The Problem Is Group Thought (Ideological Collectivism)
The Problem is Group Thought (Ideological Collectivism)
The writing I am doing has a historical context. It comes after the controversial capital storming on January 6th, 2021. It has brought about division among conservative Christians (primarily Republicans). Some of them say we need to continue with this spirit of fighting back because we need to do whatever it takes to get back in power, whether it be in the oval office or in the main spheres of influence. The other side condemns the action and pushes for conservatives not to stoop down to the level of BLM rioters and instead get back to gaining back these areas or spheres of influence, or better yet, use persuasion and appeal to win over those on the other side.
Their problem is that they are playing into the hands of the theocracy. They have an idea of a mold that a “Christian nation” would be, and they want it to look like that. The problem with that logic is that society is made up of individuals with their unique look on the world. Not to mention theologically, they are up the creek without a paddle. There could be many points to make about the sinful nature of the world, aka hermatology, but I think the main two to highlight for this case are.
Non-believers are hostile toward God; thus, they are waging war against God’s law and thus man’s law. (Rom. 8:8)
Man is dead in sin and thus blinded by the devil so that he is unable to see the spiritual, emotional, and theological value of the Christian system. (2 Cor. 4:1-6, 1 Cor. 1:18)
In a PBS documentary called “Free to Choose” (Milton Friedman’s iconic series on the free market and the role of the government in it), Milton Friedman made the point that the government is always going to fall back into their habits and nature. He was in a group discussion with other thinkers and asked them when referring to the government, “Do you expect cats to bark?” I take that same question to anyone who wants to Christianize America. (via Civil Religion) Do you expect a cat to bark? Aka, do you expect a person who is in their sinful human flesh to act like someone who has the spirit of God in them? Of course, not, cats are uniquely cats. In the same way, those who are unbelievers are uniquely non-believers. They are not able to love and serve God in their sinful nature because their sinful nature, which is governed by the devil, hates God. We often underestimate the newness that is experienced spiritually for those who are Christian. We forget how hopeless and dark our spiritual life was.
Besides, the value in a grouping of people is diversity. We will not have diversity in the next life. All those who chose to be diverse, not follow Christ, will be cast into the lake of fire. God has chosen to leave most of humanity in confusion and veiledness (2 Cor. 4). He could have never allowed for sin to come about or He could redeem all humanity, but for the sake of His glory, He leaves many in their sin so that He will be glorified in His justice in His expression of wrath on those who are not the Elect (Rom. 9). Once God labeled humanity, when he took away mankind's common language (Gen. 11). He decided he wanted a diversity of culture and later, he developed diversity of melanin count, what we modern-day people call race, even though there is one human race.
In America, the fact that people of all different values and connections can co-exist is our strength. One must ask the question that is begged by the current situation that conservatives have put themselves in. God, in His sovereignty, has migrated millions of people from all over the globe to America. He pre-planned for millions of lives to overlap under one society and one polity. So the question is, why? I think it is because He wants to be glorified in diversity. It is as close as we will get to the diversity of the next life. Think about it, not only will we have people from every major country throughout time, but we will even have nomadic tribespeople. “When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.’ You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:8-10). Here, we see not only will we have diversity, but we will have the culmination of complete diversity. We will have a true full representation of all humanity for eternity. No one forced Jesus to do that when He died. He saw fit to die for people all around the world. (I believe in limited atonement and unconditional election, so when I say He died for them, I believe each one of them is going to be saved irresistible by God through the Holy Spirit motivated by grace, not the Arminian view that He died for everyone in the world provisionally: I needed to clear the air on that trigger word).
The idea that all the conservatives need to do is get back into spheres of influence in society and/or get into politics, and this will all be fixed (brought back to the moral majority of Reagan’s day) is an ignorant one, here is why.
The reason Christians lost these seats of power is obviously that the Christian Biblical worldview is already not the dominant majority in society; thus, the people did not want them in power. They did want them in power because they do not hold to the same values as conservative Christians. We had temporarily gained “a majority” in America, but the promised way is narrow and is snapping back to its normal place (Matt. 7). The norm is that the way to Hell is wide, and many go on it. We thought that just because God had a culture of Christians for a generation that it was only up from here. They had the same upward optimism that people do with the economy.
God is no respecter of persons, and thus He is no respecter of the nations that we build and worship like large idols. Just like all the empires of old: Rome, British, Egypt, Babylon, etc., God will destroy them. They only exist by His will and purpose, and once they have fulfilled that. He discards them.
Church history tells us that marrying the church with the government is always going to lead to major issues. The church should never be in bed with those who have the monopoly of coercion.
Whether people believe in Christ or not, He is still the ruler of mankind; we do not need to Christianize America from the top down. The only chance that America has for becoming a moral majority again is a work of God, not the will of man. No one man gave America its high conversion rate a few decades back; we just rode the wave for a season. Now that the wave is gone and we are washed up on shore, people are upset.
The agenda of resurging or recovering a day where we are made to be moral or religious is a form of civil religion. We ought not to put God’s plans in a box. We must not project on to the sovereignty of God whatever we think should be done. We make the same mistake that non-believers do (Rom. 1) when we make God in our image and make it seem like He must do the things that we want him to do in order to be good/sovereign. We must allow for the mystery of God’s secret will.
The Israelite people fought against God’s plan to discipline and purify them for centuries, and they even barely broke while under captivity to the Babylonians for decades. If God’s own people that He so patiently worked with and gave numerous chances to truly follow Him never really came around to it, how do you think that Americans will be able to do any better? The only reason the Israelites were able to come back to the Lord in the first place was that it was the Lord who softened their hearts; they had no real control spiritually over their hardness of heart.
God works out all things according to His glory. If He sees fit to make a nation evil, thus electing evil leaders (whether you see that as judgment or refinement is for you to decide) is His own prerogative. God can do anything. He is in the heavens and does whatever He pleases. To think that we can try and stop God’s plans are silly. God is unfolding one plan throughout history, and He does not need our help. We are like a little kid coming to our father, who is a master carpenter and offering to be of service. We cannot be of service to the hearts and people. I will say, though, we can seek to share and persuade one another (Rom. 10), but we cannot change any single heart.
The role of the government is to enforce laws that have non-consensual victims; they are not the moral police. For those who want to live for God: God has given us the Bible, elders who oversee our souls, and the church to guide God’s people in how to deal with immoral, victimless crimes. God called us to make disciples of all nations. The great commission was not to seek power and influence of the world.
I want to end this with a quote from the man we referenced earlier, Milton Friedman. “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” Christians have good intentions, but the results are that they put too much power in the hands of themselves to think that they can control the world if they just put enough effort in, and they think that their view of how things should go for others since they have good intentions, is what must happen. We must not cage God, we are merely pretending we can stop the God of the universe from being God. Do not be so arrogant to tell God what to do, whether in spirit or word. God has a plan unfolding, it is going to happen whether you like it or not.