Religion: Church and State

1044 Words5 Pages
Throughout history there has been and always will be a shift in the way in which people think that the government should interact with the church. Early modern civilizations can be recognized as a time of great change in many aspects of life. This is especially true for the way in which people identified the relationship between church and state. In the early modern way of connecting the two the church was the state. Over time this ideology gradually shifts to a postmodern notion of a government that is not as involved with the church, although still connected. Many first hand writings have been examined over the years to fully understand and comprehend this radial transition of separating the church and state. This movement did not happen quickly, but took place throughout the Renaissance, reformation, seventeenth century, the enlightenment, and continues to progress today. During the Renaissance the church was the state and vice versa. The rulers of this time period were to be seen as perfect amongst society, because the majority of the common folk were not educated enough to know that they were being presented with a fake reality of their leaders. Kings and princes had to appear to be religious and out for the good of the people. Machiavelli examines the role of a prince and how he ought to be seen by the majority. He believes that to be a decent ruler one needed to be perceived as a strong Christian (Machiavelli, The Prince, p.163). One need not actually be strong or truthful in faith as long as his subjects saw him in such light. Machiavelli, in regards to a prince being perceived as religious amongst his subjects, explains, “Let a prince therefore aim at conquering and maintaining the state, and the means will a... ... middle of paper ... ...y can uphold these rights. He also does not accept the title because he would have doubts about the legitimacy of his power as Lord Protector (Cromwell, Cromwell Denies the Crown, p. 45). Cromwell uses his beliefs in God to reject the position as Lord Protector saying that he could not uphold God’s will and righteousness with the power that he would gain. This shows somewhat of a separation of church and state, a postmodern ideal. Cromwell does not want too much power that he endangers the civil liberty of religious freedom of the people of the Commonwealth. The fact that Cromwell uses God to back support his refusal of the crown intertwines the two again, creating a position in which church and state are somewhat separated. The separation of church and state did not end with the seventeenth century but continued to grow further apart in the enlightenment.
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