The Mafia is discussing tolerance and the crossover in religio/philosophical movements with religio/political movements. If you want, go there and read Nathan P. Gilmour’s Post with or without reading Locke’s letter then come back here and comment. This is a freelance commentary, no scholar’s needed, any commenter will do. I am not a scholar, and what follows shows it. It does, however come from past acquaintances.
Separation of religion and state can never be. States, can not tolerate being anything other than gods, to paraphrase Nathan. Fascism, when it all boils down is said to be anarchist. The final assessment of anarchism is that it is a government of ones own faith against all others. Anarchism is nihilistic and atheistic, recognizing no other gods before it, above it or beyond it. The road to purity in fascist doctrine has always been through the state. In the minds of the Nationalist Socialist People’s Party, the state was the final arbiter of truth, because it is made up of people who believe in it. Since the state is the people, the state itself is god since the gods of the people are products of their beliefs, and they make up the state. In one collective mind then, the state, gives authority to its representative head, a dictator, who is now the realized ideal of the the collective. All fascisms operate this way. Indeed, all governments act this way (1 Samuel 8, God shows what manner of government it is when man chooses his own head). The fascism of the Soviet Union, was no different. It is the people, the collective, that is its god. It had for its head, many heads that were one. Still, it spoke as the voice of the believers.
We like to think that we are somehow different. We vest the power in the the electorate. But, it is the consensus belief that this government of the people, for the people, and by the people, is the providential supplier of peace, safety, and prosperity. What we fail to realize is that governments are not bound by the beliefs of the people. Once the head is empowered, it wills to subjugate the will of the people for its perpetuity. It is only a matter of time, either by acquisition or forces beyond its control, and the balance of powers tips, and we become our own enemy.
Sounds cynical, yes? It is as Solomon might say the way that it is. All things remain the same as they were in the beginning. A woman walks a balcony at night and dooms a nation. Man throws off the yoke of his master, and slays his brother, because he is not his brother’s keeper, but his own and has no ruler. The fool says in his heart, “Their is no God, He will not see.” Mankind is the anarchist.
We are coming upon a new cycle of elections. Want to bet that morals will be central? And, when has it been any different? In a 1689 England, with a state church, it was a necessity, to ward off the threat of civil uprising, to placate and prevent, through civil means, legitimate governmental forces, any threat to the existing state. For England, it did not matter what religion ruled as long as the state continued. So it was for Hitler, but his aim was to eliminate the source of contention: personal beliefs. For Dewey, it was the dissent of the masses so he preached that the common man should not learn to read. In any case, the definition of the god called state, must be defined by the state, for the people are too unstable to believe on their own. There are too many opinions at odds. For the PC it is tolerance, which means to silence dissent, to disallow personal beliefs that trump others. For the right it is to exalt the freedom of the will of the people. For the Christian, to exalt the will of God above all gods. The Bible defines the state, and unseats the pretender. For religious pluralitistic state to exist, it(tolerance) must be eliminated, and that means no tolerance for a transcendent source of its own definition and no tolerance for any belief other than that which is defined by the state. Pluralism then becomes a religious dictatorship, where all beliefs must be tolerated by order of the state. Exclusivism is excluded by definition of the collective, state.
As we enter the contest, we find ourselves fighting an ideological war to see just which religion will rule. Neither side plots the demise of the state. Perhaps a change of Colors, but the state in perpetuity and strength is the aim of the oppositional forces. We will see the left try to force by the rule of law the sacrifice of private property, freedom of movement, freedom of thought, freedom even of life. The other side will try to preserve, or conserve, for that it where we get the name conservative, the system that has served well. Neither side though really desires anything more than the perpetuation of the state. It is not for the righteousness of the cause, but the cause itself that becomes the reason for the struggle.
We pride ourselves on thinking that we have achieved what the earlier civilizations have not: reason. We think that we are smarter, that we have learned our lessons, all the while, there is looming over the horizon the uncontrollable factor. When the lights go out, when food is survival and not so easily thrown away, will there be faith?
We have blindly gone down this path again. When the system collapsed and the sureness of the foundation of the Faith had been buried under a mound of criticism, when the inerrancy of the Word had become unfashionable, when the people believed that a new paradigm was needed to insure the perpetuation of us, the churches were burned, the bibles too, crosses disappeared and new symbols and new meanings to old words emerged, then the holocaust came.
When we say tolerance, it must never be that we stop warning the people that the end is coming. Throughout the NT, and Old, the Day is central to the preaching of the Gospel. How can we as believers live in this present world in which the spirit of disobedience rules with arrogance and confidence in it own perpetuation? Shouldn’t it be that we go to work, as it was said, to serve Caesar with our lives as unto the Lord, with our vocation, our life, meant to be to the benefit of our neighbor? What is the greatest love: that a man lay down his life for his friend, and then we have this statement, that Christ gave his life for his enemies…for the sake of our vocation as Christ’s people on earth…? Or is it: let us go to this town and buy and sell, for tomorrow will be the same as today?
Pursue peace with all men as far as it is within you to do so, pray for rulers and all who are in authority, that we might live peaceable lives, and be instant in and out of season to give everyman an answer for the hope that is within, because there is no hope for this world, just a fateful expectation of judgement. And know this, that we will all give an accounting, for every man will stand accountable for every idle word.