Religion First Falls for Autocratic Power

From “Defending Democracy from its Christian Enemies” by David P. Gushee

Religion and politics were fused in most of these ancient kingdoms, with kings viewed as representatives of the gods or indeed as gods incarnate, and priests serving temples created by and for the political powers. Sacralization of existing dynasties, of course, reinforced the rulers’ perceived legitimacy and thus their effective power. This entanglement of religion and statecraft, and the fantastic ideological, political, and economic powers associated with intertwined religious and political authorities, will be a major theme of this book. The attempt to separate religion from politics is a modern invention and one of the fundamental breaks between most forms of democracy and all prior forms of government.