Religion and nationalism are analytically separated and often even seen as opposing forces. But Cao Dài history and theology fuses religion and nationalism, and their relationship is the defining tension in the life of Ð? V?n Lý (1910–2008). As a revolutionary, diplomat, ambassador, and religious leader, he was both a political and a religious activist who articulated a vision of “Vietnamese exceptionalism” first announced in spirit messages from the 1920s, and later developed into a diasporic theodicy to explain the fall of Sài Gòn and provide a new set of goals for exiled religious practitioners.

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