Yesterday, in “The Cancer of Political Bias“, I demonstrated how political activism leads to bias by placing the message over truth. The activist cannot comprehend that their own policies might be bad, let alone attribute the negative effects of those policies to the policies themselves. And so they mock their opponents when their own policies harm them, but blame others when their own policies—designed to bite off their opponent’s faces—bite their own faces off.
My past views on activism can be summarized very simply:
“Activism is stupid.”
But, while this is obviously true, there is something about activism that is decidedly non-Christian that I had never been able to adequately put my finger on. Fortunately, Gunner Q has made this clear:
“You want worldly success against evildoers. Which Christ never offered. Just like desperate Israel did before you, you’re grasping for practical results because the religion you have, feels inadequate to your needs. Don’t do that. Do not use Christianity as a means to anything but Christ.”
The primary problem with Christian involvement in politics—especially activism in particular—is that Jesus didn’t promise practical results. Indeed, the Bible is downright riddled with promises of suffering. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus had a lot to say about persecution and suffering:
Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted because of their righteousness, because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of me. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because your reward in heaven is great. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek to him also.
There are many more examples of Jesus promising violence and suffering to his followers. When Jesus talked about the prophets of old, he noted, in thematic fashion, how they all seemed to get murdered because of their message.
There is even a whole book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the theme of suffering for Christ: 1 Peter. Notably missing from 1 Peter are the promises of practical results. For example:
Household servants, submit to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and reasonable, but also to the cruel. For this finds favor with God: if someone suffering unjustly endures pain because of their conscious awareness of God’s will. For what credit is it if when you sin and receive a beating, you patiently endure it? But if when you do what is good and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
Are you a believing slave who is beaten by your unjust, unbelieving master? Peter tells you to endure it without sin. Most notably, Peter doesn’t promise freedom from slavery, but instead uses Jesus literally dying on an extreme torture device as the example of suffering that slaves are to emulate rather than committing even the smallest of sins!
What Jesus promised was the destruction of death: eternal life. He did not promise an end of suffering. If anything, he promised its increase.
Activism ultimately alters the focus of the gospel to a socio-political message, rather than being the way to God. It takes the focus off Jesus. Gunner Q further describes the true fate of Christians:
I am not a participant in my society, by no fault of my own. Already landless and a second-class citizen with no family, and homelessness is on the horizon. No vote even, because Dumbocracy. Why would God promise me rewards/curses about my leaders mutilating children? I’m not involved in that. I’m not even allowed in the building.
Activism is empty. You can’t reject God in order to gain political influence, that but this precisely what activists do. Men like Gunner Q recognize the emptiness of this approach. They recognize that there is nothing they can do. They are utterly excluded from the discussion. And that sounds precisely like what Jesus said being a Christian would be like.
God did not found any existing nation to have a special divine status. There is no Australian Covenant. There is no Chinese Covenant. There is not even an Israeli Covenant. That was broken with Christ’s death, as mentioned above. Israel today is nothing like Ancient Israel.
In a future post I will explain why the Old Covenant (and thus God’s nation of Israel as His people) is no more. In the meantime, I’ll conclude with Gunner Q’s more hopeful message:
God promised us suffering in return for our loyalty, not the halls of power in return for good deeds. That’s the New Covenant. The ONLY Covenant. And the freaky thing is, it works better than the Old ever did. God’s offer of worldly success did nothing to foster devotion among the ancient Israelis. But suffering in return for devotion? Two thousand years later, Christianity triumphantly completed its mission to evangelize the entire planet… and I daresay that our finest hour is still ahead.