The State and Violence

Our Brother Benjamin offers this:

Hi Ed. Stumbled across this article and thought of you… Governance, Kin, and Romans 13.

I note that I am familiar with the writing of Bionic Mosquito. His emphasis is libertarian theory, but he’s a believer with a fair strong background in the differences between the West and the Bible. We’ve covered Romans 13, but it was long ago. There’s nothing really wrong with Bionic Mosquito’s position; he references other writers to good effect. It’s the kind of approach we would expect from someone who may not be fully aware of the heart-led way, but does operate in some measure of faith. He’s aware that logic and learning aren’t enough.

Associating that with Blood Avenger of the Ancient Near East (ANE) is appropriate, because the essence of the state is a monopoly on violent force. The state decides when violence is appropriate and permissible, and through whom it shall come. And it’s quite accurate to say the Bible does not support the state as we experience it. As we would put it: The state is not a valid expression of the Covenant of Noah. I assert that Noah is still in effect on the moral level, and that Jesus’ teaching never contradicts Noah. However, faith subsumes Noah as a lesser expression, as a good starting place. My reading of Bionic Mosquito suggests he is not much aware of Noah’s Covenant and it’s place in the scheme of things. He’s consistent, but lacking some of the ingredients, in my humble opinion.

So the net result is that there isn’t that much difference between the linked article and our position: Don’t get in the way of the state unless you know God requires it. Expect to suffer the consequences when you do; bear them with faith. You aren’t going to correct the state. You can help individual authorities to see things better; we call that “conversion.” However, the system suffers from a significant entropy of custom and law and God alone can reshape that larger system. Our whole duty to the state is summed up later in that same context in Romans (vv.8-10), where Paul says broadly what Jesus said: Love your neighbor as yourself. Give people the human respect that matches their human role, because we cannot demand that each person we encounter, particularly those in authority, kneel before our full teaching before we deign to submit to their authority.

It’s holy cynicism: Sinners will sin. Even people of faith will violate our sense of moral truth because of our fallen state and all the various particular influences we cannot hope to catalog. Don’t complicate things needlessly. When something bad comes into your life, let God direct you through your heart-mind as to whether it’s worth fighting, and how you should fight it. And if you must fight, use the full moral wisdom of the heart, not the knee-jerk activist approach that falls into the hands of the system. Paul’s statement here suggests that most of the time, you’ll let it slide and trust God to handle things while you stick with your mission and calling.

Addenda — I keep running into this and it’s pertinent: Don’t elevate mere humans to some godlike power and wisdom. This is the flaw in state systems, and it has been the flaw in every form of tyranny. The state tends to depersonalize it versus the highly personalized tyranny of classical and ancient governments, but it’s still the same basic flaw. Most presidents of the US have been at least partially mere figureheads. That’s the nature of the job; it’s necessary to cultivate powerful sponsors and patrons to get that far up the political ladder. However, there is no such thing as grandmaster political puppeteers running things. There are some very influential advisors, but this business of envisioning invisible “Sith Lords” hiding in the shadows is blasphemous. This is something that arises from the broad influence of Germanic mythology, as expressed in things like Beowulf. The world of Beowulf is bad fiction, not reality.

The dark power behind the state is not a bunch of discrete individuals; it’s demonic in nature. And demons aren’t permitted to inhabit folks in the way you see in horror movies and bad Christian fiction. There will be no single Antichrist; Antichrist is a demon spirit, an influence on fallen human behavior. Satan in the Bible is never characterized as capable of taking over a human form and creating a Mordor kingdom. He’s not a rival of God; he’s not the least bit capable of arguing with Christ. Jesus in His plain human form used the same authority available to each us to resist Satan. It’s not a matter of putting the Devil back in his place; he’s not allowed to leave it. The issue is to avoid entering his sphere of authority by listening to his lies.

It’s the same thing I said about The Cult: It’s not a bunch of real people, it’s a demonic influence. Stop making demigods of people.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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