Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Friedrich Nietzche, for all his strangeness and antipathy toward Christianity, was equally as unsparing regarding the state:

A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.

A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: “I, the state, am the people.”

It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.

Destroyers, are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.

Where there is still a people, there the state is not understood, but hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.

This sign I give unto you: every people speaketh its language of good and evil: this its neighbour understandeth not. Its language hath it devised for itself in laws and customs.

But the state lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.

False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it biteth, the biting one. False are even its bowels.

Confusion of language of good and evil; this sign I give unto you as the sign of the state. Verily, the will to death, indicateth this sign! Verily, it beckoneth unto the preachers of death!

Many too many are born: for the superfluous ones was the state devised!

See just how it enticeth them to it, the many-too-many! How it swalloweth and cheweth and recheweth them!

“On earth there is nothing greater than I: it is I who am the regulating finger of God”–thus roareth the monster. And not only the long-eared and short-sighted fall upon their knees! (First part. Zarathustra’s Prologue. Zarathustra’s discourses. 11. XI. The New Idol).

Nietzche tells us that the state is not the people after all. It is unliving; relentlessly it comes and obesely squats in everyone’s pathway. It is its own machine, with its own laws and ways; a bloated, unnatural, deadly virus. It is a machine of violence and pillage, attracting unthinking drones whose ready obeisance it turns to its own cold ends. It entices and swallows them, consumes and reprocesses them. They accept the squatting idol and acquiesce to its demands. They bow down to it and serve it and they live through its death. His thought continues:

Everything will it give YOU, if YE worship it, the new idol: thus it purchaseth the lustre of your virtue, and the glance of your proud eyes . . . . Power they seek for, and above all, the lever of power . . . . There, where the state ceaseth—there only commenceth the man who is not superfluous (Ibid.).

No Christian will subscribe to Nietzches’ philosophy on every point. Still, he seems to have had fundamental insight into the nature of the state. The state is Babylon all over again. It is man rising in rebellion against God and against His laws.

The psalmist, of idol-makers wrote, “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8 ESV). The state invites our trust. It beckons us, offers men hope that they may build a tower, rewrite morality, and remake the world in their own insidious image. It is a cold and dead competitor with God. It suggests an alternative virtue, where men are prey to men, and this is a good thing.

The image in Daniel two, representing the kingdoms of man is at last broken at its feet and destroyed by the kingdom of God; so the idol, the coldest of all cold monsters, is likewise destined. Its place will not be taken by a society of persons shining with their own glory, for that would only be another cold, new, dead statue. Jesus came to give to man life and that he might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). In Him and only Him is life (John 1:4). He is the opposite of the cold monster.


Comments on: "Seeing the cold monster" (1)

  1. Thanks for the reminder. It amazes me that conservative Christians don’t see how the conservative politicos have turned the nation into an idol — even as they preach “small government,” they turn the state into a false god. Our calling as Christians is not to serve our country, but to serve God’s realm within our earthly milieu.

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