# Religion and revolution?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Tiassa, Nov 6, 1999.

1. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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36,616
It's not that I actually want to pick on the Christians here, except that I'm more familiar with this philosophy within the Christian context. So, this really does go for all religions ....

* How high is the higher authority of God? Does it transcend earthly law?

* The Constitution of the United States declares itself the supreme law of the land, and is respected as such within American institutions.

Thus ... For a person of a given faith to acknowledge the higher authority of their God--does this put the faithful in a state of revolution?

This probably won't come up in its simplest form without a wartime Sedition Act. But can the notion of a higher authority than the Constitution (e.g.--God) disrupt the faithful's ability to enter an act of civil disobedience by establishing the act itself as revolutionary?

thx,
Tiassa

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"Let us not launch the boat until the ground is wet." (Khaavren of Castlerock)

3. ### truestoryRegistered Senior Member

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1,122
Sometimes the two shall meet, sometimes they shall not... Although I am not a member of what is considered "organized" religion and although I don't wish to speak for all the religious people out there, if forced with a choice, a truly religious person would probably consider God's law as existing above and independent of earthly law.

No, this does not put the faithful in a state of revolution. (Do you remember Jesus telling us to render to the state what belongs to the state and to render to God what belongs to God?) If, however, the Constitution of the United States was to "mandate" abortion (for example) as a government-imposed means of birth-control (as is the current situation in China, I understand), then there would be a conflict. However, would the mandate itself be the revolutionary act (characterized by radical change) or would the religious opposition be the revolutionary act? As it stands today, abortion is legal in the United States. However, for the religious that oppose abortion, they are not forced to abort. If they were, there would be many religious who would have no problem opposing the mandate, even under penalty of imprisonment or death. It would certainly make for a much more strained social atmosphere in these United States to say the least, since the ultimate allegiance of the religious is to God.

[This message has been edited by truestory (edited November 05, 1999).]

5. ### OxygenOne Hissy KittyRegistered Senior Member

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2,478
They probably didn't consider that when they settled on the separation of church and state. Religion is a deeply personal matter, and I believe that the government should stay out of our personal affairs as long as we aren't violating anybody else's rights. But as an example of a large-scale version of such a clash between church and state, I present the Hebrews of Ancient Rome.

Rome was actually pretty tolerant of other religions, as I read. As long as they paid their tribute (read: taxes) to the Emperor, the average Centurion didn't care if you worshipped his way or not. The problem arose with the Hebrew edict not to pay tribute to anyone but God. To pay tribute to the Emperor was to confirm his status as a diety of sorts, as the Hebrew teachings went. The Hebrews who lived in the thick of things generally found it better to pay and then explain it to God later. The ones who resisted based on religious views were persecuted, declared traitors, and generally got hunted down like dogs, but at least they didn't have to explain anything to God.

I suppose if I was a religious person I would be willing to die for my beliefs. I would probably be of the opinion that my god made me, my country did not, and it would be my god that judged my soul, not my president. Therefore, the word of my god would override the laws of men.

(Not bad for an atheist, eh?)

7. ### 666Registered Senior Member

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378
Tiassa,

Just a random thought. What you are asking sounds awfull lot like what the Comunist used to outlaw religion.

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The Belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it
seems to me the depest root of all evil that is in the world
-Max Born

[This message has been edited by 666 (edited November 06, 1999).]

8. ### BlacktubbyRegistered Senior Member

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52
I strongly doubt that to be religious, is "revolutionary". After all, man created both religion and the state as social institutions, and as such, the two do not inherently conflict.

(Of course there HAVE been cases in which a belief in god was used to justify crime.)

Regards,
Blacktubby

"Sarcasm keeps you from telling people what you really think of them."

[This message has been edited by Blacktubby (edited November 07, 1999).]

9. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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36,616
666--

However the Communists chose to work was usually the most direct method. What I'm getting at is that certain religions believe that no earthly law is higher than God's law.

Now, acts of civil disobedience are generally deemed acceptable by American society within certain constraints. However, if you are acting in civil disobedience according to a law you believe to be higher than the conventional "law of the land" you might, technically, be outside those constraints.

Example: I choose an act of civil disobedience. Whether it's public nudity, having oral sex in Georgia, obstructing the offices of an unjust government ... I'm doing it because I believe in that Constitution that is the "supreme law of the land" and because I do not think the status quo reflects the best potential of the Constitution. There is a philosophical standard that allows for opposition, else a vote for the opposition party would be a revolutionary act.

But what if I enter an act of civil disobedience merely because I am responding to a higher law than "the supreme law of the land"? I am now obeying a different set of laws and asking to justify myself by them.

And that's really all I'm looking at. Every day I enter acts of civil disobedience, knowing that eventually the clock will run out and "they" will catch me. But one thing I remember every time I engage disobedience is that the laws I'm protesting run counter to what I was taught about our Constitution and how it shapes society. Ergo, I am still responding within the context of the standard I so cling to.

What happens when I abandon that standard? Am I disobeying an unjust part of the standard or calling for a new one?

--Tiassa

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"Let us not launch the boat until the ground is wet." (Khaavren of Castlerock)

10. ### LoriRegistered Senior Member

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1,065
Uh, there WAS a revolution. Remember? That's when this country was founded. That's also probably why there is no conflict to date between legal laws and Christian laws or beliefs. Let's see...abortion for example...it's legal, but you don't have to so it's not an issue. If it was FORCED, then we would have an issue, but we wouldn't have a free country. If I had to I would spend the rest of my life in jail, or be killed rather than have another abortion.

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God loves you and so do I!

11. ### truestoryRegistered Senior Member

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1,122
tiassa,

Please explain what you consider to be everyday acts of civil disobedience... thanks very much!

12. ### truestoryRegistered Senior Member

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1,122
Lori,

I am sooooo sorry that you got sucked into that whole "abortion is O.K." CRAPOLA!!!

I'm sure you know this... There, but for the grace of God, went some of the rest of us... and you "know" that it IS forgiven.

God has since blessed you and your unborn child in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In your words, Lori... God loves you, and so do I!

13. ### FlashRegistered Senior Member

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771
awwwwwwwww... that was sweet TS

(your support for Lori) Hey, and I AM being sincere LOL

14. ### SearcherRegistered Senior Member

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651
Truestory & Lori,

I'm with you on this one - if ever I thought there was any evidence of a being known as "Satan", that whole "abortion is okay" B.S. would be it. In my analysis, abortion is more to relieve a man of his responsibilities than anything else - in most cases it's the man who is scared to death of the responsibility of parenthood, but it's the woman who lives with the scars of that "final solution". That's something that few men can really comprehend.

(Sorry, guys, for sounding so down on you here, but I've lived long enough to know the truth of that statement firsthand. I really do like men, but when it comes to such an awesome responsibility as parenthood, particularly when it's unplanned, most of you are huge wusses!)

15. ### LoriRegistered Senior Member

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1,065
Thanks, guys. I didn't get sucked into anything though, I CHOSE to buy in, knowing and feeling in my heart the whole time that it was NOT the right thing to do, and the whole time my head was thinking of really, really good reasons to justify it. This is really sad, but in a way, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. My little baby's purpose in life was to bring me to Jesus and save my soul. That little baby did more good in it's 6 weeks of prenatal life than I have in all of my 32 years.

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God loves you and so do I!

16. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

Messages:
36,616
Truestory--

Just a few acts of civil disobedience:

* Smoke a joint ... try to every day.

* Stickers on lightposts: we have a dumb anti-postering law in this town that makes posting flyers, stickers, or otherwise on lampposts or telephone posts illegal. This prevents the posts from becoming thick with concert notices, poetry readings, and political events and leaves the only available space to post flyers for paid advertisers. Once the communication of the avant-garde, postering is now enforcably restricted to lost pets, church group carwashes, and established cultural events (why does the ballet need that telephone pole? Why do I want to see the only flyers allowed in town telling me about the latest $150 million film?) So, when I remember to, I put a small mailing label on telephone posts around my neighborhood that read "F__k Sidran!" after our wonderful city attorney who hates children and anyone making under$250,000 a year.

* Twice I have chosen to withold payment of my income taxes. By the time the IRS got around to asking me what was up, though, I had forgotten so I just paid the damn bill.

* Wearing pink triangles while conducting business on public property in a few Oregon towns actually constitutes an illegal act. Hey, I woke up one morning and I was already in the middle of that protest.

* Giving change to a homeless person can be an act of civil disobedience. After all, it is against the law to support panhandling.

* Look around any American city ... more and more, smoking cigarettes outdoors is becoming an act of protest ... do you know that the majority of the ashtrays on public property--well, at least in this city--actually have signs on them that say "No smoking 50 feet"? See that cigarette smoldering on the ground? The laziness that compels the smoker to put it there is an act of disobedience. After all, if you want trash put away, don't make it illegal to get near the trash disposal.

Now ... if I'm protesting what I consider a dumb, unjust, or dysfunctional law, that's one thing. But if I'm answering to another law, one that supercedes the "supreme law of the land" ....?

thx,
Tiassa

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"Let us not launch the boat until the ground is wet." (Khaavren of Castlerock)