Creationism and Theocracy

This is a complicated issue, but there isn’t any news today so we’re letting our thoughts run loose, somewhat. We’ll do our best to get the conversation started, but the rest is up to you, dear reader.

Everyone knows, or thinks he knows, what Theocracy is. Wikipedia gives two dictionary definitions:

“government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided,” and

“A form of government in which God (or a deity) is recognized as the king or immediate ruler, and his laws are taken as the statute-book of the kingdom, these laws being usually administered by a priestly order as his ministers and agents; hence (loosely) a system of government by a sacerdotal order, claiming a divine commission …”

Either one seems sufficient for our purposes. So where do the creationists fit in? Obviously, in some countries, there literally is government that meets those definitions. Heretics in such places are harshly treated, sometimes being subject to lashes, and even execution. Nothing like that — at least yet — is advocated by creationists in the Western world, but they do want government to at least recognize the sovereignty of their religious view of things.

All the creationist outfits we follow want government support for their teachings. They all want their doctrines taught in public schools, especially their supernatural ideas about the origins of the universe, the Earth, life, and humanity. To that extent — i.e., state endorsement of their religion — they’re definitely theocrats. Most of them (but not the Discovery Institute, whose political goals are temporarily limited), insist that not only should government buildings and meetings display their symbols and practice their rituals, but they also want prayers (their kind of prayers) in public schools. They haven’t yet gotten around to advocating lashes and beheading for those who disagree with them.

As we all know, creationists in the US tried to outlaw science they don’t like. An example is the Tennessee Butler Act, which John Scopes was prosecuted for violating. These days creationists seem willing to settle for squeezing their religious “theories” into science classes, so that creationism will be taught along with evolution, which they often describe as a competing religious doctrine.

But infiltrating the public schools to dilute evolution is just the first step. If they were ever successful, there’s no way to know how far they will go. We see no reason why they wouldn’t try to outlaw astronomy, geology, and every other science that causes them discomfort. For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to outlaw classroom displays of the periodic table of elements, but it wouldn’t surprise us if that too would be a target some day.

They all become enraged when creationist teachers in public schools are disciplined. They are equally enraged at the “favoritism” shown toward what they regard as atheistic science, and they would eagerly punish that behavior if they could. For the moment, however, they seem to grasp, albeit dimly, that this is beyond their reach.

They’re also furious that they don’t receive government funding for their activities. The Discoveroids are always grumbling that their “research” doesn’t receive government funding. Ken Ham is so certain of his righteousness that he is suing the state of Kentucky for millions of dollars in sales tax rebates for “his” share of the taxes he thinks will be generated by his religious theme park now under construction.

But not all creationists are potentially dangerous. There are probably creationist sects in the US that aren’t theocratic. Are the Amish creationists? We’re not sure, but we assume they are. However, the Amish don’t bother anyone. Unfortunately, they’re an exception.

Most creationist sects are inherently aggressive about their beliefs. And they’re proud of it. They claim that they’re the scientists and we’re the ones pushing our religious views. Their drooling followers believe them. When given the opportunity, they vote for politicians who believe as they do.

So what’s to be done? This is a struggle that probably won’t ever end. The best we can do, in our humble opinion, is: (1) avoid them, totally; and (2) keep communicating our message of reason and reality. If you have any other suggestions, we’d like to hear them.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Creationism and Theocracy

  1. Don’t omit

    (3) ridicule them–which involves nothing more than exposing their lies and absurdities, which are always good for a healthy laugh.

  2. Megalonyx, ridicule is how I communicate.

  3. I am a board member of Athiest United in Los Angeles. We are trying to gather interested parties to send letters via email to their representatives.

    The theists have armies who send letters to their representatives. This is why cities like Anaheim have allowed for the “In God We Trust” motto to be displayed in city buildings.

    This is obviously a violation of our constitution and must stop.

    Please let me know if you are interested. We will provide the letters and it will only take a few seconds to forward a few times per year.

    Thank you.

  4. michaelfugate

    I can’t quite figure out what a Christian theocracy would be based on – “love your neighbor as yourself”? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

  5. What would a xtian theocracy look like?
    Anything from the Amish (they are not that nice) to midevil Europe or look to the worst of the mideast isLame!

  6. L.Long asks: “What would a xtian theocracy look like?”

    In any government not based on liberty, the most ruthless and fanatical will rise to the top. Think of Stalin. In other words, it would be a nightmare.

  7. Precisely the goal enunciated by the Dishonesty Institute’s Wedgie document:

    Governing Goals
    • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

    Five Year Goals
    • To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
    • To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
    • To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

    Twenty Year Goals
    • To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
    • To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
    • To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

  8. “Nothing like that is advocated by creationists in the Western world.”
    I’m going to dispute this. Excluding atheists from governmental jobs qualifies. Also let me give a relatively recent example from The Netherlands.

    The Netherlands are a constitutional monarchy. One of the quirks is that a heir to the throne needs the consent of parliament or will lose the right to ascend the throne. The idea of course is that the Dutch don’t want a neo-nazi or something as the “better” half of the monarch.
    Traditionally all members of Dutch Royal House are baptized in Dutch Reformed Church. So what happens when a heir wants to marry a catholic? Nobody cares but our very own fundies.

    http://www.digibron.nl/search/detail/012ddef3aacda57c0f372e4c/koninklijk-huwelijk-brengt-oecumene-in-oranjehuis

    “If you have any other suggestions, we’d like to hear them.”
    Don’t vote for them. Your example of the Amish actually backs this advise up – they are not involved in politics at all.

    MichaelF asks: “I can’t quite figure out what a Christian theocracy would be based on.”
    You could study Calvin’s Geneva.

  9. I have to doubt if anyone feels the need for a God to regulate their own moral choices and actions.

    It all seems to be about needing a God to regulate the moral choices and actions of other folks…

  10. I suggest that many people want someone to tell them what to do. Someone who will bear the onus of making a decision.
    Someone who will tell them that they don’t have to believe the experts when the experts are telling them things they don’t like to hear. Like: “you really are like the monkeys in the zoo.”

  11. michaelfugate

    But was Calvin’s Geneva Christian?

  12. Educate Educate Educate.

    Education is the only lasting way to at least offer people a chance to avoid being preyed upon by these individuals and groups.

  13. You’re being politically correct by not identifying Muslim nations as theocracies that espouse Sharia law for all of their citizens. Frankly, we have more to fear from Muslim creationists, fundamentalists actually, than we do Christian considering how badly they tend to act out in pursuit of their religious goals. In fact, the actual battle of reason is with all fundamentalists, not just Christian. Thinking this is just a Christian problem is being very short sighted considering there are over 1.3 billion Muslims inhabiting the planet.

  14. Doesn’t anybody notice that theocracy was tried over and over and didn’t end so well (read your Bibles, Bible thumpers!). It still isn’t in Iran. Doesn’t anyone notice that the theocrats appoint themselves as being “most holy” or some other BS? Who in their right mind would want such a thing. But if they do pull it off I will be in charge because I am holier than all of those folks put together.

  15. The whole truth

    michaelfugate said:

    “I can’t quite figure out what a Christian theocracy would be based on – “love your neighbor as yourself”? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?”

    It would be based on the ‘perfect morals’, ‘justice’, ‘charity’, ‘love’, and ‘mercy’ that the ‘omnibenevolent’ character jesus-savior-messiah-king-of-kings-lord-god-yhwh-holy-ghost preaches, commands, and/or carries out in biblical stories.

    Some examples:

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. matthew 10:34

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. luke 19:27

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. luke 14:26

    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. matthew 18:6

    Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys. 1 samuel 15:3

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. romans 1 (my bold)

    Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. psalms 11:6

    Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven. genesis 19:24

    More:

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible3.htm

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html

  16. @MichaelF asks one more question:

    “But was Calvin’s Geneva Christian?”
    Why don’t you ask a calvinist?

  17. Dave Luckett

    What would a Christian theocracy look like? It would look a lot like medieval Europe, because that was a set of theocratic states, pretty much. Churchill had the perfect description of what would happen: “… a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

    Monarchs ruled by Divine Right, exactly as a whole bunch of scriptures instructed. In most places, their word was Law.

    (One of the interesting reflections on how far England had diverged from that idea was that James I, riding south to be crowned in 1603, expected that his Royal order to execute a thief taken in the act would be instantly obeyed. He was very much put out when told that there would have to be the formality of a trial, and the sentence was up to the judge, not him. Threatened to return to Scotland, where they knew what was due to kings. I wish to God he had. It would have saved a whole heap of trouble.)

    The monarch’s chief functionaries were clerics. Barons were more in the nature of delegates, wielding some of the monarch’s powers in his name. But between them – king, barons, clerics – they were the law.

    Well, mostly. Any feudal regime lived haunted by the continual fear of a peasant revolt. Checks and balances did exist, kinda. We wouldn’t call them that, mind.

    But nobody in this whole system – including the clergy – was expected to behave with charity, compassion or mercy. Scripture, having invested kings with the power of life and death, was not much further consulted. Odd, that.

    But that’s what a Christian theocracy would look like. The theocracies we have today are not Christian ones. But there’s a few theocracies around, still. Iran; Saudi Arabia; North Korea. The last is a real doozy, and a wonderful example of what rule by a god-king looks like. It’s not a pretty sight.

    There is at least one thing to be grateful for. The would-be theocrats we have to put up with are only in a Big Tent because they’re under seige, and they know it. The instant they attained any of their important goals, they’d be at one another’s throats. As Curmudgeon says, it would have to be their kind of prayer at government meetings; their co-religionists in positions of power, their practices enshrined in law. Instant schism would attend any success they might have.

    Self-regulation, you might say. Well, yes. But I’d still rather have them in their Big Tent, and completely unsuccessful.

  18. Theocracy doesn’t work in Iran because it’s not the right religion. Only christianity is the right religion, so say the creationists, and given the real opportunity, they can kill our society without any trouble.

  19. All the time these theocracies continuously ask the critical question, “Are you one of us?” and if the answer is no then the retribution is swift. It’s the nature of a belief system founded on fairy dust, it just can’t stand up to rational scrutiny.

  20. The best we can do, in our humble opinion, is: (1) avoid them, totally; and (2) keep communicating our message of reason and reality. If you have any other suggestions, we’d like to hear them.”

    Details of (2):

    Make it clear what you mean by the “them” in (1). Activists who devote their careers of much of their spare time to anti-evolution propaganda are a very tiny minority, <<1% of the adult Americans. I recently read a study that most of todays anti-evolution propaganda comes from only 70 individuals, <1 ppm of the public. The next tier are the "wisdom" authors you often cite, who are "in transition" to full-blown activists. Mane of them retreat after being surprised at how they have been misled. A few accept evolution but most retreat to the largest subset of "them" – the rank and file committed evolution-deniers who are much like the Amish in that they rarely bother anyone. But attempting to educate them would be a waste of time. Ridiculing is unnecessary and can be counterproductive, but if you must (& sometimes I can't resist either) it should be reserved for the first 2 groups, never the 3rd.

    Communicate the message mainly to fence-sitters, who are at least 1/3, maybe 1/2 of adult Americans, not to "the choir." These people either have vague doubts of evolution, are unsure, or accept it but think it's "fair" to teach both sides in science class. Most of them are religious, and 1/2 are conservative, so complaining about the "religious right" will be worthless at best. What does get their attention is alerting them to the many sleazy games the activists play to get their pseudoscience taught in public school. Leave it to the courts to show that it is "religion, not science," but rather emphasize how the activists demand handouts to teach what (1) has not earned the right to be taught and (2) misrepresents the science that has. Remind people that these weasels already have the right to spreads their misinformation to students during the 99+% of their waking hours that they are not learning biology, but that that’s not good enough for them. Never, ever respond to their lies of “Darwinist censorship” by merely showing that that is a lie. Always show also how it is the anti-evolution activists who censor – by pretending that the refutations to their nonsense doesn’t exist, and even censoring themselves by refusing to state and test their own alternate “theories.” Show how, despite painstaking efforts to play favorites with evidence, they can’t even agree on the age of the earth within 5+ orders of magnitudes, much less decide which are the created “kinds.” Make sure they know that one of the activists that Biblical literalists rave about has conceded ~4 billion years of common descent, and that the activists who supposedly disagree with him have never had the confidence to challenge him directly. Call attention to the massive retreat by activists on the testable “what happened when” claims, and the concurrent increased obsession of “weaknesses” of “Darwinism.” Note the irony of how the ID crowd has abandoned the very part (the testable claims of their “theory”) that is perfectly legal to teach, while frantically rewording the part that has been deemed illegal. They would not dare do that if they thought there was the slightest hope of evidence for anything other than evolution.

  21. As we all know, creationists in the US tried to outlaw science they don’t like. An example is the Tennessee Butler Act, which John Scopes was prosecuted for violating. These days creationists seem willing to settle for squeezing their religious “theories” into science classes, so that creationism will be taught along with evolution, which they often describe as a competing religious doctrine.

    But infiltrating the public schools to dilute evolution is just the first step. If they were ever successful, there’s no way to know how far they will go. We see no reason why they wouldn’t try to outlaw astronomy, geology, and every other science that causes them discomfort. For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to outlaw classroom displays of the periodic table of elements, but it wouldn’t surprise us if that too would be a target some day.

    They won’t try to outlaw science. Instead, they’ll try to twist it Whether they know it or not into something they’ll call science, but which will support their crank religious ideas of science

    The periodic table is probably safe: creationists can claim the universe was created with all the elements we know today, in exactly the proportions we know today. But the findings of other sciences would be either ignored or denied; paleontology, in particular, might indeed be banned.

    We have seen this before. The Nazis twisted biology and related scientists in support of their racial theories, and for decades the Soviets embraced the crank neo-Lamarckism of Trofim D. Lysenko, going so far as to punish scientists who embraced Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics. Whether they know it or not, creationists are following in the boot-prints of the worst dictatorships in history.

  22. As we all know, creationists in the US tried to outlaw science they don’t like. An example is the Tennessee Butler Act, which John Scopes was prosecuted for violating. These days creationists seem willing to settle for squeezing their religious “theories” into science classes, so that creationism will be taught along with evolution, which they often describe as a competing religious doctrine.

    But infiltrating the public schools to dilute evolution is just the first step. If they were ever successful, there’s no way to know how far they will go. We see no reason why they wouldn’t try to outlaw astronomy, geology, and every other science that causes them discomfort. For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to outlaw classroom displays of the periodic table of elements, but it wouldn’t surprise us if that too would be a target some day.

    They won’t try to outlaw science. Instead, they’ll try to twist itinto sometingthey’ll call science, but which will support their crank religious ideas of science.

    The periodic table is probably safe: creationists can claim the universe was created with all the elements we know today, in exactly the proportions we know today. But the findings of other sciences would be either ignored or denied; paleontology, in particular, might indeed be banned.

    We have seen this before. The Nazis twisted biology and related scientists in support of their racial theories, and for decades the Soviets embraced the crank neo-Lamarckism of Trofim D. Lysenko, going so far as to punish scientists who embraced Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics. Whether they know it or not, creationists are following in the boot-prints of the wrst dictatorships in history.

  23. @Eric Lipps
    About creating the elements in the beginning as they are today.
    That involves the isotope ratios. Which means that the distribution of half-lifes is as if there has been billions of years of decay, leaving behind products of that decay, etc., etc.
    I’m not sure that they would want to have that kind of information available for the occasional curious high-school student.