The rule of law and religion

"The rule of law, understood as rules that are binding even on the most politically powerful actors in a given society, has its origins in religion. It is only religious authority that was capable of creating rules that warriors needed to respect." -- Fukuyama, p. 11

It is interesting, in view of the massive amount of historical evidence showing the positive role that religion has played in ordering social life, how little heed the New Atheists pay to this data. Honest scholars who are nonbelievers, such as Fukuyama, Eco, or Hayek, have not had this blind spot.


  1. Some new atheists. I agree Dawkins and Hitchens only ever see the costs. Not so true of Harris, and certainly not true of Dennett.

    Not just new atheists, old fashioned ones too. I have seen old style leftists deny that for instance William Wilberforce's religion had anything to do with his views on slavery. Utterly daft.

  2. Up to a point. If your civilisation adopted the idea that it should be ruled by divine law (Sharia, Laws of Manu) that turned out to have seriously negative effects in the longer run. Christendom and Japan were both advantaged in that they had secular laws which were much more adaptable to circumstances.

  3. Replies
    1. ECO Eco eco...

    2. Narcissus Eco, a well known Italian gardner who has named several roses.


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