National Allegiance

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jaydam
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National Allegiance

Post by jaydam » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:59 am

What is your guys' opinion of holding national allegiance, or pledging allegiance to a nation?

What level, if any, do you feel comfortable with?

I see two distinct levels of commitment - regular citizen & armed service:

At a citizen level, I feel fine with submitting to and supporting the government whose sphere of rule I find myself under. I pay my taxes, I follow the speed limit (usually), but is it correct for my to pledge citizen allegiance to a "state" other than the kingdom?

Beyond a regular citizen level, I do not believe I could swear an oath of service again to the military - or any other police/armed function of the state. I do not believe I should partake in pledging to support and defend - inherently with violence - a piece of paper which was made by man. I don't think I can again pledge to partake in killing another human because they stand opposed to "our" piece of paper. I do not see how a man-made paper is worth laying down my life for, or a biblically justified reason to take another life.

Additionally, inherent to national defense is the preemptive strike defense, or the "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" methodology. This means I would partake in inflicting war and causalities on another people base, presumably because "my" fellow citizens hold some greater position to the other humans, and it is better them than us.

Not only is it decided that the outright attacker here is deserving being engaged in combat, but it is justifiable to bring the war to the supporter and the plotter, and such justification also covers any other collateral damage which might ensure from such a "proper" course of action.

There seem to be many justifiable reasons why a Christian should not be in armed service. But I waiver on the regular citizen pledge of allegiance issue.

I'm curious about any other positions here.

thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:33 am

I often read topics on this forum, but as of lately I haven't participated much by writing on it. I would like to recommend reading a thread on the topic of the pledge of allegiance, that has been inactive for a while. If one takes a Lockean view of private property to its logical conclusion, then it follows that the very nature of the State is that is an organization which can only implement will by violence, or the threat of executing violence. If that is so, then I would like to suggest that supporting the State as a citizen is different only in degree, but not in nature, than supporting it as a member of the military. As you've stated, the latter case has concerns about the taking of a persons life, but I find the former raises moral concerns about support support of the State in the domestic affairs of encumbering (e.g. regulations) and seizing of private property (e.g. wealth redistribution) belonging to others. A friend of mine likes to describe the State as a "killing and looting machine". I think his description is accurate. I agree with concerns about the taking of life, but I think the concern of Christians about the State should extend to the envy and seizure of property that belongs to others.

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darinhouston
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by darinhouston » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:24 am

The Awanas discussion in that topic was also interesting.

http://theos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4368


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jaydam
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by jaydam » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:47 pm

thrombomodulin wrote:I often read topics on this forum, but as of lately I haven't participated much by writing on it.
I am glad you chose to post, and thank you for the link to the older discussion.

Much of what you say in your post is why I do not vote. I believe that a Christian voting in a democracy is tantamount to attempting to direct the sword of the state in self interest and the interest of Christ, and ultimately an attempt through a majority to maintaining an earthly "Christian" kingdom.

My vote means nothing unless I am comfortable with the state using its enforcement power to back up what I am attempting to help come to pass. And I am not comfortable with such a situation.

Ultimately, I agree that it can be argued that an active or patriotic citizen is really not much removed from the armed enforcer of the state. However, I do see a difference in my ability to sit in passive submission as a default citizen by birth and pay taxes, and obey various other laws that really have no moral implications vs. stepping up to become an active participant in armed work.

As for the issue of being a citizen of a state that takes private property, I do not see any property as necessarily private. God owns all, and if the state wishes to seize it from who God placed as steward of it, those in charge of the seizure will answer to God, not me.

I also found the Awana thread interesting, thanks Darin. I was in Awana as a kid, and remember our church set it as a boy scout and girl scout program of the Bible of sorts. A lot of patriotism surrounded the Awana program I was a part of.

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Paidion
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by Paidion » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:37 pm

I agree about swearing allegience to any political entity. Our allegiance is to the Lamb of God, the King of kings.
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
With all my strength, with all I am
I will seek to honor His commands
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
As a young man of 22, I applied to go to teachers college (in Canada). And soon afterward, I became a teacher. In order to attend teachers college, I was required to swear allegiance to the queen of England. Against my conscience I did so, and I am ashamed of having done so to this day.

As for voting, I have no qualms about that. I consider it a duty and a privilege to vote for the candidate who will do the best job and who will make moral decisions for the benefit of the people. If there are four candidates and all of them are bad in some way, I then vote for whom I consider the least of four evils.

At one point, in my area, I even ran as a candidate for the Social Credit Party of Canada (The Party is now defunct).
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:49 pm

jaydam wrote:Much of what you say in your post is why I do not vote. I believe that a Christian voting in a democracy is tantamount to attempting to direct the sword of the state in self interest and the interest of Christ, and ultimately an attempt through a majority to maintaining an earthly "Christian" kingdom. My vote means nothing unless I am comfortable with the state using its enforcement power to back up what I am attempting to help come to pass. And I am not comfortable with such a situation.
I agree, and have come to the same conclusion about abstaining from voting.
jaydam wrote:Ultimately, I agree that it can be argued that an active or patriotic citizen is really not much removed from the armed enforcer of the state. However, I do see a difference in my ability to sit in passive submission as a default citizen by birth and pay taxes, and obey various other laws that really have no moral implications vs. stepping up to become an active participant in armed work.
.

I agree. There is nothing wrong with supporting the State in the ways the ways it compels us to do so (e.g. payment of taxes).
jaydam wrote:As for the issue of being a citizen of a state that takes private property, I do not see any property as necessarily private. God owns all, and if the state wishes to seize it from who God placed as steward of it, those in charge of the seizure will answer to God, not me.
I agree that God has a superior claim to all property above any human being. However, as far as I can discern, He has granted control of the particular resources to particular individuals. That places on us the burden of discerning which human being has the right to decide how to use which pieces of property (e.g. as you say "Who God placed as steward of it"). The approach followed by John Locke is as good as any that I am aware of for discerning which person has the right to direct the use of which particular pieces of property. The concern I was raising is that those who actively support, influence, or direct the affairs of the State may find them selves answering to God for those situations where the State seizes property from the one whom God recognizes as the owner or steward.

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:22 pm

This is where the discussion breaks down in my opinion.

I was raised a JW and they have essentially an Anabaptist stance on war, and are apolitical. They also drew lines in the sand with regards the Flag Salute issue. So, my influences were very apolitical.

When I left that paradigm I started to reevaluate my views on politics. For a time I voted. I will still vote on issues such as local tax issues, zoning for "adult" entertainment, etc. but have backed off politically.

The reason I have returned to a bit of the apoliticism of my youth, is largely due to the fact that from my perspective, many Christians make their view of the Scriptures to be reconciled with their political point of view.

So, on one side of the political spectrum you have the "social gospel"; on the other side, you have the "Christian Commonwealth". And, for all of the Randians, Libertarians, Anarcho-capitalists, etc. etc. I see the same thing; they wed their political paradigm to their Biblical one somehow, and judge Christians that don't agree with the political views they have as not being "quite right." "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also."

Therefore, I have (for myself) decided to have my political points of view quite separate from my spiritual ones. I have ideas I think are more practical, more in touch with how people really are, as opposed to an ideology that is untenable. I look at a problem and think "Probably thus and so would be the best way to handle it", but I really think it is an impossibility to wed the spiritual views with the political ones without treading on the sanctity of the spiritual. But, that's just my opinion. Everybody has one.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:17 am

Brenden,

Is your political view on war an outcome of an attempt to reconcile a view of the State with scripture? I'll proceed by an analogy that doesn't represent my position, but one that maybe someone could make to critique your position in the same way you have critiqued mine. How would you respond if someone said this to you?
Nobody wrote: I have decided that my view of the State's moral authority to wage war must be quite separate from my spiritual ones. It is idealistic to think that the State can exist without having the necessity of participating in wars to protect itself and/or defend it's interests against rivals. I have ideas that I think are more practical, more in touch with how the world is, and am opposed to an ideology that is untenable. I look at a conflicts between States and think "Probably thus and so would be the best way to handle it". Maybe that's war, maybe not. I really think it is an impossibility to wed the spiritual views with the political views about war without treading on the sanctity of the spiritual. But, that's just my opinion. Everybody has one."
Edit to add: I am assuming you retain an Anabaptist/pacifist view of war. Obviously, if you don't, then this analogy doesn't work.

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:35 pm

Hi Thrombomodulin (btw, is there a shorter name I can use? :) )

For starters, 'Me thinks thou protesteth too much'. You stated that I 'critiqued your position.' Did I? I threw a whole lot of political labels out there, but I don't think I critiqued any particular view.

Second, there is a fundamental disconnect between your analogy by a non-existent poster and my statements. My point was that I have decided to be apolitical, because I do not want to have my political views be the ones that adjust how I view the Bible and it's teachings. I do not want to live my life by certain political ideologies, and when those ideologies come up against something in Scripture that seems to be against that ideology, feel constrained to shoehorn the Bible into my political paradigm.

I do not have "a political view on war." Let me explain. I can watch several people playing a game of Risk, or Monopoly, and I can see which moves probably will achieve the needed ends--World Domination, secure North and South America on that Board, fewer borders to protect. Then, cut through to Iceland, etc. Or, Secure a monopoly early on and build houses. Try to bankrupt your opponents. I don't need to 'play the game' to know how it is won.

The same with politics. I know how they are won, but I don't need to play the game.

No insult intended, but after the first two sentences of your "Nobody" analogy, I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Could you please try again and ask me a direct question. I am too thick to get the meaning. :D

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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robbyyoung
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by robbyyoung » Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:21 pm

jaydam wrote:What is your guys' opinion of holding national allegiance, or pledging allegiance to a nation?
Hi Jaydam,

If God established the order of nations, their government and authority; then it is honorable for Christians to serve God in what HE sanctioned.

Romans 13:1-5 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

However, the evil of man can cause great distress in what God has ordained, but nevertheless, GOD EITHER ALLOWS IT OR NOT (John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”)

Therefore, The Christian has the advantage of at least knowing that their conscience is clear, if and when trouble comes their way, while serving God in the capacity of "government", no matter how small or great.
jaydam wrote:I see two distinct levels of commitment - regular citizen & armed service:
If men instituted a pledge to their particular nation that dishonors God, then "Christian citizens" must acknowledge this God given authority and at the same time exercise respectful, peaceful civil disobedience, for conscience sake, concerning our testimony to God and His Christ.

A nation's rule or authority is likewise their righteous sword (Romans 13:4). A nation's military is an extension of what God has sanctioned. Remember, nations are God's servant (Jeremiah 25:8-9). Christians that choose to honor God in the capacity of government service (military service), must decide for themselves if "the righteous sword" would shake their own personal faith to the core. But ask yourself this question, belief in "the righteous sword" is personal, is it not? Would a Christian kill another person in defense of their family, or let their family be slaughtered - even though they could have prevented it by killing the perpetrator(s)? Either way, it's a choice, isn't it? Well so is military service and the choices made while in service.

God established these ordinances.

WE SHOULD PRAY FOR THOSE WHO GOVERN US:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

1 Peter 2:13-17 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

vs. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Therefore, why would or should a Christian not seek to bring honor to what God has sanctioned? Or at least be thankful for "The Faithful" who served and are serving in these capacities. In America, God's hand was on the minds of our framers. Our pledge ensures the spirit of our Nation remain subordinate to God, "One Nation UNDER GOD...", and we Christians should rally around this blessed hope. Sure our citizenship is in heaven, ultimately, but until we get their we must honor what God has established for us in our sojourn here.

On a side note: This is why I believe Futurism to be so influential in avoiding making this world a better place, not by some future utopia on earth, but through Christians leading the way in righteousness, in every aspect of society. We should honor what God has ordained and support those Christians who are in the everyday fight to make this world a better place. Preterism sees this clearly, especially now that Yeshua reigns over all kingdoms of the earth, and I'm thankful for the historical account, witness if you will, that make it possible.

God Bless.

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