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Question 50: Does God uphold the laws of the land?

April 16, 2013

Although this may be a relatively easy question to answer, it’s important to address as it reminds us:

a)     We’re merely one point in a multi-billion year history
b)    How custom and society mould our thinking while we’re not watching
c)     What other people tell us is the “word of God” should always be tested against our own personal understanding of our God

History is littered with examples of historic assumptions resulting in laws or dictates which most, many or all people would now reject. Even today we see moments where the law of the land, whether influenced by religious belief or not, seems in distinct contrast to what a fair and just God would support. For example,

a)     A woman who is raped should not be stoned for adultery.
b)    A child should not be married.
c)     A woman should not be denied education purely due to her sex.
d)    Two people who love each other should be allowed to marry.

You are entitled to your own opinions on these issues, and you could definitely argue the examples given are influenced by my personal beliefs and experiences. While these represent a small sampling of laws influenced by history and religion, if you see any as inconsistent with the values of your God, it should act as a flag for your dissent. If leaders of your religion are arguing for this law, it’s possible they have misinterpreted the wishes of your God. If it can happen once, it can happen again – history and our religious advisors can be fallible[1].

Unconvinced? If you’re a believer, has your religion or its leaders ever tolerated or endorsed slavery, racism, the inequality of women, child molestation, regal or caliphate misconduct, religious intolerance, torture, religious war, the occasional raping and pillaging or forced removal of children from their parents? If so:

1.     You’re not alone.
2.     There’s an excellent chance it was, or is, wrong.
3.     It could happen again.

The endorsement of fundamentally bad acts by religious leaders is not an indictment of their religion or God – it’s a reflection of their failure to create a genuine connection to God on the issue due to the time, assumptions and society they lived in.

As a continuing work in progress, we should never assume the laws of the land guarantee justice or reflect the morality of our God. History shows the legal system has been wrong before. Only by people genuinely testing their own beliefs, and then choosing to stand up for what they believe is right, can we continue to progress to a better alignment between human justice and God’s justice.

Conclusion:

If the law is just, God will endorse it. If the law is unjust, God has probably been cajoling us to get it right for some time. She’ll keep offering her opinion until someone listens, stands up and makes it right.


[1] If your religion has no failures, rethinks, inconsistencies, misguided followers or historic mistakes, you may ignore this observation. I also have bridge to sell you.

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