I don't know if there is already a thead on this....
Has anyone else ever considered the notion that when the concept of God leaves from the mind that it is inevitably replaced by the next largest controlling figure in the mind. It used to be the Church using God as an auxillary for control, no, not the other way around as the Church always claims. The Church uses God. Just like the State uses democracy.
The State and Democracy both combine the worship of ones self and the love/mystery of control/creation on an individual and societal level. People worship themselves (for there is nothing higher than man and more familiar than the self) and elevate themselves to the level of God (that which constructs reality). This apotheosis of the self creates the justification for the State [which can be seen as Moses or Jesus or Buddah (that's right I'll say it)]; an instrument of God. In the case of the democracy it is the collective self that is raised to judge, jury, and executioner.
"If it happens in the secular democracy it is because the State made it so!"
Interest rates low? Safe from terrorism? Bad credit/No credit still got a home? Trains run on time? Roads? "Water?" The State says so.
Can the government be bad? Of course. God is as man; flawed. That which is as above so as to that which is as below. It can be corrupted by its practitioners, but no more. In a secuar democracy the vote replaces the traditional interpretation of God's will. For Gods will is the collective self; just as contradictory and unjustified (due to subjectivity) as any other doctrine of belief.
Does any of this make sense?
Dea a statu.
Having said that, Vote JP Morgan 2012!!
I'm neither religious or statist. So I don't know if it is inevitable.
Perhaps God and state are two products of the superego, but sublimated in different ways. But by no means separate. Since most religious people are statist to some degree. Obviously people often want the state to protect their worship or enforce their morality.
Religious belief is culturally universal. Steven Pinker talks about some aspects of this here:
He speculates that it is a "byproduct of cognitive factulties that evolved for other purposes."
Going past what Pinker talks about, the Christian God - conceived as an omnimax absolute - is of very recent origin in terms of the history of religion. The fixation on a single, all-powerful deity seems to me to be an aggrandization of the human capacity to get whipped up in a personality cult (e.g. a rockstar, religious leader, politician, social movement leader) combined with the propensity towards submission to perceived legitimate authority. There is nothing that requires that this complex of beliefs reside in an intangible being "out there", so it is not surprising that when these aspects of human nature are honed by religion but the religious beliefs are later altered (e.g. loss of faith in God) that this is not necessarily followed by a taming of the tendency to attach to personality cults and identify an authority to submit to.
Just to add to Clayton's point about the youth of monotheism, it must be realised that Judaism (and, therefore, its descendants also) owes its origin to the Persian policy of employing gods of conquered localities to bolster the legitimacy of their authority and of their dictates (see the Cyrus Cylinder for references to their policy in Babylon and elsewhere). The various law-codes presented in the Pentateuch are a result of this Persian influence (the establishment of Judaism by the Persians is of course related in the Bible itself, particularly in Nehemiah and Ezra). The Bible also preserves the uses of different Canaanite gods, e.g. Yahweh, El, Baal, towards this purpose - which are usually just translated as 'God' or 'Lord'! For some reason, Yahweh was ultimately chosen as the sole representative of this monopolistic law.
EDIT: By chance I was reading an essay by Herbert Spencer called 'The Great Political Superstition', which can be found in The Man Versus the State. In it, he argues that the worship of the parliamentary or democratic state is a vestige of the divine right of kings. The stucture of the state has changed, but its divine status remains.
His closing thought is:
"The function of Liberalism in the past was that of putting a limit to the powers of kings. The function of true Liberalism in the future will be that of putting a limit to the powers of Parliaments."