The kingdom of God and the city in light of secularization

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE 

MACHADO, Ilo Rodrigo de Farias [1]

MACHADO, Ilo Rodrigo de Farias. The kingdom of God and the city in light of secularization. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 06, Ed. 07, Vol. 07, pp. 186-203. July 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access Link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/theology-en/light-of-secularization

ABSTRACT

The close relationship between religion and the State is born with the very creation of the city in which religion intervenes in its entire civil and political structure. The advent of Christianity proclaims a change in this relationship as it seeks to separate political power from religious power. However, the State appropriates Christianity as an institutionalized instrument of government. This proximity between religion and the State, now with the institutionalization of Christianity, is opposed to the various social transformations that led to the emancipation of what was considered “profane” of religion revealing secularization as a phenomenon that rewrites the values of a society free of religion. The problem that presents itself is to know, in this context of secularization, what is the possible interaction between the Kingdom of God and the city government. Through the use of bibliographic research, it was observed as a result that, despite the strong relationship of religion with the city, there is a clear division between them. Thus, as a conclusion, what has been observed is that the Kingdom of God does not come to fruition with the assumption of someone in power, nor can it be perceived with its conjunction with the State. The Kingdom of God is the government of God in the life of man that is incomer in man himself and not in the State.

Keywords: Secularization, Religion, Secularity, Kingdom of God.

1. INTRODUCTION

The proximity of relations between the State and the Religious Community is a matter that deserves attention both for the political/legal phenomenon, as well as for the philosophical/theological phenomenon. This relationship, in a plural environment, especially in Brazil, with a Christian majority, can conflict with the legitimate interests between the values of the Church and the State, such as cases related to homoaffective unions, abortion, divorce, etc.

The relationship of Christianity with the city, despite the evident separation between the kingdom of this world and that of Christ, became a mixture between the sacred and the profane, causing the State to take over the Christian faith using it as the basis of its social control, creating a confused dialogue between the foundations of the Christian faith and the person of the emperor.

For these reasons, it is intended to study the relationship of religion with the city, creating a necessary cut out between what can be understood as the Kingdom of God and its relationship with the city, thus showing what, in fact, can be understood as the Kingdom of God.

2. RELIGION AND THE CITY

The history of man’s relationship with the State, even if of a predominantly civil nature, was based on a religious root. It was natural for man to submit to the commands of his rulers for understanding that they played a divine role to be executed on earth through his orders. The subordination of one man to another, even if faced with a genealogical bond, was not merely due to hierarchical reasons, obedience was considered because of the religious veneration built by their common ancestors.

As almost all human societies have organized themselves at some point in tribal form, many are tempted to believe that this is somehow a natural or biologically motivated state of things. However, it is not clear why you should cooperate with a fourth cousin instead of with an unrelated acquaintance just because with your cousin you have in common a sixtieth quarter of your genes.

[…]

The reason why this form of social organization predominated among human societies was religious belief, that is, the veneration of dead ancestors. […] It is the belief in the power of the dead ancestors over the living that leads tribal societies to adhere, not a mysterious biological instinct. (FUKUYAMA, 2013, p. 78).

Family union did not only generate a sentimental bond between family members. The union was due to religion that was marked by the common belief of the ancestors, making the ancient family a strongly religious community, according to Coulange (1961), it was an association more focused on sacred fire and religion than a simple natural union.

It is noteworthy, therefore, that although religion was not the one that effectively created the family, it was she who standardized it. The family, in turn, did not expand by itself, and over time it became a city. It is not a family nucleus that, expanded, generated the city, on the contrary, human society did not expand as a single circle, it is formed by the congregation of several groups, being certain that it was the religious perspective regarding the cult that enabled this new association for expansion (COULANGES, 1961).

The religious connection within that family nucleus would hardly allow strangers to participate in that connection. The family, united by the sacred, in principle, would not authorize the participation of third parties. Over time, the union of tribes became viable, and this viability was left possible provided that the worship of the divinity of each one was respected. This is how several groups, gathered together each around their sacred, established alliances capable of forming the city. This possibility of union, established with the alliance between the members of various groups, becomes the initial term of the existence of the city (COULANGES, 1961).

As an example, the tribes of ancient Israel were groups of families, united by a common offspring, and who used the name of their ancestors preceded by the word “son”:

The Tribe is an autonomous group of families who consider themselves descendants of the same ancestor. It is named after the first or last name of your ancestor, preceded or not as “children of”. The Arab examples are innumerable. In the Bible, the group of the descendants of Amalek, of lidom, of Moab, are called Amalek, Edom, Moab without the addition of “sons of”. However, it says “Israel” or “children of Israel”, “Judah” or “children of Judah” etc., and always “children of Ammon”, except two cases, of which one is textually uncertain. In place of “children”, one can say “house” (in the sense of family, descent): “the house of Israel”, above all, “the house of Joseph”. (VAUX, 2003, p. 23).

The founder performed the religious act that would allow the existence of the city itself, and was therefore respected and, when killed, dedicated it worship. One might think that political institutions emerged only after this religious act of creation of the city, however, it is to be realized that these, the political institutions, were born in fact, with the city itself. Therefore, it is at the birth of the city that its social structure is already revealed. In this sense, for example, just as the family, gathered before the sacred, set up a chief, a supreme priest, the city should also have its priest, someone who could exercise certain authority legitimized by divinity. For these reasons, it does not cause strangeness that the rules that organized the city were of dual nature, that is, they were of a religious and civil nature.

We must not forget that, in ancient times, what constituted the bond of all society was worship. Just as the domestic altar held together around the members of a family, so the worship of a city was the gathering of those who had the same protective gods, and who celebrated religious acts on the same altar. (COULANGE, 1961, p. 128).

This link between religion and family was important for the birth of the city itself. It was not the city created to then have a union around a deity, on the contrary, it was the union around the deity(ies) that allowed the prototype of the creation of the city. It was the religious bond that allowed the formation of the city. At its birth, what you had was a strongly religious city, marked by legislation that mixed profane rights with rights linked to the determinations of a deity. The subordination of one member over another was almost exclusively for reasons of belief. Such facts occurred considering that we were facing a city that arises around a divine belief and that puts over itself an administrator who mixes the figure of the priest with the figure of the emperor.

According to Coulange (1961), strongly religious, the city consisted of a place destined for sacrifices. As it was created in Greece, it was a place of public banquets around divinity, believing that salvation would come from the banquet. It was the meal a sacred act within the city. The festivals were also religious marks that prevailed strong. There was the destination of special days that were intended to please the gods, making all that was sacred become a feast. Considering this number of religious events, the calendars were actually a succession of religious festivals. Therefore, the days were not regulated by the sun and the moon, but by the laws of religion that were different between cities. Even assemblies were only possible through determinations of religion. The assemblies had rites, their meetings were in temples, as in the case of the Rome Senate, and the tribune to be used was seen as a sacred place.

Thus, it is perceived that the city became a reflection of the religious rites of the ancient families, being linked to a deity with whom it maintained a relationship of subordination, creating norms of a religious nature with civil effects, functioning, since its creation, in a politically structured way around the rites of religion and electing for itself an emperor with “special powers” before divinity and the whole community.

3. THE EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND THE CITY

The “way of being a city” suffers a profound resignification with the presence of Christianity, which, in a way, facilitated the process of untying the figure of the priest with that of the head of state. Christianity not only emerges as a simple religion, but also as a religious vision that became a winner in the face of other models of religion, influencing the philosophical models of its time, marking the end of an era. The “victory of Christianity marks the end of ancient society” (COULANGES, 1961).

The change produced by Christianity is observed when, from a religious dogma in which each people had one (several) god(s) who protected(s) exclusively, generating norms that would manage the relations between men, that is, of an individualistic relationship of a city (nation) with their god(s) became a universal God, unique, which meets, alone, all worlds, placing it out of visible nature, that is, outside the city. It was no longer a God of only one race, but of a God who reached the world indistinctly. To men, in general, v.g. foreigner, reciprocity was created in duties of justice. In spite of the city and religion being united in one form in antiquity, with Christianity, considering the works of Jesus Christ, there was the separation of the empire of this world from the “divine empire”, that is, it is with Christianity that the indication of the existence of a divine empire that would not be of this world arises.

Instead Jesus Christ teaches that his empire is not of this world. It stifbes religion from government. Since religion is no longer earthly, mescuse in the things of the earth as little as possible. Jesus Christ adds, “Let Caesar know what is Caesar’s, and to God what is of God.” —It is the first time that God from the State is so clearly distinguished. Because Caesar at that time was still the supreme pontiff, the chief and chief organ of the Roman religion; he was the guard and interpreter of the beliefs; kept in his hands the worship and dogma. His person was sacred and divine; because it was precisely one of the characteristics of the politics of emperors, desirous of regaining the attributes of ancient royalty, not to forget this divine character that antiquity attributed to the kings-pontiffs and to the founding priests. But behold, Jesus Christ breaks this covenant that paganism and empire wanted to renew, proclaiming that religion is no longer the state, and that obeying Caesar is not the same as obeying God. (COULANGE, 1961, p. 355/356).

An important reflection of this perception, that is, that there is a “divine empire” and an “earthly empire”, and that the priest no longer figures as head of state, is the breaking of the emperor’s identification with divinity. The figure of Augustus, of the divine, is no longer perceived in the emperor. Cease the emperor to be the one who possessed God’s decrees upon men. The departure thereof, obeying the emperor no longer meant the same thing as obeying the divinity.

Christianity thus creates the man who has different relationships with the State and with divinity. The calendar, the banquet, the feasts, the religious norms with civil effects, the emperor, the priest, everything begins to be re-meant with Christianity. However, this victory of Christianity over the religious culture of the city, despite the express dichotomy presented by Jesus about his kingdom and the kingdom of this world, was not enough for there to be a separation between the civil environment and the religious environment, and it is certain that what occurred took place on the opposite path to the path taught by Jesus.

What happened was that the Christian religion was for a long time persecuted, coming into existence under strong state intolerance. With the cultural transformations that occurred because of a teaching that proclaimed Christian values, as well as the revolutionary character of Jesus’ message, Christianity had not only the State as its manifest enemy. The religious powers that saw their prestige scoff ed in the face of the expansion of Christian values throughout the world.

The persecution of Christians, after leaving many dead, and making some move away from their Christian practices without, however, being raised for new religious practices, ended with the figure of Constantine who, after revelation about a sign on which he would win the battle over the bridge of Mérvia, challenged most of his subjects and came to regard the Christian Church as fundamental to the city. With this, after increasing percentage of adherents to Christianity, the next centuries saw a Christianity built under the foundations of state power. It is at this moment that Constantine, according to Veyne (2011), places the Church at the center of the Empire:

From the famous stories referring to saul’s persecutions for the capture of Christians, and then, now as Paul, a victim of the persecution he once defended, Christianity was created as a marginal religion, without a temple, with no place to worship, being perceived as a pagan movement. However, it is in the 4th century, with the conversion of Constantine, that Christianity, previously persecuted, takes a leading role with state power. From persecuted, over time, as Veyne (2011) attests, Christianity has led to being a strong and dominant institution within the powers of the State.

Over time, the transformations that the State has undergone have led to the control of morals, culture and religion by Christianity. There was no social autonomy, leaving on the head of the Catholic Church the time and spiritual powers.[2]

The east of the ancient world was the stage on which the Christian Church begins its history (Dreher, 2002). However, in 1486 the term Holy Roman Empire was first adopted to identify this formatting between Church and State. Identifying this institution as “Holy Empire” goes beyond a simple nomenclature, serving to, in fact, show the notion of a superior dominion of this empire over the entire cosmos. It is a surrogacy of the powerful Roman Empire for the then now powerful Holy Roman Empire. As an example, it has been in the figure of Charlemagne, as the first Western regent of the Middle Ages, crowned by the Pope himself, even in the 8th century, that the idea that the powerful Roman Empire is replaced by the Roman Empire. The coronation of the king by the Pope was an act that came to be commonly repeated by the next emperors, and with this, the king would not simply be an Emperor, but someone who has grace, transnational power and saving dignity.

The participation of the Church in the center of the Empire took place in a period marked by great movements, among them, there was a period of militarization of the Church (there were more than 7 (seven) crusades). In addition said, the search for theological knowledge began to question this participation of the Christian Church in, and with, the State. In this process, profane law arises from theology, which made a contradiction between theology and political domination, thus initiating the process of secularization.

It is Marsilius of Padua who, in 1324, tries to drive the priest away from the empire, since the priest would have legitimacy for Divine Laws that would not be coercive, which would be contrary to the human law that imposes punishment. Because it is the law that is the object of obedience of the people, and which seeks the common good of citizens, such power must be detached from the pope and passed exclusively to the emperor. Not only was it enough, in addition to contradiction about the orthodoxy of the Church, there was already a tension between the richness of the Church and the Christian precepts which, in addition to all that has been said, did not support the infallibility of the pope or the Roman Church (MIRANDA, 2017). It is from the 10th century, with the political strength of the Roman Church, that a singular political organization came into existence in Europe, as established as the Holy Roman Empire.

From the 10th century to the nineteenth century there was a unique political organization in Europe, which has shown to have different characteristics in the various generations. The official name of this organization was this: Holy Roman Empire, although in common but incorrect form, it was called the Germanempire. Until its appearance, Europe situated to the west of the Adriatic Sea lived in complete disorder, ruled by warrior tribes rather than being ruled by states. After all, in the midst of so much confusion, the ancient Roman concept of order and unity remained an aspiration for an empire to occupy the place of the Roman Empire which, even though it disappeared, was still traditionally venerated. (HURBULT, 1979. p. 141).

The city then seemed to return to the initial values that fostered the relationship of religion with the city, namely the meeting around a priest instituted by God and which, therefore, must be obeyed, not only because he is emperor, but because he is the priest of the city.

It is in this environment that the Protestant Reformation takes place, begun in Germany and spreading throughout northern Europe. The invention of the press, the nationalist spirit of Europe against foreign authority over its churches, highlighting the possibility of reducing ecclesiastical power, were the first steps in the process of the Protestant Reformation. It was João Tetzel[3] who, on the blessings of Leo X, began to sell leaflets signed by the Pope who aimed to grant forgiveness to the owners of the bull, his friends, dead or alive. It’s against Tetzel that Luther stands up. With luther’s theses, Europe suffers the effects of the Reformation which spreads in a non-uniform way throughout its continent, initiating a process of openness and untying between the Church and the power of the State. It is at this moment that, as never before, space is opened for the process of secularization.

It is noteworthy that it was not only in Germany that the spirit of reform took place, and it is certain that this movement was welcomed in several European countries. As an example, according to Hulbert (1979), while in Italy and Spain the movement was stifled, in France and the Netherlands the cause of the Reformation was uncertain, but to the north, the new religion became victorious.

It is the reform a movement of profound political and social transformations, but is not a cause of such events. The Reformation deepens changes that already existed, the result of various movements of its time and, despite the strong reflections of the French Revolution on modernity, the Reformation is listed as its propellant, propellant of subjectivity.

The German philosopher Georg W. F. Hegel advocated the idea that modernity began from the Reformation and not, first, from the French Revolution (DICKEY, 2014, p. 358). Not disregarding the debate that Hegel promotes around the French Revolution, we seek the place of the Reformation in the thinking of the German philosopher for what is proposed at that time. When Jürgen Habermas (1989, p. 28) points out the emergence of Modernity for Hegel from the Reformation, he does so from a reading key, namely subjectivity – “Hegel first discovers subjectivity as the beginning of the Modern Age”. (GONÇALVES, 2017, p. 53).

Despite this new model for the practice of the Christian religion, Christianity came to be perceived as a religion whose end was nearing. It was Christianity, of this fate, because of modernity, individualism and reform, doomed to a final term. It was an overcoming of belief, an overcoming of the supernatural.

Joas (2014: 13) and Stark (1999: 249) cite Thomas Woolston, a theologian and free English thinker, as one of the earliest exponents of the idea that the (Christian) religion would have a limited future. Woolston wrote in the 1710s that by the year 1900, Christianity disappeared. (MONIZ, 2019, p. 53).

Thus, the relationship between Christianity and the city reveals, in Jesus, a new model of relationship between the priest and the State. However, after numerous persecutions suffered by Christians, this intimate relationship between the priest and the city again occurs causing the persecuted Christian Church to become the center of an entire empire, namely the Holy Roman Empire that surrogacy the Roman Empire in force. This union between Christianity and the State raised strong questions, generating a search for knowledge that was far from the intellectual domain of religion leading to a distancing from religious norms from civil law norms, and the reform movement that questions, among many other things, will emerge , the authority of the priest and the church over the city.

It is in the transformation of the world that the sacredness of the profane is between that a new “way of being” arises in which there is the emancipation of knowledge, morals and the right of religion. This is the process of secularization.

4. SECULARIZATION

The study of the term “secularization” should take into account that it can offer a universality of possibilities for understanding about the phenomenon that surrounds it. This word can be better studied when one perceives a diversity of historical-anthropological perspectives on the subject. At first, one must take into account the historical moment in which its conceptualization is sought:

According to some scholars, the semantic burden of the word saeculum (of secus or sexus) still requires new historical exegesis-anthropological, in order to explore the possible linguistic links involved in it, in particular those between sex, generation, age of man, time of government, duration of life, maximum period of one hundred years, etc. (CATROGA, 2004, p. 52).

In a second moment, one must perceive the phenomenon of secularization beyond a single social context, that is, it is not a theme affection only religion, but is affection for law, philosophy, sociology, economics, the public, the private. Secularization serves as a form of resignification of these areas, resonating the public, the religious and the private, differentiating, according to Catroga (2004), the political domain of the spiritual.

In a third moment, secularization serves to identify time characterized as the “now”. It serves to identify a physical environment, the profane, thus separating them from the sacred, the eternal, the spiritual. It is, according to Catroga (2004), a qualification for pagans separate from the figure of clerics. The term “secular” also came to be used to define non-salvation-oriented activities. This fact generated a cutout within the Church as it identified those who could serve with the delivery of the sacraments, but did not have the charism of the Holy Spirit:

In a historical perspctiva, it is possible to say that secularization has been established not only as a phenomenon that guarantor s of individual freedoms, but also as an important legal-political phenomenon in the construction of the social life of communities in its most diverse structural panoramas. It is the distancing of religion from the center of state power, rerealising it in a space of equal stature from other discourses, generating a process of autonomy of religious discourse, without, however, extirating other ways of seeing the world. With secularization the State is no longer one that holds knowledge and direction of the world as prescribed the transcendent being that guides it, that is, there is a transfer of centrality between man and divinity, with it occupying the center of decisions. In this context, for multifactorial issues, it is observed that secularization becomes a phenomenon whose analysis decants a complex contextual look. First, because the state/divinity relationship is not recent, on the contrary, it seems to accompany man since its creation and, second, because the State emancipates itself from religion through different ways of being political, social and cultural.

The process that reveals the phenomenon of secularization occurs with the foundations of the thoughts that enabled modernity. It is with the so-called modernity that secularization comes to life. Souza (2012) indicated this relationship between secularization and modernity, which is secularization, a peculiar phenomenon of this.

The transformations resulting from modernity, bringing a new perception about the role of the State in its social structures, did not leave out religion and its institutions. It cannot be said that such changes had a physical basis, that is, they are daughters of a specific place. These changes, according to Moniz (2017), are the fruit of a spirit of that time.

In this context of the impossibility of indicating a physical and static place on the origin of secularization, it can also be said that secularization is not the result of a single movement, such as the decline of religion. Secularization is within a process that precedes the very movement of Christianity:

Like Marramao (1998: 13), Kate (2015: 207) explains that the origins of secularization have little to do with the current idea of religion’s decline. On the contrary, its roots could be found in the process of slow transformation of the axial revolution and the advent of Christianity, more specifically, in the etymus protochristian saeculum (and in its metamorphosis, Marramao would add). Secularization would therefore be part of this legacy, drinking from its achievements, dilemmas and failures. (MONIZ, 2017, p. 134/135).

When it is said that secularization is revealed with modernity, it means that this new way of seeing the world, culturally, socially, economically and politically, generated, among many other social effects, the phenomenon of changing the relationship between the State, the Church, private property and public space. Thus, one cannot arrest this phenomenon, that of secularization, only to the religious or legal event, but secularization can be seen as the result of the sum of all the phenomena that led to the rebirth of art, philosophy, culture, among many others.

The historical-social phenomenon of secularization is closely related to the advancement of modernity. Law, art, culture, philosophy, education, medicine and other fields of modern social life are based on secular values, that is, non-religious. The philosophical foundations of Western modernity reveal a conception of the world and of a desacralizing, profane man that contrasts with the universe permeated with magical, divine forces of traditional and primitive societies. The development of science, technique and rationalism pushes back the sacred and religious conceptions of man and the world. (RANQUETAT JR, 2008, p. 66).

The phenomenon of secularization, still, according to Stigar and Ruthes (2010) is one that, without denying the religious dimension of the human being, affects a decline to religions, not only distancing it from the State but also assuming a type of individual spirituality in which we leave the church aside and face the devil to save us. It’s a relocation of the public and the private. The Minister of the Supreme Federal Court, Luis Roberto Barroso, clarifies about this division between the public and the private, also highlighting the existence of a political life exercised in community:

From then on, every citizen belongs to two orders of existence: in addition to his private, private life, he also takes part in political life, with the establishment of the distinction between what is his own and what concerns everyone54. The garden and the square, in a poetic image55. The private space, by tradition and by law, was the space of agency: of the husband, of the father, of the lord56. It was in the public sphere that human adventure began in search of freedom, the unfinished clash between despotism and civilization. More recently, the perception that the public is not confused with the state has been sharpened. This finding is manifested in different plans. (BARROSO, 2010, p. 80).

What seems is that, in the process of secularization, the fusion between state and church, with the consequent control of intellectual production, of moral values imposed by religion, is transformed by new values fruit of the fall of the religious monopoly and the magical world.

Secularization is not just about the State vs Religion phenomenon. Although, even at a glance, it is possible to imagine that in the environment of secularization there is no religion, or that it does not manifest itself, it does not seem that this actually occurs, since the idea about the disenchantment of the world does not mean the loss of religion, but rather a way of moralizing it.

To say that religion does not perish with modernity, but migrates to the private space of life seems to have been an important factor for the maintenance of the democratic regime. This is because, as Mariano (2011) states, religion, at one point, could offer opposition because of its intolerance.

What we have, therefore, with the phenomenon of secularization is the emancipation of philosophy, art, culture and the right of the whole theological movement. It is science building life far from theology. All this emancipation starts to serve as a way of weakening religious political forces, transforming the social, cultural, economic and scientific reality. An individualistic ethics focused on freedom stands out (ANDRADE, 2015). There is no death of religion, but yes, there is a redefinition of the public and the private, about religion and the state.

5. THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE CITY

There are several biblical texts in which questions relating to the Kingdom of God can be drawn. Perhaps, as has been done for a long time, many people as they read these verses attribute the concept of kingdom to a particular work or task to be performed in the world, more specifically in the Temple, that is, seeking the Kingdom would be to perform religious activities organized by the community. Thus, directing a cult, ministering praise, leading small groups would be a way to seek the Kingdom and its Justice. Over time, it is perceived that the Kingdom is not so, the Kingdom no longer seems a physical space or a purely religious activity.

So what would the Kingdom of God be?

For Tolstoi (1894) the Kingdom of God would be everyone who is established on the basis of the Christian premise in which evil cannot be repaid with evil, more precisely, Tolstoi (1894) talked about the non-resistance of evil with violence. What said said author, based on Matthew 5: 39-42[4], was that, if it is to react, that man does good to pay evil, then the Kingdom would be a non-reacting against evil with evil itself, as they do in wars. Although the idea of peace, or of not resistance of evil with evil is an interesting idea, it deserves reservation for two reasons, first because it does not consider that the Kingdom of God is established with Justice of the Kingdom itself and not with that of man, second, the Kingdom of God is not only a reaction of man , but also a making of God.

Ribeiro (2005) defines man as a promoter of God’s will that aims to make the earth an extension of heaven, that is, the Kingdom would be an initial project of creation in which God encampes his Reign on earth through man, to whom said author attributes the condition of King. However, the kingdom should not be understood as an extension of heaven being man as a king who promotes this kingdom on earth. Now heaven is heaven and earth is earth, it is not made of earth heaven, nor of the earth heaven, nor does it become king who promotes the reign of another. Moreover, if the earth and heaven will pass[5], the Kingdom of God, then, is not a physical space.

Botas (1973), in turn, works the discussion about the concept of Kingdom based on the parables concerning the Kingdom of God as the mustard seed, as a leaven and as a net[6]. Thus, the Kingdom of God would be a natural process, because it is a vivid reality, and it is also a historical process in which there is a call for men to have discernment and act in history transforming it for the good of all. The Kingdom of God as a natural process of transformation and human involvement for the implementation of a good in history, also does not seem to be what Jesus said when talking about the Kingdom, this is because, in saying that the Kingdom is a small seed that springs, for example, Jesus points to a Kingdom whose fruit is independent of man , that is, man is not the center of the kingdom, it is not the man who implants the Kingdom, who implants the Kingdom is his King.

Master (1973) seems to come close to what Jesus said when he talked about the Kingdom, that is, that the Kingdom of God happens when God begins to take care of everything. What is most inclined to the concept of the Kingdom of God in this statement is the simple fact that in the Kingdom of God it is God who takes care of all things and life goes towards His purpose.

Munroe (s.d.) is accurate on the subject, defining the Kingdom of God as the government of God, the dominion of God over earth and heaven, it is your will being done in all creation.

As it turns out, in the Kingdom of God there is only one protagonist, God. There is no king man, there is no good man or evil man, nor a man who intervenes in history. What there is is only one God, one government and one.

Despite this idea about the Kingdom of God and laity, it is possible to observe that the theme “Kingdom of God and the city” is sensitive in view of the view that some events that occur in the city generate in the Christian community the feeling that, finally, the Church has managed to take its place, the place of head and not of syrup. As an example, it would suffice to affirm that there is some Christian in the high elective offices of the State in a long way to conclude that, finally, the Kingdom of God would be manifest. Therefore, one’s perception of this government of God over all things would be linked to the integralization of “policies of the Kingdom “through, and in the “policies of men”.

However, in the city, this does not seem to be the public space that the Church, as a community, must prioritize, whatever, the space of, and of, power when it comes to Kingdom. It is not meant that the Church does not communicate with such environments, but rather that there cannot be her destiny, her goal.

John Stott (2019), for example, states that Christians can adopt two attitudes towards the world (i) escape or (ii) involvement. As a concept of involvement, it affirms that this is a way of being in which to look at the world with involvement and compassion. As an example of getting your hands dirty, he noted that missionaries took medicine, education, agricultural techniques as an expression of mission, and compassion. The objects of these struggles were injustice and oppression in the name of the gospel, and its mission was not only of words, but of words and acts in a social responsibility that ends up culminating in a political action that, without discretion, could generate a politicization of the gospel.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that in a secularized, secularized environment, but with a strong religious tradition, the Church should not act as a community that is preparing to assume power as a way of implementing the Kingdom. As Kivitz (2006) teaches, the Church acts in a place she called “commonbread”, and the Kingdom would be God’s will executed as a way of being man in society and in the community.

6. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

What can be seen in this relationship between religion, city and the Kingdom of God is that this, the Kingdom, is a way of being, not a power, as many wanted it to be. It is the government that consolidates itself into a do that is suprastate, it is not an Official Church, a political program, an evangelical president or a deputy pastor. The Kingdom of God is, even if no one is there, the Kingdom of God is dynamic and it is about all creation. The Kingdom is like seed, of the smallest, but when large, it becomes the greatest of all its kind, serving as a nest and shadow for all birds flying in the sky, that is, it is in the simplicity of existence that the Kingdom casts a shadow.

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APPENDIX – FOOTNOTE REFERENCE

2. It is in Gregory I, called the Great, that the figure of the papacy appears. Gregory had great respect for the community, wrote on religious issues that will serve as an influence for his time, becoming patriarch of the West.

3. Tetzel made this statement to the people: “So soon your money will fall into the vault, the souls of your friends will rise from purgatory to heaven.” (HURBULT, 1979, p. 176)

4. But I say unto you, do not resist the wicked; but to anyone who harms you on the right face, he also returns to the other; And to what he wants to demand with you and take off your tunic, leave him the cape too. If someone makes you walk a mile, go with him two. Give it to whoever asks you and don’t turn your back on what you want me to put on it.

5. Heaven and earth will pass, but my words will not pass

6. Matthew 13: 31-33, 47-50

[1] Master’s Degree in Theology, Specialist, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Law.

Submitted: March, 2021.

Approved: July, 2021.

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