From a charitable viewpoint, this rejection of Muslim refugees in Poland must be considered brutal, just as Islamic clerics in Egypt must be considered cynical when they call on refugees to spread Islam within the societies of Europe following their arrival. Which Christianity is speaking here? Which Islam?

Therefore, both cases are not concerned with charitable religion, but political religion. Political religion means that the co-operation of people in groups is structured by regulations that transcend the here and now. Societies create and need narratives such as these, which hold them together.

Gossip and mythology

In his book "Sapiens", the historian Yuval Harari describes two narrative forms that are decisive for the development and perpetuation of our species: gossip and mythology, or in other words: "Brangelina" and the Garden of Eden.

Historian Yuval Noah Harari (photo: Daniel Thomas Smith)
In his book ′Sapiens′, the historian and bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari describes two narrative forms for the development and perpetuation of our species: gossip and mythology, or in other words, "Brangelina" and the Garden of Eden

The goal is the legitimisation of political order, an order that creates a sense of belonging for rulers and the ruled in equal measure. Political-religious narratives are mutually exclusive, the decisive stories of Christianity and Islam are different. They depend on each group's belief that they are the chosen ones.

England serves as an example of this. For a long time, people here viewed themselves as the legitimate descendants of the Biblical tribes of Israel. To this day, the words of the unofficial English national anthem request that if Jerusalem were to be founded for a second time, it should be located on England's green and pleasant pastures.

This political rhetoric concerning the chosen ones reached the banks of the New World in the belly of the "Mayflower". Whenever Ronald Reagan described the US as the "shining city on the hill", he was using a political-religious language understood within his target group, thereby preserving identity.

In his studies on social identity in the 1970s, the social psychologist Henri Tajfel discovered that even children preferred the imagined teammates of their own group to those of an opposing team.

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