Modern Nationalism and Religion, by Salo Wittmayer Baron
Nationalism, like evolution, is one of those elements of the human social scene that are as intractable in fact as they are malleable in theory. Belonging to a nation is the result of a choice, to be sure, but the choosing is (if one may credit tradition) seemingly rooted in the nature of things and, like Hamlet’s “to be or not to be,” is an act of preferential decision to exist as a human being rather than as an uprooted abstraction. But just what is it that makes the man without a country different from his fellows? To ask the question is to indicate that nationality continues to be as difficult to define as it is seductively easy to describe. Professor Baron’s lectures, originally delivered under the Rauschenbusch Foundation of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, do not rid the problem of its thorns. Yes, they no doubt render it even harder to handle by coupling nationalism with so vital and variable a matter as religion.
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