Hegel on religion and state
Hayrioğulları, Eda (2010) Hegel on religion and state. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1304448 (Table of Contents)
This thesis analyzes the relation between religion and state in G. W. F. Hegel's thought. There is an agreement in Hegel literature that Hegel affirms both separability and inseperability of religion and state. This seemingly contradictory affirmation constitutes the main problematic which this work attempts to provide a clarified solution. To understand the true nature of the problem, Hegel's Early Theological Writings has been analyzed first. In these works, Hegel identifies the basic principle of Christianity to be freedom but takes state as a coercive institution. To overcome this opposition which is also alienating, Hegel later posits a theory of modern state which is based on freedom. Indeed, this thesis argues that including the earliest writings on religion, Hegel has always argued for separation of religion and state at institutional level, but objected to their opposite conceptions in his later thought. Hegel attempts to resolve this opposition by positing unity of religion and state at historical and metaphysical levels. Historically, modern state is realization of freedom which emerges first in Christianity and shares the same content of truth and same principle of freedom with religion at metaphysical level but has a different form of expression. For Hegel, not their unity of content but different forms should be institutionalized as a political principle. In conclusion, Hegel's state is secular at institutional level but at the level of thought, his understanding of secularity, by providing a common basis to state/religion, reason/faith antitheses, is distinguished from Enlightenment which can not overcome these dichotomies.
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