Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Church that does not want to be a Church

In a previous article I wrote: "You cannot separate State and Ideology (religion is a spiritual ideology) by uniting it."

JKayce:
"Do you think that state and ideology can be separated? I don't think that is possible, the laws in our society are a reflection of ideologies."

Snouck:
Do I think that State and Ideology CAN be separated? Well, no. An ideology is a more or less coherent set of ideas. A State is a political body, a social organism and exists in the flesh, in its members and their behaviour. But a political unit can also be envisioned as a "corpus mysticum", a spiritual body. When we think of the USA do we think of the people, their lives, endings, fears, ferment, rot, hopes and desires or of their laws and institutions?

The laws and institutions should be reflections of the people in the flesh and their real behaviour.

A nation has its acknowledged and unacknowledged legislators. The legislators express the set of ideas of the nation. In word or writ or whatever the Nation’s code is. So should the legislators legislate according to their elite ideology, to the ideology of the people below or to something else?

If the legislators make laws according to their own particular ideology, then their laws will be ignored. They will require force to coerce the people. If they take the laws from the ideas of the people they will find out that the people will ignore these ideas as well, because people will always ascribe to notions and ideals that are more beautiful than the ugliness of mortal men, themselves. Talk is cheap. So the legislators have to observe the people, see what they do already and then make that law. Most people will then obey the laws without prompting. If there are conflicts judges can resolve them according to the law, which is the actual behaviour of the majority of the nation.

If the legislators are close to the nation, then there will be little room between collective behaviour and ideology or the set of laws.

However, legislators are an elite and have a tendency to remove themselves from the people. To become estranged. Competing with other legislators in order to get attention and increase their power they will increasingly compete in the beauty of their vision for the nation. They will say they wish beautiful things for the people and do away with suffering. For this they will be recommended and endorsed, their idealism will be admired and their ideology will be advanced by groups that feel they will benefit from it. Because legislators are not productive groups of society they will never bear the cost of the implementation of their visions. These costs will be born by productive groups in society, those productive citizens which do not defend themselves. E.g. because they work 60-70 hours a week. Or more.

As the number of laws increases, as ideology increases its costs become increasingly difficult to bear by productive groups and they will run away, stop being productive or organise themselves in order to challenge legislators or ideologues.

Let’s get back to separating ideology from the state. This is indeed not really possible. As soon as we think about collective behaviour there is ideology. The Christian idea to separate Religion from State has the purpose to separate earthly power from spiritual speculation. As a result of this separation there is some freedom for the people who live in the State, both the Christians and the Non-Christians.

Social organisation begins with non-kinship societies, our natural or biological political unit. Extended families and clans. These organisations need very little in the way of ideology, because they are so natural and need very little culture to rule their politics. Once social organisation moves beyond kinship there will be a requirement for ideology to give society the identity and thus the cohesion of a kinship society. A cultural innovation. A non-kinship society is able to form bigger units than a kinship society.

Obviously we are living in a non-kinship society. 15 million Dutchman do not belong to the same family, although there is a high level of relatedness. We have cultural capital to bring us together: Nationalism and Christianity.

Nationalism and Christianity have grown over the centuries in The Netherlands and Europe. Without these cultural and therefore ideological developments we would not be able to run our political unit, The Netherlands.

Because all citizens are equal before the law in a Western society, kinship (family) or non-kinship sub societies must not be given special power to hijack the State and use it in the interest of a minority interest. This is the reason why churches as carriers of ideologies must be separated from the state. But because the modern state is in itself partly and ideological construct this is indeed impossible. If there is an ideology that supports the power and interest of an minority within the nation that does not call itself a religion than it can slip under the radar of the rule that Church and State must be separated. Secularism is an ideology. It has strong religious overtones, promising its adherents moral superiority and deliverance from the heaviness, the lack of freedom, in traditional religion. All over the Western world secularism attacks traditional Christianity denying that it is in fact an undeclared Religion with a diffuse Church.

This is the Church of the Left. The Church that seeks to liberate the peoples from the West from the deprivations of their Western culture.

1 comment:

JKayce said...

Great elaboration of your viewpoint Snouck!

I agree that it is not desirable to give one specific ideological subgroup intolerant of other (sub)-ideologies absolute mandate of State power (the more concentrated power is, the more readily it lends itself for abuse of power). But there are limits of course to how tolerant the prevailing ideology can be towards other ideologies; after all, how can one unite ideologies with mutually exclusive core values? In such a case choices need to be made, and they will limit the freedom of one ideological group in favour of the other.
I already mentioned in a previous reply the growing friction between the Christian ideal of the sanctity of life, and the secular view of life which all too often lends itself as a vehicle for a pro-death culture in the name of freedom. In our laws and constitution we have the issue of freedom of speech vs. the anti-discrimination article which lends itself as a tool for suppression of this freedom of speech.

Secular values constantly vie for dominance over the Christian values, and ‘Leftist tolerance’ usually implies the prevalence of the Secular values over good, sound Christian values.
Another danger to the Christian foundation is that due to the fact that certain ‘existing practices’ were put into legislation a gradual sliding scale was created which helped to cause Holland to drift away from its roots. Islamic violence provided us with a much needed wake-up call: it confronts Dutch society with this identity crisis, the gradual erosion of values that were previously considered a part of the Dutch identity.

The Leftists have sought to establish the supremacy of a Leftist ideology intolerant of ideologies espousing non-Leftist values, and they have been wildly successful at it. Their argumentation of separating Church from State all too often turns into a separation of Religion and State as a way of advancing their own Leftists agenda. The problem with the Left is that more often than not it seeks to implement its ideology through unfair means; just look at the past decades and how they managed to gain control over media, education, arts, and look at how they infiltrated traditionally conservative bulwarks and gradually altered the character of the institutions from the inside out. The gay liberation movement is aware of these types of tactics only too well!

I think it’s important to realize the fact that the State always is married to an ideology, and that in the case of our country it used to be a predominantly Christian ideology, which has as one of its values religious (ideological) tolerance.
Freedom can only continue to exist through self imposed limitations: if one uses one’s freedom to take drugs for instance and become addicted, then the loss of freedom is the result of exercising the freedom to take drugs. Likewise, tolerance can only continue to exist through imposed limitations. If a democratic society is tolerant of an anti-democratic movement that seeks to overcome the state through force, then the loss of tolerance will be the end result.
The same is true for Christian values in Dutch society (and for the record, I consider most of these values to be an in-alienable part of our humanity, irrespective of which ideology we espouse): to preserve them sometimes means to discriminate against so-called 'Secular' values because they are the direct opposite of the Christian values.