No Assimilation – On Godly Rebels

Sometimes to say yes to God is to say no to the state:

Can you be a devout Christian and also a rebel and a resister at the same time? Can you defy the authorities and powers that be, yet still claim to be a godly believer? Well, the short answer is yes. One can love God and serve him faithfully while also at times resisting and defying rulers, governments and unjust laws.

Of course one must distinguish between engaging in various acts of resistance when they might be called for, and being someone with a rebellious spirit – someone who just always defies all forms of authority for any and all reasons. But that distinction I have already carefully discussed – see here: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/05/22/on-rebellion/

In that piece I offered a brief overview of how we might proceed here:

-Yes, rebellion against God and his laws is a bad thing.
-Yes, rebellion against the just laws and rulings of a justly constituted authority is a bad thing.
-No, rebellion against tyranny and unjust laws is not necessarily a bad thing.

Indeed, this is the 39th article in my ongoing series of pieces on resistance theory. This has to do with how believers look at things like disobedience to unjust laws and resistance to tyrannical regimes. And I have looked at quite a few biblical examples of this, including what we find in the book of Daniel.

In one article I looked at Daniel 3 and how Daniel’s friends defied King Nebuchadnezzar. I also looked at Daniel 6 and how Daniel defied an ungodly edict of the king. billmuehlenberg.com/2021/03/24/12-biblical-cases-of-civil-disobedience/

A recent article by Peter J. Leithart – “On Not Being Assimilated” – also discusses this biblical book and is worth quoting from. He begins:

The first six chapters of the Book of Daniel present a narrative theology of resistance. Daniel and his three friends—best known by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego—are Jews in Babylonian exile. Again and again, they run afoul of kings and courtiers. As they begin training for Babylonian civil service, the four reject the king’s choice of food and wine, yet end up “fatter” than all the others (Dan. 1). Nebuchadnezzar threatens to kill Daniel along with all the Babylonian sages who fail to interpret the king’s disturbing dream of a metal statue that is reduced to rubble (Dan. 2); Daniel saves the day by telling Nebuchadnezzar the statue represents a series of empires that will crumble when struck by the smooth stone of God’s kingdom. Later, Nebuchadnezzar throws Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow before an image (Dan. 3). On the night Babylon falls, Daniel reads an uncanny divine warning during King Belshazzar’s feast (Dan. 5), and he’s condemned to a lions’ den when he continues to pray to Yahweh in violation of the edict of the Persian King Darius (Dan. 6).

 

Daniel 3 is particularly apt for our times. Nebuchadnezzar erects a monumental golden image as the center of a new imperial cult. He gathers his court to the plain of Dura (reminiscent of Babel’s “plain of Shinar,” Gen. 11:2). Whenever music plays, the officials must prostrate themselves before the image, on pain of death. The list of instruments (tediously and comically repeated in Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15) includes Persian and Greek loan words, and the fourfold classification of musicians parallels the four-metal statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The orchestra is an empire in sound, harmonizing voices from every tribe and tongue. Nebuchadnezzar unites his dominions in song. From the king’s viewpoint, a fiery furnace is an appropriate punishment for refusing to worship: Dissenters will be forcibly melted in the crucible of Babylon. The message is clear: One way or another, you will be assimilated. 

He goes on to say this:

Contemporary lessons abound. We too live in an empire that seeks to enforce consensus. When the rainbow flags start waving, everyone had better join in and mean it. You’d best sing along when everyone celebrates the latest trans breakthrough. Private dissent won’t be allowed to remain private; cultural Chaldeans scan the landscape for people who take a stand when they should be showing respect. Some resisters will find themselves face-to-face with kings. When that happens, Daniel 3 instructs us, let your “No” be “No,” and leave the consequences to God. www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/06/on-not-being-assimilated

I like the idea of refusing to be assimilated. And it is not just relevant for the culture wars. The entire statist over-reaction to Covid, with whole nations shut down, economies destroyed, businesses ruined, mental health problems and suicides skyrocketing, churches closed, and ordinary citizens arrested for no good reason, demonstrates how we also need to consider how we too might not assimilate.

Resisting authoritarianism is increasingly becoming our duty. Saying no to Big Brother Statism is now an aspect of faithful witness. We have had some brave pastors for example rebelling against the draconian state dictates, keeping their churches open.

Just as Moses resisted Pharaoh and insisted on the right of God’s people to worship, so too these courageous church leaders have defied the authorities. But too many Christians have simply assimilated. They have said a big yes to the Big State while effectively saying a big no to their own faith.

And there are very real consequences to all this. One area I have often written about in this regard is how the push by Big Business and the Big State for mandatory vaccines and vaxx passports is creating a two-tiered society with a new underclass. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/06/09/forced-vaccines-health-fascism-and-medical-apartheid/

A new piece on this same topic has appeared which is worth drawing your attention to. Rachel Marsden also warns about this social chasm between those with rights and privileges (the vaxxed) and those without. She writes:

While the authorities keep saying that Covid-19 vaccination isn’t obligatory – at least, not yet – good luck trying to live a normal life without it. It’s clear the ostracization of those who haven’t had the jab is well underway. Last year, at this time, Covid-19 cases fell significantly without any substantial measures, as everything opened up for the summer and the powers-that-be in some countries allowed life to return to normal for a few months, all in the absence of vaccination.

 

This year, exactly the same phenomenon observed in 2020 is being attributed to mass inoculation. The narrative is that this is what’s saving us from Covid. And now the pressure’s on to force everyone into compliance, lest they want to live any semblance of normal life, beginning with summer travel.

She looks at these travel options and then continues:

So, hassle-free travel to these countries and others is almost fully dependent on vaccination, even though these same governments have so little faith in the jab itself that they still require vaccinated travelers to be tested unless they’re coming in from a place where Covid-19 is so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Makes you wonder what the point of vaccine-based travel restrictions are if they’re viewed as so shoddy they can’t be trusted to prevent spread. 

 

These rules reflect what we’ve already been told: that the vaccine doesn’t prevent disease or transmission, but rather reduces the likelihood of severe illness in the relative few who may have been prone to it.

 

Nor is the vaccine seemingly enough to allow life to go back to pre-pandemic norms in some places, even as the annual virus season draws to an end and summer ramps up. While some countries’ swimming pools and gyms are back to relatively normal capacity and use, others are still making patrons sign up for limited time slots and swim up one lane and down another in order to maintain social distancing between length swimmers – presumably, so they don’t risk infecting someone while breathing during front crawl. 

She concludes:

There’s absolutely no justification for forcing anyone to vaccinate – for travel or otherwise. This mantra being bandied about that everyone has to do their part and take the shot in order to protect others is just total nonsense. The proof is in the lack of confidence that governments themselves are showing this summer by demanding that even the fully vaccinated take Covid tests.

 

The jab protects one person: the jabbed. That’s it. And no one should be ostracized or inconvenienced as a result of making a different choice for whatever reason. This highly personal medical decision is being misrepresented as some kind of collective necessity and is marginalizing those wanting to make a choice that’s different from the one that governments are pushing. Since self-protection from serious forms of Covid-19 is in the hands of each individual, why exactly is the individual who chooses differently considered such a threat? www.rt.com/op-ed/526310-vaccine-two-tier-society/

Christians should care about things like fairness and justice. When clearly unfair and unjust policies like this occur, we should not be assimilating. We should be resisting. When even pagan filmmakers such as those who made Gattaca, The Island, and Elysium can warn about two-tiered systems in health care, Christians should be sounding the alarm as well.

We should be rebelling against this, not assimilating.

[1506 words]

11 Replies to “No Assimilation – On Godly Rebels”

  1. I just heard about a Christian man, a family associate, who took the vaccination, something he didn’t want to do because of pressure from the hospital he worked for, and a threat he could be unemployed.
    This isn’t just, even Putin isn’t insisting on the vaccination being compulsory in his nation. We need to resist tyranny, disappointing our government looks to be going down that path.

  2. Hi Bill.

    My husband told me that he was so fit and in no rush to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Then he was very sick with the flu and spent 4 days in bed, so he didn’t need much persuading to get the COVID-19 vaccination. He asked me to get a letter from our doctor so he didn’t have to wait in the queue, as the COVID-19 vaccination wasn’t been given to his age group, but he couldn’t wait for a letter when it was reported in the news that under 50s were getting the COVID-19 vaccination as the Vaccination Hubs weren’t busy. It doesn’t surprise me when people like my husband change their mind about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. I know people like my husband who use to believe they don’t have asthma because they take their preventers and no longer suffers from asthma attacks. My husband hasn’t been cured from asthma because he no longer suffers from asthma attacks. There are many people who stop taking medication because they no longer suffer from the signs & symptoms of a disease or illness and believe they’re cured, but they often get sick and are re-admitted to hospital.

    I know Christians have strong beliefs about healing, but this is often confused with cure. It is hard to believe that God created my daughters within my womb without a natural way of being delivered alive because my daughters’ placenta covered my cervix. However, I didn’t accept death for my daughters and me, but I chose life by consenting to medical interventions. The doctor didn’t force me to consent to medical interventions, but I didn’t have any other real alternative. I know Christians can have strong beliefs about COVID-19 and vaccinations, but these beliefs are often based on their beliefs about Biblical healing and cure.

  3. Thanks Sheryl. Although I nowhere said in this article – nor anywhere else – anything about believers refusing medicine, not seeing doctors, pitting divine healing against sensible health procedures, and so on. Of course Christians should benefit from modern medicine and sensible medical advice. But that is entirely different than the matter of rushed and experimental Rona vaccines that have plenty of negative side effects, including death. As I have said so often now, if folks wanna get the Rona jabs, fine, but if they have real concerns about them and do not get them, that is fine as well.

  4. Did you know that from May 30, you need to have a flu vaccine to enter nursing homes?
    Even for end of life visits.
    Prior to covid restrictions, my children and I visited my grandmother fortnightly. We saw her twice during 2020, and have been able to manage more regular visits this year until now.
    Of course, we could just get the jab.
    My youngest son is 18 months and I do not want to give him a flu shot (for numerous perfectly legitimate medical reasons), nonetheless, anaphylaxis is the only reason they will accept as an exemption- from the vaccine handbook.
    However, as you have pointed out- the vaccine handbook also states that vaccines should not be coerced etc. I can’t think of any pressure more ‘undue’ than ‘you may never see your loved one again unless you comply’.
    So that is the tough spot my poor grandma is in.
    Not to mention the poor residents of her ward, who haven’t seen a child in over a year now. Our visits were a blessing to many lonely people who now languish in their covid-safe prison.

  5. I don’t live down under. My son does, however, and he keeps me pretty well informed of all of the gobbledegook going on down there, and it makes me ill. If they had their way, I do believe it could also happen here in the States. If so, the sheep will win. That makes me ill as well. My sister, an elderly lady (born with special needs) likewise languished in a care facility and none of us could see her for a year. She died, and I suspect it wasn’t heart failure, but rather broken heart. Visits were the highlight of her life. I got extremely pissed when they called to inform me that she had died one day and they asked me if I wanted to come “view the body”. I almost puked. I was not allowed to see her alive and breathe life into her obviously different way of life, but I could see her dead. God help us. This world needs more compassion and common sense, and I can’t figure out which one is needed more the way things are going. Sorry for the rant. I am now fully a resister of most things government.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Joe. It is so sad to hear it, but I know there have been plenty of similar stories as well. it really is diabolical what is happening here.

  7. Dear Bill, in regards to your comments that those pastors who opened their churches in defiance to the Government were brave, i offer this; the only time Christians should rebel against a government is when that government commands us to do what God says not to do or when it commands us not to do what God says we should do ie sin. In this case, when the Vic government commanded this and other lockdowns it was not asking anyone and especially Christians to sin against God as it wasn’t asking Christians to stop worshipping God or stop sharing the gospel or stop praying to God with others, therefore we should obey the Government as the Scriptures commands us (Romans 13) and refrain from meeting physically until the lockdown is over even though we may not agree with it. You are implying perhaps unintentionally that pastors who obey the Government in this matter are cowards. I know my pastor is not a coward as he bravely seeks to obey God by encouraging his congregation to trust God and continue to do ministry through other means. If it was just the Church that was singled out to not meet because the Government hated it, then that would justify taking the action those pastors took. For the record I’m not a supporter of the Vic government policies etc and whilst I don’t agree with everything you say, I do support the general thrust of your comments.

  8. Thanks Tony. Since I have penned over a hundred pieces on the Rona and lockdowns over the past 16 months, and some 40 articles on how the believer should understand passages like Romans 13 and related themes, I obviously will not repeat all of that here. And since your comments are fairly typical of many, and do in fact include some rather questionable assessments of the actual situation we now face, let me draw your attention to a generic piece I did on this which covers all the sorts of objections that you and others have raised so often. The piece is found here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2021/06/15/pro-pharaoh-christians/

    But thanks for your thoughts.

  9. Thing is we have been part of SOFT assimilation for quite some time. The world presents itself as a paradise in places or as a excellent tool in others and we assimilate, even non Christian conservatives do this, and yet some things we refuse to assimilate to enter HARD assimilation.

    “We are the modern world, your life as you have known it is over. We will add your biological and intellectual distinctiveness to our own. From this time forward, you will service us. Resistance is futile.”

    The soft was the carrot a way to entice you into joining for those who refuse the carrot they have the stick or hard assimilation. Of course it isn’t JUST them using the stick but those who were bought off with the carrots as well. Now people you once trusted are treating you as a pariah for not joining the collective. Sometimes even family.

    There are 3 phases: soft assimilation, hard assimilation, and finally ELIMINATION! Many join in phase one, a few more join in phase two, anyone left faces phase three.

    While phase two has begun phase one is still in operation. The overlap allows some pressure of phase two on others to change the mind of people who then “voluntarily” get the vaccine ala phase one. The stick isn’t directly used on them, thus they are still choosing, but without someone else facing it they wouldn’t have chosen the vaccine. Not sure about Australia or other places but in the USA they are in places offering rewards for taking the jab including a chance at a million dollars in a weekly or however often drawing in at least one state. Gift cards and tickets I have heard of too. Soon I expect phase one and it’s various carrots to end and phase two to be ramped up. Not sure how long we have then till phase three. I guess it depends on how patient they are. We would have to rely on Nanny’s good graces.

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