Why this discussion? Well, this is a blog that mixes politics and religion. Our religious differences and two distinctly different world views drive our political differences.
- God defines man.
- Man defines god.
When we believe in a Creator God, an infinitely wise and powerful Being far beyond our understanding, then we believe in a God who made us. We believe we exist for God’s purposes, not our own. To accept the fact we exist for God’s purposes requires humility. To accept the fact we exist to worship and glorify God requires us to give up control to Him. Consider this question: are you willing to love and obey God? What is the cost?
Some people are not willing to love and obey God. So they choose their own god. When man defines god, what does that mean? What god? In the past men worship idols instead of an infinitely wise and powerful Being. Idols made of wood, stone and metal showed what they imagined to be gods. To placate and manipulate these gods, they offered sacrifices, sometimes even their own sons and daughters.
What about today?
So finally: What is an idol? Well, it is the thing. It is the thing loved or the person loved more than God, wanted more than God, desired more than God, treasured more than God, enjoyed more than God. It could be a girlfriend. It could be good grades. It could be the approval of other people. It could be success in business. It could be sexual stimulation. It could be a hobby or a musical group that you are following or a sport or your immaculate yard. I was looking for some yard stuff the other day and I clicked on a video ad for a yard service and three people came on and all of them made the point that this yard service enabled them to brag that they had the best yard in the neighborhood. I thought: What a motivation? I want to be number one in green grass. So that could be an idol. Or your own looks could be an idol. It could be anything. (from here)
What do all these idols have in common?
Question: “What are some modern forms of idolatry?”
Answer: All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms.
When we worship our self, then every question becomes some form of a simpler question. What is in it for me? That is, our world view revolves around “me”.
How does self worship affect our politics. If everything revolves around “me”, then the only good government is that government that gives “me” what I want. That government exists to make everyone and everything perfect for “me”.
Why is self worship in conflict with the belief that God defines man? That depends upon what we believe our Creator wants from us. Christians point to the Bible. The Bible says that we are all made in God’s image, that we are all the children of God. In the Christian world view, government is not terribly important. What matters is knowing the truth.
John 8:32 New International Version (NIV)
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
What truth? How does it set us free? Free from what?
Out of context, John 8:32 may not be understood. When we think of freedom, we automatically think of freedom from oppression. When Jesus used these words, He meant freedom from sin, not freedom from mere oppression. Jesus explained.
John 8:31-38 New International Version (NIV
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
Because we are heirs to our fleshly wants, we cannot escape from our sinful nature without God’s help. Jesus offers us that help. Those who accept Jesus’ help He can in time free from sin. When enough of us accept Jesus, only then can we live in a society freed from oppression.
Free societies exist only to the extent men accept God’s offer to free men from sin. When we free ourselves from sin, we become perfect.
Consider Jesus’ words to a young man who idolized his wealth.
Matthew 19:21 New International Version (NIV)
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
To become perfect, we must set aside our worship of self and follow Jesus. What has that to do with government? Except for the fact we can use government to perfect others for our own worldly purposes, not much.
The Bible does not point to government as the means to either perfection or salvation. The opposite is true. God is ultimately in control, but the kingdoms of this world very much belong to Satan (Matthew 4:8-10). Therefore, the Bible tells us to pray for leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3), to be good citizens (Romans 13:1-7), and to render unto God that which God’s (Matthew 22:21).