Speaking about political religions and construing the movements of our times not only as political but also, and primarily, as religious movements is not accepted as a matter of course yet, even though the factual situation would force the attentive observer to take this stand. The reason for the prevailing resistance can be found in the linguistic symbolism that has become established in the past few centuries since the dissolution of Western imperial unity and the growth of modern states. When one speaks of religion, one thinks of the institution of the Church, and when one speaks of politics, one thinks of the state. These organizations confront one another as clear-cut, firm entities, and the spirit with which these two bodies are imbued is not one and the same. The state and secular spirit conquered their spheres of power in the fierce battle against the Holy Empire of the Middle Ages, and in the course of this struggle linguistic symbols developed, which do not reflect reality as such but seek to capture and defend the opposite positions of the struggle.
The concepts of religion and politics followed the institutions and their symbols: They entered onto the battlefield and placed themselves under the authority of the linguistic symbols used in the struggle. For this reason, cognition today still involves the contrasts formed under the pressure of their conceptual instruments, although a critical look might reveal merely different examples of the effectiveness of closely related fundamental human forces. The currently prevalent concepts of religion and state in general European usage as well as in more limited scientific usage are oriented along certain models whose significance can be traced back to the intellectual struggles waged in Europe. By religion one understands such phenomena as Christianity and the other great redemptive religions; by state one means the political organizations of the