Thursday, September 01, 2016

This is examining a religion's potential in democracies. We are used to examining democracy's potential under the different religions.

"...[C]onsidering religions in a purely human point of view, my object is to inquire by what means they may most easily retain their sway in the democratic ages upon which we are entering...[A]t times of general cultivation and equality, the human mind does not consent to adopt dogmatical opinions without reluctance, and feels their necessity acutely in spiritual matters only....[A]t such times religions ought, more cautiously than at any other, to confine themselves within their own precincts; for in seeking to extend their power beyond religious matters, they incur a risk of not being believed at all. The circle within which they seek to bound the human intellect ought therefore to be carefully traced, and beyond its verge the mind should be left in entire freedom to its own guidance. Mahommed professed to derive from Heaven, and he has inserted in the Koran, not only a body of religious doctrines, but political maxims, civil and criminal laws, and theories of science. The gospel, on the contrary, only speaks of the general relations of men to God and to each other--beyond which it inculcates and imposes no point of faith. This alone, besides a thousand other reasons, would suffice to prove that the former of these religions [i.e. Islam] will never long predominate in a cultivated and democratic age, whilst the latter [Christianity] is destined to retain its sway at these as at all other periods. 
                               -Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville 533 (1835).

I get it now with that perspective. You can have Muslim democrats in democracies, like in America; you are unlikely to have democracies in Muslim countries.