VIEWSn”’•^iif/?-^;^;^. ^•^’WiP 1 ‘•n^nThe New Eschatology of PeacenThe relations of religious faith with political life in thenmodern world are riddled with paradoxes. In thenMiddle East, rapid secularization has provoked a fundamentalistnrevulsion, which seeks vainly to stem the tide ofnmodernity that, at the same time, gives it all its strength.nMiddle Eastern fundamentalism is little more than anmodernist frenzy, but it is at any rate a religious response tonthe decadence of Islamic culture and the challenges ofnsecularization. The situation in Europe has been notablyndifferent, in that there the waning of Christianity has beennaccompanied by the displacement of religious passions intonavowedly secular political movements. This European developmentnhas been observed by many theorists of 20thcenturyntotalitarianism, including some (such as ArthurnKoestler) who were among its most distinguished intellectualnconverts. Among Europeans, the decay of transcendentalnfaith has resulted in the invasion of political life by religiousnlongings. This suggests an ironic definition of Europeannsecularization — as the process by which social life comes tonbe dominated by unnoticed (because repressed) religiousnpassions. In the United States, by contrast, there is littlenJohn Gray is master of Jesus College, Oxford, and thenauthor of Liberalism.nby John Graynevidence of mass secularization. Instead, religious faith hasnitself undergone a metamorphosis, in which both Christianitynand Judaism have been conscripted into service asndependable allies of modern aspirations for progress andnglobal improvement. Whether this has taken the form of thenantinomian absurdities of liberation theology or the neoconservativenappropriation of religion as a support fornbourgeois democracy, the result has been the same; thenJudeo-Christian perception of human life as a tragedy hasnbeen lost, and religious faith has been subordinated to thenpurposes of ephemeral political movements.nGiven the paradoxical interaction of religious with politicalnlife in the present century, it is a serious error to try tonunderstand the current peace movements in Europe andnAmerica in altogether secular terms. This is a mistake oftenncommitted by the peace movement’s critics and opponents,nwhen they represent it as a movement dedicated primarily tonpromoting the strategic interests of the Soviet Union. For,nwhatever the truth in claims about Soviet infiltration andnfunding of the activities of the peace people — and I do notndoubt that such claims contain much truth — their movementnhas a dynamism of its own, which it is perilous tonignore. The sense of apocalyptic mission that inspires thenpeace people has its origin, not in any realistic recognition ofnnnAPRIL 1989/15n