"the course of Western Civilization"

The real separation of politics and religion

“the course of western civilization(essence version)”“buy the book” Part III. American Revolution

Chapter 2. The difficult constitutional practice in God’s city on the hill

section 9. The real separation of politics and religion

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The real separation of politics and religion

What is the marvelous separation of church and state in the millennia-old history of Christian society?

Why has European Christian society developed steadily for thousands of years? Scientific and technological civilization ahead of other societies!

The separation of church and state in Christianity is consistent with the duality of human nature. It is very reasonable. Society must have a check and balance on the secular government and the existence of a church responsible for the spiritual realm!

Why is the hand of God in the market economy glorious? Without it, there would be no market economy or human society.

The specific boundary of the separation of church and state in Christian society is very clear, but the US government has been eroding this boundary

 The real separation of politics and religion

What will be discussed below is the Williams event. Williams is considered to be the founder of religious freedom. It is he who put forward the concepts of conscience freedom and religious freedom, which finally enabled different Christian denominations to coexist and prosper harmoniously in the United States. However, I put forward a view contrary to this traditional opinion. I think Williams did not initiate the concept of religious freedom. Religious freedom has widely existed in England. During the period of Cromwell’s protectorate, religious freedom has been quite common. All sects coexist harmoniously and have freedom of faith on the basis of recognizing the absolute power of God in conscience. After all, different Protestant sects read the same Bible, based on Luther and Calvin’s theories. They all pursue brotherly love and have no basis for fierce conflict. The nature of the conflict between them is completely different from that between Catholicism and Protestantism. Luther initially put up the idea that Catholicism was Antichrist, so the contradiction between Protestantism and Catholicism is irreconcilable. Williams brought up the concept of complete separation of politics and religion, that is, the State shall not interfere in religious affairs, and the Church also not interfere in state affairs. In fact, this is the reason and beginning of the continuous division of Puritans. It can be said that Williams’ theory of separation of politics and religion led to the scattered situation of American churches. Thus, the secular government continues to encroach on the Church’s rights, which is a potential danger for the  American society to enter the police state. The reason why I say these are very long. You can only listen to me slowly. First of all, before we understand the Williams incident and Williams’ theory of the complete separation of politics and religion, we must understand the real and original separation of politics and religion.

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The Bible clearly says, “God belongs to God, and Kaiser belongs to Kaiser.” Jesus said this in the context that after Israel betrayed God and their countries had been subjugated, God came to the world as the son Jesus and rebuilt his faith in a moral ruin. In the early stage of the development of Christianity, in order to survive in non-Christian countries, Christianity had to grin and bear anything. At that time, there was no alternative but to do it because Jesus never hoped to preach with a sword. It also expresses a good wish and has a very far-reaching meaning. But a good wish only is a good wish. The cruel reality followed also shows that it is only a good wish. Non-Christian countries never had the concept of separation of politics and religion. The several cruel persecutions of Christianity by the Roman Empire on behalf of pagans also expound on this. But its profound implication is that the separation of politics and religion has become the basic concept of Christian countries, which makes Christian countries form a unique society different from non-Christian countries. Contemporary politics divide countries in human history into three categories. One is pure secular countries, for example, in most countries in the eastern world, where the power of secular emperors completely suppresses religion, and religion completely serves the secular regime, becoming a tool to maintain the stability of secular Kingship. One is the integration of politics and religion in Islamic society. The religious influence here is more significant than the secular regime; the secular regime has wholly become a tool of the Church. Both are non-Christian countries. The third category is Christian countries, where religion and politics, Church and secular king are separated. They are often in conflict, but they can restrict and promote each other to develop society harmoniously and orderly. I personally agree with this categorization and think it reflects the essence of human society. In the middle ages, with the brilliant victory of Christianity in Europe, everyone in European Society was a member of the Church, and every country was also Christian. Christianity affected everything in people’s life. However, due to “God belongs to God, and Kaiser belongs to Kaiser.”, new contradictions appeared. There is a constant dispute over who dominates the religious and royal powers between the Pope representing the Church and the king standing for the secular regime. With the power struggle between the Pope and the king, the separation of politics and religion has also become a frequent topic of discussion in these Christian countries, which is impossible in other societies. For the separation of politics and religion, generations spent countless efforts and in-depth discussions. Finally, they formed the double sword theory, which divided human society into spiritual, material, religious, and secular societies. The Church held the spiritual sword, the king held the material sword, the Church managed the religious affairs, and the king handled the secular affairs. Their power comes from God, and they each hold one. The Church and the State are interdependent and codependent, are mutual restraint and mutual interaction. Professor Cong Riyun described the Christian society as two heads like snake monsters, biting and fighting each other, but they must compromise and coordinate with each other. Otherwise, the snake’s body will be unable to move. Although this metaphor is strange, it is very vivid. In this way, a unique phenomenon in Christian society is formed; that is, the Church restricts the Kingship, curbs the rampant Kingship, and avoids the suffering of the change of dynasties in a purely secular society. At the same time, the secular regime restrains religion and avoids the barbarism and ignorance of a society integrating politics and religion. It enables the society to develop smoothly, orderly, and healthily,  avoids the defects of the pure secular monarchy autocratic society and the society of integration of politics and religion.

The classification of the duality of human society in Christian society did not show any advantages initially. Still, the correctness was revealed after human society had gone a long road for more than 2000 years after this division. When we carefully examine this division, we can see that the duality of spirit and secularity, religion and politics in Christian society, reflects human nature’s duality. We have also discussed that the duality of human nature is also the Christian thoughts expressed in Bible. Religion and politics represent human transcendence and reality, morality and pleasure, selflessness and possession, soul and flesh, and good and evil. Their conflicts also reflect the contradiction and struggle of dual human nature. According to the doctrine of Christianity, each of us comes to this world with original sin; we are selfish and greedy. These are the evil side of human nature. Therefore, the evil of human nature, such as reality, pleasure, possession, and flesh, are deeply rooted in human nature. Human beings can’t get rid of it anyway. Secular politics is used to express human nature’s evil, which reflects reality, pleasure, possession, and flesh. At the same time, human beings are transcendent, moral, selfless, and spiritual in the Bible. This is the good side of human nature. It exists in the deepest part of the human soul, but it can only be achieved through religion and faith in God and the Bible. It is impossible to achieve good human nature without religion or through a secular government. Religion and politics are two completely different worlds; one is the expression of human evil, and the other is the realization of human good. How can human good be realized with secular politics expressing human evil? Some people say that if the world had only good human nature, without human evil, it would be a beautiful world. However, it was the world of Eden that we humans had left. We had left the garden of Eden, the perfect and beautiful world, and came to this earth to accept punishment because of sin. Similarly, how can we come to this world with original sin because of these sins that do not have selfishness? How can we live a secular life without material pleasure? How can there be no enjoyment full of human evil? Without these sins, why do we come to the earth to accept the punishment? There would be no this world. Therefore, in the Bible, God encourages humans by brotherly love to surpass original sin, selfishness, greed, and degeneration and alleviate the pain of human atonement on earth. However, in the ten commandments, God also recognizes the existence of selfishness and private right and protects them. Isn’t it very contradictory? So what is God’s true consciousness? I personally think that: people come to the earth to be punished because of their sin in heaven and selfishness. Selfishness is the reason for punishment, the reason for human suffering, and also the reason for creation. Then we can only recognize the existence of selfishness and try to make selfishness conducive to social progress. At the same time, we should restrict selfishness and oppose the unrestricted pursuit of fame and wealth. For example, we can use human selfishness to achieve “more work, more gain” and inspire initiatives.If you do not recognize selfishness, do not recognize private rights, you never have the initiative for labor and creation. This is the truth proved by countless human practices. However, the Bible also limits selfishness and private rights. For example, you can’t covet your neighbors’ property. That is to say, to meet your selfishness and material enjoyment, you can only work hard and follow the principle of “more work, more gain “instead of using improper means. Moreover, everyone has selfishness and private rights, whether the strong or the weak. If we do not protect selfishness and private rights, can the strong plunder the weak endlessly? and will humans be in a state of war forever? Therefore, protecting selfishness and private rights is defending the weak and maintaining social stability and peace. Therefore, through the Bible, God proclaims that reasonable and legal selfishness and private rights are legitimate and justifiable. However, God also announces that selfishness and private right are caused by human sin and are devoid of immortal, eternal, and perfect. Therefore, he requires humans to surpass selfishness, but this must be transcended through faith in the spiritual field. You must believe from the heart that you can get salvation and access heaven beyond selfishness. This is a completely voluntary action and a process of redemption; It is the purpose of God’s creation. It can only work through God’s conscience without any coercion or enforcement. These two distinct fields must not get confused; otherwise, the world will be in chaos. Secular politics is used to reflect the evil of human nature and express human nature’s pursuit of reality, enjoyment, possession, and flesh. Human good can only be realized with religion, faith in God, and the Bible. This is an irrefutable truth. If someone wants to challenge this and achieve human good through secular politics, then disasters will await him. God’s hand in economics, the adjustment of the economy by the hand of God is the best proof. In fact, the hand of God is the embodiment of human selfishness and greed. When the product is profitable, enormous personnel and capital enter production. When a large amount of funds enters production, the product becomes gradually unprofitable, so the people and funds withdraw gradually. This is the economic law belonging to secular politics. In human history, any practice of establishing a planned economy forcibly by political means has failed because it does not recognize human selfishness and private rights and violates the economic law of the hand of God. Its disastrous consequences continue to this day. For another example, we deny the duality of human nature, which has an evil side of human nature, which is greedy and selfish. On the contrary, we believe that human nature is perfect, selfless, and happy to help others. We believe that the system constrains good human nature and that if we eliminate private ownership, humans can move towards an ideal society. Therefore, we artificially eliminate private ownership and develop public ownership. Still, human nature’s greedy and selfish side does not change under different systems, and it will exist forever. Therefore, public ownership has become a disguise for the bureaucratic class, and public ownership has become a greater private property of these people. We also believe that people are high moral and can selflessly sacrifice for national and collective interests, so we can eliminate the private economy and develop state-owned enterprises. However, these state-owned enterprises have become synonymous with low efficiency. No matter how beautiful, sounding confession and resolute oath, the actual payment is another matter. People can’t pay endlessly without self-interest. At this time, human selfishness is fully reflected. the loaf on the job and dawdling over work has become a common and normal phenomenon.

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In the second chapter, through much combing of human moral philosophy, we know that in the secular society, humans can not maintain the moral standard under natural circumstances due to human selfishness, greed, and degeneration, and the final outcome must be moral collapse and social chaos. Therefore, there must be laws and regulations and minimum moral standards in the secular society, and there must be police, the military, and other violent institutions to maintain social stability and order through coercive means. However, in the spiritual field, there are other things. At this time, we must not use the means of secular society and the laws and regulations to suppress the evil of human nature or enforce them. In the spiritual field, we must recognize that human nature is good. Humans can become saints with noble morality through faith and God’s operation in human conscience, making humans do good voluntarily. If they do not recognize the goodness of human nature, do not recognize that God can work successfully in human conscience, and rely on coercive means in the spiritual field, it is the spiritual oppression of the Catholic Church in the middle ages. The affairs in the secular and spiritual fields are completely different and must not be confused. All these prove that the definition of the duality of human nature in the Bible is highly profound and entirely correct. At the same time, it is proper to divide human society into spiritual and material, religious and political, according to this duality. Compared with other types of societies, the duality can easily show its advantages. Looking at the world today, we can find that the most developed countries, the United States, Germany, Britain, and Northern Europe, are all Christian countries. Their society operates through the separation of religion and state based on the duality of human nature.

Let’s briefly discuss the impact of human nature’s duality on economic life. We know that an economy regulated by the hand of God is called a market economy. Due to the greed of capitalists’ human nature, the market economy is likely to cause an economic crisis of overproduction. The great depression in the United States was a crisis of overproduction. Before the great depression, the United States followed the principle of a complete market economy, and the government did not intervene in the economy at all. President Hoover supported this principle firmly; he still adopted the policy of non-intervention in the great depression, which intensified the economic crisis. In the face of the crisis, President Roosevelt, who took over as president, pursued Keynesian economic theory, broke the iron law that the government did not intervene in the market, and boldly reformed. He quickly extricated the United States from the crisis by employing government intervention in the economy, such as building roads and limiting production. In fact, it is that the government forced the secondary distribution of wealth to curb the greed of capitalists and put society on the right track. However, the continuous implementation of Roosevelt’s intervention policy went to another extreme. At that time, the Keynesian United States and Britain were more and more inclined toward socialism. However, it was not the greed of capitalists at this time; it was the greed of workers that drove society to the other extreme. We can see that many workers in state-owned enterprises in Britain and the United States also lied down on the job, which was inefficient, and was wasted seriously. It gave birth to Reagan economics, returning to liberalism, and the privatization reform of reducing state-owned enterprises by Mrs. Thatcher, the iron lady. Personally, I think government intervention is also part of the hand of God. Its regulation can bridle the human greed of capitalists, but government intervention can not go too far. If it goes too much, it will stimulate the human greed of ordinary people. For example, in today’s European society, many people can live a good life through high welfare, so who wants to work? Government intervention should be as little as possible and try to intervene in the economy through other competitive institutions in society to realize the secondary distribution of wealth. For example, we can make full use of the benign competition between different Christian charities. Social welfare and many other secondary distributions of wealth can be implemented by them rather than the government. That is, to minimize the power of the government and form a governance model of large society and small government, which is also the ideal society in the eyes of many people. In the secular society, human nature is evil, greedy, and degenerate at any time, and competition must exist at all times. Social welfare is distributed by charities of different sects, which is absolutely more reliable than the implementation by a single monopoly government. We will discuss that the government is also composed of greedy and degenerate individuals, which is also greedy and degenerate; if not restricted, it will devour the whole society.

So far, we know that the two-headed snake theory of the political system of the Christian world, their separation of politics and religion is to perform the separation of spirit and material, religion and politics based on the same belief and the same God. They take charge of their affairs in different fields and can not mix with each other. They should be treated differently because they were two things of different nature. In the hundreds of years of medieval European history, the Church and the secular government were entangled and fought endlessly, and both wanted to expand their jurisdiction. The two sides argued and did not give in about the jurisdiction based on the Bible. Finally, some affairs the Church and priests couldn’t involve were defined according to the Bible, so there was a clear division of their jurisdiction. The main contents are as follows.

1. Bible clearly stipulates that churches and priests are spiritual and specialize in matters of the spiritual field. Therefore, they shall not have weapons or be in charge of the army. Therefore, protecting churches and priests from paganism is the most important function of the secular king and the purpose of secular government in medieval Christian society.

2. The Church is also not involved in the police, an institution for protecting personal and property security because it involves force and violence. Therefore, the police are also entirely under the jurisdiction of the secular king.

3. Bible clearly stipulates that priests shall not kill, so the death penalty and some felonies must be tried by the civil court of the secular king.

4. Because the Bible does not encourage the pursuit of material wealth and material pleasure, economic affairs such as developing trade and establishing towns are generally under the jurisdiction of secular kings. Similarly, general financial cases must also be tried by civil courts. ①

Except for the above acts explicitly prohibited in the Bible, the Christian Church covered almost all other functions of society. It included pastoral care such as baptism, wedding, confession, and burial, charities such as orphanages, nursing homes, poor care centers, important departments such as education and hospitals, and some misdemeanor courts, including road and bridge maintenance. The role of secular Kings was to protect the Church, protect every Christian’s personal and property safety, and manage economic affairs. They were in charge of the army, police, prisons, tax officials, civil courts, etc. In the Christian society, no matter how compared with the secular government, the Church is transcendent, moral, selfless, and spiritual. If the Church bore the social responsibility, it would get more guarantees and better quality. Therefore, Except for the functions clearly stipulated in the Bible, the Church should assume social responsibility as much as possible.

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From the historical experience, the Church must not have an army, which is the bottom line and must not be touched. Because faith involves the issue of eternal life and eternity, neither party will yield an inch. If the Church has an army, it will inevitably bring killing and blood. However, the premise is the secular king must protect the Church from harm. When the secular king cannot ensure this, Christians can only be lambs to be slaughtered. Millions of Christians in Armenia were slaughtered by pagans like a lamb because they could not get the protection of any secular king. At that time, millions of Christians could not organize an army to save themselves because the Church was not allowed to have an army in the Bible. The power of this commandment that remained in the subconscious was mighty, and people naturally acted according to it, so God could only cry alone in heaven. The separation of Church and State is unique to Christianity; the non-Christian world, such as Islamic countries, does not have the concept of separation of Church and State. Their State is the Church, and the Church is the State. It is easy to form an army belonging to the Church itself. Therefore, if Christianity does not dominate this country or the State cannot protect Christians, Christians can only face the fate of being slaughtered arbitrarily by paganism. The Bible clearly says, “Caesar’s belongs to Caesar, and God’s belongs to God.” the Church cannot have an army; it is the Bible’s instruction, which is Christians’ greatness and sadness. Although there had been martial popes in history, there had been the Papal States, and the Church had its own army, these actions have never been respected. On the contrary, they were considered to be a serious violation of the teachings of the Bible and seriously weakened the spiritual authority of the Pope. All secular kings united against the Pope. The period when the Pope had an army was also the period when the papal authority was the weakest.

In Christian society in the middle ages, due to the monopoly of Christianity, there was a division of power between the Church and the secular monarchy; they each held spiritual and material swords. Because both sides believed their power came from God, they unified to promote the Christian faith and had the same ideas on the compulsion of religion. The suppression of atheists and heresy is also tacit. The medieval Church had its own church court. Because the Church itself had no executive agencies such as the army and the police, only the secular king could execute the judgment of the church court and impose material, physical and spiritual punishment on all kinds of violations of church law. The secular king also used the spiritual sword held by the Church to strengthen his authority. For example, he reinforces his authority through the coronation and anointing ceremony of the Pope or bishop. He was naturally happy to help the church court execute the judgment. The two sides are interdependent and interdependent; they are independent and inseparable. At the same time, both sides support and promote each other. When one party decays and degenerates or commits misconduct, the other party has the right to accuse and correct. The Church used its spiritual power to condemn and criticize the improper behavior of the secular monarchy and asked them to correct it. Similarly, the secular king also used his own advantages in controlling the violent institutions such as the army, police, and prison to exert influence on the improper behavior of the Church. They competed fiercely for the jurisdiction, and both wanted to limit the other side to the minimum. The secular king would never let the Church touch the vital violent institutions such as the army, the police, and the prison, while the Church also limited the secular Kingship to those important but limited areas and assumed a large number of the rest of social responsibilities, such as education, charity Hospital, etc. Therefore, the two snakes monster was a very appropriate metaphor. While biting and fighting each other, the two snakes had to support and promote each other because they belonged to the same body, for the same faith, for the same God, and for the same goal – the stability and harmony of Christian society. The two sides entangled each other and moved forward together, but they went more smoothly and steadily than in any other society. This was the great role of Christianity’s real and original separation of politics and religion. This separation of politics and religion makes the Christian world avoid the autocratic corruption of secular regimes and the backward ignorance of the unity of politics and religion and push forward human civilization step by step until today.

As we discussed above, the Puritans inherited the genuine and original separation of Church and State in the process of building God’s city on the hill and even made them a more integral whole. Although the Church and the civil government had their own clear jurisdiction, pastors and other holy orders must not hold civil positions. However, it does not mean that the Church could not interfere in civil affairs. Because if you want to become a shareholder and free person in the colony, you must become a member of the Church and a saint by obtaining the Church’s approval. The Church controls the certification of electing civil officials and becoming civil officials. At the same time, the Church also did a lot of coordination and lubrication work for the prosperity and stability of the civil government. Therefore, the colonial government could tide over the difficulties again and again. As we mentioned in the previous chapter, during the formation of the veto power of the Massachusetts colonial Senate, the pastors did a lot of detailed work on the town representatives so that they finally agreed that the Senate had the veto power. In the autonomy of Sudbury Town, church members and pastors had also done a lot of work on the town residents, hoping that they could obey and implement the tax plan of the state government as much as possible in order to maintain the authority of the state government and the stability of the colony. Finally, the town residents listened to their opinions.

Moreover, in many events we did not discuss, the Church also played an important role in the colony’s stability. They acted concerted efforts with government, shoulder to shoulder, of one mind, which made brotherly love the lubricant for various forces in the political arena. As a result, various forces could make each other halfway and compromises, reached a consensus, and finally built the mountain city successfully. Moreover, I can definitely say that there wouldn’t be Massachusetts which could frighten the British later without their lubrication and coordination .and later Lincoln, due to the loss of the lubrication and coordination role of the Church, the contradiction between the north and the South intensified. Finally, the dispute could only be settled by war. The Church made great contributions to the sustainable development of the colony, while the civil government also played a critical role in the unity and stability of the Church. Due to the particularity of Congregationalism, the congregational Church did not recognize any superior organization. If there were no command role of the civil government, the Church would be scattered and collapse at the first encounter. At the critical moment when Hutchinson’s fideism made the colonial Church fall apart, Winthrop, as governor, intervened in church affairs as chief executive of God and expelled Mrs. Hutchinson and other fideism heresies that the colonial Church could continue to exist. Therefore, in the eyes of Puritans, the relationship between the Church and the State is in complete harmony, and it is impossible to separate the relationship. Williams opposes this close political and religious relationship and wants to separate the two completely. This is the thing Winthrop must determine, “which can be tolerated,but which can not be tolerated”.

Note: ① burns “Cambridge History of medieval political thought”, Xinzhi Sanlian bookstore, trans,Cheng Zhimin p346-426, Cong Riyun “between God and Caesar”, zuoan Culture Co., Ltd., p193-282

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