(This post comes to us from our great friend and Scissorhead Jimmy Dean’s Fucked-up Cousin Clyde. JD’s etc. has been a long time supporter of the Blog Against Theocracy and always contributes a thought-provoking and creative post. He did it again for us in 2009! Rgds, T.G.)
Who rules in religion?
The God or Gods do.
God is The ruler. And the people are subservient to God’s laws.
Most religions follow this template. Granted, spiritualism has as many manifestations as possibly there are devotees, so there is not only one pattern which describes all, but… most organized religions follow this basic one of God the Ruling Force Of The Universe, God The Superior, Man Inferior (this is not a sexual position, unless you count the Missionary One, then . . . maybe, but probably only in the context of a patriarchy), God The All Powerful, etc.
God, as we understand the philosophical entity, may exist in either a state of formlessness—-an omnipresent Spirit, at once the eternal background matrix for all arising manifestations in the material world and equally distinct from those manifestations much as the sky is only a canvas (green screen, modern parlance) for the movie of the clouds, or as the existent manifestations themselves —-inseparably creation itself, in every form imaginable.
God as the ruler is either then a remote lawgiver, one beautifully likened in 16th Century-think to the clockmaker who has built the clock and who winds it but who is also busy with other projects somewhere else in the shop, or the craftsman and the clock and the shop and the winding all in a package.
There is a wee problem here.
IF God is remotely a creator, then the physical laws are ones pertinent to the creation. Indeed, this has been the explorational busy work of the physicists and chemists and mathematicians as long as we know such thinkers to have existed. The discovery of these laws and the refinement of the search to the least minutiae goes on at this moment. These boundary-defining statutes establish what can and cannot occur. Since they apply to the physical material realm they lend themselves to testing and proofs. Bit by bit, these laws are being revealed to man.
But IF God is the creation itself, everything changes. It is no longer simply a discovery of the laws by which creation manifests, but the creation itself revealing itself to itself, God singing “Getting To Know Me.”
The wee problem is this:
Laws created by politicians are not laws governing the material workings of the cosmos. (I will acknowledge that the State policeman with the radar gun who is waving at me as I sail past him at 75 in a 55 zone does have a beatific appearance . . . but maybe it is only oxygen deprivation since I stopped breathing when I saw him too late).
They are not laws governing physics, but people’s actions. And they are not God’s laws, but laws of people, issued by people, for people. God doesn’t make these laws anymore than people make the laws of electromagnetism.
But this is not clear to everyone.
Let me say it again: people make the laws governing people, and God makes the laws governing the physical universe.
Let me flip this one more time so it is painfully clear how wrong it is when Believers become (rulers) legislators and confuse who and what they are:
- GOD makes the laws governing people,
and PEOPLE make the laws governing the physical universe.
- GOD says who can vote,
and PEOPLE say what gravity ought to be.
- GOD says what tariffs there should be on foreign steel,
and PEOPLE say what the binding force between water molecules should be.
- GOD says who can marry,
and PEOPLE say what ultraviolet radiation should be.
- GOD says how much the states can tax the use of tobacco,
and PEOPLE say how galaxies rotate about an axis.
- GOD says what boundaries exist between adjoining nations,
and People allow a plant to grow from a seed.
- GOD says what the speed limit in rural Ohio should be,
and PEOPLE say how fast or how slow universe expansion should be.
When God and people become used interchangeably, it’s a theocracy, or rule by GOD/PEOPLE, and the limits separating religion and government no longer exist.
No longer is it clear what laws are laws affecting the physical workings of the universe, and what laws are laws made by people affecting other people.
No longer clear is it what belief is, and what knowledge is.
The boundaries between science and dogma become hazy and uncertain.
No one knows what’s real, and what isn’t. And the rulers can justify anything they do, with the claim they have the divine right.
Rulers love this.