Thursday, January 28, 2010

Church And State, Who Wins?

Church and State has been of interest to me the past couple of years. I suppose it is because I am personally addressing some questions about what I think and why.

Is the Church a culture? then the Church has got to take a position about such things as dress, "manners", and social issues.

Is the Church a theological position? then the Church has to defend the "faith".

Is the Church a human institution made of many and various people that have differences of opinion where it concerns social and theological issues? then the Church is universal.

Personally, I think that government is more important than the Church. Why? Because, if one believes that the world has some kind of "order", as our Founders believed, then there are better or worse ways to "do" things. Government can form society, but the Founders were wise enough to know that individuals are what make the society what it is. They believed that all humans were equal, so government was to be for and by the people. Government, then, is only a reflection of the people who make up the society. And when people do not care about their society and its people, their government suffers. So, the question is not whether the Church is of value or importance, but what kind of people make up a particular society.

How is the Church show "care" about society? Should the Church be doing works of activism? Or should the Church leave activism to individual conscience? A lot will depend on the individual's particular persuasion about their religious tradition.

I think that it is wise to not further the gap between the sacred and secular. It breeds an "us/them" mentality. And it leads itself to pious and arrogant assertions, in the "name of God". And arrogant assertions only breed cultural division and a "war" mentality. Christians become "crusaders" for causes that are complex issues that should be left to competency.

I would rather not label myself as "Christian", "non-Christian", "believer" or "un-believer". Identification is held as a responsible "being", not in my political or social affliations. And the Church is only one social/political affliation.

What is "true" is true in all aspects of life, there is no 'special revelation or special people". And humans gain knowledge and wisdom by searching for it, whether they label themselves "Christian" or not.

Humans have needs which have irrelavancy to ideological or religious contexts, or commitments. Therefore, is the Church/religion even relevant in the conversation?

Without political freedom, which must be fought for, literally and metaphorically, humans suffer under oppression. And oppression is a diseased and disordered government, who prey upon it ignorant and uncaring populace. No one "wins" when the State OR Church oppresses individuals and their "free choice" in a "free society".


scott gray said...


just discovered your site, that's why i'm weighing in on more than one post. i find you think about the same things i do, but reach some different conclusions, and it's interesting.

there's a great book by avery dulles called 'models of the church.' if you can separate out the god speak, as i try to do, (i'm agnostic), he has some interesting things to say about different models of church. some of them are dichotomies; some are thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but in my interactions with others in my parish, dulles' presentation of the different models has helped me assess what their positions are.



Angie Van De Merwe said...

Isn't it interesting when people are interested in the same things, but come to different conclusions, or have different persepctives? That is fascinating to me.