Living in communion with God equal to a dictatorship?

(Ethan Thomas) #1

I routinely browse corners of the internet where secular thought prevails, and I can think of no other online forum where this is exemplified more so than Reddit. In one recent discussion where the topic of religion was brought up, one contributor declared that a life free of religion was the ideal state of existence. They stated that pledging devotion or worship to another, even a supreme creator being, is the equivalent of living in a country like North Korea. In fact, they even specifically stated that the ideal Christian life; that is being prayerfully reverent and exalting the Lord God above everything else is nothing more than, and I quote, “A celestial North Korea.”.

This struck me. I wondered in that moment what someone with a stronger apologetic background than myself might say in response to this profound statement. My view is; that if I am the beloved creation of a God who in order to save me from an eternity in darkness and separation from Him came into the world Himself as a man of flesh and blood and became a sacrifice to pay that penalty, WHY WOULD I NOT want to give him glory and praise?

Curious what you guys think.

(SeanO) #2

@eot1990 Great question. At the end of the day, this argument becomes circular because for it to hold true requires that God is not Himself the highest good and that sin is profitable. If God is truly the highest good and His commandments are best for both us and those around us, then it is loving to demand they be kept and would be unloving to do otherwise. The person who views God is dictator is actually making the claim that God is not the highest good and that disobeying His commands can someone lead to something better than obeying them.

In addition - God gives us the freedom to disobey in this life. A dictator does not give freedom to disobey - disobedience is automatically met with vengeance. God gives us this life in which to choose - as Lewis points out - we all get what we want in the end. To those who choose sin - death. To those who choose God - life. That is not dictatorship.

You see, to believe God is dictator requires denying that sin is fundamentally destructive and that God is not the highest good. If sin is fundamentally destructive, leading to death, and God is the highest good and God makes to to rain on the good and evil, then the case for God as dictator falls apart. So the counterargument, or at least one approach, would be:

  • God is the highest good and to have Him is better than life
  • life is in God - to reject God is to reject life
  • sin is fundamentally destructive and leads to death
  • God gives us freedom to choose in this life and is kind even to those who reject him

Matthew 5:45 - Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike.

James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 6:35 - Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
C. S. Lewis

“But if God loves us the way the Bible says he does, then he will give us what is best for us. And what is best for us is himself.”

Sam Storms - Is God a Megalomaniac

Are those thoughts helpful? The Lord bless you with wisdom as you engage with people on these topics.

Is God the First Mobster? [Response Needed]
(Ethan Thomas) #3

Very thoughtful answer as always. Thank you Sean.

(SeanO) #4

@eot1990 Sure thing - glad to be helpful :slight_smile:

(Rob Lundberg) #5

It has been a few days since I have had any time to dive in on sharing. But being over in the playground of, I find this still a haven. That being vented, is living in communion with God equal to a dictatorship?

I know that skeptics, thinking that Christianity is loaded with a bunch of rules and regulations, or thinking that the God we worship ready to strike one down taking their rights for an immoral lifestyle or choice to do what they want with their body. But this is not what the Christian faith is about, seeing every person created in the image and likeness of God and with intrinsic value in His sight. That being said, this question is an interesting one.

In this question, I see two diametrically opposed terms: communion and dictatorship. When I think of communion with God, there is a term that pops quickly to mind. It is the term koinonia which means communion. The application of this term engenders a joint participation between persons or within a body of like minded believers. It implies a sharing of something that one has in anything. It involves participation, in the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit to encourage one another in the Spirit and fellowship with God and one another.

Now, let’s put that up against a dictatorship. Doesn’t sound compatible does it?

(Tim Behan) #6

Funny you should bring this one up actually. Rightly or wrongly, I have on occasion joined in political debates that I think the only form of government that actually works is ‘benevolent dictatorship’. This obviously never works in practice because in a fallen world we can never have a dictator that does this properly. I also agree with SeanO that this is not the limits of the relationship between us and God and so, especially with it’s connotations, dictator may not be the best word. But the definition of dictator, as I see it, is simply one with absolute power… which is certainly something I would ascribe to our Lord. It’s just that we have bad examples of dictators.

But I like to ask the question (just to get the ball rolling sometimes) “What’s wrong with having a dictator if all he works for is our good?”

This at least gets some discussion going as most people look at me like I’m a bit daft (which I might be, but I’m ok with that). But there you go… maybe another option to think about. :slight_smile:

(Jimmy Sellers) #7

I run a benevolent dictatorship at my house just don’t tell my wife.:grinning:

(Jimmy Sellers) #8

I want to drop this in not so much to fuel the discussion but I thought it an interesting look in to the NKO culture from an observation by Peter Hitchens on one of his visits to Pyongyang: (from his book Rage Against God

By great good fortune I have witnessed, on a beautiful autumn morning, what seemed to be the entire population of Pyongyang streaming out of the city on bicycles and in buses, for the ancient Korean harvest festival of Chuseok, which involves (among other things) eating rice-cakes in the shape of the crescent moon and holding picnics amid the hilltop graves of your forefathers. No attempt was being made to suppress this survival, and in fact the people had worked the previous Sunday, by government order, so as to take the correct day off for the feast, a date governed by the moon rather than by the state. There was no menace in this prehistoric pagan rite to the authority of the Dear and Great Leaders. Why not? Because even if millions of people took part in it, it did not challenge the authority of State, Party, or Leader. No alternative allegiance was required. By contrast, a single secret celebration of Christian Holy Communion, involving three or four people honestly pledging themselves to be ruled by a rival authority, would—if discovered—have been suppressed with all the fury and venom the state could muster.

He goes on to point out that in this case Kim, all utopian idealist always set themselves and the State above any rival authority or definition of goodness or justice.