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A Secular or Religious Government

If you’re setting up a country, who would you like to govern it? Would you like a secular country or one basically controlled by a particular religion? By secular I mean one who allows all religions freedom to practice their own faith without infringing upon the rights of others to practice theirs, but at the same time controlling or governing the earthly part of their lives.

To begin with one has to examine the various countries around the world and to see how they’re governed. Most countries are secular in nature, but there are a number of countries controlled or at least greatly influenced by a particular religion. Those countries controlled or greatly influenced by a religion are mostly Islamic. They are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Palestine and a number of others. And of course there is always Israel which is controlled by the Jews. But in the past you also had the Roman Catholic Church controlling many countries. Today they’re still trying, but their influence has been greatly diminished. I might add here that in some of these Islamic countries, there still seems to be a great struggle going on between secularism and Islam as to who should really govern.

Now the biggest conflict in the world today is between countries governed or greatly influenced by a particular religion. They are basically the Islamic States and the Jewish state, Israel. Now as an aside, what has caused this conflict? I believe it basically started right after the Second World War when the victorious allies set up the State of Israel right on top of some Islamic or Palestinian lands. This meant that many of the Palestines had to move from their homeland to another place. Of course this has angered many of the Islamic peoples and this conflict has been going on ever since. Now why did these victorious allies do this? Well there were several reasons for this. One reason is that the victorious allies felt very guilty about the Holocaust which they failed to prevent during the war, so they felt they had to give the Jews a homeland where they could feel safe. After all the Jews have always been persecuted throughout the centuries for one reason or another, and this could provide a safe haven for them. But one might ask, why this particular land? That is, because the Jews believe that this is the land that God originally gave them, and the Christians, which make up most of the victorious allies, knew their faith originated from here, and therefore found a common bondage with the Jews in establishing a new homeland in this particular locality. Of course, today from a Christian perspective, we feel the new homeland or Kingdom of God should be found in a person’s heart, regardless of where they lived.

Now getting back to the main theme of this article, I believe that the prime problem concerning this is that those countries that are more secular seem to be more successful in providing their people with a better standard of living. Why is this? I believe it is because if a country is controlled by a particular religion or is greatly influenced by one, it tends to control freedom of thought to a great extent. And when a country tends to control freedom of thought, it tends to limit access to new ideas on how to improve upon one’s life. This is what happened in the past when the Roman Catholic Church controlled so many countries. Those countries that were controlled by the Roman Catholic Church did not progress as fast as those countries which basically had a secular form of government. For example, look at the difference between Latin America and the United States. Now today the same thing probably could happen to those countries that are insisting that they become Islamic, or are insisting that they be guided by any other particular religion This same reasoning in controlling freedom of thought can be applied to those countries that tend to be authoritarian as well.

A Biographical Sketch of the author

I was born in New York City in 1931, grew up on Long Island, graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia with a BA in Political Science, and from New York Theological Seminary with a Masters Degree in Religious Education. I became a committed Christian in 1958, and after a number of years became a committed Ecumenical Christian. I worked as an accountant in various companies for about 25 years in New York City, then moved down to Argentina and worked for about 25 years as a Business English conversationalist teacher with some of the top managers. I also became a Stephen Minister (trained counselor) while down here. Married twice (the last to an Argentine) widowed once, no children, and one cat. To contact Corbin, you can via (corbinwr@yahoo.com).

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