Chapter

Democracy and Religion

Loren J. Samons II

in What's Wrong with Democracy?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236608
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940901 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236608.003.0008
Democracy and Religion

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Study of Athenian society suggests that in drawing social distinctions, moderns may have attempted to thwart or simply ignore a fundamental aspect of human nature. Athens' financing of certain fifth-century military operations with money and treasure dedicated to the polis' gods nicely illustrates the overlapping political, religious, economic, and military aspects of Athenian society. America's democratic ideology and lack of a strong moral matrix mean that modern Americans have few standards by which to judge their actions and choices other than freedom itself. In classical Athens, religion suffused every aspect of public life, from the theater to the military to the political assembly. If democracy has become a religion and the attempt to separate church and state in America has therefore failed, it may be because human societies have such a strong tendency to organize themselves around a set of interlocking principles and beliefs.

Keywords: democracy; religion; Athenian society; America; military operations; church

Chapter.  10335 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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