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  1. #1
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    Default Separation of Church and State

    This topic spawned from ideas in the Mumbai thread. This topic is not about which religion is superior to which, as that is just a question begging for trouble. The idea to debate here is how do religious organizations reconcile the idea of the separation of Church and State with their belief in the omnipotence of God?

    To put it into perspective, there exist two types of laws to these religious organizations; those that are divinely ordained and those that were placed by man. To them, the laws of God should be infallible and are actually what is best to govern humans by. Their logic comes from the fact that God created us and thus he knows what is best for us and has thus ordained for us laws that would be most ideal for us. On the other hand, they would say that man made laws are fallible in the most crude of fashion. They would argue that you could not possibly let the monkeys in an observational zoo decide what to do for themselves, lest they eventually destroy themselves. We as their caretakers should decide with our superior reasoning abilities what is best for them. This is where the argument comes from that it should be hard to reconcile the ideas of divine law with that of the fallible man made codes.

    The idea for the separation between Church and State isnít as new as we think it is. You can trace it back down to Emperor Constantine and maybe even further. When Constantine saw people of his empire entering Christianity in droves, he decided to make it his new state religion. Besides doing that, he still governed the way he always did, and did not allow the priests and the hierarchy of the church to do the ruling or allow them to participate in governmental proceedings. He just took on the religion for his own political gains, and then went on to add some of the peopleís earlier pagan rituals into the belief system. Anyway, this is beside the point and was just there to show that the Separation between religion and government isnít as new or progressive an idea as we believe.

    Again the question here is how do these religions reconcile with the two conflicting natures or the regulations that they are presented with? I know most of the religions will teach their members to go along with the laws as long is it does not force you to violate your own religious beliefs. I like this because I hate the idea of people shoving their beliefs down my throat. None the less, how do they deal with this in a logical/philosophical matter? Because to claim the superiority of the divine laws and yet then submit to the laws of man and follow them above the laws of God should constitute some sort of Logical fallacy in their argument for the omnipotence of God.

    What do you think about this and how could they reconcile using logic and reason?

    Remember, this is not a thread about religions and which one is better, that will just turn bitter, this is about a logical fallacy in the belief system and submitting to the separation of Church and State.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  2. #2
    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    Most religions have laws or codes that forbid killing other people unless certain dire pre-conditions are met. This conflicts with the state's requirements for defense, especially in an atomic age, where some nations do not want to give up the option of a "first strike" initiative, in order to pre-empt something that would wipe out the ability to "retaliate" for all practical purposes. This has turned the notion of what it means to be "defensive" on its head, which tends to confound the original notions of these pre-conditions.
    "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
    Reichsfuhrer Herman Goering at the Nuremburg trials.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Forcing people to act as though they are spiritually righteous (by whatever standard) does not create righteousness of heart, which is the true goal of religion, IMO.
    ‚ÄúThere are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old‚Äôs life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.‚ÄĚ
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #4
    Sniffles
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    The notion of the seperation for church and state goes back ultimately to Christ's command to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's.

    You're right the notion is not new, nor is it really "progressive" as we would call it today. This notion lay at the heart of Political theology for some time, especially during the Medieval period. However, the original intention of the concept was to maintain the integrity of the Church from the influences of the state.

    Nowadays we have it backwards, the state's integrity needs protection from the Church. Why that is is anybody's guess at this point.

    The concept of seperation of Church and state does not complete indifference towards one another, or that the state must be neutral on all religious matters. That notion only has arisen in the half century or so.

    In fact it's literally impossible to completely seperate politics and religion, for as the jurist Carl Schmitt noted that "all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts". Schmitt further provides the example of how our modern concept of an omnipotent lawgiver was transferred from the concept of an omnipotent God.

    In regards as to how this concept played out historically; it was meant that the Church was to act as a restraint on the powers of the state. A good example of this was when St. Ambrose rebuked Emperor Theodisius for the massacre at Thessalonica in 390 AD. This continued on into the Medieval period with the near constant struggles between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.

    Anyways that's my rambling two cents for now.

  5. #5
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    @kuranes awsome point of conflict.

    @Cafe, This is true but I don't think it totally ties into whether the idea of SOCAS is a logical fallacy for religion. I know what you mean though and can see how it ties into a religious state, but that is not what I am arguing.

    @Peguy, Awsome ramblings you must go on. please, I especially loved the part about how the roles of seperation has been reversed.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  6. #6
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    I'd say it was an admirable aim for a progressive state. Sure, the values are intertwined.. but by freeing people to believe what they will a greater human consciousness is enabled. It frees those who would be from the dogma of the past, and allows those who wish to pursue the established religions the freedom to do so.

    All without the impact of society's need for rules on something far more spiritual.

  7. #7
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    I'd say it was an admirable aim for a progressive state. Sure, the values are intertwined.. but by freeing people to believe what they will a greater human consciousness is enabled. It frees those who would be from the dogma of the past, and allows those who wish to pursue the established religions the freedom to do so.

    All without the impact of society's need for rules on something far more spiritual.
    Yes this is true, but we are not arguing whether it is a good thing or not, we are arguing how religious institutions reconcile the obvious logical implications of viewing the laws of man equal to their divinely ordained laws.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  8. #8
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Virus View Post
    @Peguy, Awsome ramblings you must go on. please, I especially loved the part about how the roles of seperation has been reversed.
    Well maybe when my mind is in better shape to compound upon it. I have been dealing with issues related to Political theology for a while now; not least because me and Bluewing are supposed to have a formal debate on it soon.

  9. #9
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Well maybe when my mind is in better shape to compound upon it. I have been dealing with issues related to Political theology for a while now; not least because me and Bluewing are supposed to have a formal debate on it soon.
    I would advise against arguing with the wing, it is going to be nothing more than a headache and none of you will change your mind. On the plus side though, you will learn a lot.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  10. #10
    Sniffles
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    I'm well aware of the perils of debating BW. I've already tried it a few times.

    Quote Originally Posted by G-Virus View Post
    On the plus side though, you will learn a lot.
    Well I'm sure the spectators will.

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