''Thou shalt have no other gods before me.Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them:for I the lord thy God am a jealous God , visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me . And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me , and keep my commandments. ''
It has always puzzled me why , that for millennia , the vast majority of the population of the world has allowed a small number of people , mainly men , to pass laws and generally tell the masses how to behave and what to do with their lives . In my country , the United Kingdom there is approximately a population of 60 million people and yet basically about 600 men and women are in control of the law - even less , as most MP's vote how they are told . This happens all over the world from totalitarian regimes to so called democracies - a very small number tell 6 billion men and women what is right and what is wrong . How did this happen ?
The lines at the beginning of this blog come from the Ten Commandments given to Moses -as far as I can tell , this is the first time that ' God ' gave detailed instructions to the human race as to how to behave . What really bugs me is that Moses got away with it - if Gordon Brown climbed Ben Nevis and returned with a tablet of stone saying that income tax should be increased by 3% ,that everyone should undertake National Service and that God told him this ,he would rightly be greeted with derision . But Moses was believed and from this time the role of governments have taken on a quasi- spiritual flavour.
My theory is that subconciously , we give 'our leaders ' god like qualities and believe that their laws come from God himself. And as it says in the Ten Commandments he is a jealous god and will throw thunderbolts and punish us in all sorts of horrible ways if we disobey him . ( For any American readers , that is irony ). At first glance , George Bush's and Tony Blair's declarations that they prayed to God before launching the Iraq war seems laughable , but the answer seems to have been that the war was God's Will . Subconciously , this sort of public declaration is very powerful implying God supports the war and is on our side , even if our enemies also claim to have God's support.
It seems absurd to me to believe that God takes sides , and that he has a direct hot line to our leaders , telling them what to do and what is best for the rest for us .Do we have to do what our governments tell us-pay income tax , follow their laws , drop bombs on fellow human beings . By all means , agree with the government but don't do it out of fear of God . The individuals in government are no different to you or me . Do they have the right to tell anybody what to do ? Do we have to obey their laws and proclamations , if we dont want to ? This raises a further fundamental question - does anyone have the right to make decisions for others ?
I will leave this thought with you to ponder and will return in a few days with further musings .