The third pillar in the series on the Seven Pillars of Society that I would like to talk about is Religion. As you can tell from the general nature of many of my posts. Religion is one of my favorite topics. Not necessarily my specific faith, although I like to talk about that too, but religion in general. I think that it is such an important part of any society, even for those that don’t profess a religion.
Religion is the organization that provides the standards, mores, and values of a society. Religion needn’t be Christianity. Religions come in almost as many forms as there are societies. Religions often have some form of sacred text that provides a foundation. But since not all societies have writing traditions the written word is not necessary for religion.
Religion often influences the laws that are established and enforced by the government. Religion is usually taught in the home but it can also be taught in schools and churches. Religion also has a great influence on the art and entertainment of a society. Not all of the influence of religion is necessarily toward the faithful, sometimes religion can push laws, art, or families away from the faith. It depends on how the society views the religion.
When I first contemplated the idea that one of the seven pillars of society might take a hierarchical lead over the other six pillars, my first thought was that perhaps it should be religion. After all, religion is God based and if God is at the head then all will be right.
However, I started to further analyze religion has the head of the pillars. The best way to do that was to study ancient societies where religion dominated the other pillars of society. Two key examples stand out to me. The first is the Ancient Hebrews where the leadership was dictated by both family and faith. And while this society was great at one point, it also had its flaws. One example is the rise and fall of David. He allowed his piety to create a pride that lead to his fall.
The second example is the holy roman empire. Where the kings and leaders of the time declared their supremacy because of the holy heritage. The church and the state worked closely together to accomplish the development of society. However, the reality of the story is that both the church and the government became a corrupt oligarchy that made life horrible for the common man.
So, again we see that not even my favorite possibility for dominance among the seven pillars can create a solid foundation for society. While I respect the supremacy of God, I also recognize that man gets in the middle of society and God. Man can become prideful and tear down what God wishes to establish, so not even religion should be the top of the order of society.