The influence of religion and language on ethno-national identity is well-established. This article explores these concepts as mutually reinforcing aspects of cultural identity and examines their relationship to the formation of world views and causal interpretations shaping often incompatible ethno-national identities and hence conflicts. Especially we focus on the role of oral cultures as primary communication forms as against print-based ones, and how they differ in recording the past and interpreting the present and future. In orality we find a relatively strong influence of traditional religion, mysticism and past references as key informers of identity, whilst print correlates with the declining role of traditional religion and the rise of science as fundamental dimensions of ethno-national identity. We argue that this distinction helps to explain different experiences of ontological security and insecurity linked to ethno-nationalism and religion.