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Religion as State-Control

(Text as at 20/08/2007 17:51:22)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)


Religion a tool of the ruling class?

I strongly disagree with this contention, at least at one level. Religions certainly weren’t devised by the ruling class (though there have been wealthy religious reformers – eg. Buddha, Francis of Assisi – but they have tended to divest themselves of their wealth and political power in the course of their religious reforms), and they often started off as movements with highly subversive political repercussions.

But no doubt for them to co-exist with the state, an accommodation has had to be reached, with the risk that the religious elite can be manipulated into controlling the populace for the benefit of the political elite. And in a theocracy, where the political and religious elites coincide, there’s the danger of mixed motives on the part of those in authority.

That said, and popular though this idea is in atheist circles, I think it’s a mistake to consider religion as merely a means of political control. In what sense is this true of the US, one of the world’s most religiously-inclined countries?



Previous Version of this Note:

Date Length Title
16/08/2007 14:44:10 24 Religion as State-Control



Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
20/08/2007 17:51:22 525 (Religion as State-Control) Simon - T1S1



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