As someone who has never belonged to an organized church and always hated theocracy and religiously-feuled statism, I find very interesting Laurence’s statement that he is “inclined to agree with something one of [his] readers wrote [him]: ‘It does seem that the combination of government + religion has caused more suffering and death than any other force in the universe.'”
Surely, a belligerent state whose rulers think they have God on their side is tough to beat in viciousness and arrogance. Those who believe that the powerful state is the way to enforce God’s will are dangerous and scary in a very serious way.
However, when I consider atheist governments such as Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, and I think of religion when it’s peaceful and not tied to the state, I tend to think that as much of a problem as Church and State are as a combination, what the principal problem is in the combination is obviously not the Church.10:56 pm on January 27, 2006 Email Anthony Gregory