Monday, September 15, 2014

 

Sweeping America: Making God in Our Own Image One of Three Forms of Godlessness Described by Plato

During 2014, there has been a rash of high-profile Americans pubicly “remaking” God in their own image. Most recently it was a “Christian” singer who said she was gay and proclaimed that “her” God was okay with it. Turns out, the theology that she uses to justify her behavior and demand acceptance from fellow Christians is nothing new. Plato actually described and condemned it in his great final work, “The Laws.” I was required to read “The Laws” in one of my final political science classes in college.  In “The Laws,” Plato identifies three forms of “atheism”  (or what we might today call “godlessness” or perhaps “secularism”).

The denial of divity is what Plato describes as the first form of atheism. This is the idea that there is no God or are no gods and no supernatural reality. Today, this is usually want we mean when we use the term “atheism.”

The second form of “atheism” described by Plato does not deny divinity. However, it says that God or the gods do not concern themselves with human affairs. Sometimes you will hear people use the term “deism” as a label for this view. I do know some people who would fall in this category as well as some historical figures who are said to have been “deist.”

Then, just as Plate described, there is the popular third form of “atheism” in America that accepts that there is a God and that God is concerned with human beings. However, this “God” is soft-spirited, easily appeased and makes no stringent moral demands of humans. This “God” wants us to like ourselves so it is fine with him if we do pretty much as we please. He is an “I’m okay, you’re okay” divinity.

The mortal threat to Christianity today does not come from Plato’s first and second forms of atheism, but from the third. Few believers are likely to be led astray by the arguments of the first or second form of “atheism” because the defects of those arguments are easy to see.

However, many believers  are being led into Plato’s third form of atheism which is belief in an imaginary God made in the image of man with our traits of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism. It is a convenient “God” that is always willing to say, “do whatever you feel like doing, darling; I love you just the way you are.”

Be careful America: we serve a mighty and Holy God that cannot stand sin (as discribed in the Bible). Our Holy God is the one that gets to determine what is sin, not us.


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