Theocracy

Discussion in 'Religion' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Is it possible for the USA to become a theocracy? Canada? England? Australia?
    What would life in a theocracy be like?
    Would everyone be compelled to go to church?
    Would women be forced to dress differently?
    Would TV news & newspapers be controlled?
    Would everyone be forced to give 10% of their income to the state church?
    Would there be no work on the Sabbath?
    Would you be able to sell your daughters?
    Would unruly children be stoned?
    When police question you or ask for ID, would they check to see whether you have a bible with you?
    Would divorce be illegal?

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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    No, it's not possible.
     
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  5. Unending Final Reminder Registered Member

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    I'm sorry but this seems a bit paranoid
     
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  7. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Asking questions is paranoid???

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  8. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    I guess the first question would be what sort of theocracy you have in mind. Industrialism, namely under the guise of capitalism, radically changed the social fabric of society that provided the framework of theocracies .... so if you want to talk about re -engineering a theocracy in the contemporary landscape, it's not clear what you are applying to trim down the myriad of possibilities for giving a necessarily singular subject (theocracy instead of theocracies) ... unless of course you are just interested in whipping up an atheistic woo storm of paranoia, in which case there is no need to measure your ideas against anything in the real world.
     
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I can't see how it might occur in England. USA? Possible, if there was a major catastrophe that threatened the US's survival, and a charismatic preacher-type ascended to the Presidency, and from there a religious dictatorship, and ultimately a theocracy etc. So possible, perhaps, but remote enough as to only be of interest to writers of fiction.
    All of these rather depend upon the religion of the theocracy, I'd imagine, and the tolerances within.
     
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Sure.

    Have you watched The Handmaid's Tale?

    Look at Iran, for example.

    Not necessarily, but it would be a desirable thing to enforce.

    Yes, if the attitudes of those who typically promote theocracy are anything to go by.

    Yes. Censored, at the very least.

    Yes. Something along those lines.

    Not necessarily. It depends on the particular belief system that holds sway.

    Again, it depends.

    Typically, the worst punishments are reserved for apostates. Infidels are also discouraged.

    They might well check to see if you were dressed, behaving, showing due respect for, the religious laws, whatever they might be.

    It depends. Theocracies tend to favour men over women, typically, so there can be double standards. Divorce might well be practically unavailable to a woman, but relatively easy to obtain if you're a man.
     
  11. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    I saw the 1990 movie.

     
  12. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    15,247
    34% of Your Fellow Citizens Want a Theocracy
    By Fred Rich

    It’s been just over a year since the American public observed — many of us with morbid fascination and increasing alarm — the Republican primary debates of the last election. Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum all pandered to their Teavangelical supporters and brought their religious and culture war agenda to the center of the national stage. With those debates fading from memory, it’s tempting to conclude that this flexing of muscle by the religious right was an aberration, swept aside by President Obama’s second victory.
    But is that right? Have those passions faded? A YouGov Omnibus poll conducted this spring provides the answer: not at all. When asked whether they would favor or oppose establishing Christianity as the official state religion in their state, 34% of respondents were in favor (with 20% “strongly” in favor). You read that correctly: 34% in favor of establishing Christianity as the state religion, as in creating a theocracy. There’s more: when asked whether they would favor an amendment to the U.S. Constitution making Christianity the official religion of the United States, 32% said yes. This was a national poll; imagine what the numbers must have been in Alabama, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
    Also this spring, a group of representatives in the North Carolina House introduced actual legislation — to my knowledge, the first of its kind since the founding of the republic — to permit that State, or any of its subdivisions, to declare Christianity its official religion. The North Carolina bill had a great deal of regional support, but was withdrawn by House leadership after a barrage of national criticism.

    Americans living in cities and states where the evangelical influence is minimal consistently underestimate both the ambitions and power of the religious right. But these numbers are no surprise to me. In the course of researching my novel, Christian Nation (in which McCain/Palin win in the 2008 presidential election and Sarah Palin becomes President when McCain dies in office), I learned that the religious right’s base of support remains remarkably steady, virtually uninfluenced by the ups and down of national politics.
    For over a decade, polls have consistently reported that 30-40% of our fellow citizens self-describe themselves as “born again” or “evangelical” and believe that Biblical prophecies accurately predict a detailed sequence of end-times events. Their leaders control both the vast Christian broadcasting movement and great swaths of the Republican Party at the precinct and state level. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that groups representing these citizens spend about $390 million each year to lobby the Federal government to impose their religion-based agenda on the rest of us. This demographic also has the highest voting record around — 85% of their eligible voters turn out for elections. They are not disappearing and, despite the recent successes of the marriage equality movement, they continue to win victories in the culture war they have fought for 30 years.

    At the heart of their political agenda is a deep antipathy to the idea of the separation of church and state. An energetic industry of pseudo-historians, legal “scholars” and home schooling educators relentlessly promotes the message that church-state separation is a myth concocted by liberal elites to keep America from realizing its true destiny as a “Godly Kingdom,” a pious “shining city upon a hill.” For many of our fellow citizens, the establishment (or, as they would say, restoration) of America as a “Christian Nation” is a condition to the second coming of Christ, the most important thing that can ever happen.
    So I ask you: how does this compare with the things that motivate your politics? A fanatical fundamentalist minority is a dangerous thing in any culture, and even the strongest democracy can become vulnerable when buffeted by economic distress and external shocks, such as major terrorist attacks. Everyone — mainstream Christians, and Republicans and Democrats both — need to keep a wary eye on our home-grown fundamentalists. The consequences of failing to take them seriously could be fatal.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-rich/breaking-news-34-of-your-_1_b_3461262.html

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  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Another good example of life in a fundamentalist theocracy is Islamic State.
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    A theocracy would seem to be a government in which divine powers (God or the gods) hold ultimate power and occupy the role of monarch.

    Part of the problem there is that the gods typically remain silent. So in practice, a theology would be a dictatorship by those who purport to receive and interpret communications from the divine.

    I think that such an idea would contradict the fundamental American idea of democracy. The idea that sovereignty ultimately resides with the people, not with a monarch or with a God. (The US is historically the land of people who don't like being told what to do. That's why European-style social democracy never caught on here.)

    A great deal is made by a certain kind of European academic about how Americans seem to display more overt religiosity than Europeans. But that's because America was populated by European religious minorities fleeing persecution by established state churches. Meanwhile Europe underwent a series of social transformations (from the French revolution on) that generated a strong tradition of anti-clericalism there that one doesn't see in the US. In the US, Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state is seen as a foundation stone of religious liberty, of the right to freely practice one's faith without state interference. So in the US, practicing one's religion is seen as a sign of liberty. While in Europe hostility to churches and clerics is seen as a sign of enlightenment and overtly practicing religion is seen as a sign of backwardness. It's not all that different in some ways, but stylistically it's very different, a different mode of expression that's evolved over the last 300 years.

    I don't see a theocracy arising in today's Australia, England or Canada either. Not in today's day and age. It might have been possible in pre-modern England. (The 'Commonwealth' during the English Civil War might have edged in that direction.)

    That would seem to depend on what kind of doctrines the ruling priests/religious clerics held, what kind of communications they thought they were receiving from their deity and what kind of religious tradition it all derives from.

    It also would depend on how this theocratic elite maintained their power, by the consent of the governed or by use of force over people who lacked the requisite faith.

    The assumptions implicit in how you worded your questions look a bit paranoid to me. JamesR's popping back with the Handmaid's Tale kind of reinforced that impression. That book is imaginative fiction, the product of Margaret Atwood's rather overheated feminism and her Canadian ambivalence towards how she imagines the United States.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  15. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    The assumptions of paranoia are what seem paranoid to me.
    If James had not mentioned The Handmaid's Tale, I would have.
    Who has seen the movie or read the book & does not know it is fiction?
    Every fiction is a product of imagination. Nearly always, the better the imagination the better the book is.

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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  16. Goldtop Registered Senior Member

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    I suppose any country has the potential to turn into a theocracy, but it probably wouldn't last long considering how many folks of varying faiths live all over the world. If the US became a theocracy, it would probably be Christianity, which might satisfy many Christians, but those of other faiths and those Christians who would rather not live in a theocracy would rebel. This would probably tend to remove a whole lot of human rights we now enjoy, as well.
     
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Or, you know, we could pay attention to the Nazi shitshow taking place in the U.S., which is, after all, a step along the way to American theocracy.

    In this aspect, worrying about the woo includes worrying about antisocial religious behavior relying on societal law, principle, and custom to protect them from being treated similarly poorly, would probably present the more pressing challenge to anyone not sold to superficial identity politics. These religionists have only spent longer than my lifetime trying to raise a theocracy in these United States, and to untold deadly effect.
     
  18. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    “A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections of politics and sex.… Satisfying, disturbing and
    compelling.”
    Washington Post
    “The most poetically satisfying and intense of all Atwood’s novels.”
    Maclean’s
    “It deserves an honored place on the small shelf of cautionary tales that have entered modern folklore.…”
    Publishers Weekly
    “Imaginative, even audacious, and conveys a chilling sense of fear and menace.”
    Globe and Mail
    “This visionary novel … can be read as a companion volume to Orwell’s 1984 – its verso, in fact. It gives you the same
    degree of chill, even as it suggests the varieties of tyrannical experience; it evokes the same kind of horror even as its
    mordant wit makes you smile.”
    –E. L. Doctorow
    “Deserves the highest praise.”
    San Francisco Chronicle
    “In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood has written the most chilling cautionary novel of the century.”
    Phoenix Gazette
    “A sly and beautifully crafted story about the fate of an ordinary woman caught oguard by extraordinary events.… A
    compelling fable of our time.”


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  19. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    There is a huge difference between antisocial religious behaviour and/or securing political representation via conservative/religious support and implementing theocracy.

    The words oligarchy (aka "nazi shitshow"), "christian nation" (as in the type the USA was founded as), and theocracy (although the OP is probably meaning to discuss theonomy, which makes it even more fanciful in light of contemporary affairs) are not interchangeable. I get it that it's the nature of hair trigger politics (regardless of which direction one decides to sling shit) to employ a loose thesaurus to the end of getting people to voting booths in the "correct" manner. And I guess if you look at political history, it's even a proven methodology. But I would argue that this in itself is the real problem facing contemporary (American) democracy. I can't recall his exact quote, but Obama said it nicely when he expressed concern with the current state of affairs that the consolidation of power was achieved by sowing divisiveness amongst the American people.

    So on one side you have people protesting the appearance of theocracy in the USA, and, on the other, you have people protesting the granting of greencards to foreign terrorists. Granted that democracy thrives on competitive interests, but, at a certain point, the solution to real problems requires the use of real language.
     
  20. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    I think many Americans would love a theocracy, indeed many Christians already think the USA was established as a Christian nation, not just a nation with a Christian majority. However, the establishment clause of the Constitution prevents this. If the US becomes a theocracy, it would no longer be the US in my mind, more like Israel or something, a fake democracy.
     
  21. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Funnily enough, atheists often cite religious doctrines as works of fiction too ...
     
  22. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Not funny to refer to fiction as fiction.

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  23. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    It is when you allude fiction has an innate capacity to illuminate aspects of reality (when it suits your purposes, of course).
     

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