- Religion and Philosophy
Submission to God
For many modern moderate minded Christians the topic I'm about to talk about will likely cause knee-jerk reactions and apologetic outbursts caused by cognitive dissonance. Most 21st Century Christians focus on the positive aspects of their faith. Help in times of trouble, an after-life paradise to look forward to and moral obligations to love they neighbor. These are all the positive aspects of Christianity. But behind Christ, as you recall, there is a Father God.
Some Christians probably see the whole thing as if Jesus is rescuing them from Satan's clutches or that they are making a choice between God and the "World". The Bible puts it in much simpler terms. You are to submit to God's authority, or you are to burn forever with the Devil and his angels in a lake of fire.
Submit or Burn
As I stated before many modern Christians see Christ as, well, a Savior but as I explained in my hub Jesus Saves? From What? there is no good answer to what Jesus is saving you from. Rather it seems quite obvious, when you look at Revelations and other passages, that God doesn't want to save you at all, oh sure he'd like for you to avoid Hell, but then he created Hell to begin with. Imagine we have a King, for God is often personified as a King in the Bible, who owns and operates a dank dark dungeon. Who gets sent to the dungeon?
Well criminals for one, those who break the King's law, the King's supreme commandments. But along with those who break the King's law are those who rebel against the King's authority. These include those directly opposed to the King but also include anarchists and recluses who have decided to go their own path and live by their own rules. Those with a moral code and a law outside that of the King's authority go to prison for just as long as those who commit murder. In fact every offense, no matter how small, carries with it a life sentence. There's another catch too, according to the King you are all born guilty men.
Now the King has a son, a Prince, and if you agree to serve this son and never break another law the King won't send you to prison. Those who do not become servants of the Prince have to go to jail forever but those who do swear allegiance to him, even if they've committed many offenses, get to become wealthy noblemen. Does this seem like a fair deal?
Either way lots of folks will be going to jail and in both cases many of those going to this jail don't deserve it. In the first case those who steal do not deserve the same life sentence as those who murder. In the second case those that murder but then swear allegiance to the Prince become nobles while those that steal and do not become the Prince's servants will get a life sentence in prison.
Nothing about this deal is fair, nothing about it is merciful and the savior of a Prince is an absolute joke. Yet this scenario is almost identical to the one described in the Bible and taught by billions of Christians to their Children. They un-ironically look children in the eye and tell them this Prince of Peace is doing them a favor by getting them back into the good graces of a tyrant.
King of Kings
God is an absolute authority figure, a Universal dictator. I suppose that to some Christians that thought is actually comforting in a way. After all the Earth and our lives on it can often seem so out of control, having a supernatural being in charge of all that likely dissolves some anxiety about the uncertainty of life. The problem is that God also supports other authority figures which we humans are, according to the Apostle Paul, also supposed to submit to. In fact according to Romans 13:1-2 any authority automatically comes from God.
Now it could be argued that what Paul was engaging in here was just politics. Christians weren't exactly respected members of the community when he was writing Romans and making them obey the local authorities, or at least making it seem as if they WOULD obey the Roman Empire might help to dissolve tension. The issue becomes a real difficult one to wish away for Fundamentalists and those that wish to take this book as the Word of God and not just the word of Saul of Tarsus.
Can you imagine someone telling German citizens it was God's decision to put Hitler in power? Yet that is precisely and explicitly what Romans 13 is saying and it goes one step further claiming that anyone rebelling against any kind of authority is by extension rebelling against God. This is why even as a Christian I found it so curious why many other Christians praised the Founding Fathers so readily. After all the Founding Fathers were directly contradicting the Bible's teachings about authority being obeyed. Even Jesus, who was a bit of a rebel rouser, suggests giving unto Caesar that which is Caesars. Jesus was put to death for offending the established religious and Roman authorities so there is a clear contradiction between what Christ did and what Paul preached. Again not so much a problem unless you want to take the entirety of the Bible as the absolute God inspired truth.
"Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the LORD. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you." - 2nd Chronicles 30:8
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you." - Job 22:21
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Romans 13:1-2
It seems to me that God is in favor of obedience while Satan supporters rocking out with your you know what out.
Even Demons Submit to Jesus
So it's repeated several places in scripture that Jesus can command demons. This still baffles me to this day because it makes no sense. If Jesus can order demons around than how in the hell does anyone ever get possessed? Some apologists might argue that these fallen angels have free will but then why would Jesus bother ordering them out of people and interfering with their free will both during his time on Earth and by proxy through his followers after he ascended? So Jesus is willing to violate the free will of some demons but not all? Or he's only willing to violate their free will when one of his living followers performs an exorcism?
If everything is under the power and control of an all powerful being I fail to see HOW free will could even exist let alone how it directly trump the will of the almighty creator of the Universe. Does God not want to be in control of everything and everyone and if not, WHY? Why bother with this bizarre plot to force us into submission under penalty of Hell if he can directly force us to submit? Either way he's still a total dick.
So God/Jesus can order demons and supposedly Satan around, but most of the time they choose to let Satan do terrible things to you. Any rebellion against an all powerful inherently must first be ALLOWED by that being, after all nothing can happen without an all powerful beings permission. Even if that permission is only offering the ability to rebel, not signing off approval on the rebellion itself directly God is still implicitly approving of rebellion.
No amount of apologetics can make something which doesn't make sense start to make sense. Doctrine and scripture that are logically broken and morally repugnant cannot be defended by reason. This is why religion has been sliding ever further into the esoteric and new age and why Christianity has become increasingly ambiguous. Fundamentalism is an indefensible ground upon which to stand. The Bible makes itself out to be a "ROCK" upon which to build but upon attempting to build anything upon that rock it crumbles like dust.
The Bible makes God out to be King, angry, wrathful and prepared to judge any who want to question his supreme authority. In the end it comes down to submission. Luckily no such evidence for this God exists and in fact logic, evidence and good moral sense directly contradict the Biblical God in numerous ways. So luckily there seems to be nothing to submit to in the first place and no fiery dungeon with which to be punished by this invisible, evidently non-existent, tyrant.