One of the most important lessons every Christian must have settled in their hearts and minds is the fact of inescapable theocracy. There is no square inch in all of the universe in which God or a god or gods are actually banished. There is no god-free zone in all of human existence. Human beings are inescapably religious. Human beings are homo adorans. We are worshipping beings. And therefore, the question is not whether a god will be worshipped and served. The only question is which God or gods will be worshipped and served. Which God or gods will be reverenced and honored in the home, in the schools, in the marketplaces, in the public square? Whose moral laws will be applied in the home, in the schools, in the marketplaces, in the halls of justice? Atheism is a lie, secularism is an elaborate myth, religious neutrality is fairy tale meant to obfuscate the plain-as-day fact that gods are stampeding through the back door. There is no value neutral space in this world, and this is because there is no space in which transcendent values are not vying for supremacy.
The Dangers of Gravity
There is only one true God, the Triune God of the Bible, revealed in Jesus Christ, and He is always there. He cannot be banished. Stand all the PhDs and Politicians and Media Priests of this world on a stage and let them pontificate about the dangers of theocracy, and watch nothing happen. Watch their words disappear in the air. And watch them all grow old and die. God doesn’t care. Well actually He does, but their pontificating might as well be sermons on the dangers of oxygen and gravity and mathematics. Reality doesn’t care. And in that sense, God is unmoved and untroubled by the drunken ravings of mad men, even when the mad men have managed to tuck their shirts in and form sentences that are grammatically correct.
But this is the thing: the only stick you can shake at the Absolute is some other claim to be absolute. Of course, your stick is really small and silly in the face of the Absolute. Sort of like throwing pennies at the sun. But the point is that the only claim that denies the Absolute is itself an absolute. The only way to deny the Absolute is with an absolute denial. And even in the case of so-called agnostics, who wrinkle their brows in faux sophistication and arrogantly claim that there’s just not enough evidence to prove or disprove God – to the extent that they are trying to camp out in that place, they are making that claim in the face of Absolute clarity. The resistance needed to face that clear and unmistakable Glory is nothing less than an absolute doubt. That doubt really is no bigger than a man’s hand, covering his own eyes to block out the Sun, and insisting that there’s just not enough evidence for the theory of a big ball of burning gas that keeps us all alive. But every form of resistance against the Living God is an absolute claim, and therefore a god, an idol, an allegiance, a loyalty that trumps the claims of Christ.
Whatever the excuse is, whatever the reason given to deny the Absolute claims of the Eternal God – that is your god, your religion. That is your absolute reason for refusing Absolute Reality. And that reason of necessity cannot help but exert its authority. It demands loyalty and allegiance. It brings a retinue of expectations and laws. It is a theocracy, a pitiful theocracy to be sure, but still a theocracy for all that. And this means that there must be blasphemy laws – or “hate speech” if you prefer. It’s all the same. The gods must be reverenced, honored, hallowed. In the beginning, it is merely a demand for the right to stand there defying the Living God without being laughed at. But it cannot stop there. All claims to deity require absolute allegiance. This is the nature of worship. It entails complete surrender, complete submission. And that surrender is either to the Living God who gives Himself and therefore gives life and existence and immortality or it is a false god, an idol, a demon that is a parasitic parody of the Real God, sucking life and limb and liberty from everyone that gives it the time of day. And the idol’s right to exist necessarily transposes into the right to be reverenced and pretty soon that loyalty and allegiance is being pressed into the schools, into the marketplace, into the public square, and eventually into every home.
You cannot admit the pantheon and then object when the gods demand their due. And if one of the gods has been blasphemed, this is nothing but hate, and there must be blood, there must be fines, there must be discipline, there must be punishment. And in modern societies this is all carried out under the liturgies and vestments of secularism and neutrality and reason. But it is just as religious. These are graven images, idols with names like science, popularity, common sense, logic, sociology, philosophy, political science, statistics – whatever silly ride we’ve pimped out with the latest gaudy bling.
We live in a theocracy now. We always have. Gods are being worshiped now. They always have been. At the founding of our country, a majority of those involved, worshiped the Triune God and the laws of our land reflected that allegiance. Our laws were largely limited to reflect God’s law, limited to restrain human hubris, and limited to require self-government and individual responsibility. But the laws of our land have changed and are changing. And this is because there are new gods, and the new gods bring entirely new conceptions of life and liberty and law. They always do. In a predominantly Christian culture, people don’t advertise their household idols, their high places. The demurring begins as a high brow doubt, or skepticism, philosophical quibbles and exceptions – but those are religious claims. There are gods in the doubts and quibbles. For they are of necessity transcendent doubts and quibbles. There is no other kind of doubt sufficient to functionally deny the authority of the claim that Jesus is Lord – that He died and rose again and is the rightful King of every nation.
So this is the point: Christians must stop being bullied by the accusations of theocracy and simply insist that every human being is already a theocrat. Every human being serves a god or gods. The only question is which one? The current communist Left is helpfully revealing all of this as we speak. They are more and more openly religious in their fanaticism and demands. But there will always be conservatives willing to go back three or five decades to where those gods and that religion were just beginning to build their high places, where they simply want to be respected as a reasonable alternative. But idolatry is always a cancer. It is not merely a moral or spiritual cancer. It is a political and economic and cultural cancer. Idols are insanity. And therefore it is insanity to let them roam free.
A Christian moral order, an explicitly Protestant and Reformed public square protects the rights of individual conscience. It is not a sharia law. But that’s because the Christian God is not Allah. And neither is the Christian God the modern secular state. What has the modern secular state given us? It has butchered over sixty million babies, mugs us in taxes when we lie down and when we rise up, and has the audacity to make laws about straws and smoking and what I do while I’m driving in my car, and will very soon no doubt be counting the number of times I flush my toilet in my own home. Why? Because the gods are inescapably totalitarian. You cannot deny the Absolute without making claim to be absolute. You cannot banish the gods. You will either serve the Living God, the Life-Giving God, or you will serve some substitute, and the substitutes bring their own sharia laws with them. Theocracy is inescapable. As for me and my house, give me God’s law. God’s law is full of life and liberty. God is King. Christ is King. We already live in His theocracy.