Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Rise of the Totalitarian Mind

The Modern State Does Not Share Power

Creation abhors a vacuum.  When one exists, someone or something will rush to fill it.  If we ask, "Who or what is the ultimate authority in the world or in our respective countries?" most people would answer instantly, "the State".  The Christian would answer differently: for the Christian the ultimate authority in every place is King Jesus.

This fundamental divide means that in our world Christians are facing oppression in one form or another.  Christians, in seeking to obey the only ultimate authority, Jesus Christ are confronted head on by the rules, regulations, and oppressions of governments which neither acknowledge nor fear the King of kings.

We do not mean to suggest that the modern State has no regard for the Christian faith.  It does up to a point.
  It's qualification, however, is this: the modern State will have regard for Christians and their faith as long as that faith is kept firmly locked up and constrained within the boundaries of one's own mind and conscience.  That is, Christianity is acceptable as long as it remains private. If anything comes to the attention of the State regarding Christianity, by definition it is no longer private. 

The ostensible reason the State wants to keep Christians under a metaphorical or literal lock-and-key is the proposition that religion and religious belief is dangerous.  It promotes and sanctions (irrational) violence.  Look at the "Wars of Religion" in Western history, for example.  Ironically, when we do take a serious look at the so-called "Wars of Religion" we find that far more violence resulted from the idea of sovereign nation states competing for influence and power against other sovereign nations.  After all, Napoleon did not wreak death and havoc across Europe because he was a Christian.  The exact opposite is the case.  Similar observations can be made concerning absolute state sovereignty in the twentieth century.  It has been a bloody business, what with the rise of Communism and Nazism.

Nevertheless, the ideology of "Christianity is violent and causes wars" and "only complete state control will secure peace" is now influential throughout the West.  William Cavanaugh explains how the the State is now demanding the ultimate loyalty of its subjects.  Tyranny follows quickly after.
Specifically, the idea that public religion causes violence authorizes the marginalization of those things called religion from having a divisive influence in public life, and thereby authorizes the state's monopoly on violence and on public allegiance.  Loyalty to one's religion is private in origin and therefore optional; loyalty to the secular nation-state is what unifies us and is not optional.  [William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009),  p.121.]
The "promise" of the autonomy of the secular state will continue to disappoint.  The peace of the State rests upon violence, for the ultimate sanction of the state's authority is the sword or the gun.  The Christian who stands on a street corner or in Hyde Park today and reads out Bible passages condemning homosexuality as a grievous sin and who warns against it, calling his hearers to repent and return to King Jesus will now be arrested quickly and charged with hate speech.  The boiling magma of the modern secular state towards Christians is bubbling up by the day.

That's the inevitable outcome when the State is put forward as the ultimate authority over human beings.

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