Religious Beliefs caused the demise of Kingship
Religious Beliefs Caused the Demise of KingshipThe concepts of religion and kingship are important in understanding the development of civilization. In the olden days, the king used to be viewed as a divine being; for his people, he was the manifestation or agent of the holy. Different communities around the world had their unique ways of selecting their chiefs and ensuring that the royal lineage transitions smoothly. As the people’s religious beliefs grew, the “sacred kingship” steadily declined. As the decades went by, the kings slowly lost their exalted position with the people. Their subjects then started to view them as leaders appointed by God, to divinely represent him on earth. The kings were considered responsible for the people, but religion taught he people to believe that if the Kings did not serve them well, they did not gain entry into the celestial realm when they passed away. This paper discusses how religious beliefs led to the demise of kingship based on Francis Oakley’s book “Kingship.”
The book in discussion traces the history of the practice of Kingship around the globe and the tenacity of its relation to the sacred. It talks about the cruel and oppressive to the less powerful figureheads from the New Stone Age period to the present times. Oakley, inside his book, takes into account, the many forms of kingships that existed during this time. These types included: The ancient Egyptian pharaohs, the Maya rulers from Mesoamerica, the Japanese emperors, the medieval popes as well as French and English monarchs of the early modern Europe. Apart from this, the author explores a complete array of the different roles that different kings from various kingdoms had to execute. Some of these functions included military roles, judicial functions, administrative duties, fiscal obligations, symbolic and religious services.
Oakley challenges common belief that that the intrinsically secular politics of today originates from the ancient world. The book recognizes that particular questions that come up about God’s existence must be left out of political thought because a “materialist philosophy” is only possible if one believes that God does not exist. In his book, Oakley argues that the modern secularism that exists in politics today might be attributed more to the medieval period than it would be to the ancient world. Oakley puts forward a perspective in which the ancient to medieval passage is considered to be from spiritual awareness to another and not from a secular to a natural one.
Kingship had been the most widespread form of human governance for a long time. Throughout this time, kings have been considered to be sacred beings. As religion was being developed, this aspect of kingship was slowly washed away. The Constantine age is deemed to signify the coming together of two legacies; the biblical religion and the traditional kingship. The biblical religions introduced the people to the new belief about one God being superior to any other creature on earth. This new faith that was growing inside the people placed critical limits on the sacrality accorded to the kings or any earthly authority other than God. This development disenchanted the world and made it difficult to look at the state as “the embodiment of the cosmic totality.” The traditional Jewish views then started incorporating moral views in their political system. Theirs stressed the superiority of the Messiah and the supernatural nature of the kingdom he would found. The Kings were soon seen as ordinary men with the little authority to watch over the rest for God.
As the church grew, so did the threat to the survival of kingship. After a while, the church became fully developed and could be considered to have an equal capacity to a kingdom. Thye churches could now undertake many of the functions that were specially set aside for the Kings. Before, the king was seen as the person responsible for bringing blessings to all the people within his area of control. With the development of religion, this role was now trusted more in the hands of religious leaders than in the hands of Kings. In most kingdoms, the King also had religious duties. In Egypt, the king also doubled up as the chief priest; a task that soon went away as people’s religious beliefs diversified and “specialization of spiritual labor’ found its footings inside kingship.
In conclusion, the kingship today, according to “Kingship” by Francis Oakley, has declined majorly due to religious beliefs. In the past, the King used to be viewed as a god with extraordinary abilities that the people simply could not afford not to have. When Christianity came around, these beliefs changed. The king was now seen as God’s chosen custodian and as time went by the people realized that they could do without a king. There are still some countries today that operate with Kings as the highest authority, but even in these countries, churches still have a robust network. The change in religious beliefs can, therefore, be said to have significantly impacted on the demise of Kingship.
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