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Thread: One-on-One: Legislating Morality - justchristian and Turbo

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    One-on-One: Legislating Morality - justchristian and Turbo

    In this thread justchristian and I will discuss and debate the ideas presented in this post:

    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Legislating Christian morality against the will of a majority (or even a slim minority) is wrong. Much of what you might call Christian morality isnt even clear. Much of what we find in the bible is clearly cultural application of a greater principle. The problem is the application of such principles in today's culture is hardly black and white. But my main concern for legislating Christian morality, or even the combination of church and state, stems from my observation of history. Are we doomed to relive the mistakes of our past. Will our faith again erode completely from God and lead us down a path of corrupt tyranny? Remember what paves the road to hell. I would encourage you to voice your opinions on what is right and wrong. Convince your neighbour through love and reason which path is good and right and legislate to help you both. But do not impose your morality on the unwilling minority. Enforced laws are (or at least should be) a majority agreed upon set of rules meant to protect a society and those in it. God granted us the choice to choose between right and wrong, good and evil. Who are we to deny a group of people that right. Realize that when you move in power through majority or otherwise to enforce morality you must be certain your law and enforcement is righteous. Are you certain you know what is right and wrong? Where do you draw the line on being certain? If not the majority to decide then who? An educated few? Perhaps one close to God? Ring any bells? Rememeber our history and be wary the well intentioned Christian with Power for he is still human and so are those who will suceed him.

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    Journeyman justchristian's Avatar
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    While I look forward to exploring this issue and debating it further I just disclaim that the above post is not in stone. Please allow me to affirm any statement you would debate. That being said I'll start with where I first grew concerned with this issue. I attended a Covenant Bible College up here in Canada, nothing major, just a one year dicipleship course. We had an ethics class in which the teacher stated that it is our job to push the government to legislate morality, even against the will of the majority. Since we knew what was right it was part of our call to make sure others did what was right to. To keep things simple do you agree with my old teacher Turbo? Does the church have the right, or obligation, to pursue the legislation of morality even against the will of the majority?
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever.

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    You really got my attention with your bold opening statement:
    Legislating Christian morality against the will of a majority (or even a slim minority) is wrong.
    Where do you get such an idea? I remember learning such things in public high school civics class (and I believed it at the time, too) but it doesn't sound like anything I've read in the Bible.

    What I found particularly odd was that you followed up this bold assertion that imposing good laws on an unwilling majority is wrong by saying how it is difficult to figure out right from wrong:
    Much of what you might call Christian morality isnt even clear. Much of what we find in the bible is clearly cultural application of a greater principle. The problem is the application of such principles in today's culture is hardly black and white.
    So do you affirm this statement that you made? "Legislating Christian morality against the will of a majority (or even a slim minority) is wrong."


    Are the majority of people righteous or wicked? Do the majority of people love God or are they in rebellion against him?

    Should people do what is right only when the majority approves, or should people do what is right regardless of whether the majority appoves?

    Do you agree that God has given governing authorities the duty of justly punishing criminals in order to deter them and to protect people from crime?

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    Does the church have the right, or obligation, to pursue the legislation of morality even against the will of the majority?
    People should support godly laws and oppose ungodly laws. That doesn't mean every person has to be a political activist. Even within the Body of Christ, different members are better suited for different tasks (1 Cor 12:12-31).
    And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-12
    Political activism is especially a part or a prophet's role.

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    Journeyman justchristian's Avatar
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    Legislating Christian morality against the will of a majority (or even a slim minority) is wrong, most of the time. We live in a world in which our views on what is right and what is wrong differ. In order to live in community certain rights and wrongs must be established to maintain order and edify the community. But since all views are different we must agree on what those established rights and wrongs are. If we cannot agree we must either conceed a wrong or enforce a right. Whether we conceed or enforce must be determined by the severity of the wrong according to our ideology, conscience, or whereever it is we get our sense of what is right and wrong. I believe as Christians we are better to conceed a wrong and live right than to enforce a right and live wrong. If we choose to enforce a right we must ensure what are enforcing is right, and that we enforce that right justly, and if you look at history that has rarely been then case, and when it has been, it hasnt lasted long. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and when you enforce right you wield power.

    Are the majority of people righteous or wicked? Do the majority of people love God or are they in rebellion against him?
    Short answer, wicked and in rebellion. Long answer most of us live in duality - righteous and wicked, loving God and rebelling against him. The difference with some, sadly, is they do not know God and cannot love him and cannot know what it is to be righteous. But that aside, the difference between Christians and the rest of the world is not that we are righteous or that we love God, it's that we have accepted grace through Christ. People can live right and not be Christian, people can love God but still be ignorant to the saving grace of Christ.

    Should people do what is right only when the majority approves, or should people do what is right regardless of whether the majority appoves?
    People should do right regardless of what the majority approves. Should be people do wrong when the majority approves? Of course not. Personal morality is shaped by God, his creation outside, and his creation within you. You must act according to your conscience, when you don't know what you conscience thinks, act according to the morality of those you live in community with, those you trust. If you don't trust anyone, I feel sorry for you (that was gerenal and not aimed at you Turbo).

    Do you agree that God has given governing authorities the duty of justly punishing criminals in order to deter them and to protect people from crime?
    No. Governing authorities gain there duty of justly enforcing right and wrong from God only in so much as that is his created order. A governing authority gains (or at least should gain) its authority from the people who elected them. And a slim majority should never enforce its view of right against the will of the slim minority, as these two groups already live in community and must learn to conceed wrongs and live rightly in order to live together.

    People should support godly laws and oppose ungodly laws. That doesn't mean every person has to be a political activist. Even within the Body of Christ, different members are better suited for different tasks (1 Cor 12:12-31).
    And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-12
    Political activism is especially a part or a prophet's role.
    So be a Political activist but understand the system with which we should live. Convince your neighbour of his wrong in order that you might agree to enforce it among you, do not shape a man's actions by wielding power over him. You only blind the man to his wrong, and corrupt yourself. Support godly laws, voice your views so that the majority might hear and agree to enforce them, and if they do not agree, conceed the wrongin the community, live rightly, and work to show your nieghbour the error of his ways so that you might one day enforce the wrong and live rightly together.

    In closing let me again state, I am not saying we must NEVER enforce a right, but when we do me must be sure the severity of the wrong is great enough, and our enforcment of the right is just and righteous.
    Last edited by justchristian; October 1st, 2005 at 11:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Legislating Christian morality against the will of a majority (or even a slim minority) is wrong, most of the time.
    I notice you added the caveat, "most of the time," to your earlier statement.

    Can you give an example of an exception to this general rule?

    What determines whether it is right or wrong to legislate morality against the will of a majority in a given situation?

    (Also, for clarity's sake, isn't the term "Christian morality" redundant? Is there any other kind of morality, really? We're actually just talking about morality, right?)

    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    Are the majority of people righteous or wicked? Do the majority of people love God or are they in rebellion against him?
    Short answer, wicked and in rebellion.
    Yes! Our Lord has said,
    "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
    Matthew 7:13-15
    And indeed the entire Bible along with the history of man shows that most men do what is right in their own eyes rather than seeking after God and what actually is right, and the results are tragic.

    Therefore, is checking the opinion of the majority a reliable method for determining what is right and what is wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    Should people do what is right only when the majority approves, or should people do what is right regardless of whether the majority appoves?
    People should do right regardless of what the majority approves.
    Amen! And that includes people in positions of governmental authority. Therefore governing authorities should study God's word to learn what sins He says are criminal and what punishments He says are appropriate for those crimes, and carry out justice accordingly (i.e. do what is right) whether the majority approves or not. Right?
    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    Do you agree that God has given governing authorities the duty of justly punishing criminals in order to deter them and to protect people from crime?
    No. Governing authorities gain their duty of justly enforcing right and wrong from God only in so much as that is his created order. A governing authority gains (or at least should gain) its authority from the people who elected them.
    Here is where our disagreement begins. What is really troubling is that you say that governing authorities should gain their authority from those whom they have authority over. (Do you also believe that parents should get their authority from their children?) Where did you learn such an idea? My guess is that you learned it in school. One thing is for certain: You didn't learn it from the Bible. (For a glipse at what God thinks representative forms of government, see Numbers 16:1-33, or for the short version see Numbers 26:9-10.)

    Consider this passage from Paul:
    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4

    Now compare my question again with Paul's answers from Romans 13:1-4:
    Turbo's question
    Paul's answer (Romans 13:1-4)
    Do you agree that God has given governing authorities... Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
    ...the duty of justly punishing criminals... for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
    ...in order to deter them... For rulers are... a terror... to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good...But if you do evil, be afraid;
    ...and to protect people from crime? For he is God’s minister to you for good.

    Would you like to reconsider your answer?

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    Can you give an example of an exception to this general rule?

    I was more thinking along the lines of a just war. Stopping genecide, defending aginst attack etc. In a way that is a forced right.


    What determines whether it is right or wrong to legislate morality against the will of a majority in a given situation?
    The severity of the wrong. You must decide by your conscience (as Christians we also use the Holy Spirit) to determine whether the wrong being done is severe enough to force the right. And then if you can enforce that right without doing wrong.


    (Also, for clarity's sake, isn't the term "Christian morality" redundant? Is there any other kind of morality, really? We're actually just talking about morality, right?)
    I don't think Christian morality is redundant. Mostly because Christians in my mind get it wrong sometimes to. Morality as I understand it is the determined rule of right and wrong. Different people determine different understandings of right and wrong. While we may feel we are right, our view is ultimately subjective as Christians. There is objective true morality to be sure, but being Christian doesnt mean you have exculsive or completly accurate access to what that true morality is.


    Therefore, is checking the opinion of the majority a reliable method for determining what is right and what is wrong?
    It is reliable in so much as we all have a created conscience to what is basically wrong and right. A majority would have an average conscience if you will and be more accurate than the one. But we are not determining truth here, just the rules with which we can live together and which edify to community.

    Therefore governing authorities should study God's word to learn what sins He says are criminal and what punishments He says are appropriate for those crimes, and carry out justice accordingly (i.e. do what is right) whether the majority approves or not. Right?
    No. They should act according to what they think is right to be sure, but the difference with how they act and what they enforce as law is different. They are elected by the people to maintain the society. I do not believe it is right to carry out justice according our biblical understanding of law, esspecially since we are not all Christian. A leader must act according to their conscience, we all must, and for me my conscience says that to enforce my idea of right on a majority opposed would be wrong. And it is never right to promote a good by doing wrong.

    Here is where our disagreement begins. What is really troubling is that you say that governing authorities should gain their authority from those whom they have authority over. (Do you also believe that parents should get their authority from their children?) Where did you learn such an idea? My guess is that you learned it in school. One thing is for certain: You didn't learn it from the Bible. (For a glipse at what God thinks representative forms of government, see Numbers 16:1-33, or for the short version see Numbers 26:9-10.)
    You misunderstand. Governing authority's gain their authority from those who have placed them in that position. Parents would gain their authority from God, creation, themselves, and the governement. Dictators gain it from physical dominance, monarchy's from tradition, the kings of the OT from God. God no longer annoints kings, he knew it was a bad idea then, and it would be a bad idea now. Our best recourse is democracy. And in a democracy people grant governing authorities there authority. As I understand your passages from numbers these people were raising a represtative form of government against that established by God. If God established a government it would be better than a represtative governement, but God hasnt, a represtative government it our next best choice.

    Consider this passage from Paul:
    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4
    Now compare my question again with Paul's answers from Romans 13:1-4:
    Turbo's question
    Paul's answer (Romans 13:1-4)
    Do you agree that God has given governing authorities... Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
    ...the duty of justly punishing criminals... for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
    ...in order to deter them... For rulers are... a terror... to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good...But if you do evil, be afraid;
    ...and to protect people from crime? For he is God’s minister to you for good.

    Would you like to reconsider your answer?
    Ahh the Romans passage. I have some questions about this passage.

    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
    So God appointed Hitler, Stalin, Sadam, Nero etc? If not whose to say who he has appointed?

    Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
    So what of wrong authority? Do you renouce your own revolutionary war?
    For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
    Since when? I know little history and I know many rulers who are a terror to good works. Who are not ministers for good.

    I hate to question the word of God, but how else am I to learn. I think this passage may become the focus of our conversation for now.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever.

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    You had rightly replied...
    Short answer, [the majority is] wicked and in rebellion.
    ...but later you declared:
    Our best recourse is democracy.
    How is it that democracy "our best recourse" if the majority is wicked?
    And do you have any Biblical basis for your advocacy of democracy and representative government?


    You also recognize that our consciences are unreliable and subjective…
    Different people determine different understandings of right and wrong. While we may feel we are right, our view is ultimately subjective…
    …but insist that governing authorities rely on our consciences rather than studying the Bible to determine what is sinful and which sins should be crimes:
    Quote Originally Posted by justchristian
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    Therefore governing authorities should study God's word to learn what sins He says are criminal and what punishments He says are appropriate for those crimes, and carry out justice accordingly (i.e. do what is right) whether the majority approves or not. Right?
    No. They should act according to what they think is right to be sure, but the difference with how they act and what they enforce as law is different. They are elected by the people to maintain the society. I do not believe it is right to carry out justice according our biblical understanding of law, especially since we are not all Christian. A leader must act according to their conscience, we all must, and for me my conscience says that to enforce my idea of right on a majority opposed would be wrong. And it is never right to promote a good by doing wrong.
    "They should act according to what they think is right to be sure"

    Where God has recorded in the Bible that people "act according to what they think is right," does He do so with approval or condemnation?

    "I do not believe it is right to carry out justice according our biblical understanding of law, especially since we are not all Christian."

    Why in the world would it matter whether we are all Christians? When God commanded after the Flood that men shall execute murderers, He didn't make an exception for unbelieving murderers, nor did He state that His commandment should be overruled if the majority doesn't like it.


    Also, you essentially stated that it is wrong for governing authorities to impose a Godly law on an unwilling majority, except for when it is right. How does the governing authority know when it is right to overrule the majority's will or collective conscience, according to you? When his conscience says so:
    You must decide by your conscience (as Christians we also use the Holy Spirit) to determine whether the wrong being done is severe enough to force the right.
    Even though, according to you,
    A majority would have an average conscience if you will and be more accurate than the one.
    So you believe the governing authority's own subjective conscience may be a valid basis to overrule the majority's will, but God's objective written word isn't? It sounds like you're saying that that since governing authorities might interpret the Bible wrongly, they should disregard it in favor of their subjective consciences or the concensus of the wicked majority instead. Is that what you are saying?

    I'm having some trouble figuring out exactly what your position because it seems like you contradict yourself at every turn. And I've yet to see any Biblical support for your position. It's as though you're making it up as you go (to some degree, at least).

    You are wrong on the point you made in that last quote, by the way. Individuals, even if they are evil, often do what is right because they are personally accountable for their decisions. But as a committee grows, personal accountability (in this world) diminishes.

    John 19
    6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

    Pontius Pilate illustrates that one wicked leader is more reliable than an unaccountable mob. For there is no denying that Pilate was severely wicked, yet he was willing to release Jesus, recognizing that Jesus was innocent and not wanting innocent blood on his hands. But he deferred to the will of the majority, who demanded that Jesus be crucified. And being a weak and wicked leader, Pilate complied.



    Authority, Hitler, and abusive fathers

    I'm glad you recognize that parents get their authority from God (and not from their children). Yet I'm sure you also recognize that some parents misuse their authority. But an abusive father's sin is not evidence that parents do not get their authority from God. Likewise the existence of wicked rulers does not negate the fact that all rulers receive their authority from God. The Roman Empire was wicked, yet Paul wrote to the Roman converts that they should submit to governing authorities to whom God has delegated the responsibily of punishing criminals. Jesus taught the Israelites to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." And Jesus told the wicked Roman governor of Judea that he had no power except for what God had given him:

    10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” ?11 Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”


    This post ended up being pretty long, so here is a summary of the main points I wanted to make:

    1) That you have presented a contradictory position: The majority is wicked, but democracy is "our best recourse". It's wrong to impose a Godly law on an unwilling majority, except for when it's right, and only if it can be done without doing wrong. Our consciences are unreliable, but they should take precedence over God's word in determining what is right.

    2) That all authority flows downhill from God rather than uphill from those under the authority, even though people (from Pilate to Hitler to abusive parents) often misuse that authority.

    3) That all men should obey God rather than men because God is righteous and men are wicked. And even if men claim disbelief in God (fooling themselves in their rebellion), they are still accountable for their disobedience to Him. To the extent that men disobey God they are sinning and are wrong, and that included governing authorities who reject what God has said about crimes and punishments.


    There is one issue that really gets to the heart of this debate so in addition to the other questions I've asked (highlighted in blue) I would like for you to answer one more:

    What determines what is right or wrong?

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    While I assure you I intend to respond fully, I forwarn it may take awhile to compile an appropriate response. I find myself surprised to be defending democracy and throughly enjoy discovering why my paradigm suggests it is the best way. Please bare with me as I take the time to respond appropriately to your thought provoking, and well written post.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    How is it that democracy "our best recourse" if the majority is wicked?
    While the majority is wicked so is the one and the few. And while the one or the few who rise to power apart from the people may be righteous, the nature of such power will lead to either the corruption of the one or the few, or at least open the door to corrupt (or those who will become corrupt) in the future. Granted democracy is not void of corruption, but such corruption's harm can be minimalized through the checks and balances of a healthy democracy. Otherwise, the corrupt create a cycle and standard of tyranny and oppression. Democracy is not perfect, but it's the best we have.
    And do you have any Biblical basis for your advocacy of democracy and representative government?
    While nothing that wouldn't be a stretch comes to mind, do you have any Biblical basis for why a governement should not be a democracy? Mabye you have another form of government, Biblically based of course, in mind?

    Where God has recorded in the Bible that people "act according to what they think is right," does He do so with approval or condemnation?
    Life is choice. God has given us that choice. For our betterment or destruction he has left the choice to us, the individual.

    Some passages that stand out regarding keeping a clear conscience (doing what you think is right) are:

    Romans 13:5

    So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience.
    1 Timothy 1:5
    The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.
    1 Timothy 1:19
    Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

    Why in the world would it matter whether we are all Christians? When God commanded after the Flood that men shall execute murderers, He didn't make an exception for unbelieving murderers, nor did He state that His commandment should be overruled if the majority doesn't like it.
    Make no mistake, man is subject to God's Law. But not you, nor I, are God. Do not pretend that whatever God has done we can, or are in the right to do. God's judgement is his alone. God is capable of justly enforcing his Law, we are not. God knows his Law perfectly, we do not. The bible is a blueprint for the individual, not the society.

    Also, you essentially stated that it is wrong for governing authorities to impose a Godly law on an unwilling majority, except for when it is right.
    No, when the wrong is great enough and the enforcement of the right can be done rightly.
    How does the governing authority know when it is right to overrule the majority's will or collective conscience, according to you? When his conscience says so
    No one, or few, should ever control a majority according to there conscience. Governing authorities who determine that a wrong being commited by the majority is great enough to justify enforcing the right, must do so with a substantial minority support.

    So you believe the governing authority's own subjective conscience may be a valid basis to overrule the majority's will, but God's objective written word isn't?
    God's written word (I assume you mean the Bible) is hardly objective. Even if it were, it is seen through context by those with bias and so anything determined from the Bible immediately becomes subjective.
    It sounds like you're saying that that since governing authorities might interpret the Bible wrongly, they should disregard it in favor of their subjective consciences or the concensus of the wicked majority instead. Is that what you are saying?
    Yes. I am saying that governing authorities will most likely interpret the Bible wrongly, if not immediately then in the future, and should act according to their conscience under the laws agreed upon by the majority in order to perpetuate a functioning and just society. I might add that we (mankind) already tried applying our interpretation of the Bible in governing a society, lets just say it didnt go so well.

    I'm having some trouble figuring out exactly what your position because it seems like you contradict yourself at every turn. And I've yet to see any Biblical support for your position. It's as though you're making it up as you go (to some degree, at least).
    To some degree I am. I am not a political scientist, nor an educated theologian. I am exploring my understanding of right and wrong through my conscience tempered by the holy spirit(that includes the Word), society (that includes you), and reason. I speak from my paradigm which is entirely subjective, and wholey unproven. But in the same way I temper my conscience I aspire to shape my paradigm. If in that process I contradict myself, please point it out as you do me a service.


    1) That you have presented a contradictory position: The majority is wicked, but democracy is "our best recourse". It's wrong to impose a Godly law on an unwilling majority, except for when it's right, and only if it can be done without doing wrong. Our consciences are unreliable, but they should take precedence over God's word in determining what is right.
    Democracy is our best recourse because while the majority is wicked and capable of evil, I believe the individual is capable of being worse. It is wrong to impose law against the will of the majority unless the law prevents a great enough wrong that the majority is committing (this would mainly pertain to wars – civil and abroad, in which one side is committing crimes against humanity etc – a just war).

    2) That all authority flows downhill from God rather than uphill from those under the authority, even though people (from Pilate to Hitler to abusive parents) often misuse that authority.
    God's authority in goverment comes from created order, not divine appointment. God didn't choose Hitler to lead Germany, he didn't choose the abusive parents for the child. The created order of authority doesnt mean we cant have social services (to protect children), or try and stop corrupt authority (war) or design a system to prevent corruption in authority (democracy). But all authority is under God, it flows down from God only in that its a created order (Israels theocracy being the exception of course - not the rule).

    3) That all men should obey God rather than men because God is righteous and men are wicked. And even if men claim disbelief in God (fooling themselves in their rebellion), they are still accountable for their disobedience to Him. To the extent that men disobey God they are sinning and are wrong, and that included governing authorities who reject what God has said about crimes and punishments.
    Ok but accountable to whom, you? All will be held accoutable by God at judgement day. That is suffiecent for me. We should obey God but we don't, and can't, live in a functioning theocracy, God no longer works that way. Our only next best recourse is democracy. For unless authority flows controled and directly from God to the government, the best way to prevent corrupt, or the corruption of, government, is to make it accountable to those it governs.


    There is one issue that really gets to the heart of this debate so in addition to the other questions I've asked (highlighted in blue) I would like for you to answer one more:

    What determines what is right or wrong?
    Objectively, the nature of God. Subjectively for the individual their conscience, for society those in power through their conscience. The only objective source of truth is God. The bible is a subjective expression of objective truth, twice removed through the subjective reader. Truth through the bible still passes through the lense of the individual, its not the Bible I question, but the lense.


    I tried restating a thesis for both our benefit as I do seemingly contradict myself, again my appolgies for the confusion.

    The capacity for corruption in a sustained governement based upon the majority, is greatly less than that of a sustained government based upon the individual or the few. For while the individual at times may be more righteous than the majority, they are also capable of becoming far worse. And when a sustained government based on an individual, or the few, becomes corrupt, the corruption is greater and sustains itself far longer and easier than the corruption of a sustained government based upon the majority.

    I apologize for the delay in my response, lots to think about regarding this subject and some distraction around here to (I'm moving to Victoria, BC and I am going to have a niece). Anyway sorry for any contradictions within, I hope I have clearified my position at least a bit. Future responses may be even more delayed as I am moving in two weeks and that really mixes things up but I would appreciate and enjoy further discussion with you on this point, even if our responses remain delayed and mine remain confused.

    God Bless,
    justchristian
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever.

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    I'm back after my unwilling vacation from the internet, feel free to reply and expect a response if you like.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever.

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