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Why theocracies < secular governments

Leugen9001
Posts: 495
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1/30/2016 6:11:54 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Many a religious fundamentalist has claimed that the secular government of the United States ought to be changed into a theocracy because doing so would "reduce divine punishment" such as disasters or "promote morality". However, they usually never give any actual justification for their proposal, which would, in reality, make things a lot worse for both the religious and the non-religious. The problems seen in theocracies do not exist, at least not to the same extent, in a secular society. Secular governments are superior to theocracies in all aspects in which theocracies and secular regimes differ, namely how the government treats religion.

Fundamentalists might claim that having a religious government is beneficial to the religious, but careful thought about how the state might interact with the church in a theocracy tells us a different story. In a non-secular society, there is usually a power imbalance between the government and the church. If the government is more powerful than the church, then the church's teachings can be manipulated to promote its agendas. When a religion is a state religion, it most likely would have a large number of serious adherents; manipulating such a religion's teachings can have a serious effect on the way the die-hard non-skeptical adherents behave. If the church is more powerful than the government, on the other hand, it can affect governmental policy for its member's own personal gain by threatening to excommunicate governmental members if they do otherwise. One example of this is the Middle Ages' Roman Catholic Church, whose strong political influence was partly created by their ability to threaten to excommunicate citizens in countries whose governments did not behave according to their will. Either way, when religion and the state are not separate, there is a serious risk that religion could become a political tool; this does not benefit the religious, and instead is a form of disrespect towards their religions.

A religious government can also be bad to the non-religious, as when the government endorses a specific belief, it may begin to discriminate against those who do not believe in said state religion. This is especially the case when the government is trying to, as stated above, use religion to spread propaganda; they would like as many people to believe in their state religion as possible, and achieving that goal might entail intimidating people into acceptance. In extreme cases, the governmental discrimination might become so bad that non-believers are executed or severely punished, as seen in places like Saudi Arabia.

As you can see, secular governments are superior to theocracies in all ways in which they differ, because a theocracy can be harmful to both the adherents and non-adherents of the state religion. As such, the religious fundamentalists' proposal to set in place a theocratic state would negatively impact society.
:) nac
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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1/30/2016 7:13:41 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/30/2016 6:11:54 AM, Leugen9001 wrote:
Secular governments are superior to theocracies in all ways in which they differ, because a theocracy can be harmful to both the adherents and non-adherents of the state religion. As such, the religious fundamentalists' proposal to set in place a theocratic state would negatively impact society.

On the face, I don't agree, Leugen: a military dictatorship can be a secular government, and some military dictatorships are worse than some theocracies.

The core issues, I suspect, are the accountabilities of legislature, executive and the judiciary, and the degree to which intellectual dissent and cultural differences are protected by legislation.

Theocracies have low accountability for their use of power simply because their chief accountability is supposedly to a divinity. So they're vulnerable to corruption and abuse. But replacing theocracy with secular governance doesn't necessarily reduce corruption and abuse -- it depends on how you construct and maintain the governance.
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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1/30/2016 2:40:37 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Your example seems counter intuitive to your point of secular is better. The Catholic Church despite it"s imperfections in the judgement of secular, held and kept the concepts of civilization together for close to 1300 years or better. Not something secular could claim at all. Nations are held together by a agreed system of belief whether the system of belief is recognized as a religion or not. All in the nation are responsible to those who have the authority the execute the law. And all in the nation agree to obey by their presence in the nation.
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,205
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1/30/2016 4:38:25 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/30/2016 2:40:37 PM, DPMartin wrote:
Your example seems counter intuitive to your point of secular is better. The Catholic Church despite it"s imperfections in the judgement of secular, held and kept the concepts of civilization together for close to 1300 years or better.

Yeah, I think it was called "The Dark Ages".
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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