Mixing Church and StateQUESTION: Is mixing church and state a bad idea?ANSWER:
If we consider all the ways that a church or religion could be mixed with the state, most of them would be perceived as bad. However, to really know if a specific scenario of mixing church and state is a bad idea, we need to clarify our beliefs on religion and what we consider to be a good or bad outcome.
Whether we believe in traditional absolute truth or in relative truth has a huge effect on our religious beliefs and what we consider to be a good outcome.
If we believe in absolute truth we believe that religions can be true or false. With this belief, any type of mixing of a false religion with the state would be a bad idea. In addition, we know the wrong mixing of a true religion with the state would also be a bad idea. Consequently, for the mixing of church and state to ever be a good idea, the religion must be a true religion and it must be mixed in the correct way.
With a belief in relative truth, identifying whether mixing church and state is a bad or good idea is more difficult to ascertain logically. With a belief in relative truth, one can believe any of the following:All roads lead to God. (All religions are true at least to the ones believing in them.)
Some roads may lead to God, but we have no way to know.
No roads lead to God. (There is no evidence to convince us that a true God exists.)
With a belief in #3, mixing church and state would always be a bad idea. However, with a belief in #1 or #2 a case could be made for mixing of church and state is a good idea. Alternatively, a case could be made all the way from that position to it is never a good idea.
A belief in absolute truth is consistent with and usually is associated with a Christian Theistic belief. A belief in relative truth and certainly a belief in relative moral truth would normally be associated with Secular Humanism
beliefs. What one believes to be a good or bad outcome can also be greatly affected by whether one has a Theistic or a humanistic belief. The Theistic belief has a foundation of absolute truth in the Bible. The belief taught in the Bible is that if Godly principles and precepts are followed, the outcome will maximize the welfare and benefit of the specific individual and all others. It will be a good outcome. Who can argue with the fact that if everybody followed the commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." and "Love your neighbor as yourself" that the outcome could be anything but good?
Alternatively, humanistic beliefs place their foundation of what is right and wrong on man's wisdom. Such wisdom is flexible and changes at the whim of who is in control. Consequently, what is considered a good or bad outcome is strictly at the discretion of those in power. Hitler thought the outcome of his endeavor was a good thing. Stalin, Ma,o and Pol Pot all thought what they were doing was a good thing. If we do not attribute the evil of man's inhumanity to man to humanistic beliefs, to what do we attribute it?
We established that if mixing of church and state can ever be a good idea, it could only be possible with the one true religion and in the correct way. Is there a way to establish the truth of a religion and a correct way to mix that religion with our national government to accomplish overall good for the nation? Although we cannot prove the truth of the doctrinal Christian Theism religion based upon a belief in the Bible, we can establish overwhelming evidence of its truth.
This evidence includes historic truth, fulfilled prophesy that could not possibly have happened by random chance, God and Jesus interacting with man, a plan that could never have been conceived of by man and Jesus' life that is completely unexplainable without Him being God.
The evidence that such a true religion and the state can be mixed for the benefit of the nation could not be better demonstrated than the mixing of doctrinal Christian Theism and in the founding of our country. The establishment clause in the constitution was directed against the establishment of a denominational, organizational religion not the Christian doctrinal religion based upon a belief in the Bible.