The Catholic churches sold pie in the sky to the working classes for centuries, urging them to accept their downtrodden role in life as religiously sanctified. Yes, this life is terrible, they said, but this is your lot in life, essentially ordained by God and religion (notice the connection with Hindu caste here) to live this life, there is glory, beauty and valor in suffering, after all suffering being at the heart of Christianity since He died on the cross.
Revolting now would be a sin, the Church preached. I am not sure how they conjured up how it was a sin, but perhaps given the connections between religion and the state in those days the priests said that the monarchs were ruling via God and hence rebellion would be rebellion against God and religion itself. How can you fight a war against God, Jesus and the Bible? Talk about a heresy! And in this way, the people were calmed.
The Nepalese Hindus were told the same thing and hence they were banned from rebelling against the state. If you prayed, lived a good life as sin-free as possible or at the very least had your sins absolved regularly, you could accept your miserable lot in this earthly life on the grounds that if you lived religiously properly, you could have “pie in the sky when you die.”
In other words, keep your head down, don’t complain too much, don’t rebel, accept your lot in life and just try to be a good Christian you will rewarded with an eternity in Heavenly bliss when you die. You wonder why the early Marxists hated religion so much and called it the opium of the people. I believe it was mostly for this reason – religion sapping the normal revolutionary will of the people in service to a powerful elite who abused the common people.
As noted above, in Europe it was common for the monarchs to claim to be ruling in God’s place acting via intercession in place of God Himself and religion.
In this sense, the monarchs in Old Europe were God. There were the people and then God and religion. In between stood the priesthood and especially the monarchs. The latter in particular made great pains to show that they had been chosen directly by God to rule and that it was actually God and religion which was ruling the people via the monarch.
In ancient times, it was supposedly not uncommon for rulers to claim to be ruling in place of God or via God. In this sense, God and religion themselves were ruling the people and the monarch was simply a pawn, a tool of the Gods, forced to implement the will of God and religion and an intercessionary conduit. The ruler was barely even a human. He was in fact something of a Human Pipeline, transmitting the will of religion and God to the people via decrees and rules. If you are being ruled by God and religion themselves, how can one revolt.
The Hindu monarchy in Nepal does the exact same thing.
I am not sure the extent to which the Muslim rulers pulled this off as intercessionary prayer is supposedly banned in Islam as being one step from idolatry while also being a prohibited innovation. However, many of the sultans and imams who ruled the Arab World were in a sense religiously sanctified often by being the genetic line of Muhammad himself. If you are being ruled by Muhammad’s descendant via the laws that Muhammad laid down himself with the imam being in a sense intercessionary to Mohammad, God, and religion (though never stated explicitly as such).
So the same thing was going on in the Arab World except that noticing it and stating it out loud were virtual heresies akin to saying that the ruler himself was a heretic.
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