The separation between “church and state”
The separation between “church and state”
“The concept of “separation of church and state” as well as the Gnostic Christian “fleshy and spiritual” had their roots in the same Greek philosophy which also influenced scholars such as Thomas Jefferson and Immanuel Kant. The fight against the Torah, however, subtly moved into new secular battlefields, and the developing “secular” academic disciplines such as history, philosophy, and sociology all took up the theological sword of Gnostic interpretation to do battle with the Torah of Moses.
It was this concept that developed during the Enlightenment, the concept of secular and religious, or sacred and profane, which is itself a Gnostic concept of the dualistic forms of spiritual and material. This Gnostic view has affected our concept of our own culture. We view Christian Gnosticism as a religious problem, but since there is no artificial separation between the religious and the secular in Judaism, the Noahide sees the problem going much deeper, a poison that has seeped into every aspect of our society. Our modern culture, with its division of “church and state,” can be thought of in terms of being Gnostic secularism—the artificial division of the “religious” with the “non-religious.” This non-Jewish teaching, that there are aspects of the world and of human existence which are outside the boundaries of God’s domain, are themselves ideas that have been influenced by centuries of classical Gnostic thought transmitted through the Church and its seminaries and later through “secular” academic institutions.” (pg 140, Secular by Design – A Philosophy of Noahide Laws and Observances, by Alan W. Cecil)
“It is no longer fashionable to avow a belief in Satan or his entourage of evil archons, but the fact is, nonetheless, that we are dualists. We have divided the world between God and ourselves. Part of what we consider our own, we are willing to turn over to Caesar, but—believing in civil liberties—part we retain as our private domain. Some are willing to share part of this domain with God, but some are very jealous of their privacy and exclude Him from it; they divide the world only between themselves and Caesar. The dualist is either a total or partial atheist. If he totally excludes God, then obviously he is an atheist. If he excludes God from a substantial part of the world, then to that degree he is an atheist.” Konvitz, Torah & Constitution, 57. (quoted on pg 139, footnote 16 ibid.)
The separation between church and state is a rough and inaccurate way of making clear the removal of what is seen as “religion” or faith from the government. It’s like using one’s imagination to see God and related matters on one side of one’s life, and far away from that, on the other side, stands the state, the government and the matters relating to it, like the laws it generates.
Although the sloppy statement “separation between church and state” has an American taint to it, the concept of separating “religion” or faith from the secular or worldly has much longer history and is accepted over much of the world. In fact, the concept may even have been influenced by christian thinking, oddly enough, with its statements about the spiritual and the carnal, the fleshy, giving to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
But despite its possible history and influences, there is something much more telling, more suspicious about this concept of “the separation between ‘religion’ and government/secular.” It is absent from the laws of the Torah, the Law of God. Its absence from Torah is both apparent with regards to the laws that apply to Jews, but also the laws that are directed towards the rest of humanity.
The absence of this artificial separation of life (God and the government) is fairly obvious in the Torah. I mean, think about it! What is the source of Jewish law? God Himself! How can you justifiably separate the Torah from its source? The very idea is totally ludicrous. Added to that, the same body of law that forbid murder forbids cursing God and idolatry. The same body of law that forbid fraud, theft and rape also teaches about the ritual slaughtering of animals to draw near to God, loving God and forbids divination. It’s blatantly obvious that, in the Torah worldview for Jews, the separation between God and government is an idea foreign to God’s Law, a non-Jewish idea. No, not just non-Jewish: it’s a non-Torah idea.
At first, it may not be so obvious for the rest of humanity that the separation between God/personal belief system/personal worldview and government is an “ungodly,” and unrealistic and artificial idea. But there is strong evidence that it, in fact, is such an idea.
It is most important that I start with Torah as its the objective standard on the issue. And in this place, it again becomes obvious that the separation concept is ludicrous in much the same way as it is ludicrous for Jews. In Torah, humanity is commanded to keep seven commandments. What is the source of these commandments? Once again, God Himself! Although a human can keep those laws personally without acknowledging God, the actual laws still can’t be separated from their source in terms of objective reality. And again, remember some of the ways I described the Jewish Torah Law: the same body of law that forbid murder forbids cursing God and idolatry. That statement is exactly the same for humanity on a whole. In addition, the same body of Law that forbids verbally declaring some aspect of creation as one’s own god also forbids injustice in the courts and theft.
Also the Seven Laws are not meant to be simply a personal moral system: They are meant to be the basis of international law. The Law of Justice, about the way how infractions of the Torah Law of humanity are processed in court and the statements of liability for each of the Seven makes this clear. So the Torah Laws for Gentiles do directly impact “religion.” They limit what a person can do religiously.
So with regards to the Torah Laws for humanity, there is no such separation between God and the personal acting out of one’s own belief system on one hand, and government and laws it should be upholding. If an atheist speaks out a curse against God, then Torah mandates that witnesses be brought and he be tried for his action.
Now statements like this won’t be popular amongst devotees of modern government or the religiously apathetic. Unfortunately, many Jews and Gentiles that observe Torah can also be classed as “devotees of modern government.” Articles and documents possessing no inherent authority, such as national constitutions and law codes, are lauded, celebrated and defended by people who should have Torah as their highest standard of life and living (refer to the second of the quotes given at the start of this article). One of those aspects defended by such people is the division between what is deemed “religious” and the government. But personally I see an inherent … the only word I can think of is “hypocrisy” … It seems to fit. Ok, so personally I see an inherent hypocrisy in this position.
On one hand, there is no word for “religion” in Torah, in what is called “Biblical Hebrew.” There doesn’t seem to be a word that exactly or adequately fits the modern idea of religion. Even the thing called “Judaism” (and the bastard notion of “Noahidism”) has no real existence in Torah. The Jews and their Torah were more than the word “religion” can adequately convey. It’s almost as if this thing called “Judaism” is an exile term, a term that helped fit the Jews and their Torah into the Gentile mindset. I believe that for this “fitting” to occur, damage and distortion to the whole glorious world of Torah and Torah observance had to occur. And the damage and distortion persists as long as the Temple and the proper rulership of Israel are not restored, like a festering and deeply ingrained cancer or pollution. And during this time, “Judaism” remains, an entity that is religious, that should be separated from how the lands are governed, even though the Torah shows this sort of thinking to be sub-natural, abnormal, unnatural.
And on the other hand, this secularism, this “governmentalism,” this statism becomes a religion in its own right. It has the rituals (e.g., inaugurations), the priests (e.g., the judges, members of parliament, congressmen), the unseen entity that has more power than any mortal (i.e., the government that outlives its politicians and political parties), the temples (houses of parliament, the white house, the voting booth), the scriptures and commandments (the laws and constitutions) and even statements of faith (e.g., pledges of allegiance). Break any of a significant amount of its copious volumes of commandments and, as has been seen in different countries, especially in the USA but examples exist in other countries, your life is potentially forfeit with an agent of the superhuman entity called “government” having the ability and right to strike you down, capture and kill you, and all too many times, they are held sinless. And even Torah observers bow the knee metaphorically to the “holy” pieces of paper and “hallowed” oral traditions of various countries. In such a state, there can realistically be no division between religion/personal belief system and government because the belief in government is the religion, and dare anyone to oppose it! It’s the same sort of hypocrisy with people against guns: the truth many times isn’t that they are against guns, but rather they want government to have all the guns. In a similar way, the truth is not that people don’t want faith intermingled with how their club of politicians and rulers own their hides, but rather they want the only true faith to be faith in the government in one way or another. Just look at those Americans who want their country to “return” to their chosen scriptures, the constitution, a document written by a few rich white boys who claimed the right to tell others what to do, that didn’t have the voice to speak for every individual in the land at time, and so created an entity called “the people” who, amazingly they got the ability to speak for.
I was speaking to an atheist friend, a friend who admitted that the politicians that somehow represented “government,” especially those that made up the statements that threatened force and coercion, backed up by an army of mercenaries and thugs ready to make real those threats. The threats are called “laws.” Those that made up the threatening statements are the legislators. And the mercenaries and thugs are the police and the judges. Now my atheist friend knew that these people, at the very least the legislators and politicians, generally are not good people. Yet it seemed like the threats they made, the “laws,” were of a different quality. I heard statements like “the law is the law!” and “without government and their law, the world would fall into chaos!” And this friend held the belief that people in general are savage animals and that “law makers” were also not good people. Yet the product of these immoral people, this subset of savage animals, was somehow the means of safety, protection and order. It’s like the law takes on a life of its own, no longer connected to its immoral source. It became “the Law!” something to be honoured and held to.
Strangely enough, I’ve spoken to a number of religiously-apathetic people, and this strange belief about the power of “the Law” is more pervasive than I had originally thought. They appear to believe that “the Law” (remember, in reality that just means a threat coming from a limited human or a group of humans backed up by force) becomes an objective standard, its efficacy having a universal quality as if it filled the world or a country like the effects of gravity. Although they accept no being of actual universal power and presence, like God, this “Law” somehow applied everywhere in the region they desired, as if it were a universal standard of morality. [Man, how many times will people conflate legality with morality!?!?!]
The odd thing is that, realistically – and to say it again – these “laws” are just someone’s opinion in the form of threats, nothing more. Yet it becomes “the Law,” something different than just someone’s opinion imposed coercively on another. Reality says “that dude just threatened you.” Faith (in this case, a personal embellishment on reality having links to idolatry) says “it’s the Law of the land which holds everything together.” How many times have I heard the phrase “the eyes of the law” as if that has meaning, as if the “law” becomes the all-seeing eye?
Now I know that many will agree with some of the sentiments of my atheist friend and the other religiously-apathetic people I’ve spoken to, but that is not the point. The point is that such an irrational faith is put in what are essentially threats from one set of people to another. It’s this faith or a similar variety/strain of it that helps bolster government. It is this faith that is an important part of the existence of government. In a world where faith and belief is meant to be distinct from government and the laws it produces, faith in government and those laws seems to be an important component of society.
And then I look at how people are when it comes to various events linked with government. At election time, you see people almost at fever-pitch about a certain political party or candidate. You see the faces filled with such emotion and faith at the rallies and debates. Something similar can happen at referendums. People become evangelical about sharing their faith in the doctrines of their sect, going door-to-door with their gospel, the bumper stickers, the intense arguments between believers of different denominations and sects. Sometimes believers will flock to high temples and to the priests in order to beseech the gods to grant mercy and turn the heart with regards to different causes, like university fees or foreign policy or austerity measures. It would seem like such faith is rife in nations where faith and belief should be removed, i.e., with regards to government and the formation of is laws. Who knows? If the rich offer the richest sacrifices to the gods, or the priests, i.e., maybe they get a special audience. People used to bow to gods of wood and stone and acquiesce to their representatives just out of dread of the misfortune that can occur, not out of worship. And today we are advised to acquiesce to government threats and its mercenaries (the police) not out of reverence but out of fear of what can happen if you get on their wrong side.
I’ve seen enough of how people treat government and politicians and their arms of force (the “law” enforcers and the various forms of the army) to know that this is not an arena of life that is bereft of faith but rather one where faith is so deeply embedded and intrinsic. In the old days, there were lands where the kings were the gods or the children of the gods or the avatars of the gods and they and their officials were feared as such (both in a reverential way and in a way of dread). That fear had not been removed from the ruling class or society, only made more sophisticated. For me, there’s no strong difference between the faith that is said to be “religious” and that given to the modern ruling class and their human dogs.
So to summarize, the separation between faith/religion and government is a concept alien to Torah, regardless of whether we’re talking about how it applies to Jews or the rest of humanity. And a separation between faith/belief and government seems, for the most part, based on my experience, a figment of imagination since faith turns a human based threat into a superhuman entity that can see all, which moulds society into a safe place, sustaining us all, in which we live, move and have our being. Behold, the invisible Government which outlives its human representatives, and its Law that separates itself from the fallibility and weakness of its human source to the point where even atheists exclaim “the law is the law” as if they’ve uttered something meaningful.
So some may praise the separation between faith and government. For me, on different levels, both the praise and the separation is non-Torah and unrealistic nonsense.