Manual God and the State

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Eusebius c.

God and the Don

He saw the empire and the imperial church as sharing a close bond with each other; in the centre of the Christian empire stood the figure of the Christian emperor rather than that of the spiritual head of the church. To a certain extent this understanding of the emperor was the Christian reinterpretation of the ancient Roman view of the emperor as the representative of god or the gods. The emperor—in this respect he also played the role of the pontifex maximus high priest in the state cult—took the central position within the church as well.


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Next to such a figure, an independent leadership of the church could hardly develop. The special position of the emperor and the function of the Byzantine patriarch as the spiritual head of the church were defined in the 9th century in the Epanagoge , the judicial ruling establishing this relationship of church and state.

The church-judicial affirmation of this relationship in the 6th and 7th centuries made the development of a judicial independence of the Byzantine patriarch in the style of the Roman papacy impossible from the beginning. Augustine responded to the shock and dismay his contemporaries experienced with the collapse of their world by delivering a literary demolition of paganism. However, Augustine did not simply identify the state with the earthly city and the church with the city of God. He perceived that the state existed not simply in opposition to God but as a divine instrument for the welfare of humankind.

They are rather two opposed societies with antagonistic orders of value that intersect both state and church and in each case show the radical incompatibility of the love of God with the values of worldly society. The historical development of the church in the Latin West took a different course from that of the Byzantine imperial church. In the West a new power gradually emerged—the Roman church , the church of the bishop of Rome.

This claim will strike quite a lot of readers as wholly absurd, as ridiculous as supposing that Earth goes round the sun when any fool can see the sun crossing the heavens several times at least in any English summer. So I think it's worth examining and defending at some length. The first requirement, if you are going to do this, is to break all notions of religion as being something essentially like Christianity or any of the other monotheisms of today.

To talk about "religion" as if the perfect form was modern Christianity is like talking about biology as if the perfect mammal was homo sapiens. Bellah was a sociologist and to some extent an anthropologist too. He knew very well that there have been innumerable different forms of religion, and that counter-examples can be found for everything that is supposed to be distinctively religious.

You don't need priests, holy books, or doctrines. You don't even need myths. All these are things which, once established, are hard to be rid of, because they reflect and help to constitute increasingly complex models of social organisation which will tend to replace more simple ones.

God and the State by Mikhail Bakunin

But none of them are essential to a religion. At the same time, it's important not to go too far in the other direction, and to suppose that every social activity, and every movement of the inner life, can be described as in some sense religious. Bellah himself started off in the 70s with a long and complicated definition and ended up with a very simple and powerful one. This came in part from the early 20th-century philosopher George Santayana , who wrote that having a religion meant having "another world to live in — whether we expect ever to pass wholly over into it or no".

What Bellah added to this was the point that the world of everyday, from which religion promises to deliver us, is not more real, or less constructed than the one we access through religious practices. Everyday life may involve different kinds of cognition, but the world we see through its mechanisms is just as much the product of wish fulfilment as heaven might be.

"God and the State" by Mikhail Bakunin, part 3

Only the appetites being satisfied in there are different. Follow us! When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick.


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If God existed, only in one way could he serve human liberty -- by ceasing to exist. The inconceivable had become the usual, the impossible possible, and the possible and the usual unthinkable. Tags: possibility. All religions, with their gods, their demi-gods, and their prophets, their messiahs and their saints, were created by the prejudiced fancy of men who had not attained the full development and full possession of their faculties.

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Christianity is precisely the religion par excellence, because it exhibits and manifests, to the fullest extent, the very nature and essence of every religious system, which is the impoverishment, enslavement, and annihilation of humanity for the benefit of divinity. Tags: Christianity. In deifying human things the idealists always end in the triumph of a brutal materialism.

And this for a very simple reason: the divine evaporates and rises to its own country, heaven, while the brutal alone remains actually on earth.

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In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt.