All over the western world we have largely secular governments. In the middle east we have theocratic governments, and in China and several other far eastern nations we have anti-theistic governments. But all over the world we have various arguments on whether we should have secular or theocratic governments. I will be tackling this matter head on, stating my standpoint, explaining my thoughts on the matter and giving reasons for why I say what I say.
A little something to note
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the matter, there are a few VERY important thing you need to understand:
I am not looking at this from the point of view of a specific religion. I’m not talking about a Christian or Islamic, or Buddhist or Hindi Theocracy versus a secular government, I’m talking about a theocracy in principle versus a secular government in principle.
I am an Atheist, and not ashamed of it. My argument is not based on any religious view or opinion, not because of some grudge or petty grievance against any particular religion or group of people. It is the objective, academic opinion I have reached after much deliberation, consideration and introspection.
Now to the nitty and the gritty
What exactly is a theocracy?
Before one can tackle the issue of theocracy versus secularism, one must first understand what each is. When two parties agree on what exactly they mean when talking about A or B, only then can a constructive argument be conducted. So, what exactly is a theocracy?
Well, for this I’m going to turn to the Oxford Dictionary. For ease of reference, I’m using the website OxfordDictionaries.com.
The Oxford Dictionary, as on the website, defines theocracy as follows: “A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.”
Alright, big whoop
What this means is that the laws, regulations, policies and doctrines are all theologically based. If we’re talking about a Christian theocracy, it would be based on biblical laws and principles, if we’re talking about an Islamic theocracy, it would be based on Qur’anic laws and principles and so on.
What exactly is a secular government?
Let us once again turn to the Oxford Dictionary, as on the website, for our definition. The Oxford Dictionary defines secular as follows: “Not connected with religious or spiritual matters.”
Again, big whoop
Basically a secular government is a government in which no theology or religion has a direct say or control over the laws, regulations, policies and doctrines of the country. All decisions regarding these matters are made based on a religiously objective basis. The government doesn’t act in favour of one religion over another, nor does it make its judgements based on a specific religious view of the world.
Personally I am a firm advocate of a secular government. I strongly believe that in order for a truly fair and just society, religion must be removed from all the echelons of a government or any governing body.
So why a secular government?
There are several reasons why I believe the only true solution is to have a secular government, and here they are.
- Religion is by nature, exclusive
No matter what a person tells you, by its very nature, by the very core fibres of any religion, it is exclusive to those not adhering to its views of the world. A religion, by its very nature, considers its own views, opinions, convictions to be the only correct ones. And thus it considers other religions to be incorrect, false, or even of the devil.
Many people make the mistake of saying “so what?” to this. This is a major issue. What this means is that the religion believes those that don’t hold the same beliefs, morals, ideas, convictions, etc. than it does, are destined to go to hell. This demeans those of another religion to the adherents of this religion. This is true of all religions. In the case of Christianity versus Islam, with their long history of violence and discord, the other religion and its adherents are even seen as from the devil himself, an enemy of the true religion and its faithful. From this grows the idea that the adherents of the other religion must be eliminate, exterminated and made into non-existence.
It is from these convictions, that so many of the wars fought throughout the ages have come as a consequence.
- Because of the exclusive nature of religion, laws are naturally violent and hostile.
The laws and regulations passed by those in power within the religion, are exclusive, disadvantages, hostile and even hateful towards those of another religion. What this means is that you will see the suppression and oppression of the religion not in power by the one in power.
- Theocracies place power in the religious heads
The heads of these religions, are the heads of state in a theocracy. As such they have all the power within the country. This is a major problem for those of another religion. It is the nature of mankind to protect his kin, those like him and those sharing in his beliefs and convictions. It is therefore not only prudent and natural, but logic that these individuals in power, would then do everything within their vast power, to ‘protect’ their followers from the threat that is the other religion. Hence the suppression and oppression.
When we look at history, we see instances of theocratic governments in which a Pope – for catholic countries – and a Caliph – for Muslim countries – passes laws, demands wars, Crusades, Jihads, etc. against the nations and peoples of the other faith.
It is thus clear that we need a secular government. A government in which the religious figures, no matter from which religion, or who they are, do not have power. A government that acts within its rights and boundaries to maintain peace and prosperity. A government that is unbiased, and does not act in favour of one religion over the other. Bear in mind that I’m not saying ban religion or religious social authority. I’m saying that theocracies will naturally lead to hatred, distrust, violence, conflict and war. It is necessary that we have a system in which people can live out their beliefs and religions, without having the power to threaten or harm those of other religions. A secular government is, honestly, the only true way to achieve this.