Thursday, 26 June 2014

Lewis: The Bible-bashers’ Fear of Democracy

The Bible-bashers' fear of democracy
Translated by Vivian L., Edited by Karen L., Written by 盧斯達 (Lewis Loud)

                                                                               (Execution of Marie Antoinette)

Outspoken Christian celebrity Zac Koo Ho-ching (translator's note: Zac Koo is often dubbed "Bishop Koo" by netizens for his tireless but often wrong public preaching of the Christ faith) recently "reposted" a post on Facebook. Annoyingly spiritual as it could possibly be, there was in fact a passage worthy of pondering upon:
"We must understand that 'democracy' is not the absolute truth. A society where people are masters more often than not steers men away from God and into a road to vanity and pride."
Bible bashers like Zac Koo are hostile towards the notion of "people as masters".  Though not the value of modern western societies, such an attitude has its root as far back as 1789. Like the Neo-Confucian in Song Dynasty where there had been debates on "nature's principles and human desires", Christianity had had a similar spiritual ideal of God's power ruling over men's desires.

At the time of the French Revolution (1789-1799), old ideas were overthrown under the mantra of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", thus followed were the rise of democracies and the spread of nationalism globally, setting the theme of the whole 19th century. Democrats and socialists were both among the proponents of The French Revolution. Meanwhile, scholars and critics offered fierce opposition to the Revolution. They reasoned that not only did the Revolution cause massive fatalities, when ordinary people were to become masters, the consequences could also be unfathomable: nationalists would trample the divine right of the monarchy, and populism would pervert the Constitution and subvert the empire. To those in the opposition, the massive destruction during the Revolution was living proof of the indulgence of human desires and corruption of morality.

The idea that "democracy is not the absolute truth", and that democracy steers the commoners into "a road to vanity and pride" are not an invention by bible bashers in this day and age, but of the political conservatism that came back to power after 1789. Only one year after the Revolution broke out, Irish politician Edmund Burke penned and published his conservatism classic Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke fiercely attacked the Revolution by prophesying that France would fall under a Reign of Terror. Burke wrote:
Law overturned; tribunals subverted; industry without vigour; commerce expiring; the revenue unpaid, yet the people impoverished, a church pillaged, and a state not relieved; civil and military anarchy made the constitution of the kingdom; every thing human and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit.
Those who are under heavy influence of the traditions of humanism since the Renaissance would think that men are rational, a trait that is of great value to humanity. A learned man would progress and gain wisdom, and would in turn act for the good of himself and others.

The pessimistic conservatives (who possibly are also bible bashers), on the other hand, would think that men's stupidity is as incurable as his original sin. Without the guidance of God, the Church and the clergy, the hegemony of humanism in their minds, would only result in anarchy and chaos just like what happened in the French Revolution. Men are all sinned. An ordinary person who boasts of being any more "rational" than his fellow men is especially sinful and defiant of God. Any decision that any "rational" man made out of self-righteousness would only bring disasters unto themselves.

Democracy is the preferred form of government over other systems because we assume that most people are rational, that they are capable of making decisions for the benefits of themselves, their community and their nation. But this is a questionable proposition. Totalitarianism rests its faith on the party and on its leaders. It sees people as decadent who makes only trouble. This is where traditional Chinese values meets Christian right extremism. These seemingly unrelated doctrines could work in synergy because they share similar ideologies. The Chinese collective subconscious places its hope on a great emperor. The commoners must pray for the king to lead the country to prosperity; while the Christian faith posits that men have a crippled soul that is inherently sinful. The sinners must be helped by God and guided by the church. Individual empowerment thus, in the eye of Conservatives, translates as the triumph of human desire, and of vanity and pride.

Be it LGBT rights or democratic revolution, it is a time when ordinary people step up to overthrow the presence who exists nowhere but who take charge in everything--the almighty "God". But bible bashers question and antagonise democracy because of Christianity's fundamental view on human nature: Men are weak and impotent. Men should lean not unto his own understanding, but believeth in the Lord with all their hearts. Such spiritual mentality in the modern world, in the political sphere especially, would breed a pack of bigoted subjects under the dominion of authoritarianism.

The fears of freedom, of individualism, and of rationality, ultimately cultivate fascism.  In Nazi Germany, there were still churches. But only that the Bible was replaced with a "Nazi Bible", which was rewritten to promote submission to authority, nation and the leaders. Bigoted Christians in today's Hong Kong fall into the arms of fascism's twin brother. They cried in fear: People to be masters of their own and elect its leaders? "Civil nomination"? How can that be? What if some anti-China hooligan is elected? What if 'Long-hair' becomes the next Chief Executive? What if the future CE has Athlete's foot? 

Therefore bible bashers would rather side with the commies. It is only natural that religion would be used as a tool to effect authoritarian rule. bible bashers love their God. But God is metaphysical. So there needs to be someone to execute God's will, someone like Xi Jinping, the Politburo and Leung Chun-ying.

In the post-imperial Europe where monarchs had been beheaded, empires had fallen and nation states had risen, Christianity was once and for all shoved out of the political arena. Deprived of a home, Christianity became a bastard child, drifting aimlessly to find its next political power to latch onto. At last, in despotic Asia, Christianity finds its new Garden of Eden. Bigoted Christians are all over Hong Kong. From Rev. Patrick So Wing-chi (note 1), to entertainer Zac Koo (note 2), to pro-Beijing hunger striker Leticia Lee (note 3), the list goes on and on... These are angels of death who herald the revival of the politics of obscurantism while Hongkongers await their doom.

    [Translator's note:
  1. A homophobe himself, Rev. Patrick So Wing-chi of The Yan Fuk Church had, on numerous occasions, publicly condemned the gay right law proposal that sought to protect LGBT from discrimination. Rev. So had openly endorsed a number of pro-Beijing LegCo runners and then CE candidates CY Leung.
  2. A philander in his youth, Zac Koo now tirelessly preaches his fans abstinence from premarital sex and submission to authority.
  3. Leticia Lee See-yin, convener of “Justice Alliance” and a self-proclaimed Christian, begun an indefinite hunger strike to protest against “radical activists” and to demand government suppression of democratic activism. ]

1 comment:

  1. When the ancient Israelites wanted a king to rule over them, God had adamantly refused. He did eventually relent and allowed the Israelites a king, but prophesied that they will mourn the day a king was placed over them.
    So even in Scripture we are told not to place trust in the hands of a few people, but with a system designed by the Lord, and democracy IS that system, where God's gift of freewill is protected, that each person's excesses are held in check by the morality of others to prevent greater evils, that power is not in the hands of a corruptible few but shared amongst many.
    Those in the pro-establishment camp, using Scripture as their justification, are in fact preaching AGAINST the teachings of the Lord. I'm sure I speak for the Lord when I say these wolves in sheep's clothing will rot in hell where there is gnashing of teeth!