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Church and State

Following paragraphs are work in progress and are unformatted.

1 I do have my own mystical and personal reasons for keeping my faith in Christ but I prefer discussing the pragmatic benefits of keeping people within Christianity. Spiritual people have life path to follow and can't easily fall into nihilism. Formal religion provide stories and leaders for their members to imitate; integrates people into their local community. Many Eurasian religions (all Abrahamic religions) place a high emphasis on planning for the future over engaging in short-term impulsive behavior. Christianity has a universality built into it that makes it valuable for large-scale social cohesion.

2 Christians should not be afraid to point out these observations ― should not shy away from using teleology arguments when needing to defend themselves. Christians are happy man. It's not an act!

3 Christianity is functionally true (it leads to people living fulfilling lives). It's often more effective defending Christianity on its functional success ― within a governing context ― than pointing to its dogma. Christianity justifies its existence to skeptical rulers by its success at producing and maintaining well integrated and highly productive people for their society.

4 These observations are not really the things that make it true from Christianity's own perspective. From Christianity's own perspective it does get its validity from dogma and not from its psychological or social cohesion benefits. Christianity is "dogmatic". "A Christian believes that Jesus’s resurrection was a true historical event, and a prelude of a general resurrection to come and that he established a Church and sacraments which are his vehicles for having man recover from sin within this life to prepare for his roles in the next..." ― Luke Smith, 'Based' Paganism vs. Christianity.

5 From what I can understand there isn't a "logical" way to know that God exists ― we can't reach the transcendent ― and I don't think Christianity being functionally correct proves God's existence in a satisfying way either. Even if it being functionally correct would be what we would expect with a God guiding the emergence, evolution, and interpretation of ideas. To say that God exists requires tearing ourselves away from the idea that we can understand everything about the world or that all beliefs can ― or should ― be satisfied with reason.

0.6 I believe that as a Christian that I am required to let go of my intellectual hubris ― to believe in God and to see his work in this world without a syllogism proving his existence. An act of submission towards God acknowledging how small I am and how much larger he is. Though it's my guess that this submission doesn't mean shying away to point out the practical benefits of belief when needed.
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6 I think that governmental institutions should lean tolerent of other faiths as there are broad material goals and ethical stances agreed upon by most people regardless of their religious affiliation. Theft and violence is understood as wrong even by underdeveloped religious systems; felt as wrong by everyone when its done to their kin. No one wants to live in uncertainly or in hunger. Everyone wants a roof to live under and furfilling jobs to fill their time. And there exists some ― yes often overemphasised ― macro problems (e.g. defense, friction between communities, resource distribution) that should be outright left to a different institution than one focusing on micro interactions to solve.

7 Maybe issues still need to be dealt under power dynamics that can't always value the sanctity of the individual or family life that the church as an institution (often focusing on micro interactions) does. Not all conflicts can yet be solved by holding hands singing Kumbaya together. The Church has focused on the heavily kingdom (on earth?) over the earthly one(s) and [most of the time] tells its members to submit to the rule of law.

8 If other faiths are wrong or underdeveloped it's still noble to have institutions in place that can fold them and their members into a civic society (even if this goal of universality itself has Christian roots). In a Christian system there is still room for institutions that focus on work, material needs, defense, education etc. that deal with objectives or goals not exclusive to Christianity.

9 But can governance exist independently from fundamentally religious assumptions?. In enlightenment the ideas of the sanctity of the individual and his free will was universalized beyond "the wish of God" through thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau into "social contract theory". I don't think that the project was entirely successful. I think that all humans inherently care for those in their family and groups that they identify with ― but caring for those in out-groups I don't think universalizes at all. I think that caring for those in out-groups is fundamentally a Christian religious notion that hasn't been expressed many outside of the Christian world.

10 When I was staying in New Zealand I had the chance to talk to some Māori people about how they saw themselves and there place in the world. The impression I got was that they didn't seem to see their existence as a separate entity from their family, people, land: A pantheistic belief system ― that I have a great appreciation for (I was a pantheistic at one point in my life) ― that isn't compatible with the idea of the sanctity of the individual and his free will that is taken as axiomatic in Liberalism.

12 I'm at the point where I consider liberal democracy to be a cultural branch of protestantism that keeps the axioms of Christianity and a system that can't always universalize outside of the Christian world. Promoting liberalism to non-Christian cultures is a form of evangelism with forced liberalism being forced conversion.
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13 The Christian tradition has done a good ― although imperfect ― job so far at balancing the complicated drives we all have while trying to integrate us all in our local communities. How its members often living functional lives is proof of this. Many core constructs that are taken as universal (e.g. free will and the ability to affect causality, the human as an entity that exists special and separate from the natural world, organizing our hierarchies based competence and virtue over family relations) are particular to a culture highly influenced by the dogmas of Christianity.

1.0 I've made the claim that most actions between individuals are done out of wanting to do things with others rather than trying to maximize ones output onto the world. I still stand by it. But since I still kept power ― wanting to affect the word ― as the other primary motivation behind human behavior I have to hold a tension between these two needs.

1.1 The role of personal ethics is trying to find the optimal balance of the deeply human but paradoxical drive for both connection with others and power (influencing the world) within Man [with constant negotiation with those around him]. Any ethical system aims to balance these things as ‘making connections with others’ necessitates giving concessions on ones own personal goals and ‘influencing the world’ necessitates ruffling others feathers.

1.2 Each individual has variation on how much influence these two drives have over them: Some are more strong willed ― want to have a greater impact on the world ― while others mostly just want to hang out with friends and family. Some will have a greater affinity for accomplishing these tasks and others less so. There are beautiful variations between people that is in the way of giving everyone equal responsibility and influence.

1.3 A restricted universality of Man is needed in order to deal with variations between people as we are not a size-fits-all for our ambitions and abilities.