Monday, February 23, 2015

What God wants of non-Christians...

...Is the same thing He wants of Christians.

In the comments, I'm dealing with people who are arguing that Paul believes Christians should 'submit to legitimate authorities', even if these legitimate authorities are slaughtering Christians Nero-style. Tormenting them in boiling oil, torturing them to death, making examples of them - go to it all with a smile, and not to raise a hand in violent resistance, as that's not Christ-like.

I think this is a tremendous load, and part of the mindset that an act becomes more Christian the more over-the-top absurd and self-effacing it is. But if someone wants to maintain this, I think there's a straightforward reply: God doesn't have a separate set of commands for Christians and non-Christians. There's just one set of command that everyone is supposed to follow, with the Christians amounting to, supposedly, those who are willfully following those commands.

In other words - if it's kosher (ha ha) to expect Christians to sacrifice their lives without violent resistance... if it is, in fact, a sin for them to kill in self-defense if a 'legitimate government' strikes at them (because a 'legitimate government' is an agent of God), then it straightforwardly follows that non-Christians have the same expected of them. Indeed, it's expected of them even if the government in question is a Christian one. If God can make Roman pagans and atheist communists into legitimate agents, even if they're violently suppressing the faith, then full-blown theocracies make the cut as well.

So, I have a straightforward standard here. If it's being claimed that atheist Stalinists, Maoists, and even Nazi regimes (all three of which would deny that they ruled by God's authority, or derived their legitimacy from God) can command the torment and death of Christians, with Christians obliged to follow - on pain of being sinners - then they are likewise able to demand that Jews march into the gas chambers, and atheists submit to God against their consciences.

If this makes someone balk - if it's entirely easy to 'tsk tsk' Christians for defending their lives and the lives of others with violence (as the Catholic Church explicitly allows), but it's impossible to 'tsk tsk' Jews shooting gestapo who've come to take them to the camps... then there's a straightforward explanation of this as well.

The position is being offered as a bluff. It's not sincere. It amounts to a high moral standard, but only and exclusively for Christians - but God's commands were for all people, not just Christians.

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