Forgive me….. Please be patient with me as you read through this one. It combines several painful themes for me.
I have read about political ideologies my whole life. I have been trained to identify the worldviews and assumptions behind writings or speeches (Bachelor of Sacred Literature). I’m actually not bad at identifying worldview assumption driving people’s ideas and beliefs.
However, the last two months i took the political ideologies, yet again, a notch deeper. Did massive reading about socialism, communism, and totalitarianism, feminism, libertarianism, and Classical liberalism.
The more I read history and political ideologies and try to identify the worldview assumption behind each, the more fed up and angry I became. Certainly, so many positive and interesting insights. Also, some downright dumfounding, sometimes sickening things people have done or believe. It surprised me how angry this made me over the last few months, and I wondered where this came from. I actually despaired for humanity at times.
Human history is a constant power play. Evil and oppression is at every corner of it, sometimes to a greater degree, other times to a lesser degree, but it is still ever present. I have seen, and see today, the clash and fight between opposing ideologies that are polar opposites. Which is right, which is best, is all hotly debated.
I ran into ideologies and values I contest and I wondered why people can’t see where this logically leads, or the inconsistencies it causes within other areas of life. It is very easy for me to fall into being judgemental.
In the end what I’ve read is a record of a stuggle for who “wins” the power, the influence, the ones who will gain the ability to determine “Who Decides?”
Each side is under the delusion that if we win, we will fix the issues (extraordinarly complex issues humanity has been stuggling with for centuries) unlike anyone else , and with us, at least, it will be more benevolent with them than the other oppressor. Yes I said that, the other oppressor.
When you read about Mao and the 80-100 million deaths, it’s dark. Or his re-education policies sending 18 million Children away from their families to do hard labor in rural northern China, it’s dark.
When you read of feminists early struggles, and in their own writings they tell about how they had to train groups of women to be proficient in performing abortions, and the tools they used before the days abortions were legal or performed in medical facilities, it’s dark hard stuff to read as you ask why.
Politics sucks us in to thinking the only hope for change is Government. Caesar is Lord. In my readings it became clear that humans are the problem, though we are encouraged to, “Be The Solution.” Sometimes our best attempts at solutions help, sometimes they make it worse, and sometimes they flare up yet other unforeseen consequences. I’ve read it over and over again.
I’m not writing about political ideologies anymore. I’m cutting way back on reading this subject. I have found the last two months exposed me to a dark black hole of depressing woldviews. I cannot bare another week of it. It is nihilistic in a way I can’t survive.
Jesus said the two greatest commands are to love God and our neighbour. In all things love, gentleness, kindness, and good will towards all human beings all of whom are created equal in value in his image. It makes no difference what a person’s race, sex, morals, sexual orientation, religion, values or choices are.
People can disagree and live the above, if we want to. Some believe to think contrary, precludes the ability to act in love. I’m don’t get that. Have you ever been married?
“Christians were not persecuted by the Roman Empire for telling people how to go to heaven when they die—Rome didn’t care about religious postmortem ciaims‘ Christians were persecuted by the empire for being viewed as unpatriotic and for confessing that Jesus—not Caesar—is Lord.” ~ Brian Zahnd (twitter)
I’m going to be very unpatriotic, There were many Roman political words used by Jesus’ followers but appling different meanings.
Caesar is “Kyrios” Lord! But Jesus followers would only say “κύριος Ἰησοῦς, kyrios Iesous” Jesus is Lord, same Greek word. (Yes I studied ancient Greek). Caesar is Lord was the national confession, and at times people required an attestation that proved they did the required sacrifice of homage (burn incense) to the image of the Caesar. Christians would not do this. Unpatriotic.
I hope we never arrive there again.
Roman political “Ekklesia” Assembly, were Roman political gatherings or “Assemblies” to discuss politics and honor the Caesar. However, the early believers used the same word, the ekklesia…. “” for their “assemblies”- “Church” comes from this Greek word. Hey Caesar, there are these people holding ekklesia over here. Unpatriotic.
Roman Empire – Kingdom (βασιλεία- basileia- Rule) of God/Christ. Seeking and speaking about a kingdom- “Basileia” while living within the Roman “Basileia” Empire? Unpatriotic.
In an age when the ruler was almost a dieity, and there was the belief in many god’s, the struggle became, “Why won’t you pledge allegiance to Caesar? Why will you not venerate the various deities who bring our nation luck and protection in war, business, or national affairs?” I suppose, In a manner they believed Caesar should have “limited government”.
It was a double tap; Caesar and the Pantheon of deities were not revered as expected. Unpatriotic.
At age eighty-six, Polycarp, the second-century bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the apostle John, was brought to the Roman authorities and ordered to confess that Caesar is lord. Though doing so would have saved his life, Polycarp refused and was murdered….. (Legioneer)
The orginal tensions, are the same tensions,
A lack of commitment to politics, war violence (first 300 years the church were pacifists), Empire imperalism, the authority of the king (gov), refusal to submit to some dictates of the empire, and, lastly, non compliance with empire’s views about Dieity, or Dieities.
One King, and it’s not Mao, Stalin, the Prime Minister or the President.
One Kingdom/Nation/Citizenship and it’s not of this world, We have opinions about democracy, socialism, capitalism, totalitarianism, laws, etc. But i don’t care in the end as we are looking for brothers and sisters following the Kingdom of the Air to walk with. Our citizenship, the one that matters, is in the Kingdom of Christ. The kingdom is not America with “Manifest Destiny”, nor Canada.
One Lord, who guides values, morals and beliefs. His law is the higher guiding truth.
“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 (ESV)
One God/dieity, not dozens, How narrow minded is it to believe only one God, one religion, one path to God?
How silly to believe in one God, when there is no God!
How silly that you will not participate in a rite to another dieity (easily said if the Dieity is not actually real to a person), when the ceremony is so beautiful?
Worldviews have contradictions with other worldviews.
Jesus said the two greatest comnands are to love God and your neighbour. In all things love, gentleness, kindness, and good will towards all human beings, all of whom are created equal in value, and equal portions of Gods image. It makes no difference what a person’s race, sex, morals, sexual orientation, religion, values or choices are. Nothing anyone says or does, or believes changes how we treat them, its in love.
Christians have chosen in their life to love the Lord God and people. I want to know His peace, and to “live at peace with all people, as far as it is possible”
I could care less about government anymore. I do not wish to use power, nor law to enforce my views or values. The state can sometimes be a friend (more like an uneasy but necessary evil), other times an enemy. It will continue to move back and forth with the tides of time for each one of us.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to live lives as we wish, other times not so much. I wish for no person to experience what those early Christians did from their Roman government for what they believe. I wish for no humans to experience lives under authoritarianism like under Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mugabe….. and the list goes on, who’s policies killed hundreds and hundreds of millions. To have to endure the fear from stricter and stricter punitive laws to inforce every value, word, speech, thought or moral. Let us live as we see fit without hatefulness or discrimination toward others.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)
Go live your life.
Government, leave us all at peace. If you don’t, you will find me very unpatriotic.
For a Christian to recognise Jesus as Lord caused problems for society. When in 27 B.C. Roman Emperor Octavian received the title of “Augustus” it carried religious overtones, suggesting a special relationship with the world of the gods, symbolised by the cult of the Emperor’s ‘genius’, a veiled form of emperor-worship.(Frend:16) To refuse to honor the national gods was unpatriotic and akin to sabotage.(Workman:44) By around 150 A.D. provincials had made up their minds that the Christians by refusing to worship the gods were responsible for all manner of ills such as famine, plague and earthquakes and of practices such as cannibalism and black magic.(Frend:70)
– (Jesus is Lord) Wikipedia.