Machiavelli asserts that for a Religious institution or state to survive, it is obliged to frequently restore its original principles (Machiavelli 1). According to him, deterioration in character and observation of religious norms are inevitable. This is evident in most cases if the institution fails to undergo a significant restoration to its earlier principles.
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He further argues that the human mind is subject to negligence and assumptions. Such a restoration therefore, is bound to cause rejuvenation in the moral development and observance of religious rules among the people. This essay seeks to posit that Machiavelli is justified to make that particular claim as regards the survival of a religious institution or state.
Machiavelli holds the view that it is beneficial for a religious association, state or institution to be brought back to its starting point when everything is almost done in a perfect manner. This restoration not only remodels the faith and beliefs of the people, but also renews their reverence for their leaders and other matters that relates to religion.
Machiavelli classifies the factors that lead to this religious restoration into two groups: intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are internal aspects that lead to such a transformation and restoration of religious institution. These factors may include the presence of a virtuous spiritual leader who emphasizes on the restoration of the religious institution. On the other hand, extrinsic factors are external aspects that lead to the restoration. Such factors include political instability and the state of morality in the society.
A good example of how intrinsic factors cause the restoration of a religious institution is through the restoration of immaculate Christian virtues by Saint Dominic and Saint Francis. These were individuals who were disgruntled by the moral decadence in the society.
They were therefore forced to put a lot of effort in the restoration of the earlier flawless principles of Christianity to the people. This particular society followed the initial principles which called for dire need to restore the same. These virtuous leaders served as epitomes of a Christ-like nature and led a life that was to be exemplified by the believers at that time.
Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, is the best example of how external factors such as political instability can lead to the restoration of religious institutions to earlier principles. His predecessor, King Romulus, had waged many wars against neighboring towns and conquered some of them.
However, King Numa used a religious approach to the establishment of his Rome. He restored the art of peace and the worship of gods among the Romans. In addition to that, he appointed religious ministers and priests who led the people back to their old religious ways.
The restoration of religious institutions to earlier principles is not an easy task. The success of such an endeavor depends on a number of factors. First, the state of the society as far as the observance of earlier religious principles should be gauged. This will assist in gauging the likelihood of the success of such an activity.
There is a higher chance of success of the restoration if the society has slightly or mildly deviated from the principles. A huge deviation from the principles is a possible harbinger that the entire process may not yield the desired results. For instance, with the current promiscuity that has engulfed the postmodern world, effort to restore some of the religious institutions to earlier principles is likely to prove futile.
Another factor to consider in the restoration of the religious institution to earlier principles is the gap of time between the planned restoration and the last restoration. This is because this time gap has a direct impact on the level of licentiousness in the society. A longer time gap breeds a society which is more immoral while a shorter time gap indicates a less morally incorrect society. There have not been major religious restorations in recent times and the possibility of the success of such a program in the postmodern world is minimal.
The restoration of religious institutions to earlier principles is necessitated by the retrogression in the same. The decline in the observance of religious norms is countered by such restoration. This will see the desired religious levels attained. One major effect of this restoration is the turning of individuals from living an irreligious life to living a life that seeks peace with everybody.
The overall effect is a peaceful correlation between people irrespective of their religious backgrounds. This leads to the political stability of a nation. Other positive effects of the restoration of religious institutions to earlier principles include reduced levels of delinquents and recidivism among former criminals.
In conclusion, Machiavelli is totally justified to say that for a Religious Institution or a State to survive for a longer period, it is essential that it should frequently be restored to its original principles. This is because the restoration leads to a rejuvenation of the moral virtues that were enunciated in the earlier principles.
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It is also clear from the foregoing discussion that certain factors influence the process of religious restoration. In the same manner, a number of aspects need to be put into consideration when carrying out the entire process of religious restoration. Finally, the restoration of a religious institution to earlier principles has many positive effects.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Discourses. New York: Penguin Classics, 1984. Print.