Liberal Democrats love to say Conservatives hate government. Not true. Because of the Bible (see Romans 13:1-7 for example), Christian Conservatives, in particular, understand the necessity of government. We also, however, accept the truth that man is a fallen creature, that those we give the power to rule us will abuse that power.
Read 1 Samuel 8 carefully. As the remainder of 1 Samuel shows us, after the people of Israel demanded a king, God punished Israel by giving the people of Israel exactly what they asked for. Consider how Saul became the King of Israel. Read the story of his rule. In Saul the people of Israel received the king they asked for, and they suffered. Why? Just as the people of Israel rejected God’s rule over them, Saul rejected God’s authority. The people of Israel wanted a man to reign over them. In effect, they wanted a man to idolize, but no man is worthy of worship.
Throughout our history we have been tempted to seek a man to rule over us. How? What are the ways of such a temptation?
- Laziness/Ignorance: Choices create stress, and that is one of the things that makes a society that prizes liberty and freedom difficult for some people. Every decision we make — every dollar we spend — is our own vote for what our society values. In a free society, we each choose our religious beliefs, places of worship, friends, jobs, houses, cars, clothes, parking spaces, the color of our socks, and so forth. If we are not confident in our capacity to make decisions — if we don’t know how to make good decisions — then every decision we make adds to our stress level. Eventually we want someone else to make our decisions for us. This is one of the reasons we must take care to educate our children properly. Without the ability to routinely make proper decisions and manage the stress of decision-making, our children cannot live as a free people. Conniving demagogues will happily make decisions (vote their dollars) for them.
- Shame/Selfishness: One of the complaints against Christianity is that Christian beliefs promote Socialism. That is, demagogues point to our obligation to help our poor neighbors, and then they try to guilt us into giving them our tax dollars so that they can help our neighbors using our money. That approach, however, misrepresents Christianity . As 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, we are to be cheerful givers, not let demagogic politicians twist our arms. The Bible does not call upon us to set up a welfare state. God wants us to love and help each other voluntarily.
- Covetousness/Greed: Covetousness is the flip side of what demagogues call our obligation to help our poor neighbors. When politicians redistribute the wealth from the rich to the poor, they shame the rich and entice the poor with covetousness and greed. Don’t we all crave things we cannot afford? Don’t we all want what we desire now? Doesn’t the prospect of working for decades for what we want depress us a bit? That’s why when a demagogue promises us what the rich have we find his promises appealing. All we have to do is accept his bribe and give him our votes.
- Fear/Security: How does a child act when that child is afraid? Don’t frighten children run for their mothers? What happens when we become adults? Do we entirely lose that instinct? No. We hunt for a protector. Devoted Christians turn towards God. We understand that the only true security lies in loving and obeying our Lord, but what do other people do? Government is the choice of many, and many, for the sake of the false promise of security, sell their birthright of liberty.
- Pride/Esprit de corps: In each of us there is something missing. We seek meaning, an identity in someone larger than our self. We all want to be part of something great and important, bigger than our self. Those who acknowledge and worship God seek their identity in Him; they strive to obey Him. Others turn to gods or idols of their own making. Modern idols include science, sex, stuff, state, and self. What is the problem with idols, even these idols. Instead of giving glory to God, we use idols to get what we want. Instead of the study of God’s creation, science becomes the search for proof man does not need God. Instead of procreation, sex becomes of tool for endless forms of pleasure. Instead, of a means for doing good, our stuff becomes our playthings. Instead of a tool for protecting each others rights, the state becomes a device for getting what we want from our neighbors. Instead of giving our bodies over to the worship of God and obedience to Him, our self becomes the identity we must raise in importance above all others. If we don’t know God, we turn to each other for confirmation, and we join in praise of ourselves.
And what is the reaction of the idol worshippers to those who refuse to participate. A logical argument? No. Damnation! The idol worshipers think they know the truth because they think they are the truth. Don’t they ultimately worship themselves? Isn’t everything ultimately about them, their science, their sexual pleasure, their piles of stuff, their powerful state, and their beautiful self? Therefore, to oppose them is the only evil that matters, and those who oppose them are only worthy of scorn and shame.