Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Using God

So, I'd like to get a little...religious...here for a minute. Yes, I know. Don't run away screaming, pweese?

Christine O'Donnel, the new Republican/Tea Party darling, has definitely stated that God wanted her to run for public office. And do something.

Yeah. Right.

And He came to you in a cloud and told you this, did He not?

You see, I really don't buy into that kind of thing. Something tells me that God, at the heart of it all, just...really doesn't care who is in office. I'm reading an excellent book right now, "The Myth of a Christian Nation" by Greg Boyd. Wonderful book. In it, he talks about the kingdom of the world (Satan's world, which he owns and rules) vs. the kingdom of God- the heavenly kingdom God runs and owns. His whole point is that God doesn't concern Himself so much with the kingdom of the world because it's all fundamentally Satan's. He's more concerned with Christians showing Calvary love to those around them and showing the kingdom of God in everyday life.

Add to that the fact that Jesus Christ never once encouraged political action. In fact, he discouraged it, and refused to talk about political issues of the day. When people tried to get him to take a stance on taxation by the Roman empire, he pointed out that since, according to the people around him, Caesar was an idolatrous phoney, why not give the idolatrous phoney what he wants- that is, his money back?

As a Christian myself, I get antsy when people claim God's endorsement when they're running for office, mostly because I see it as superficial. As this gentleman pointed out, it's a copout on some level, because it makes it so that the candidate doesn't have to take a stance. "Where do you draw your inspiration?" "The Bible." "Who's your hero?" "Jesus."

Really? Are we in Sunday School now?

More than that, I regard it as using God. Politicians use God to reach a goal. They know that by appealing to the broadest base of public support- religious Americans- they can get power. Because, after all, what will get you more votes- answering the question of why you want to be in office with the honest "Power and money" or "Because I want to turn America back to her roots, back to God"?

Which is sad, of course. Americans eat it up, not realizing the fundamental hypocrisy that goes on there. American politicians who call for God's endorsement also often seem to support the most contrary things- they support big business, which keeps millions of people the world over in bondage to a system of virtual enslavement. They support wars that are unjust and that foster rhetoric like "kill them all and let God sort them out."

Somehow- and this might just be me- I don't think that Jesus Christ, the same man who said that the greatest should become least and that all should love their enemies, would quite approve.

So perhaps it isn't so much that politicians use God...they just create their own that approves of everything they do. As Anne Lamott said- "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."


Anonymous said...

You think God does not own this world?

Maybe you should read your Bible a little more, and watch Comedy Central a little less?

Where in the Bible does God give Satan ownership of this world? Or maybe your belief is not found in the Bible? Maybe the Book of Mormon, or the Qur'an? A book of magic you picked up cheap at a fire sale in Ephesus?

Liberty said...

Tragedy- your borderline ad hominem attacks aside, there is Biblical evidence that Satan "owns" the world in some manner or fashion. Perhaps owns is not quite the right word...more like the world has been given over to him to use.

Luke 4:5-6 puts it well. "And the devil, taking [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."

So either a) in this portion, Satan is questioning God's ownership of the world itself, and the space around it, which is of course, not possible, as you pointed out. God made it. It's his. Or b) God gave the world over into Satan's jurisdiction to do with as he liked.

In 1 John 5:19, John states that "the whole world lieth in wickedness," which has been translated in several other versions as "the whole world lies under the power of the wicked one."

In John 12:31, Jesus calls Satan "the prince of the world," and again in John 14:30, and yet again in 16:11. In Corinthians 4:4, Paul references a "god of this world," who has "blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ" should "shine unto them." In Ephesians 2:2, Paul once again brings this topic up, and references Satan as the author of "the course of this world" and the "prince of the power of the air."

So while God owns the world in the most technical fashion, He has given it to Satan as his home. There is some verse somewhere that says this much better than I ever could, but I can't find at this moment, but I'll ask my dad when he gets home, and he'll probably know. ^.^

Anonymous said...

Satan rules, perhaps, the kingdoms of the world. Which would explain Jesus telling Pilate in John 18.36: "My kingdom* is not of this world," but Satan owns this world?

I think not.

If we as Christians are of a kingdom not of this world, should we involve ourselves in the politics of this world?

Where is your reasoning on this? I know you posted on it, but I cannot find it, now. I am not saying you don't have reasoning on this. I am saying I cannot find it.

[*emphasis added]

Carrie said...

When God chose kings for Israel (like Saul and David), do you think He was not caring about Israel's office holder (king)? When He specifically chose kings, I don't think it was because He didn't care.

Charlene said...

God gave the human race free will. She's not going to whisper in the ears of wackos and tell them what to do. Does she tell these religious hucksters to steal money from their congregations, sleep with congregant's children, rail against homosexuals and then have adulterous homosexual sex? No. I don't think so. It's the free will of all those people that gets them in trouble.

I am happy to know that the free will of American citizens allows each of us a vote and we get to choose who we think will work for the citizens, that's ALL the citizens, not just the ones labeling themselves Christian.

Liberty said...

Tragedy- I can't say my thinking on this is completely hashed out yet. It's still a work in progress. But for now, let me try to explain some of the thoughts that are running through my head.

Since America's system is quite different from anything past people have seen (we vote, we're a Constitutional republic, etc), we have a duty to render unto Caesar (which is the Constitution here) what is Caesar's- which means doing our duty. That's just my take.

Now that shouldn't be our overarching focus. We should take care to also attend to the kingdom of God- evangelize the lost, etc. These are two things that, in my mind, must be balanced out. I suggest you get "The Myth of a Christian Nation" by Greg Boyd and read it. While I don't agree with everything he says, much of it is excellent, and it says what I'm trying to say here so much better than I can. ^.^

Carrie- America is not Israel. Israel was God's nation, specifically designed and set up by him. America is not, necessarily. While yes, God may have allowed us to create something, might even have prodded certain people to do certain things, I doubt he's ordained wars and all this other nonsense we've done along the way.
So it isn't that he doesn't care- after all, all authority is ordained of the Lord or something like that- but I highly doubt that it's his focus. Somehow, I don't think God's first question to us when we go to the judgement seat is going to be "Did you vote for _____?" No. I'm thinking it'll probably be something along the lines of "Did you witness to the lost? Did you tell them of Me? Did you show love to all around you, even to your enemies?"

Charlene- thanks for your comment. :)) I do agree with you. God did give us free will, thankfully, and that's what allows people to choose to follow Him- a very important distinction. And yes, we're supposed to choose people who will work for everyone, not just for Christians. :))

Carrie said...

I'm not saying that He ordained all the wars and junk that America has been involved in, and I'm not saying that it is the main, big thing that He focuses on all the time, either. But I don't think He just puts it on the back burner.

Anonymous said...

Psalm 66.5-7
Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebelious exalt themselves. Selah.


Why do you grumble against your fellows in Christ? For when you do thus, you grumble not against them, but against our God.

Exodus 16

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Jude 1.9

Liberty said...

Carrie- that is very true. I don't think it just goes on the back burner, either. However, I still firmly believe that His primary focus is on evangelizing the lost and bringing souls to a savingk knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is not willing that any should perish, and who is in office will not accomplish the goal of making sure none will perish.

Tragedy- my "grumbling" against my fellow Christians is just as much "grumbling" against myself. I'm just as guilty of the things I talk about both here and on my other blog. For instance, I posted a rather harsh post not too long ago about how American Christians are too comfortable in their goods and houses and aren't willing to consider or even think about missions or much of anything else. We just live in our comfortable splendor while others die and pay the price for our laziness.

I'm just as guilty of that. I do that all the time. I'm not "grumbling" against my fellow Christians- I am trying to show systemic failures in the system we have created and draw attention to them...so we can fix them. If we are not truly following Christ, should everyone just sit back and say "Oh, okay, that's good. But you know, we don't want to cause division, so we'll just sit here and live our lives because, after all, we don't want to grumble about things."

Go read Paul's letters sometime, and how he "grumbled". It might educate. :))