9
$\begingroup$

Let's say a setting contained a world like ours. Due to unfortunate circumstances, a large portal to hell opened up in the middle of the planet. Numerous demons spilled out into our reality, overthrowing governments and killing billions of people. These demon hordes were led by devil archons, who settled in various countries and ruled with an iron fist. These nations were essesenti ally turned into torture camps, where humans were enslaved and murdered for the amusement of their overlords.

The only surviving nation would be a powerful theocracy that managed to hold out against the demonic horde. A collection of priests had gained special abilities that are said to come from God. These abilities would be used to form a barrier that would prevent demons from crossing over into this nation. It would also be used to develop a form of "holy tech" that would be specifically developed to fight demons or banish them back to hell.

A religion would develop, centered around worshipping of the one true god. A high council of priests would actively maintain this barrier, while delegating the running of the church to other members. Religious and secular law would become one, with no separation between church and state. Other faiths would be declared heretical, and life would revolve around traditional values and ethics. People would be equal in the sense that they will be judged accordingly by God for their actions in life, but a social hierarchy would develop that individuals would be pressured to abide by and respect.

How can this country sustain it's theocracy while maintaining a limited form of democracy in this setting?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 22 '17 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ See Theodemocracy for an example of others thinking about this concept. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Apr 3 '17 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ Your title says "certain democratic institutions," but doesn't specify which ones. It sounds like you would be well supported by a democratic autocracy (also known as: "You vote, I decide," popular among high school band directors) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 5 '17 at 20:14
4
$\begingroup$

Fear of Failure

Your theocracy is the only thing keeping the demons at bay, so it stands to reason that it's in the population's best interests to keep the theocracy going.

I don't know what any other religious parties can offer except for imminent doom.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

The Theocracy, if somewhat similar in nature to the Catholic church, would almost have to be a meritocracy, as preists are celibate and the titles cannot be inherited. That would be step one. You could build a sort of representative theological federalism by having the local congregations electing their leadership from the local clergy. Those guys represent at a regional level that elects to a state level, that elects to a national level.

The representatives would have to be Ordained to be elected, which would keep the theology relatively consistent. Local communities would be represented and free to communicate up the line all the way to President/Pope.

This should create at least some balance between democracy and theocracy. Not a perfect Utopia, but somewhat plausible.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

I don't think you can afford the risks inherent with a democratic system.

In your situation you have a constant shadow hanging over your citizens: the fear of demonic manipulation and infiltration. Furthermore, it's been proven that only one religion "works", and the continued survival of the species requires that all citizens believe in it, thus granting power to the authorities to repel the demons.

Non-believers, those who stubbornly wish to subscribe to a different religious view, or those who would engage in conversations regarding the nature of your faith, and its interpretations would, for the sake of mankind, have to be silenced - this is not really debatable in your situation, and you can't risk a new government messing with the settings, as it were.

Here are some examples of policies which society might be divided on, and which sly "politicians" might use to garner votes and support for their platform:

  • Taking children away from their parents to train as holy warriors.
  • Indoctrinating all children such that the "belief shields are powered".
  • Forcibly reeducating, or disposing of non-believers, and dissenters.

Can you afford to allow a public debate on these topics, and risk a divided population?

The only check and balance capable of maintaining order in this incredibly tense situation is a highly moral, autocratic ruler who is willing to be fair and just, yet mercilessly pursue the survival of mankind (which sometimes involves making sacrifices that the population at large may balk at).

Otherwise it would be exceedingly easy for an administration to come to power, manipulate public opinion, silence or otherwise get rid of their political opposition, and, using the threat of annihilation, change the system into one which subjugates their fellow citizens.

People will buy into any measures which their leaders claim will stave off eternal torture in the pits of Hell, and unfortunately you do not have the luxury of putting someone in power for 4 years only to determine that they were not really well suited for the job.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There is no fundamental requirement of democracy to have freedom of religion and freedom of speech. A democracy can have an enforced state religion, and restrictions on speech (which most tend to in some form), while still having representative government. Likewise, a totalitarian regime could have complete freedom of religion and speech - those freedoms and democracy are not intrinsically connected. $\endgroup$ – pluckedkiwi Mar 22 '17 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @pluckedkiwi - you're right, I edited my answer. Thanks for pointing that out. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Mar 22 '17 at 17:43
2
$\begingroup$

The Romans managed to create an absolute monarchy while preserving intact the laws and appearance of a republic. A theocracy could obviously do the same. By the way, Roman emperors were, among other things, Pontifices Maximi, great priests... (One thing they were not was emperors, at least not until the end of the 3rd century: they ruled by occupying simultaneosly several key positions in the state, while allowing other people to be elected consuls.) Also look at the Islamic Republic of Iran: it has elections, a parliament, and a president: but it is a theocracy if there ever was one.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Quick note: The title of "Emperor" is derived from the Roman title "Imperator", which roughly translates to "General of the Army", a title which Julius Caesar, and later Augustus and all the others, held. In other words, "Emperor" was just another "key position in the state" they occupied until the end of the 3rd Century, and presumably after that. They probably derived all their civilian power from their position as Pontificate Maximus. $\endgroup$ – No Name Jun 27 '18 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @NoName: They derived their power from the position of speaker of the Senate (princeps Senatûs) and holding the perpetual power of a tribune of the people (tribunicia potestas). Actually when we say that Mr. So-and-so became "emperor" on a certain date that's the date when the Senate gave him the perpetual power of a tribune of the people. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 27 '18 at 21:57
1
$\begingroup$

Have regular elections, the same as usual. I believe the theocracy will always win a majority, if they're the only ones who can stop the demonic hordes, and mention that they'll pull their support if they lose - nice and neat, although somewhat shady on the part of the theocrats. No shadier than regular politics though, really, if you think about it.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So, you are in a system that works, more or less. Up comes some demagogue, qustioning the powers of the priests and their legitimacy. And you think you're safe with the wisdom of the general public. Well. What could possibly go wrong... $\endgroup$ – Burki Mar 22 '17 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry, the theocrats might lose power for one election, but never again after that. $\endgroup$ – Callum Bradbury Mar 22 '17 at 16:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would there be a chance for a next election if they lost? $\endgroup$ – Burki Mar 22 '17 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, presumably they're not fools and wouldn't actually pull all their support when they lost - just enough to get the point across $\endgroup$ – Callum Bradbury Mar 22 '17 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ Also, if they count the votes, they always win. $\endgroup$ – Charles Merriam Mar 22 '17 at 17:42
1
$\begingroup$

Like the Outremer Kingdoms?

Your idea sounds very much like the Outremer Kingdoms -- the Crusader States -- many of them manned by religious military orders (Knights Templars, Knights Hospitallers, etc) along with secular military power from Europe to form a barrier around the Holy Land.

These religious military orders were authorized by the Pope, but largely operated independently.

Church defines "What", State defines "How"

If you look to that medieval example, you will find that the Church defined what was right and wrong, and the State decided how to how ensure that Right is done and Wrong is prohibited, adding in their own laws as needed.

The reality of a horde of demons just outside the barriers would give the populace a common cultural reality - one that nobody could deny. That would help provide a unified society in regards to issues of Faith and Secular law, providing the necessary stability for forming not just a limited democratic republic, but a rather robust and focused one.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I don't think that an actual democracy would be stable for any length of time. You could have such a society until someone high up in the religious branch said, essentially, "do what we want or we just save the few that obey us."

To make things run more smoothly, they may create a fake democracy where people vote for representatives who can make laws but the church has final veto. this would give people an illusion of control (kind of like our current system). Anyone who doesn't like that system or tries to manipulate it would be named a "demon helper" and made an example of. So, if the church suggests a change in a law, the representatives had better implement it.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

One method would be to have a religious and secular branches of government that service checks and balances for each other. What's the same way executive and legislative powers check each other in the American government.

Have a Congress or Parliament made up of elected officials who have the ability to pass laws. But those laws can be vetoed by a religious counsel a priest. That veto again to be overturned by by a vote of three- fourths of the Congress.

Add other checks and balances that will even out the power structure between the secular and religious government bodies.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy