Daniel Bell in a series of essays posted in the 1960’s have emphasized on the debate of end of ideology. The arguments put forward by him in his essays is based on the assumption that political scientists today have some consensus on the basic political values and principles. The ideology or utopia is no longer required in the field of political science.
There is a possibility of diversion of this debate on the end of ideology towards the end of religion. And Is there a possibility of modern world to give a hint towards that?
The anthropological study has put forth two primary explanation that has led to the establishment of religion in the very first place. These are psychological reasons and social reasons. Religion help people to understand all the big existential questions. Why do we die? What happens when we die? Why is there a day and night? What is the twinkling in the sky? Why is it cold? why is it hot? These questions needs to be answered. It is the ability of human mind to connect the dots and to make things reasonable.
The social reason for the establishment of religion is that it intends to put forward guidelines which reduces tensions. Say for example Almost all the religion which exist has dealt with the guidelines concerning how the relationship is to be maintained between husband and wife, children and parents, masters and slaves etc. All these rules intend to establish the order in the society. What makes people to follow such rules is the belief of some sort of supernatural punishment.
The answer to this question is answered in the works of Thomas Hobbes. Although he never intended to talk about religion specifically yet he has put forward the nature of human beings.
Hobbes held “that each human life is a relentless quest for power after power”. It is the basic utilitarian concept that man intends to do things which gives him pleasure and abstain from those things which provides harm or fear.
Rabia Basri, an Indian Bhakti Movement scholar has held
“I carry a torch in one hand And a bucket of water in the other: With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven And put out the flames in Hell So that voyagers to God can rip the veils And see the real goal”
It has been over 135 years since Fredric Nietzsche coined this term as “Gott ist tot” in German. Nietzche thoughts corresponds with the works of Daniel Bell. Since Post enlightenment period, Science has proved that the laws of the universe are governed by physical laws and not by divine interventions and powers. Science has led to the establishment of rationality over acceptance. The intermingling of religion with the nation state was a bad idea, now that idea is dead. The popular sovereignty replaced the divine rights of the king. The will of god is replaced by the consent of the governed. All these, thereby implying that science and philosophy has killed god.
We are certain that there is consensus among scientists, political scientists and human beings with all the aspects which a religion corresponds and address to. Modern day science has answered most of these questions yet there exist a small list of questions with no explaination. These include the question of the beginning of universe, aliens, the human consciousness and of course dreams.
People now have consensus on the basic human values and it is seen that this consensus often change from time to time. This has led many scholars to believe that there is no such thing as the ‘ ultimate truth’ or the ‘ultimate morality’. There are, but regimes of truth.
The argument put forward in criticism of Daniel Bell's work on the end of ideology is that it in itself is an ideology. Is it possible that the idea of end of religion in itself is a religion?