Secular authorities and the fear of God
Need to make this article short and sweet. Am I even capable of that? We’ll see.
So I’ve been watching video footage of the abuses of police power, judicial power, and governmental power and I’ve been reading about the Noahide Commands, especially the commandment about Justice and asking questions about its practical observance in light of the injustices committed by the authorities in the western countries. Here are a few relevant quotes to add to the basis of this article:
“… when the people no longer trust in G-d, it will no longer be the land of the free or the home of the brave. As Rabbi Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi taught in Ethics of the Fathers 6:2, “There is no free man except one who occupies himself with the study of the Torah.”
Thus, in our day and age, the main thing that destroys free societies is atheism …” (said by Dr Michael Schulman from Ask Noah International in an forum thread called “Punishments for Law-Breakers?” at asknoah.org http://asknoah.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=584&pid=3704#pid3704)
“By mercy and truth iniquity is expiated; and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Mishlei [Proverbs] 16:6)
“Evaluate the loss of not fulfilling a commandment against its reward, and the reward of committing a transgression against its loss. Consider three things, and you will not come to sin: Know what is above you, a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all of your deeds written down in a book.” (Pirkei Avot 2:1 – http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2011/jewish/Chapter-Two.htm)
“With whom does the following statement of Rab Judah in the name of Rab agree: viz., [God said to Adam,] I am God, do not curse Me; I am God, do not exchange Me for another; I am God, let My fear be upon you? — This agrees with the last mentioned [who mentioned the law of Dinim]” (Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 56b)
What is the point that I’m wanting to make? It’s an expansion of what I’ve said before. Before I only applied to atheists or God-rejecters and mentioned governments. But here I’m focusing more on the secular authorities that impose themselves on our lives, authorities that, due to our pseudo-democracy, others impose on our lives.
In the face of the widespread abuse of power and country-mismanagement in our authorities, it is important to note that for a proper governance in a gentile country, the fear of God is vital in those who create and enforce laws and amongst what I’ve quoted are the keys to make sure people are dealt with fairly.
What is the fear of God?
What does the word “fear” mean? It has a number of meanings: a distressing emotion brought about by danger or the threat of danger, real or imagined; or concern, anxiety; or a reverential awe and respect.
Now there are many who limit the fear of God to just “the awe or reverence of God” and try their best to avoid the other definitions of fear with respect to God. I don’t believe such a limit is warranted. It must be emphasized first that this reverence, awe, and respect for God is a higher and better form of fear, one that is matured with knowledge and experience of the character God reveals to his creation, the benevolent God, creator of all, who is also a God of justice but who knows us inside out and is full of mercy, the God who is so beyond us it blows your mind that he could even give a damn about such a small insignificance as we humans are, collectively and individually. This is a better sort of reverence that guards our actions and thoughts so that we can be better individuals.
But it is an imbalance for someone to think that this is the only sort of fear that is useful, as if any other sort of fear of God is wrong or should be cast off. Just as it is wrong for people who scorn God to think that the only sort of fear of God the Torah speaks of is being terrified of God and scared of impending punishment for any sin, it also does a disservice to the many ways of fearing God for a person to just say “fear of God is only reverence and that’s it”. Let’s be frank and blunt. The reverential awe of God, this type of fear, is something that takes learning, experience and time, and it may not be possible in this life for everyone to get to that level. That’s why it’s still important to give a balanced view of the other sort of fear which is still a part of the fear of God and which relates to the evils of the authorities in and linked to our governments and authorities.
The eye that sees
“There is an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all our deeds are written in the book.” (see above)
So the lower, but yet valid, form for the fear of God is the fear of punishment or, at the very least, the basic awareness that one’s actions are many times related to a divine commandment and thus are being judged by God. It is this fear of judgment and consequences or the threat of it that is still very important, not only for obedience to God’s law but also the enforcement of God’s or any law, especially when these laws contradict God’s commandments, commandments that happen to protect man’s essential “rights”. Why?
Although some may say that this sort of fear is never a good motivator to do good – and even I’m not saying it is the only sort of fear we need or that is should be aimed for – this sort of fear at least shows that a police officer or government official is cognizant of the awesome responsibility they take upon themselves when they choose to impose themselves on other humans. Whether they know it or not, these individuals represent the sort of justice their fellow human beings can expect in this world. Their role and responsibility is supposed to accord with the way the God judges our world and its inhabitants. When they abuse their power, when they become tyrants in their respective offices or allow for bribes or let their morality simply be a reflection of majority opinion rather than an absolute standard, they influence their constituents to break away from all authority, including God’s, to follow their evil example and think that such an abuse of power is needed to get what one wants. Or they squash the spirits and lives of the people causing massive physical and mental harm, not just to an individual but to a whole society and to a whole country. We don’t even need to go into the lack of real power and substance to a form of justice that rids itself of God, its only means of objective morality. It is blatantly obvious that one of the government’s main aims is not the welfare of the people but the accumulation and management of money and the control of its assets – or other words, the serfs that are its citizens – and this business mindset is the reason for a lot of the laws created by government and enforced by its police force, social services department, and courts. Our lands and their form of justice is too many times too focused on becoming agents of commerce and business rather than the protection of the well-being of its people. Fear of God and that sense of responsibility for ones actions is almost absent from the arrogant pomp of court judges, police, the child-stealing social workers, and the government parties and officials. And this mass of injustice at the top educates and indoctrinates the youth in the country to follow in the same footsteps creating such a vicious circle that in some ways we do not have to worry about the wrath of God because our own actions will “naturally” lead to their own terrible consequences. [Those who understand God’s control over the universe will understand that when I say “wrath of God”, I’m speaking of an extraordinary unexpected display of disasters that seem to fun counter the routine expected running of our world’s ecology, whereas “natural consequences” runs on a different level of God’s control since he is the source of the natural relationships we grow so accustomed to day in and day out but rely a lot more on our choices rather than disasters like earthquakes, for example, human greed consuming all the natural resources of the planet.]
The fact is that this “lower” form of fear is sometimes just as vital as the higher reverential awe, because, at the very least, it reigns in human actions that leads to injustices that harm other people and countries and even our national and global fate in the hands of our Judge, God, the One who sees all and judges all! At the very least, it can be a platform that leads to a mature understand of God and our responsibilities. Imagine the difference between the arrogant cop who thinks he can just bark orders and take whatever he wants and can use the law to get personal satisfaction against someone who stands up against his abuse or doesn’t act as he wants, and a cop who is actually wary, not only about his heavy responsibility and duty to his fellow human beings and giving a proper show of justice, but is also scared of the consequences of wrong acts not only before man but also before the Judge of all from whom he can never hide. That should make him think twice, at least. Maybe a social worker would think twice about ordering the theft of a child who is in no danger of physical, verbal or psychological abuse. Imagine how much more careful and non-arrogant a judge or legislator would be if they thought in accordance to the following way:
A judge should always see himself as if a sword is drawn on his neck and Hell is open before him. He should know Who he is judging, before Whom he is judging, and Who will ultimately exact retribution from him if he deviates from the path of truth, as indicated by Psalms 82:1: “God stands among the congregation of the Almighty [or “judges” – my addition, DD].” And II Chronicles 19:6 states: “See what you are doing. For you are not judging for man’s sake, but for God’s.” by Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shoftim, Sanhedrin, Chapter 23, Halachah 8 (http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1172746/jewish/Chapter-23.htm)
Maybe a government official would think twice before thinking more about ways to get money from those under his care rather than under his power or legislating for the removal of freedoms from the populace or making laws that essentially spit in the face of God and thus spit on the well-being of society.
To wrap this flowing of my mind up, the thing that is sorely lacking from our secular authorities is the fear of God which is why, in the state it has been in for too long, it will never properly fulfil the Noahide law of Dinim or Justice, and will do more to create injustice and harm for the people than real good. The authorities will do more to enslave us and ensure our doom than set us free and allow us to prosper.
Ok, Ok. Maybe I’m not so good at the short and sweet. I hope I made sense though, whether you agree or not.
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