Religion and politics
Religion and politics are integral parts of building a society. Religion and politics are found in all the societies which have ever existed in the world. In the contemporary era, the need to study the relationship between politics and religion came into the limelight. To understand a social problem, we must study its religion and political alliance. Therefore many theorists derived concepts and studied the relationship between religion, politics, and society. There are two schools of thought reflecting upon the relationship between religion and politics; secularists and non-secularists. The secularists are against the alliance of religion and politics. However, non-secularists emphasize the importance of religion in running the state. This paper will discuss common and differing perspectives on the relationship between religion and politics by historic and contemporary authors.
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
The Italian Renaissance philosopher and writer “Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli” is a historic author of the 15th century. Machiavelli is also called the father of political science and modern political philosophy. Machiavelli yearned for a stabilized republic state in Italy. He proposes philosophical views against the system of the Church (Religion). According to Machiavelli’s views, the system of the church was the root cause of all the problems in a state. The system of religion regresses the political leaders of the state to take any cardinal actions for the progress of the state. Religion interferes with the power of the state and makes it weak and inactive. The church itself works on political decisions, manipulation, and cruelty. Machiavelli views religion as another political actor camouflaging itself in the name of religion. He did not reject the premise of morality. However, he counseled his audience not to be moral when it was necessary. Though Machiavelli was not the founder of realism, he laid the foundations for realism.
Thomas Stearns Eliot
There are very few defensive arguments against the secular school of thought. However, the importance of religion is rising in contemporary society. Some of the renowned authors emphasizing the importance of religion are Max Webber and T.S Eliot. The renowned American-British poet, essayist, publisher, literary critic, and philosopher, Thomas Stearns Eliot is known to be the contemporary philosopher of the time. There are a few defense arguments and philosophers for the importance of religion in the political arena of the state. T.S Eliot gave one of the famous defenses for the establishment of the church in his literary work “Catholicism and International Order”. Eliot’s philosophical views are highly affected by Aristotle’s philosophical thoughts. According to Eliot’s belief, democratic societies have lost access to ethical wisdom and essential morality because of one main reason. The reason for the downfall of these democratic societies is that they have rejected their traditions and religious system and because of that, these democratic/ secular societies have lost their ethical wisdom and morality. Therefore, according to Eliot, this type of society that rejects its religious foundation will perish and disintegrate. These democratic/ secular societies will lose their social and cultural foundations. Eliot highly emphasizes the importance of religion in the formation of a society.
The historical philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli presents his views against religion by giving the argument that religion makes the state weak. In contrast to Machiavelli’s views, Eliot sheds light upon the importance of religion in contemporary society. The common perspective of both authors is the philosophical foundation of society or the State. Although, the secular school of thought is among popular research lenses in evolving societies, the importance of religion in the progress of a society cannot be mitigated. Religion continues to be poignant in the political arena of any society. No state or ruler can establish a progressing society without the foundations of religion.
Eliot, T. S. (1936) Catholicism and International Order. Essays, Ancient and Modern. London: Faber and Faber.
Eliot, T. S. (1967) “The Idea of a Christian Society” and “Notes Toward the Definition of Culture.” Christianity and Culture. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
Rahe, P. A. (2008). Against Throne and Altar. MACHIAVELLI AND POLITICAL THEORY UNDER THE ENGLISH REPUBLIC.