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< Back to question Is theocracy good? Show more Show less

Theocracy is a form of government in which God or a deity of some type is recognised as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day to day affairs of the government who claim they are in power due to the divine will of their God or gods. Famous theocracies throughout history include the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire where Emperors were often declared gods.

No, there many problems with theocracies Show more Show less

Theocracies are essentially dictatorships and should not be encouraged.
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Theocracy is an excuse for legitimised oppression

By working from religious doctrine, theocratic governments are given excuses to oppress their citizens.
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The Argument

In many states, theocracy an excuse for widespread legitimised oppression especially around gender, sexual orientation or race.[1][2] In many of the Islamic theocracies, the highly patriarchal and discriminatory laws and cultures, leave women with little political capital and agency. For example, only 6% of Iran's parliament is comprised of women, compared to 29% in the US’ House of Representatives. In Saudi Arabia, women only gained the right to drive in June 2019. [3] The compulsory wearing of burquas in places like Afghanistan is another sympol of oppression.[4] Theocracy does not allow citizens the freedom to make many personal life choices: for example, in Saudi Arabia it is illegal to convert from Islam to any other religion.[5] Other restrictions include where people who belong to a different religion might be asked to pay additional taxes, be forbidden to vote, or have other rights restricted that those who follow the faith do not experience.[6] From a business perspective, women leaders provide more consistency, innovation, and leadership compared to their male counterparts, yet their ideas are held back in almost every nation that is structured as a theocracy.[6]

Counter arguments

What religions or societies do not oppress women? Although the visibility of the burqua may be overt, the insidious undermining of women occurs in most countries.[4] Progressive countries like Switzerland didn’t give women the vote until 1971 and rape in marriage did not become a crime in the UK until 1991.[7] Atrocities such as female genital mutilation and foot binding have permeated the ages alongside voting, abortion and contraception rights. These oppressions all cheerfully occur or occurred outside of theocracies.


[P1] In a theocracy, the leaders have absolute rule and have to abide only with religious text. [P2] This leaves a large amount of opportunity for theocracies to contravene human rights.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Contravention of human rights is not unique to theocracies.



This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 12:19 UTC

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