What Are the Characteristics of Theocracy?

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Theocracy is a form of government that recognizes a deity as a civil ruler; official policies are implemented and carried out by officials considered guided by the divine. Theocratic governments are generally monopolized by single religious groups or organizations who rule over their citizens using primarily dictatorial methods of government.

The literal meaning of theocracy is that of rule by god or gods, whose principles and methods derive from the heart. In theocratic governments, chosen leaders are believed to have a direct personal relationship or close connection with a divine body. In some instances, they are considered appointees of the god or gods themselves whose sole purpose on Earth is to convey the messages and directions of their divine descendants. Theocracy, although a recognized form of government, is considerably different in style and characteristic than secular forms of governments that have designated state religions or are heavily influenced by theological, divine and moral concepts and principles. While these governments lean heavily on their religious faiths for guidance, officials and rulers in theocratic governments consider themselves to rule directly on behalf of a god or other higher powers. Additionally, while secular governments have some aspects of life that are not influenced by religion, theocratic governments seek guidance from higher powers to cover all aspects of life, including law, punishment, education and marriage.