Religion and Theology:
How Does Religion Affect Democracy?
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Religion and Theology: How Does Religion Affect Democracy?
Background and Overview
Religion is most commonly seen as a person or society`s devotion or commitment to a religious observance or faith. However, it could also include the different customs and beliefs involving the purpose, nature, and cause of the universe, especially involving a set of guides or standards for living, devotion, and ritual observances CITATION deV08 \l 1033 (de Vries, 2008). Given such a description, it can be seen that religion affects a great percentage of the person`s life, especially in the way he/she behaves and thinks. On the other hand, democracy involves the "rule of the people;, wherein the supreme ruling power is awarded to the people, and is exercise by them through representatives that were chosen through elections CITATION Joh081 \l 1033 (Erskine, 2008). Still, other than this strict definition of democracy, the term has also come to mean or connote rule of law and universal equality or freedom, especially in terms of freedom of speech and religion.
These two terms, religion and democracy, have come to be related and almost synonymous. However, in recent times, American politics has come to equate religion with the Republican movement, with some critics even criticizing the democrats to be "not religious enough" or similar descriptions CITATION Sek07 \l 1033 (Sekou, 2007). Still, religion and democracy have a relationship that is more complex than politics. In relation, this paper will then look into the said relationship, specifically exploring how religion affects democracy. This will be achieved by first looking at the history of religion as well as democracy, as well as the roles of these two in the history of one another. Then, religion will be explored as the driving force for democracy, as the guide of democracy, and as a significant part of democracy. More importantly, this paper will attempt to prove that religion is an integral and revolutionary part of democracy, and not just an existential aspect of history and modern-day politics.
Religion and Democracy
Brief History/Background of the relationship of Religion and Democracy
Religion is perhaps one of the aspects of human history that has undergone so much change throughout the years, and yet emerged almost similar in our modern days. In fact, most of the world`s modern religions are but derivatives of the earliest and oldest religions of the ancient civilizations. Still, religion is an important part of human culture and history, especially the history of democracy.
In the earlier days of the Greek societies, monarchy and similar forms of governments existed, especially in the case of the Philosopher-Kings and their successors. With the advent of more philosophies and views, these forms of leadership and governance created and promoted different social stratifications that dictated a person`s different rights and responsibilities. These stratifications afforded different privileges to different people, especially philosophers, warriors, artisans, and other high-ranking individuals CITATION Sty97 \l 1033 (Spyridakis & Nystrom, 1997).
However, in its earliest days, religion served as the justification for the refusal to practice or even develop democracy. Indeed, because of the high importance placed on religion by the earlier societies of men, priests, philosophers, and other religious individuals were awarded the highest positions and power in the society. Unfortuna...
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