fatter_disasterThis is the third post in a series.

  • Part 1 explained why I talk about the application of Christian theology to politics.
  • Part 2 provided a personal witness, what brought me to Christ Jesus.

In this post we will consider what leads some people to believe might makes right.

If You Believe Might Makes Right, You Must Be A Pagan

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Yet words are so fragile. The skilful propagandist warps and twists their meaning.  What is a pagan?  Not so long ago, almost everyone would have found this definition satisfactory.

Paganism, in the broadest sense includes all religions other than the true one revealed by God, and, in a narrower sense, all except Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism. The term is also used as the equivalent of Polytheism. (continued here)

However, we now have what some call neo-pagans and others refer to modern pagans. Therefore, we have to be “sensitive.” Moreover, we cannot even agree what is and is not a religion. Secularism, for example, is in the minds of some not a religion. Yet what is the nature of the principle, if not religious in presumption, that allows the secular to force those who believe in God to suppress the free exercise of their faith?

So instead of playing word games, let’s just define paganism as disobedience to the First and Second Commandments.

Here is the First (For a discussion of the First Commandment, please see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND GOVERNMENT — PART 11.).

Exodus 20:3 The New Revised Standard Version

3you shall have no other gods before me.

Here is the Second (For a discussion of the Second Commandment, please see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND GOVERNMENT — PART 10.).

Exodus 20:4-6 The New Revised Standard Version

4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Why would men worship idols or other gods? Much of the first three chapters of Romans speaks about the corruption of mankind. Here is how the Apostle Paul begins that discussion.

Romans 1:18-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Why would men worship idols or other gods? Sometimes men ignore the Truth and insist upon doing what they see as right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25).

When we think of images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things made into gods, we usually think of the idols worshiped by the ancient Canaanites and Egyptians. Such worship we call idolatry.

Question: “What is the definition of idolatry?”

Answer: The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. The most prevalent form of idolatry in Bible times was the worship of images that were thought to embody the various pagan deities. (continued here)

As the definition above suggests, idolatry is whatever we put before the worship of the one true God. In our day few worship idols made of wood, stone, metals, and precious jewels.  What idols do we worship instead? Many worship money, beauty, sex, food, drugs, thrills, prestige…. Such worshipers do whatever it takes to acquire money, associate with beauty, eat, drug themselves, experience danger, elevate themselves over others,…..

Many worship power. When I was younger, I remember feeling pleasure and security in the notion that I am an American, a citizen of the most powerful nation this world has ever known. As it did with so many others in my generation, the thought came to me that when we work together nothing can stop us. So I craved signs of unity and solutions that made use of the great and noble power of the American government.

Apparently, the worship of power in the form of government is nothing new.  Thus, 1 Samuel 8 begins the story of how Israel acquired a king. The people asked for a king. Even when God warned the people how their king would maltreat them, they still wanted a king.

1 Samuel 8:10-22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Warning concerning a King

10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

To empower government, we must give up both a portion of our wealth and a portion of our freedom. The more we want to empower government, the more we must give up. Eventually, as we give up more of our wealth and of our rights to government, those who rule us become a problem. Childish men, men who worship themselves, will in time replace responsible leaders (Isaiah 3:1-12). These will place their own well-being above the rights of others, and We the People will not be able to control them. Even if they do not punish us, they will bribe us with money, beauty, sex, food, drugs, thrills, prestige….

Thus, our world has experienced numerous tyrannical regimes and seen millions sacrificed to satisfy the pride of men. And so it will again.

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