Sunday, 20 November 2016

Church And State

Poul Anderson's The Shield Of Time, Part Six, "Amazement of the World":

in the alpha timeline, the church wins the medieval church-state conflict;

in the beta timeline, the state wins;

in the Danellian timeline, neither wins.

SM Stirling's On The Oceans Of Eternity:

in Nantucket, Christians have united in one Ecumenical Church which has converted some Albans and Aryans;

in Babylon, if the King ignores the priesthood's selective omen-reading, then nobles and peasants expect disaster, a self-fulfilling prophecy;

in Great Achaea, priests, no longer men of rank serving only the God but full-time specialists paid by the Throne, can be relied on to get the omens right...


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And it's plain WHICH of theses three scenarios Anderson thought was best: the one where neither Church or State came to dominate the other. And it's one I, as a Catholic agree with. The Church should not control the state or be controlled by the secular power. I do add the Church has the right to REMONSTRATE the state when it does wrong, such as "legalizing" abortion. But rebuking or remonstrating is not the same as controlling. It's an exercise of moral, not coercive authority. That was the view of Pope Gregory VII when he protested King Philip IV of France had misunderstood his encylical UNAM SANCTAM.

And I'm still dubious that the Unitarians on Nantucket joined the Ecumenical Church. Unitarians have an Arian Christology while the the other Christians, Catholic and Protestant, all seem to be Nicene/Chalcedonian in theology.

And the King of Babylon has to at least pretend to take seriously the omens deduced by the priests from reading the entrails of sacrificed animals. That way his nobles and peasants won't get too upset!

I remember the mixed feelings Odikweos had about William Walker "professionalizing" the Olympian priests. The Lord of Ithaka appreciated prayers and sacrifices being conduced efficiently but was uneasy about religion becoming a mere agency of the state. To say nothing of how Odikweos knew darn well William Walker disbelieved in and LAUGHED at the gods in private. Something which deeply SHOCKED Odikweos.


Paul Shackley said...

Religion is much more than just a cynical means of social control but, for a ruler like Walker, that is all it ever can be.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Correct, religion for William Walker was merely a method or means of social control. But he had no interest in questions like "Does God or the gods exist?" and "What does He or they desire of me?"


Sean M. Brooks said...

I made some mistakes in my first comment here which I wish to correct. In the first paragraph I mentioned the wrong pope--it was Boniface VII, not Gregory VII, who promulgated UNAM SANCTAM. In the last paragraph, I meant to write "conducted," not "conduced." These annoying errors really tick me off!