“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” (Winston Churchill, from a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947)
Recently I’ve come across a lot of people who seem to resent the idea of democracy, without considering the shortcomings of every other type of government tried by mankind.
They seem to think that their views and their desires should be imposed without regard for any democratic process. They consider those views and desires as “human rights” – without citing any foundational justification for the legitimacy of those “rights”.
The views I refer to have been centred on the question of same sex marriage in Australia. I’ve seen many individuals insisting that their “human rights” are being denied by anyone who suggests that recognition of same sex marriage in this country can only happen through a democratic process, culminating in being passed by parliament.
Those people who want to enforce their personal idea of their “rights” on the population at large have been quite vitriolic in response to anyone who would question their anti-democratic view – even towards some who have stated they support same sex marriage, but want the democratic process to be observed.
I see that kind of thinking is the natural outcome of the increasing relativist philosophy colouring the thinking of western society. Where truth is whatever “I” decide is truth and no one has the right to dispute “my” truth; even though their truth may be different.
The attitude shown says: “if their truth is different and they say anything against “my” truth, they are bigots, so replying to them in a rude and rancorous way is justified”.
That hostility seems to increase if the different idea of truth has its basis in scripture and relates to man’s relationship with God.
One of the problems with democracy is that we don’t always find ourselves on the same side as the majority, and democratically introduced legislation can be contrary to our own moral or political stance.
For Christians that difference is increasing as the world moves further away from long-standing historical, religious influences. It is easy to become discouraged and threatened by those changes, so it’s increasingly necessary to understand the truth of us being “not of the world, just as [He is] not of the world”; and that His kingdom is not of this world.
An Australian former politician, Bronwyn Bishop once suggested the best form of government was a benevolent dictatorship (as long as she was that dictator). Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I always took her self-recommendation for the job to be a tongue in cheek qualifier suggesting that all of us would think ourselves to be the only suitable candidate for that position.
While drawing considerable derision for her suggestion, I think the first part of Bishop’s view was more or less correct: that the best form of government is the rule of a single, unchallenged ruler who can be completely trusted to rule un-capriciously without rancour and without injustice.
In fact such a government is the type of rule that God intended, but man rejected; the type of rule that God will one day reinstate.
We see an example of man’s rejection of that kind of government when God’s chosen people of Israel demanded to be like other nations with a man for a king.
God gave them what they wanted after warning them of the consequences. And they suffered those consequences throughout their history, as did every other nation ruled by a man.
God could have left mankind to suffer under that choice of weak and corrupt human leadership and give up His right to rule over His creation. But He has a better plan in mind.
That better plan is Jesus, ruling as BOTH God and man, over His people for ever.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”…
…I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it,[j] for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.