The separation of church and state is a fundamental principle in many modern societies that is exalted in the constitutions of many countries. It puts forth that individuals should be free to practice their religion without interference from the state, and the state should neither promote nor endorse any particular religious belief.
Fascinatingly, this idea of separation is a relatively new development. Before the rise of liberal democracy and secular states, church and state were unified, not separated. As religious institutions like the Catholic Church lost their privileged status over the centuries, it ended the state’s endorsement and occasional control of them. Paradoxically, nowadays, state control of religion only happens in communist states.
The separation of government and religion has been a critical factor in pushing forward ideas that religion would never support whilst promoting religious tolerance and reducing religious conflict at the same time. It has contributed to the development of secular democracies, where the state is neutral toward different religious beliefs (or lack thereof!) and does not promote or support any particular religion.
The truth is that neither parties benefit from fusing with one another.
In addition, the separation of government and religion helps prevent both parties from interfering with one another. Faith would have no control or sway in things such as politics and the economy, while the state would have no control in dictating the beliefs and practices of its citizens.
The truth is that neither parties benefit from fusing with one another, as proven by events in history where kingdoms and governments run by state religions descended into turmoil. The fall of monarchies such as the Ottoman Empire and movements like the French Revolution arose from tensions and conflicts brought about by the clash of church and state.
Modern society has shown that the separation of the two is key to promoting religious tolerance, diversity, and freedom of conscience.
Meanwhile, modern society has shown that the separation of the two is key to promoting religious tolerance, diversity, and freedom of conscience. By keeping the state neutral towards different religious beliefs and practices, this principle helps to prevent conflict and promote social harmony – not to mention crack open discourse about eschewing religion altogether.