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Jesus King

Why is Jesus portrayed as a King and not a democratically elected leader? Why is Heaven called a Kingdom, not a democracy? Why do we need the concept of a monarchic afterlife to comfort us, when daily we strive with the imperfections of democracy and declare ourselves willing to die to defend it, rather than submit to tyranny? A monarchy is a tyranny, after all.

When the Magi first entered biblical lit, they were wise men – scholars, astrologers, and philosophers. But they eventually morphed into Kings. Again with the tyrannical overtones.

I imagine a Savior – if indeed there will be such a person, considering that we all of us need saving in infinitely different ways – to be one who brings freedom to all. Not merely a spiritual freedom which cannot be proven until after you die (and then what does it matter?), but a true freedom to live as we choose, without the need to scrabble for wealth as an indispensable prerequisite to self-actualization.

I imagine a Prince whose main task is to ensure that we adhere to the laws which we ourselves agree to, not a King who tells us we can do what we want, then threatens hellfire when we do that which he does not want us to do. I want a Prince who will give this to us in the here and now, not in the hereafter.

What need do we have for an afterlife? Seriously. The concept of an afterlife provides psychological comfort; the intangible assurance that living in this vale of tears isn’t futile, that our hard work will count for something when all is said and done. Sounds like a scam to me; a way of shutting us all up about the hardships we encounter here, propagated by those who rarely share the same hardships as us.

On the flipside, the concept of an afterlife removes the heavy burden of responsibility from our shoulders. We are poor not through no fault of our own, it is God’s will. We stay poor not because we are too lazy or too enervated to do anything about it, it is God’s trials for us (which begs the question, what trials does God have for those who are not poor or for the oppressors? Hell after death? BULLSHIT! Give ’em hell now, so the bastards know how it feels to be poor and downtrodden!). We live harsh and meaningless lives and then we die not because we failed to make ourselves relevant, but because it is God’s plan.

Jesus should not be King. He should be Healer, Peacemaker, Empower-er, Friend, Counsel. Not King. And the afterlife should not be a reward for a life lived in pain and tears. It should be a motivator for a life lived to the full. Heaven should be filled with people who rose above their earthly conditions without making life a hell for others; Hell should be overflowing with those who lusted after heaven but did nothing to make their lives a slice of paradise and those who crafted their earthly Edens at the expense of others.

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10 Responses

  1. tonio says:

    hmm… i was having just this kind of thought a few days ago… and lo and behold, you turn it into a blog post. 🙂

    i have long since bought out of the “vengeful God and his son, the benevolent dictator” crap.

    salvation (if we ever really needed it) is not about dominion. it is the reverse. if there is anything one needs to be saved from, it’s oppression, tyranny, censorship, and a limited view of the limitless possibilities of this world.

    so yes, if Jesus were going to come back (who says that he hasn’t) he wouldn’t be a celestial monarch. which is probably why the religious establishment hasn’t found her yet. 🙂

  2. tonyFL says:

    That is Blasphemy, to ask that Jesus be democratically elected!!!!!

    What you seek will mean the ruination of some of the most exclusive of all-men’s clubs. Your request can be met only if priests and mullahs and pastors submit themselves to elections by the regular people.

  3. tonyFL says:

    Did you know that in Malaysia (and probably other countries) a Muslim woman can not marry a Hindu or Presbyterian or Iglesia-ni-Kristo? Do google-search on “Lina Joy Malaysia marriage convert”.

  4. niki says:

    ey rom, am back in manila already =) wow, this post.

  5. cvj says:

    Why do we need the concept of a monarchic afterlife to comfort us, when daily we strive with the imperfections of democracy and declare ourselves willing to die to defend it, rather than submit to tyranny? A monarchy is a tyranny, after all.” – rom

    I realize that you value your freedom (as i value mine) but that is not the priority for others. After all, wasn’t it a Filipino who famously said that…

    We are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward.

    …?

    In any case, God has promised to be a benevolent dictator. Besides, having once lost to Barrabas, i don’t think Jesus is too keen on contests based on popularity.

  6. rom says:

    cvj: … and those who are willing to sacrifice a little freedom for security deserve neither and will lose both. agreed.

    As for Jesus not wanting to run in an election… LOL! But sad too. Some presidents are great, some are lemons. In 2010, all that seems to be on offer are lemons – yellow, pulpy, barrabases.

    Sadly, I am not comforted by the thought of a dictator, however benevolent, because benevolence can change in an instant. Especially when the lake of burning fire is just around the corner.

  7. BrianB says:

    Wow! Bold premises ROM. Democracy’s raison d’etre is the imperfections of man (his ineluctable greed especially). Jesus is KING, LORD and GOD because he is perfect, in a human way of course. Not perfect like a perfect circle but the worthiest of worthies. Surely, that a man who was weak several times and whose weakness was faithfully recorded by his disciples is the definition of a humanist’s “perfect man.”

    Technically not democratic but in the same region of experience.

  8. BrianB says:

    ROM, I’m using “experience” in the same way William James uses it in the “Varieties…”

  9. BrianB says:

    This is what a Jesuit would tell you: the realm of God is different from the realm of man. The perspective of religion and religious experience is in the vast grounds outside the pale of human governing.

  10. Jeg says:

    I wouldnt worry about the King bit, rom. If my reading of the Bible is correct, the Jesus Rex thing is temporary. Eventually, he’ll just be Kuya (after humankind achieves theosis).

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