Is the adoption of the Christian religion by State supposed to come before or after the people accepts it?
The people, in a free society, will be able to convert to Christianity, and to leave it. Once one is a Christian, he will obey and try to understand Christian teaching and will show humility before orthodoxy, orthopraxis and the saints. The relationship of obedience and piety starts with the individual recognizing the authority of God, His all-lovingness, His co-suffering love and the very legitimacy of His authority.
In a society with some secularity, a religion will be established as a separate entity from the State – the Western Augustinian model is a good example. If the people are to find spiritual and/or moral excellence, they will just as easily consent to the authority of the religious establishment as they have consented to obey the State. It is in the very “state of nature” of man to obey and to be social, so there should be no problem as long as there is no longer an irreligious establishment or if it loses its legitimacy in the people’s eyes.
If the people are left alone from every moral authority, they will sink to the brink between moderate virtuousness and moderate viciousness. They will barely be able to live in the context of the family, and it will not take long before an economic elite starts repressing the small man. I am not Hobbes – but neither am I Locke, Rousseau, or even Chesterton. That which doesn’t progress towards virtue doesn’t stagnate, but sinks into vice.
In same way, if left without religion, they will sink into superstitions – just like today we have astrology and the occult. So, a truly democratic or even anarchistic religion is the pagan folk religion – that which comes naturally from the people themselves. But most of the great religions and philosophies didn’t come from the superstitions of the people, but from teachers (the spiritual 1%) – the Buddha, Confucius, the Lao Tzu, Zeno, Pythagoras, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed.
But there is a problem today. The people have been persuaded by the liberal State (who used the people’s obedient nature) that authority is bad, and even though it continues to be obeyed in many domains, in the domain of religion there is almost a social dogma against becoming deeply immersed in religion. Irreligion and cultural liberalism and libertinism come from the State just as from the economic for-profit consumer-capitalistic elite.
So – I wonder – how are the people to become Christian again? The extreme secularity of the Western States does not let any religion have access to the consciousness and culture of the people. (Speaking of culture, I think that in fact Western traditional indigenous culture is only a little divorced from religion – it is most often simply put as a museum artifact, not the living spirit of a people.) Some States don’t even have a formally established church.
In order to rechristianize the peoples of the West, we must find an authentic way to counter-revolt against this religious anarchism. Culture must be revived, and religion will thus be more easily established, since both are going to reinforce the return of a social consensus of beliefs.
I reject caesaropapism and theocracy (in the sense of rule by the established religion’s clergy), and I think that religious minorities should have freedom to practice (tolerance – nothing more), as long as natural law is not violated by, for example, human or infant sacrifice. The recognition of some religions as cults (judging their psychological impact on men) may be necessary. A proper liberal education should also be encouraged, in order for the individuals to truly fulfill their humanity.
But I think that establishment of a religious authority should come before the acceptance of a religion by society – authority must first announce itself to the public before it can be recognized as legitimate.
One people, one identity, one religion!