No kingdom works very well if the citizenry thinks they know better than the ruling king. The cross of Calvary is the epitome of this. The Pharisees and scribes thought they knew better than Jesus (Jn. 7:15, 26).
The question as to who possessed divine authority…the ruling religious elite in Jerusalem…or the miracle working Jesus of Nazareth…ultimately hinged upon who possessed the higher social status according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
But during the time of the ministry of Jesus Christ…even people who had Isaiah 53 memorized word-for-word…did not see the cross of Calvary coming.
Jesus can command loyalty and obedience from the people of faith He enlists into journeys of faith…because as the King of heaven He gives Himself sacrificially as the Passover Lamb for us at Calvary.
When this is combined with the displacement of our ways with God’s ways in a journey of faith…this is too much to expect in a humanly invented fiction…if God is actually not at home according to atheism and religious skepticism.
When we look at the Bible through the self-centered lens of the expectations and aspirations of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…of what is in it for us…of what belief in God can do for us…we will miss the displacement component altogether of God’s ways removing our ways…as evidence of the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith.
But if we look at the Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ as sovereign King and Ruler of the realm…then everything challenging and difficult in the called-out people of faith’s lives make perfect sense…because the scenario of events and the purpose behind each storyline changes 180 degrees into being about what we can do in service to the King…according to His plans and direction (Jn. 15:14-16).
The most radically unconventional thing in the entire universe is that when we are called-out into a God-composed journey of faith…we are called-out to serve a King…the King of Isaiah 9:6…Jesus Christ.
The reality of this in the biblical narrative stories of faith, and in the lives of tens and hundreds of millions of people from Abraham onward down through history…who have experienced a biblical quality walk of faith…is simply nonsensical if in fact God does not exist…if God is a fiction.
What does all of this have to do with Jesus and politics?
In the Soviet Union during Stalin’s time in power, the ruling Communist Party could decide that PhD history professors in Moscow were more valuable manually digging ditches for new roads into the city…rather than teaching history in the university.
In a moment of arbitrary decision-making the political rulers in the Soviet Union system had the power to sweep away careers, dreams, and the investment of years of hard work and study…according to the whims of a few worldly powerful people having their own agenda.
In a godless, atheistic society like the Stalinist Soviet Union…autonomous, independent free-thinking does not have value. If tyrannical despots in power in the Soviet Union possessed the authority to tell people what to do…they obeyed or they were sent off to labor camps in Siberia.
But in an atheistic worldview…what did it matter? There is no god…and no meaning and purpose in life. Material particles and energy are the extent of reality. A fixed moral standard for right and wrong, good and evil…does not and cannot exist.
If material particles and subatomic energy have the inside scoop on what is right and wrong, good and evil…who or what endowed them with this capacity?
If this standard for judging good and evil is not a fixed standard…then it is relative…and therefore worthless as a standard.
The abuse of authority in the interests of personal benefit…at the expense of other people…is an attribute that resides within the broad range of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
The void of non-purpose and non-meaning inherent in the atheistic worldview of naturalism…or the meaninglessness of robotic human beings having free-thinking, independent moral reasoning thanks to material particles and subatomic energy alone…are both unsatisfactory explanations for rational reality.
Free-thinking does not belong to atheism…it belongs to God-composed journeys of faith where God displaces our ways with His higher and better ways…in tandem with our free-will choice.
The question can be asked…what is more complex in terms of information content, quantity, and functional coherence…the issues introduced in the Christian apologetics debate on the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Bible…or the fine-tuning of the mathematical constants in physics and chemistry that support life in our universe that is one of several key evidences that argue for intelligent design?
If broken down into the smallest pieces…”bits” of information…we might find that the complexity and quantity of information in the apologetics debate exceeds or equals that which we find in DNA, the fine-tuning of the force of gravity or the expansion rate of the universe.
The complexity we find in the Christian apologetics debate …like we now find in the intelligent design debate…simply outpaces gradualistic explanations of trial-and-error development via material particles and energy alone…in a naturalistic Darwinian model.
If the apologetics argument is light-years out in front of the basic Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest explanation for this extremely advanced and sophisticated capacity in the realm of moral and intellectual reasoning…then the grounds for philosophical atheism is no longer tenable.
The irony of being a “free-thinking” atheist is: what is the point of calling oneself free-thinking if this leads back to a worldview of naturalism that has no purpose or meaning itself?
We can’t have it both ways.
We can’t argue for a worldview of naturalism that has no meaning or purpose…then insist that our argument for free-thinking atheism…outside of Christianity…has meaning.
This line of reasoning for free-thinking as a product of atheism…appears to be self-refuting…on the grounds upon which a non-theistic world is built.
The only way free-thinking works and has value is in a non-materialistic worldview that has a superior thinking, intelligent agent God…as the transcendent arbiter of an independent moral code.
No one can produce zero purpose in life. Like absolute zero friction, an absolute zero vacuum, or an absolute zero temperature…producing an absolute zero of purpose is an unattainable fiction. Zero purpose and meaning is not only impossible to achieve…it is virtually inconceivable and unimaginable.
The Reformation conflict between the old-guard doctrine and teaching of the sixteenth century Roman Catholic church that people should submit and be obedient to authority…as defined by the leadership of the church in the form of popes, bishops, and priests…versus the new Protestant approach of translating the Latin Bible into the common languages so people could read it for themselves and make up their own minds…this entire galactically important issue is itself meaningless and utterly nonsensical if in fact God does not exist.
Independent free-thinking is superfluous on any and all subjects…including philosophical atheism…if material particles and energy are the sole basis for intellectual thought and moral reasoning.
To have any meaning, value, and sense there must be an independent moral standard to go by…an intelligent agent God as an arbiter.
Material particles and subatomic energy do not qualify as rational arbiters…no matter how much professing atheistic materialists would like this to be true.
Non-theism actually removes the supporting virtue of independent free-thinking…by bringing free-thinking down into the meaningless realm of bland and thoughtless particles and energy…somehow theoretical coalescing over eons of time according to Darwinism…into this exceedingly complex dichotomy of opposing viewpoints of either submission to tyrannical authority on one extreme or free-will independent thinking on the other extreme.
Like it is meaningless and nonsensical to base a moral framework on material particles and energy according to the philosophy of naturalism…the “free-thinking” moniker adopted by atheism and religious skepticism suffers from the same reduction to meaningless, purposeless, zero value…when placed within an atheistic worldview.
What is the ultimate difference between tyrannical despots in any social relationship…within a family, at our workplace, or as dictator, king, or Pharaoh…telling other people what to do…compared to free-thinking people having unfettered freedom of choice to follow their own independent course…what is the real difference if our autonomous thought processes and free-will extend backwards to being the mere product of the random chance roll-of-the-dice of material particles and subatomic natural forces?
What value does free-thinking have if it connects directly to a universe that is empty of purpose and meaning?
In a non-theistic world devoid of purpose and meaning…based on the incapacity of material particles and energy to possess or to produce a moral framework…on what basis do we make a value-judgment in favor of autonomous free-thinking and independent decision-making…as opposed to obeying and submitting to a tyrant who tells us what to do according to his or her personal whim or pleasure…based on their claim to possess authority by having the worldly physical power to enforce it?
A universe built upon the moral authority of bland and unthinking material particles and energy…has no moral authority.
Here the claim to “free-thinking” by atheists and religious skeptics dissolves itself. Free-thinking in a world having no underlying purpose or meaning…is itself meaningless…is by further extension without value or worth.
Without an independent moral standard to go by…how would we know when it is the right and good thing to submit to authority or not?