Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who Benefits from Your Obedience?

I was browsing twitter yesterday and the following tweet really caught my eye
I know obedience is greatly praised in Christian circles, but something about the way this was stated really made me step back and take notice. In "the kingdom of God", your greatness is measured with obedience. So more obedience translates directly to more greatness. If obedience is the measurement of greatness, nothing else matters. More obedience means more greatness, nothing else plays into it.

I'm sure the Christians would say that obedience would entail doing great things and therefore this makes perfect sense. But even looking from that perspective, the cause and effect is wrong. You are great because you are obedient, and you do great things because you are obedient, but you are not great because you do great things. And of course this only works if you are only ever ordered to do great things. If you are ever ordered to do things that aren't so great, this falls apart.

This got me thinking about what else Christians are saying about obedience so I did a search for it on twitter. This was the first one that caught my attention

Apparently maturity is also measured by obedience. If you are more obedient you are more spiritually mature. I find this funny because I would typically argue the opposite, obedience is an important attribute when you are immature, but the more experience you have the less obedience becomes important. A child needs to obey their parents, there is a lot going on in the world and they can't process everything and avoid dangers, as they get older and more mature, they can watch out for themselves and obedience is less of an issue, in fact at some point pure obedience becomes a detriment, you need to become your own person and separate from your parents. Another example, when it is your first day at a new job you need to follow instructions until you learn the ropes. But obedience isn't the pinnacle, at some point you should be making decisions and giving other people instructions. The idea that obedience = maturity is completely backwards, it doesn't work in any other place in life. What really struck me about this tweet is it was retweeted 241 times. Apparently it really resonated with people.

I have one more tweet I want to share from this quick little search I did
This is really the crux of it. Perhaps you will understand later, whatever, just obey. You don't need to know what is going on, just do what "God" wants you to do. I saw this tweet right when it was posted, but it was retweeted while I was writing, again, this message resonates. It's more faith isn't it? Don't worry about what's going on, you don't need to understand things, just have faith and obey.
So think about who really benefits from blind obedience. It's whoever is giving the instructions, whoever it is that you are obeying. Oh I know, Jesus talks to you directly, where did you get that idea? What kind of things are you supposed to do? Go to church, tithe, spread the word of God, generally support the church? Who benefits? If you still want to do those things, that's fine. If you like going to church, go ahead, if you want to tithe because you want to support an organization that you feel that you get something out of, more power to you. But don't do it because they tell you to do it. Blind obedience is shit, if there is a good reason they will just tell you that reason, if they want you to obey without good reason they are probably hiding something


  1. That last tweet sent chills down my spine.. That is the absolute worst attitude you can have with any sort of ruler. Very bad things can happen when you take that attitude.

    You make a lot of great points about maturity and when you need to be obedient and when not to be. I love the analogies of childhood and the workplace.

    1. It's really terrifying isn't it? If people are willing to obey without understanding, what are their limits? What will they refuse to do? If they are not making sure the instructions are making some kind of sense, what will stop them from committing an atrocity?


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