(A worth reading article by Mark Koyama stating that Medieval States lacked resources and infrastructure to fund wars and state’s expenses, and hence depended on Church’s infrastructure to supply funds which in return exerted political influence on State. As the state’s expenses increased due to more wars, it developed its own infrastructure and institutions to collect funds and rely less on Church. State also instituted freedom of religion to bring minority religions, which Church persecuted, into tax base, improve economy and at the same time make revenue collection uniform and efficient. This necessity led to separation of state and church and freedom of religion, rather liberal ideas of Locke, Spinoza and Voltaire which may have followed the trend, and not initiated it. f.sheikh)
One of the concluding paragraph in the article;
What implications does our argument have for the modern world? Most important perhaps is the need to recognise that liberal ideas were not necessarily responsible for the emergence of liberal societies. Instead, the rise of a new type of political organisation, the modern state, led, for its own reasons, to rulers enforcing general rules of behaviour – rules incompatible with religious discrimination.
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For Schleiermacher, the religious and the political realms did not simply compete over the same terrain. Rather, he saw them as distinctive yet constituent parts of the bigger whole of an individual life. He was profoundly influenced by Plato in his belief that reason is what orders our desires and instincts – enabling people to govern well, to take their place in a moral and civilised society, and to be properly responsible for their environment.
But religion was still the ‘highest’ and most essential of these two parts, Schleiermacher said in On Religion (1799). Unlike politics, religion is a matter of feeling (Gefühl) and intuition; it doesn’t amount simply to praxis or speculation, but is instead the ‘sensibility and taste for the Infinite’. It was a ‘universal’ aspect of being human, something for which we have the capacity, according to our very nature.
This vision of religion as the ‘highest’ part of humanity was a new iteration of a very ancient idea: the notion that politics alone cannot bring about human flourishing, and that political categories can’t completely capture or describe the full extent of a person. Politics isn’t cancelled out or overthrown by ‘religion’. Instead, for Schleiermacher, the business of governing well is a means to a higher purpose.
But just as politics has its limits, so too does religion. It can’t displace or do the work of politics in our world; the work of the church belongs instead to the domain of the spirit. This is why Schleiermacher didn’t believe in theocracy or religious states. On the contrary, he argued for the separation of church and state, on the grounds that this would promote the success of both. In On Religion, we find Schleiermacher pushing this argument to its limit, when he proposes that religion really belongs to the institution of the family. And vice versa, as part of his national vision, he contended that the education of children in Germany (traditionally falling to the church) should be taken on by the state instead. He also argued that full legal privileges should not be withheld or bestowed for religious reasons, an unusual view at the time.
Schleiermacher ultimately fell short in his effort to navigate politics and religion as complementary rather than competing spheres. Nevertheless, his principles provide a valuable source for reflection in our own day. Faced with the question ‘How do we live together?’, Schleiermacher understood that bonds between individuals cannot be truly established or exhaustively described by political power alone.
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posted by f.sheikh
When Manchester was the textile capital of the world it was deeply influenced by designs from the sub-continent. It’s unsurprising then that Manchester’s Whitworth museum is showing Kashmir raised, London based Raqib Shaw. Criticism that Shaw’s elaborate paintings are merely ‘decorative’ doesn’t bother this writer. The show “contradicts the “less is more” modernist credo; when the choices are good ones, more can be more.”
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posted by f.sheikh
How to Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India
The New York Times
The article provides insights into the law and order situation in India and Pakistan.
In her last days in India, the Times bureau chief wrestles with a murder covered up in plain sight, and with what she is leaving behind. Read the full story
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