LongLiveYorke, on Monday, August 24th, 2009, 11:18 AM, said:
Of course, you have studied Christianity a lot more than I have, but I don't fully agree with your interpretation here.To me, the Ceaser quote isn't saying that we should obey those in authority above us. He was asked whether it was okay to pay taxes to Ceasar and if doing so would be putting the Emperor above God. Jesus' response is, more or less, "If Ceasar wants you to give him material things, then give him material things. If he's going to print coins with his face on them, give them out, decree that they have value, and then demand that we give them back to him, then do so. They only have value in the eyes of Ceasar, not in the eyes of God. They are rocks. If he wants rocks, give him rocks. But give your love and your devotion to God and your fellow man."I think, in general, Jesus doesn't want us to be obedient to a government nor does he want us to be rebellious. He didn't see politics as the way to bettering the would. To him, all politics was local. We make the world better by treating those around us with love, respect, and compassion. We are generous to our friends and even more so to our enemies. And, if doing so means that we remain poor and humble, then so be it, for ours is the kingdom of heaven.
I think you have a very good heart and as such see things the way you do.But the Bible is clear that the secular governments placed above us are to be obeyed except in the cases where they directly contradict the Bible. This can be viewed alongside the commands that tell a slave to be a good slave, a master a good master, a business owner a fair and honest one etc. Because the temporal things of this world are not the goals we seek. The reason that Christ was generally non-political was because politics, governments, man made rules, are of such small relevance to eternity. It would be like me telling you that you have to spend one day in your apartment, then tomorrow you get to spend the rest of your life in Maui in a mansion on the beach with free food and a particle accelerator in the front yard...you wouldn't place a lot of value on the idea of shampooing the carpet, but at the same time, you shouldn't be a person who trashes the apartment just because you can. So if you tidied up before you left, turned down the thermostat for the next person etc, it speaks to your character, to your appreciation to your future reward, because it doesn't add one thing to where you are going.So we can obey the ruling authorities who have a job to maintain the peace for everyone of its subjects, and the rules they make are not to be ignorant of the need for common good and protection of innocent, hence the acceptable behavior of putting a person into jail for the rest of their life for killing people.Mercy from an indiviual perspective is noble, from a perspective of being a ruler who is responsible for the entire populace it is not practical, and as such it is not contridictory to the command to 'turn the other cheek'. A rular has to think about not only this one person, but also all the other people around him, the future actions, and the reason for his punishment. As an individual, I can forgive and allow what happens to him to happen because there are consequenses for all our actions.