PART TWO: Is It Wrong To Disobey An Unjust Law?
You typed "[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]God's law is to do right so if the law is unjust then logically, we should do the opposite.[/COLOR][/I]" This is where my human mind wants to go also, but I'm not sure how one could argue that from scripture.[/quote]
OK, how about a little more scripture! :)
[quote=BradD;20809686]I didn't see a lot of scriptural references in Arc Angel's post. I'm not very interested in opinions at the moment, even though I respect his.[/quote]
That’s because (1) I didn’t think anymore scriptures were necessary in order to put the point I would make across, and (2) most men possess an innate personal ability to think in abstractions; well, some more so than others, but, still .......
(In consideration of the audience, neither did I want to make, ‘too biblical’ a reply.)
[quote=BradD;20809686]What of Romans 13:1-7, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God;[/I][/COLOR]’
and 1 Peter 2:13-17, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: Whether it be to the king, as supreme;’
‘Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.’
‘For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.’
‘Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.[/I][/COLOR]’
Keep in mind Paul and Peter were under what we'd consider a tyrannical leader. There are examples of disobedience such as the Jewish midwives in Exodus 1 and Shadrach et al. in Daniel 3. However, those were disobeying orders that directly oppose God's laws.[/quote]
Hey, you just quoted more scripture than I originally did!
Without going by chapter and verse, it’s a, ‘given’ that we are, all, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]created in God’s image[/I][/COLOR]’ and possessed of abilities to both discern and think in abstractions. Through the solution and revelation of, ‘knotty problems’ (both material AND spiritual in nature) all men are expected to progress towards spiritual enlightenment, gain release from physical strictures, and continually advance towards, ‘God’.
Christ, Himself, thought in abstractions when he was pushed to address a problem very similar to the one that’s being considered here. When the Pharisees tempted Jesus in the hope that he would make some sort of a vain and treasonous reply, Jesus simply said, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.[/I][/COLOR]’ Christ’s reply on A HIGHLY VOLATILE SUBJECT was simultaneously: simple, abstract, and entirely pertinent.
It’s, ‘a given’ that Christians are under commandment and expected to be law-abiding. It’s, also, ‘a given’ that Christians are commanded to, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Render, therefore, to all their due: Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom is due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due. Owe no man anything, but to love one another: For he that loveth another hath fulfilled The Law.[/I][/COLOR]’
Admittedly, this is a tough one! Anyone who is able to answer this proposition correctly is, indeed, going to have to think, successfully, in abstractions. For example, ‘How’ should a Christian approach someone like Adolf Hitler? ‘How’ should a Christian obey someone like Josef Stalin? ‘How’ did Christians deal with the emperor Nero? What about Mahatma Gandhi who, himself, was not a Christian? (May we agree that there are no pat answers, and abstractions are necessary?)
Not being possessed of the wisdom of Solomon I don’t know exactly, ‘What’ to respond on this one? Christ did, however, tell Peter to purchase what was, then, a state-of-the-art weapon of his day. Why don’t you tell me how to reconcile Christ’s remark with the exclusive Judeo-Christian commandment, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Thou shalt not murder[/I][/COLOR]’. (Outside the Bible this very topic forms the final dialectic to Victor Hugo’s outstanding literary moral dilemma, ‘Les Misérables’.)
I can tell you this, though: If the government orders me to turn in my Glocks and, ‘black rifles’, then, THAT is what I will do. Why? I can only give you MY OWN ANSWER on this one: Because it is, also, written, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]The horse is prepared against the day of war; BUT, safety is of The Lord.[/I][/COLOR]’
[quote=BradD;20809686]I don't know a reason to think our liberty is high on God's priority list. Thus, we can't use our liberty, or even physical well-being, as a given.[/quote]
I like that statement! The remark shows that you certainly do possess an ability to think in intellectual abstractions.
[quote=BradD;20809686]My hope is there are other, "outs" or other ways to look at these verses than the way I currently interpret them.[/quote]
Christians (and Jews) do have a choice. That choice is, itself, a God-given right for each of us to make his own moral decisions. (That each of us shall live, or die by these personal moral choices is considerably less than obvious.)
Christ said that He came not to abolish The Law, but to fulfill it. When The Law first came into being Moses said that he was presenting Israel with both a blessing, and a curse: ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of The Lord, your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of The Lord.[/I][/COLOR]’ Moses’ successor, Joshua, cautioned Israel, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]If it seem evil unto you to serve The Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve ....... [/I][/COLOR]’
This question concerns the important topic of civil disobedience - Not exactly the sort of civil disobedience that Henry David Thoreau once went to jail over, but, civil disobedience nonetheless. When Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Thoreau while he was in jail it is reported that he walked up to the cell and asked Thoreau, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]David, what are you doing in there?[/I][/COLOR]’ Thoreau’s reply? ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]Mr. Emerson, what are you doing out there?[/I][/COLOR]’
If you’ll allow me to paraphrase: While he was imprisoned for disobedience by Henry VIII, Sir Thomas Moore cautioned his family to, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]Read the King’s edict.’ ‘If it is a written law then it is open to interpretation; and, if open to interpretation, then we might be able to obey.[/I][/COLOR]’ (Sir Thomas, also, said, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]Alas, the King’s new law violates scripture; and, in good conscience, I cannot obey it.[/I][/COLOR]’)
Basically, that’s the heart of the matter. Each man must decide for himself whom he will serve, and what form, or forms, that service will take. I can’t answer your dilemma for you. I can only answer it for myself. As I stated at the beginning of this discussion, the fundamental abstraction, the intellectual quandary, is, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]OBEDIENCE WHEN YOU CAN, and DISOBEDIENCE WHEN YOU CANNOT are, each, foundational articles of true Judeo-Christian faith.[/I][/COLOR]’
Now, even to a cyberspace dolt, (No, not you!) it should be obvious that I, personally, know of no other way in which to approach the important topic of civil disobedience. To my own well-aged, well-educated, and highly self-disciplined mind, ‘religion’ (nee, God-fearing spirituality) should always be THE paramount consideration. Anything else is no better than, ‘[COLOR="DarkRed"][I]the folly and futility of contentious men[/I][/COLOR]’.