, there might arise all chances to get creep-in manipulative urges of projecting certain socio-political interests of believers or faith-communities. This seems to have caused a terrain of perpetual conflicts over the superiority and authenticity of spiritual path among different religions in the world. Religious conflicts, both at inter and intra-religious levels, which are interlinked with the interests of socio-political domination of each sect, have also been reflected in the specific ways of perceiving divinity.
Thus, what seems to become a theoretical imperative here is to demonstrate the factors that trigger proliferation of different conceptions of the transcendental divinity or cosmic force. It is also to be accounted why such forces are believed to be capable of intervening in the affairs of man at a differential proportion in different context of the community of believers. If contradictory pathways are found to be capable of bringing effective relationship with the divinity, then the consequent argument is for the grade and superiority of the divine force, which in turn set context for the contestation on the liturgical perfection of different religions.
While the priority basis is purely due to the internal standards of the faith-community or individual believer, the superiority claims are due to comparative and relative standards. Relative merits and demerits seem to be more important for the preference to one faith or divinity than the consideration that all faiths are equally capable of rewarding one way or other. Therefore, the phenomenon of religious diversity has got much to do with the commitments other than simple faith in divinity of any kind. This seems to underline the socio-cultural modulations of the divinity, and following the same logic, the religious conflicts or politics are to be addressed in terms of the extra or non-transcendental structures of relationships built-in in the faith-matters. In other words, it would amount to say that the religious diversity and the consequent conflicts no more demand a transcendental justification of the divinity. Instead of religious wars are fought in pretext of politics, they are to be fought in terms of political war as such.
Most often the phenomenon of religious diversity is marked by the expressions of dissenting voices within the particular religious fold. In a way the intra-religious plurality is constituted by the prevalence of dissident streams within. The so-called religious reform movements are also driven by the spiritual dissents. When certain religious perception and practice get entangled with the socio-cultural interests of particular section of the faith community, the conflicts emerge in the form of opposition to the prevailing interpretation of doctrines and practices. Conflicts are also due to the different responses to the pressures amounted by socio-cultural changes that occur in different period of time.
The spirit of modernity has its adumbrations in the domain of religion. There it is marked by the calls for religion’s need to become creatively respond to the changing requirements of the time. In many of the nations, the process of modernizations was very much mediated by the religious reform movements and their oppositions to the prevailing orthodoxies. Such a religious conflict was consequent of the onset of the modernization process in the Europe. And it was in the context of the modernization that the ideology of secularism as a strategy of separation between the affairs of state (politics) and religion (spirituality) had originated in the history of European Christianity. Perhaps, the same kind of religious linkage with the socio-cultural dynamics could have provided context for the adaptation of secularism in the non-western cultures. However, it is fact that there exists diversity of secularism among the different western nations themselves.
The diversity can also be seen in the ways of adapting secularism to non-western cultures. The conceptual diversity of secularism seen in the non-western, non-Christian nations has been glaringly in contrary terms to the western diversity. The conceptual diversity of secularism has been constituted by the difference in the way each religion has mediated the socio-cultural affairs in different national and religious contexts. To a large extent, the conceptual diversity of secularism informs the ambiguity that prevails in the ways of understanding the nature of separation and relationship (inter-relationship, inner-relationship, outer-relationship, non-relationship) between the aspects of sacrality and sociality. The ambiguity of secularism seems to be an outcome of the failure to acknowledge the ways they do stand in relations to each other. Most often their interfacing of each other appears to inter-constitutive, and hence becomes inconceivable for a logical disjunction.
An analysis in this direction requires seeing the way in which the conception of secularism stands open to the religious diversity and the conflicts, and also how it is tuned to address the conundrum of religious politics embedded therein. If the phenomenon of religious diversity poses logical difficulty for a transcendental justification of religious reality, would it be taken to provide sufficient historical (socio-cultural) ground for atheism? Since a socio-cultural justification of god or religion hardly becomes a concern of atheism, the answer would be a sceptical ‘No’. It seems atheism cannot entertain an argument that even though there does not exist an entity called god, the belief in god is a reality that cannot be dismissed as such. It is also doubtful whether atheism could afford a psycho-behavioural defence of religious belief, because science has advanced more efficient methods for treating mental stress.
If not for atheistic eliminativism, can the same logical difficulty posed by the religious diversity for a transcendental justification of religious reality, be taken to provide argument for secularist separation of religion from the state? Is it an argument that since the religious diversity disproves the possibility of the existence of a universal transcendental divinity religion should not be allowed to intervene in the affairs of democratic governance? Is it due the incapability of the supposed divine to intervening in the affairs of man in any equity basis that secularism finds religion to be incompetent the democracy, which is committed to the principle of egalitarianism? Does this argument share anything with the atheistic argument for totalitarian elimination of religion as such? That is, is it an argument that since religious pluralism contradicts the objectivity of the transcendental divinity, religion should be undermined by the modern state as a rational agency for the welfare of people? To which one of the above arguments, secularism as an ideology of modern liberal democracy would likely to stands closer?
The original intent of the conception of secularism was to check the undue authority that the Christian priesthood (clerics) exerted upon the non-ecclesiastic affairs of the people until the emergence of modernity in the European civilization. Thus, in the beginning, secularism had the assumption that the affairs of the public life and religious beliefs were governed by distinguishably different set of rules and forces. Such a thought was constitutive of the modern scientific reasoning that became a challenge to the very credibility of religious faith. Consequently, the King/ruler had to seek new source of justification of political power and authority in the society. As religion’s supposedly totalitarian claim over the societal affairs of people became unwarranted, a shift in strategic management of political power had become a necessity. Thus the idea of secularism was drawn in order to strike a balance in the domain-control of the affairs of religion and state. In other words, the conceptual devise like secularism had to be brought in for negotiating the emerging crisis of power. Though such a justification crisis had been a situation confronted by the emerging liberal democratic nation state in Europe, the solution sought in the way of secularism seems to be theocratic in its core. However, there seems to remain a question un-posed in most of the secularism discourses: whose logic exactly is this ideology of secularism? In other way, did secularism emerge as an answer for the crisis of power faced by democracy or theocracy, or by both?
The lack of clarity in this regard seems to create tremendous confusion in the debates related to the interface between faith and socio-cultural affairs. There is a wide spectrum of people for whom the debate on the nature of their interface becomes crucial, such as religionists, politicians, scientists, and for many other theoretical and practical mangers of the societal crises that are consequential of the religious-political encounter. As per the track records of the secularism debate so far, it has often been represented as a sheer modernist ideology. The historical process of societal modernization is very much linked with the process of secularization. Thus, secularism is taken to be the underlying spirit of modern political ideologies such as liberal democracy, socialism, and scientific communism. Hence what is taken to be very crucial for them seems nothing but a radical rupture from the linkages of religion. Contrary to such a received perception of secularism, we require to explore the extent to which it becomes logic of religion itself. Accordingly there might require a reversal of the order of positing secularism in disjunction/contrast to religion, if not opposition in entirety.
The historical social context in which the conception of secularism was developed in the Europe had been characterized by the pervasive political authority of religious priesthood for which everything that did not ratify the divine right of the ruler construed to be heresy and attracted inquisition. It was of a context of theologic-political terrorism whereby all those non-religious affairs of life had to be subjugated to the divinized political dictatorship. Consequently, a reversal of the order of relationship between religion and state was necessitated in terms of a flimsy ground of non-interference and separation. The spirit of Modernism and Enlightenment has been the rationalization of the entire realm of life in Europe, including religious. The primacy of the state in the matters of socio-political affairs and the primacy of the church in the ecclesiastic affairs has been the accepted principle of separation. Naturally, religion had to be pushed back from its public command. Thus the secularism was rather projected as a modern socio-political ideology with a moral hinge on allowing a workable mutual distancing of the both domains of life.
Though the projected image of secularism has been based on the assumption that the affairs of public life and religious beliefs are distinctly different from each other, the praxiological analysis of the history of secularism would be suggesting a different picture altogether, especially in the case of its adaptations in the non-western cultures. Despite the functional differentiation of religion and politics being the corner stone of the secularist state policies and everyday social life of the people in the western liberal democracy and the modern civilization, the inter-linkage between them seems to have continued to be so strong and pervasive. If the politics of religion and spirituality continued to be ubiquitous what would be the conceptual tenability of secularism as an ideology of functional differentiation between religion and politics
Secularism: the Logic of Religion
An argument for the separation of something that is inseparable seems to be unintelligible, and theoretically and politically coercive. The subtlety of religion in the politics and politics in the religion is a socio-cultural reality that cannot be theoretically wished away and logically disproved. The difficulty of objective validation of the transcendental might be taken to provide a logical ground for the arguments of atheism as well as secularism (in its original western sense). Though atheism and secularism are different arguments altogether, they are often messed up to be the same. Even though secularism is distinguished from atheism, for its indifference to the question of existence of god, it cannot validate its logic of separation of the affairs of religion and state while considering the fact that religious faiths are not mere faiths in the transcendental divinity but they often mediate socio-cultural wishes and aspirations of the believers. That way, religious diversity might be rather useful for seeking a socio-cultural justification of religion, instead of seeking proof for nonexistence of the transcendental.
An analysis of the difficulty of secularism in view of the religious mediation of socio-cultural assumes more significance in the context of the extended sense in which the conception of secularism has its reception in different conceptual and cultural contexts. It seems to be relevant if something could be drawn from the conceptual proliferation of secularism itself to understand the process of religious mediation of the socio-cultural. In the west and for the modernists, secularism seems to be a euphemism for atheism, theoretically, though, it meant for the domain separation between church and state, to preclude the primacy of one over the other. In the west itself, for the religionists, it appears to be a jargon of tolerance, for disguising the western penchant for intolerance towards non-western ethnic cultures and religious minorities, as well as a strategy for the indirect retention of theocracy over the democracy.
The paradox of secularism appears to be very much a farce in its caricature in the non-western adaptations. In the case of the so-called ‘Indian-secularism’, it has two versions; the official version of ‘equi-tolerance’ of all religions, instead of equidistance, and the non-official version of minoritarian and atheistic progressivism towards the majoritarian fundamentalism and cultural nationalism. The process of socio-cultural modulation seems to have an equal force on the conceptualization of secularism, in its western and non-western versions.
The conceptual diversity of secularism also becomes apparent in the mode of overstretching from its narrow range of signification to the governance of the affairs of church and state. Besides being a policy matter concerning the relationship between state and religion, the concept secularism has been overstretched to the matters related to civil culture and ethical considerations. Here secularism becomes a value pertaining to social and interpersonal relationship. Instead of the principle of separation being construed to the relationship between state and religion, it has been taken as a principle to be maintained in the relationship between religion and the wider areas of political, social and cultural affairs. Again, secularism seems to have assumed signification of a neutral conceptual framework for describing what can be termed as ‘irreligious way of living’ or ‘irreligious culture.’ Irreligiosity might signify an attitude of indifference to both the secularist privatization of belief as well as the atheistic refutation of religion (non-religiosity). Even then, it seems to share an assumption on the redundancy of religion, and visualize the possibility of a cosmopolitan culture (perhaps a cosmopolitan religion itself) where marks of any ethno-culture (ethno-religious) become irrelevant. Negatively speaking, irreligiosity might presume that a socio-cultural living unmediated by religion is plausible.
Another way in which the conception of secularism has been proliferated can be seen in the explicit coalescing of the concepts ‘religion’ and ‘secular’. Thus we have characterizations such as ‘secular religion’, ‘religious secularism’, ‘secular Christianity’, ‘secular god’, ‘secular temple’, and ‘theistic secularism’. They may look strange because of the logical opposition of the categories of religion and secular. Such a mixing of religion and secular, including other ways of conceptual overstretching of secularism, seems to be a pointer to the fact that there are logical correlations between religion and secularism.
If we go by the differences in the conception of secularism as they have been revealed so far, they can be classified on the basis of following points: 1. as a policy of mutual separation between state and religion, 2. separation between politics and religion, 3. separation between socio-cultural life and religion, 4. as atheistic principle of opposition between religion and public affairs, 5. as the irreligiosity principle of indifference to religion, 6. as the principle of equal treatment of all religions, 7. as the principle of secular religion.
Taking cue from the conceptual plurality of secularism, there is enough reason to presume that the distinction between religion and secular to be frivolous. The origin of secularism as a strategic of logic for the functional division of state and church was conditioned by the emerging liberal democracy in Europe. As far as the democracy was concerned, social superstructure had to provide an atmosphere conducive for capital accumulation. The industrialization was facilitated by the advancement of science and technology. Theocracy and religious faiths were challenged consequently of the growing scientific temperament and rational thinking in the society. Following the emergence of popular consciousness Theocracy had to give way for democratic process of modernity. Simultaneously, reformation movement was also emerging within the religious block seeking a rigorous adherence to the scriptural doctrines, as against the ecclesiastic hierarchy and its affiliations with the worldly matters. That way reformation was an expression of modernization within the religion.
A call for the detachment with the non-spiritual affiliations of the church was none other than a call for secularism. As the democracy was based on the liberal thought, whose interest was to perpetuate a state of competitive freedom of all agents, it was bound to accord due recognition of the freedom for religious faith. Thus secularism seems to be providing a convenient logic of domain delimitation for both liberal democracy and theocracy. Of course, Theocracy had to do away with the formal and direct control of political power. Nevertheless, theocracy seems to have continued to persist in the guise of secularism, underlining the fact that the secular-religious distinction has been a matter of formal reasoning.
It is a fact that, formally, the Christian theocracy ended with the onset of nation state system of governance based on the principles of liberal democracy in Europe. However, it was not meant de-linkage of religion from the state and civil politics as such, by confining itself to the services concerning the spiritual progress of community of believers. If we go by the praxiological history of secularism, the story is other way around. Secularism has become more and more acceptable for other theocratic states. Many non-European nations did not have any hesitation to declare particular religion as state-religion and promulgate secular laws on par with theological doctrines. More than being a matter of state politics, theocracy seems to have redefined itself as an invisible force in control of state as well as the every-day politics. The transformation of theocracy can be more appropriately characterized as theologiocracy.
Secularism appears to be a matter of civilization-pride for theologiocracy, and so it seems to have become inconceivable for making its presence public unless in the guise of secularism. It might be harsh if we put secularism as disguised theologiocracy. Even if secularism is understood to be in its established way; as the logic of liberal democracy, it does not preclude a persistent rein of theocracy, at lest in the form of theologiocracy. Democratic secularism or secularist democracy is to be seen as theocracy in disguise (theologiocracy), or at the minimum, as a continuum of theocracy. The continuity lies in bringing a characteristic difference in the ways in which religion is continued to function; that is, in such way to retain its hold on the affairs of society, including the state power. The post-theological religion seems to have become a mediatory force that is capable of shaping the socio-cultural.
In the case of post-theological religion, more weight goes to the considerations of non-ecclesiastic matters. Consequently there is lesser emphasis on the formal rules and ritual rigor that maintain the authority of spiritual symbolism of theocracy. Theological liberalism or liberal theology (including liberation theology) underlines a spiritual liberation that could be conditioned by socio-political freedom that ensures an all-round wellbeing of people in their worldly life itself. Such an explicit socio-cultural orientation of religion seems to nullify any argument for religious/spiritual puritanism which would go by a sharp distinction between sacred and secular. The world-orientation of theology thus marks the difficulty of conceiving a transcendental divinity detached from the socio-cultural immanency of life. However, the world-relatedness of religion is characteristically different from the direct and rigid linkage existed between the religious symbolism and the theologico-political authority in a theocratic state. Hence, the post-theocratic (post- theological) theology or religion has definite liberal and inclusive, sometimes even politically radical and secular progressive, façades. The theologiocracy of the post-theological religion, thus, has a broader range of world orientation than the narrow range it had in the state-centric theocracy. The non-theocratic façade of post-theological religion does not make it a non-theological religion as such. This will be the case with what is said to be the theologiocratic religions with liberal democratic and secular progressive façades. In the case of non-theological religion, the competitive urge for the control of socio-cultural is found relatively minimal, and substantively non-coercive and creative. Here, the demarcations of theological religion, theocratic religion, theologiocratic religion, and non-theological religion assume very significant.
Apparently, the shift from theocracy to secularism is characterized by withdrawal to the so-called private sphere of belief of religious practitioners. However, when the very private domain has been organized to be the source basis of what is happing at the public, religious operations are getting remodeled on the line of pragmatic considerations of the changing world. Citizens are more or less religious subjects in the liberal democracy, and so voice of citizen is likely to be the voice of religion. Thus, the democratic process of governance of socio-cultural can be intertwined with the theological process of spiritual service of individual members of religious communities. The theological control of socio-cultural that takes place in secular democracy can also be characterized as theocracy popularized in contrast to the ecclesiastic elitism in the theocratic state per se.
In a theocracy, particular religion has the status of official/state religion whose behalf political decisions and laws are made. As the political decisions are required to confirm with theological doctrines established by the spiritual head, the state is considered to be an instrument for the realization of divine will. Whereas in a democracy or in any non-theocratic society, in the absence of direct control of particular religion over state, different religions are seen spreading their competitive tentacles to have their own hold over the public spheres. They tend to operate in such way to reinforce theological structures whenever the balance of power in society stands in need of their favour. Theology has, thus, become a via media through which the competitive strength of religious communities is displayed. That way, each religion or theology is seen providing hopes in the relative superiority/merit of the respective faith community, and turns the community into a stature of pressure group. This seems to be a moment in which theology gets transformed into a popular participatory mode in the process of making state as the decision body at the behest of spiritual doctrine, if not spiritual head. So long as democracy is being a formal process of finding political authority on the basis of majoritarian consensus, theologies play a major role in socialization process and construct consciousness in favour of its bargaining point.
Close on heals of argument in defence of the distinction between religion and democracy as implied by the distinction of sacred and secular, there goes another popular view that secularism undermines religion as it has been an outcome of science. As in the case of democracy, religious domain is insulated from the science due to its matters are taken to be pertaining to the maintenance of proper relationship with the other-worldly or superior cosmic forces that influence this-worldly affairs. The intermingling of religion and the worldly life seems to have taken to be a stigma from the both sides of religion as well as science. For many religionists; for puritans, fundamentalists, and reformists, the indulgence in the worldly affairs amounts to irreligiosity since the proper religiosity demands an indifference to the mundane concerns. Whereas, for science-ists, since the so-called supra-natural forces cannot find any solution to the problems of the world or society, faith should be kept at aloof from all the level possible. However, for most of the religions are concerned, the separation of sacred and world is not at all a conceivable problem.
As far as the secularism is concerned, both religion and science are to be allowed to operate in their respective areas, and the cross border interventions are unwelcome. However, it is in relation to the scientific rationality that the ideology of secularism is often being identified and associated with. In this way, secularism would appear to be a problem stemmed from the hull of science. But the matter seems to have a different dimension altogether. Perhaps, the whole lot of problems may be viewed as resulted from the ways of conceiving what is termed to be ‘religion’. If secularism is conceived in relation to a particular way of looking at what is called as ‘religion’, its problem of intermingling of religion and world would definitely require to be sorted out in relation to the problem of conception of religion as such. A convenient point of demarcation might be taken up in relation to the ways of conceiving the nature of sacred or divinity. The crucial question seems to be; is it that the entity called ‘god’ (its various provenances) that matter in all religions? Does theology form a constitutive feature of every religion at all?
In the primordial societies, the ritual or belief practices had constituted community structures, though what we call nowadays as ‘animistic religion’ did not have a transcendental notion of ‘god’; a notion of super-natural power which is capable of promising other-worldly redemption. The primordial ritual-symbolism had definite purpose of organizing the relationship between man and his environment that made everyday survival possible. Ritual practices embodied the principles of well-being and social cohesion. Ritualism has been characterized by the sanctification of worldly life, and it does not inform any anthropomorphic sense of god and a path way towards its kingdom. There had also non-theistic or godless religion. Even today, there are many tribal and civil communities/nations in the world that continue to retain the practices that that do not conform to the dominant conception of religion originated in the Judo-Christian theological tradition. Obviously, they lacked the features that typify what is taken to be sacred by the standardized conceptions of religiosity. Despite many historical pressures for theologizing many cultural-ritual and belief practices, there are many religions with worldly orientations. As the primordial religions were very much worldly integrated, as necessitated by pre-societal, pre-state cultures, a modern western secularist call for sacred/world separation did not have uniform takers in other cultures. Therefore, an explanation of the socio-cultural mediation of religion would involve an explanation of beliefs and practices which inform the intermingling of religion and worldly life.