Bible In The Dock

bible

Incitement to break the law is a crime in the U.K. I don’t doubt that this is true for much, if not all, the world.
The bible says you should obey the word of god before any earthly law or instruction. Does it follow that promoting the bible is illegal? Just thinking.

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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
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7 Responses to Bible In The Dock

  1. Pingback: Reclassify. | Live Love Laugh

  2. Actually, the Bible not only encourages obedience to civil governments, it demands it.

    “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Romans 12:1,6,7)

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

    And when the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful for the Jews to pay tax to Caesar he answered them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17)

    Christianity was actually the first religion not instituted by the governing authorities that still called for obedience to the governing authorities. Only twice in the Bible do you see acts of disobedience against the governing authorities.

    The first in Daniel 3:1-30. King Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden image of himself and commanded everyone in the kingdom to worship it. Three Jews (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) refused to. They did not do so at the risk of inciting civil unrest. Rather, they did so at the risk of their own lives. And when they did they spoke to the king with honor and respect, letting him know that they would serve him, but they would not serve or worship His gods.

    The second is in the book of Acts chapters 4 and 5. Peter and John were taken into custody by the temple guard for healing and preaching in the name of Jesus. Technically, this wasn’t even the governing authority. Because Rome was the governing authority at the time. This was just the high priest and his buddies getting all upset because these Christians were throwing their religious system all out of whack. So he sent his thugs to bring John and Peter in for questioning. Then they demanded them (even though they really had no authority to in the first place) to stop preaching in the name of Jesus.

    But Peter and John answered them and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have heard.” (Acts 4:19-20) And again in chapter five the high priest had his thugs bring them in because they were still preaching and Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

    This is where non-Christians usually get their ammo for saying Christians are rebellious problematic glitches in society. However, in this case in Acts these technically weren’t even the governing authorities. Just some powerful Jews whom the Romans allowed to have their own body gaurds. That’s the equivalent of a rich normal citizen who – because of his money, poltical influence, and own personal small army guised as body gaurds – has the ability to make my life a living hell if I don’t do what he wants me to and I say, “You’re just a man buddy. I really don’t have to listen to you.”

    In either of the only two cases in the Bible, the disobedience was never wrought with a rebellious heart and hinged upon religious freedom. In Daniel, while they agreed to serve the king with honor and respect they also respectfully refused to worship him or his gods. And the case in Acts is really irrelevant because they weren’t standing before governing authorities. They were simply stating that some rich powerful bully would not stop them from believing what they had witnessed with their own eyes and from sharing it with others. Hope this has been of some help to you.

    • micklively says:

      Many thanks for your reply. I still think the bottom line is that the word of God takes precedence. Surely, that’s what we’re supposed to understand from the tale of Abraham and Isaac. God is testing whether Abraham will abandon morality, any law, even to the murder of his own son, in order to demonstrate his obedience to God.
      If I’m right, then it’s easy to find apparent disagreement between earthly law and scripture on subjects such as homosexuality or abortion, and understand why folk might accept that as endorsement for law breaking.

      • No problem. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. It’s nice to be able to engage in conversation with someone who is respectable in communicating their disagreement. Of course the word of God takes precedence. Should not the Creator have precedence overy His creation? But my point was that the Bible, in its precedence, requires obedience to civil authorities. And in a much stronger way than any other religous belief system ever has. Because it claims that our obedience to God is in direct proportion contigent upon our obedience to government. Which means I cannot say I am in God’s will (As the phrase “God wills it” was wrongfully used by crusaders) if I’m not being obedient to the laws of my nation. And yes, Scripture and earthly law disagree on such things as abortion and homosexuality. But the aforementioned verses in my above comment lead us to be obedient to those laws regardless. Law breaking is not condoned in Scripture. It is condemned. The reference to Abraham and Isaac is irrelevant to this point because we’re discussing the laws instituted by governing authorities. Abraham was the head of his tribe in a land with no ruler. He was the governing authority. Concluding what you want about the Scriptures regardless of what they say is like concluding what I want about gravity and jumping off a cliff. I’m still going to fall regardless of my conclusion. As far as your general objection to the Abraham story: It was not a test of his obedience but a test of his faith. There is a difference. God had promused to make Abraham the father of many nations through Isaac. God was testing Abraham to see if he would still trust God to fulfill His promise even if Isaac died. And we know from Hebrews 11:19 that Abraham was not violating the moral law of his conscions because he was convinced that God would be faithful to His promise regardless of what happened and bring Isaac back from the dead, if need be, to fulfill His promise.

        • micklively says:

          Again, that’s interesting, but a little confusing. If God had already promised that Isaac would live to be a great leader (which I wasn’t aware of), then Abraham must have realised that the test of faith was just that. Which seems to make it at best a strange and at worst an ineffectual test? And why stay Abraham’s hand? The promised result is guaranteed whether Isaac is killed or not?
          I don’t think your assertion regarding the cliff jumping is tenable. You must accept that there are many different interpretations of the bible (and other scripture). Not all interpretations prompt legal action.

  3. Arkenaten says:

    Religion has always been a special case.
    ‘God wills it

    Being a bit of a bibliophile the thought of destroying books is almost anathema to me ….but sometime when I look at religious books I am sorely tempted.

I will be pleased to read your thoughts, even if you don't agree.

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