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18 May 2011

Christianity: Obey and Suffer... and Shut Your Mouth!


Many Christians would watch this music video of kids urging respect for and obedience to authority with some measure of alarm.

Many Christians, after all, want their children to think and judge for themselves, not to mindlessly obey their parents, teachers, and ministers. And they're right -- not only because some adults are unworthy of trust -- but also because they recognize in some way that independence is a virtue.

Yet in so doing, Christians are rejecting scripture in favor of plain old good common sense. Scripture is clear -- from the story of Abraham and Isaac to that of Doubting Thomas that faith in and obedience to authorities is morally required -- even when they demand that you believe ridiculous tales and perform unspeakable acts. In fact, such is the explicit advice of given by the Apostle Paul to Christians in Romans 13:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God's servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
Remember that, next time you hear of a priest molesting a child or dictator slaughtering his people. Or worse, apply the following advice from 1 Peter 2 to those cases:
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
Do you think that Christianity offers help and solace to innocent people, unjustly downtrodden by the powerful? Think again!

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