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One on one thread about Christian theocracy?

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  • One on one thread about Christian theocracy?

    Is there anybody here who supports the establishment of a Christian theocracy who would like to set up an informal, irenic one-on-one discussion thread in The Arena? I'm not looking for a formal debate per se but would like to explore/discuss the topic more deeply. The topic has popped up a few times in threads lately.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    I could think of a lot of scriptural reasons why I'd be against it. The reoccurring theme throughout the NT is not to be conformed to the world (or how the worldly system operates, being that it's a temporarily malfunctioned system that will eventually be corrected via divine intervention) but to make due in the world, with all it's evil, while we're presently here. I would also wonder how this could possibly be done when there are a myriad number of Christian sects and doctrines, thus a myriad number of ways to interpret spiritual matters, which I could only imagine would spill over into how to run a government based on these spiritual matters. More than likely, it would just lead to a ruthless dictatorship a lot faster than any other system we've seen in history.
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

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    • #3
      I'll discuss it but I'm kinda lazy so I'd rather you set it up and I'll show up and respond.
      "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

      There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

      Comment


      • #4
        I am actually fine with a dominion that espouses Christianity as the official religion. It really is no different from the ones that espouse Islam as the official religion. People really have to get over the fact that Theocracies DO NOT equal intolerance in and of itself.

        Theres a crapola of institutional designs that one would have to enter in consideration if such a form of government is created.

        What kind of government would it be?
        Should it be strictly laity who will take office? Or can the clergy/ecclesiastical leaders also occupy such positions as well?
        What will it's policy be towards non-Christian members?

        Regardless of the design of the institutions, I for one am actually convinced that it is possible to formulate a Christian dominion where folk of non-Christian creeds can be tolerated and co-exist peacefully within a society. It is not a farfetched thing to say that Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Secularists, etc. can co-exist together to a certain extent. That's why I am no longer convinced that theocracies are necessarily unearebly intolerant (as if secular governments were any more tolerant than religious governments), since a non-muslim can still earn a fairly good living in nations like the United Arab Emirates (naturally, no proselytizing any creed that is not Islamic of course).
        Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          Is there anybody here who supports the establishment of a Christian theocracy who would like to set up an informal, irenic one-on-one discussion thread in The Arena? I'm not looking for a formal debate per se but would like to explore/discuss the topic more deeply. The topic has popped up a few times in threads lately.
          I'm rather Anabaptistic in my view regarding a strict separation between the church and the state. It can be very dangerous when the two are mingled or conflated (as they unfortunately oftentimes are). I'm deeply suspicious of the neo-conservative religious right and their obsession with voting for the right politicians, the right measures. As far as politics are concerned, we cannot neatly or glibly apply the "WWJD?" cliché to suit whatever cause we may or may not like. Jesus pretty much stayed out of politics (perhaps we should take a hint here; I don't know). The political climate in his day was hot, but he refused to be pigeonholed as supporting any particular cause or special interest group outside the kingdom of heaven/God. We may seek to apply Jesus' ethics or way of life to every area of our lives as best as we are able to discern, of course, but believers are provided with no special divine insight as to how we are to handle many of the complexities of life.
          Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-14-2014, 04:34 AM.
          For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Remonstrant View Post
            Jesus pretty much stayed out of politics (perhaps we should take a hint here; I don't know). The political climate in his day was hot, but he refused to be pigeonholed as supporting any particular cause or special interest group outside the kingdom of heaven/God.
            During a period of revolutionary fervour, talking about the Kingdom of God while acting according to some Messianic expectations is acting "politically" (note of course that the Enlightenment "religion"-"politics" distinction did not exist during that period). You are right that he did not support any other cause, but he promoted his own.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Paprika View Post
              During a period of revolutionary fervour, talking about the Kingdom of God while acting according to some Messianic expectations is acting "politically" (note of course that the Enlightenment "religion"-"politics" distinction did not exist during that period). You are right that he did not support any other cause, but he promoted his own.
              Unfortunately, the kingdom of heaven/God is constantly being co-opted by religious persons in favor of some other ("good") agenda. Jesus made a strong distinction between the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God. Taking the broad history of Christendom into account, it seems difficult for us to follow suit. It appears too hard of a line to follow.
              For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Remonstrant View Post
                Unfortunately, the kingdom of heaven/God is constantly being co-opted by religious persons in favor of some other ("good") agenda. Jesus made a strong distinction between the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God. Taking the broad history of Christendom into account, it seems difficult for us to follow suit. It appears too hard of a line to follow.
                Agreed.

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                • #9
                  Appealing to the ethics of Jesus is never going to fully settle this debate, because these arguments might always be met with the rejoinder "well, that's because Jews/early Christians had little to no political power, so it doesn't tell us what to do if we do have political power", though I am very open to the Anabaptist perspective on that matter and several related issues (though not pacifism). I also believe it is fairly clear that Jesus did call for societal transformation; he didn't really specify through what means other than by making clear that this is the responsibility of every Christian and isn't to be delegated to others.

                  My skepticism of theocracy more comes from the historical examples of how it has resulted. Inevitably, over time, political power seems to wind up in the hands of people who aren't personally that religious but who abuse both church and state for their own ends, and I see this as the worst possible outcome.
                  "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately, the kingdom of heaven/God is constantly being co-opted by religious persons in favor of some other ("good") agenda.
                    Basically, it is co-opted by people who are intentionally ignorant of God's law. One clear historical example would be criminalizing alcohol, based supposedly on religion. I leave it up to you to think of more recent examples.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                      Basically, it is co-opted by people who are intentionally ignorant of God's law. One clear historical example would be criminalizing alcohol, based supposedly on religion. I leave it up to you to think of more recent examples.
                      In a number of states one still can't buy a car on Sundays.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At least the principle of the Sabbath can be found in the Bible. So at least the people who believe in that law seem to have their hearts in the right place. But I would submit that by creating a new Sabbath on a different day, they are "chang[ing] times and laws," much like the little horn of Daniel 7. We shouldn't have laws against working on either Sunday or Saturday, because the Bible does not make any law against working on Sunday, and the Bible makes it clear that the law against Saturday work was fulfilled.

                        The people who would criminalize alcohol (and other substances) generally have no scriptural argument for it that is even remotely reasonable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Remonstrant View Post
                          I'm rather Anabaptistic in my view regarding a strict separation between the church and the state. It can be very dangerous when the two are mingled or conflated (as they unfortunately oftentimes are). I'm deeply suspicious of the neo-conservative religious right and their obsession with voting for the right politicians, the right measures. As far as politics are concerned, we cannot neatly or glibly apply the "WWJD?" cliché to suit whatever cause we may or may not like. Jesus pretty much stayed out of politics (perhaps we should take a hint here; I don't know). The political climate in his day was hot, but he refused to be pigeonholed as supporting any particular cause or special interest group outside the kingdom of heaven/God. We may seek to apply Jesus' ethics or way of life to every area of our lives as best as we are able to discern, of course, but believers are provided with no special divine insight as to how we are to handle many of the complexities of life.
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          Appealing to the ethics of Jesus is never going to fully settle this debate, because these arguments might always be met with the rejoinder "well, that's because Jews/early Christians had little to no political power, so it doesn't tell us what to do if we do have political power", though I am very open to the Anabaptist perspective on that matter and several related issues (though not pacifism). I also believe it is fairly clear that Jesus did call for societal transformation; he didn't really specify through what means other than by making clear that this is the responsibility of every Christian and isn't to be delegated to others.
                          Again, I would reiterate my statement above: "We may seek to apply Jesus' ethics or way of life to every area of our lives as best as we are able to discern, of course, but believers are provided with no special divine insight as to how we are to handle many of the complexities of life" (this would include political matters). Today I get the sense that many believers are politically obsessed. This is just a simple observation. I don't see any such obsession in the New Testament if we are to follow Christ's lead or the various authors of the New Testament. E.g., Paul is concerned with the salvation of the people of Israel (cf. Romans 9-11), but I don't see his concern being about the overthrow of Rome as Israel's oppressors.

                          As a collective, the people of God (i.e., the church) may have a tremendously positive effect on society. The unfortunate tendency, however, is that we become conformed to the pattern of the age. So the world ends up transforming us more than we end up transforming it.


                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          My skepticism of theocracy more comes from the historical examples of how it has resulted. Inevitably, over time, political power seems to wind up in the hands of people who aren't personally that religious but who abuse both church and state for their own ends, and I see this as the worst possible outcome.
                          This is to be expected. Again, I consider this to be a kind of mingling of the kingdoms of the world with the kingdom of God. In the end, it all ends up looking mostly like the former. I don't believe it should work or even can given the present fallen human condition. No one person or institution should be entrusted with too much power. I personally do not want a theocracy until Christ returns.
                          Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-14-2014, 01:49 PM.
                          For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Remonstrant View Post
                            [SIZE=3][FONT=Palatino Linotype]Again, I would reiterate my statement above: "We may seek to apply Jesus' ethics or way of life to every area of our lives as best as we are able to discern, of course, but believers are provided with no special divine insight as to how we are to handle many of the complexities of life" (this would include political matters). Today I get the sense that many believers are politically obsessed. This is just a simple observation. I don't see any such obsession in the New Testament if we are to follow Christ's lead or the various authors of the New Testament. E.g., Paul is concerned with the salvation of the people of Israel (cf. Romans 9-11), but I don't see his concern being about the overthrow of Rome as Israel's oppressors.
                            While it would be somewhat anachronistic to read our modern systems of democracy into NT ethics, I think I largely agree (and will expand on this in a moment), with a couple of caveats... First, political/legal/etc. constructs are inherently neutral. Paul had a working knowledge of his legal rights as a Roman citizen, and took advantage of them when he was imprisoned without trial for the sake of the advancement of the gospel. Also, Paul mentions Erastus as working for the Corinth city government in Romans 16:23. Neither of these examples point directly to the type of political engagement we're talking about here but they are reminders that we cannot be too hasty to jump into a radical estrangement.

                            As a collective, the people of God (i.e., the church) may have a tremendously positive effect on society. The unfortunate tendency, however, is that we become conformed to the pattern of the age. So the world ends up transforming us more than we end up transforming it.
                            This is very well put. It is unfortunately not at all uncommon to read about professing Christian politicians (even those whose political identities are closely identified with Christianity) involved in unethical behavior such as bribery and slander. There is plenty of evil in our modern political culture and entering the fray yet remaining unstained is incredibly difficult.

                            Another thing is that in many cases, trying to find legislative solutions may not be the most effective use of time. With the example of abortion, evangelicals and Catholics have been working for decades to find a way to overturn Roe v Wade with absolutely no progress. However, many have also been reaching out to people on an individual level who are struggling with these issues (people considering or recovering from abortion), and progress very much has been made with improving these individual people's lives. Without abandoning political action altogether, I suspect more of us need to concentrate on what we can individually do rather than trying to play a game that may or may not have any prospects of victory.
                            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                              My skepticism of theocracy more comes from the historical examples of how it has resulted. Inevitably, over time, political power seems to wind up in the hands of people who aren't personally that religious but who abuse both church and state for their own ends, and I see this as the worst possible outcome.
                              Mmhhh, are you sure that you have actually examined conclusively of how theocracies turn out? Are you sure that such a thing is inevitable?

                              I find your fatalistic attitude towards how political powers and ecclesiastical powers turn out to not exactly be conclusive. If what you said is true, then the fight that fighters like Simon Bolivar carried out should have been doomed, and the Ecclesiastic Governmental Conservative elites that governed Latinamerica should have crushed the Liberal factions that took arms to challenge them. Especially in light on how some Latin American peoples violently kicked the Church out of politics in different measures when said Ecclesiastic authority challenged the interests of new elites that rose to power.

                              And what makes you think that ALL theocracies/theocratic like governments have been necessarily disastrous?
                              Last edited by Andius; 03-14-2014, 02:11 PM.
                              Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.

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