On Mon, 30 Jul 2018 00:01:55 +1000, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt Post by Dingbat
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as
false, and by the rulers as useful. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Can a ruler who finds religion useful be described as "religious"?
Or does he need to be a fervent believer to be "religious"?
I'm not sure that that's the dichotomy that you suggest. It's more
than possible to be a believer (I don't think fervency is necessary)
and still find religion politically useful, just as it is to be a
master politician and still believe.
Post by Dingbat
I ask because this article has Putin being religious on the basis
that he supports the Orthodox church
I don't think that's an explanation. Merely an adjunct. He is
religious *and* supports the Eastern Orthodox Church.
I find that implausible. It's more likely that he is a non-believer, and
supports the Eastern Orthodox Church as a matter of political convenience.
I conjecture, furthermore, that much the same is true for the leaders of
many Western nations. They find it politically convenient to support
whatever the established church is, but privately do not share the
values of that church.
This is one detail in which I declare myself proud to be Australian. We
have had leaders who were openly atheistic, and we continued to vote for
them. I can't support all of the avowed values of my country, but
this at least I solidly support.
 I will certainly never support the "my country, right or wrong"
philosophy, which I consider to be particularly evil. Why would any
honest person refuse to attempt to fix the flaws of their country?
This gives the etymology of the saying:
Originally Stephen Decatur, in an after-dinner toast of 1816–1820:
“Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she
always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!”
Later amended as, and often attributed to, Carl Schurz, 1872.as,
“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if
wrong, to be set right.”
Frequently used either as an expression of jingoism (extreme
patriotism), in the sense “I will stand by my country whether it be
right or wrong”, or to attack such patriotism as unthinking:
“‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would
think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”
— G. K. Chesterton
I'm not sure what Chesterton is saying there. Does he conider that a
patriot would never see his/her country as being wrong?
Peter Duncanson, UK