Saturday, July 09, 2005

Godly Obedience

I took my housemate's kid out for a stroll to the downtown mall today, and the place was simply flooded with people of many different races, all dressed up nicely in suits and dresses, and wearing name tags that said "Godly Obedience" at the top of them. I myself was feeling underdressed in my swim shorts, t-shirt and sandels, and our baby stroller is so dirty it looks as though it could have been through the infamous Children's Crusade of 1212, but it was nice to see so many good-looking people in the middle of a downtown population best characterized by a general lack of regard for things sartorial.

I wasn't shopping for anything, just taking a leisurely walk through the air-conditioned mall with my housemate's child who still doesn't talk because of his autism. So I got to thinking about just what the term Godly Obedience could mean. Since Godly is used as an adjective, it could mean "God-like Obedience", or that obedience was making these people more like gods. But then I remembered the Garden of Eden story, and how Yahweh kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden specifically because he wanted to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life and becoming like unto gods. So I ruled out that interpretation.

Everybody knows what obedience means; it means the ability to follow rules or orders. Dogs are famous for obedience, and soldiers are trained to be obedient, and cats are generally know for their disinclination to obey anything beyond their own whimsy. The etymological roots of the word come from Latin "ob audre", to hear or listen. So obedience has to do with listening.

After ruling out the possibility that these people were becoming God-like through obedience, I could only assume that the catch phrase was celebrating one of the attributes of God Himself. What their name tags were saying was, "God has perfect obedience, and that's cool".

But then, if God is the Supreme Being, to what could He possibly be obedient? To Himself, that's who. Godly obedience means that God is listening to, and obeying Himself, and I was happy to see so many well dressed people all gathered together to celebrate this theological principle. To extrapolate some, I guess this also means that cats are more Godlike than dogs, since the felines have perfected the art of listening to themselves, and they don't care what anyone thinks about it.

As to the question of whether dogs have Buddha nature, the answer is


Anonymous said...

I hope that the people you saw in your mall there were really celebrating Gods obedience as you say, though if they were Mormons or Jehovah Witness or some other crazed Christianity weirdness, they were most likely preaching about their own obedience. One day I hope the human race ceases to believe in doctrines and dieties that go against our very natures, and start as you say becoming obedient to our own inner voices. Thats what they are there for for Heavens sake!

flatlander said...

I think that a great deal of Christian culture is based on fear. We are afraid of the potential for evil that is in ourselves and the world, and are willing to give up a great deal of personal liberty and freedom of thought if someone will only come allong and save us from it all (sounds a little like American politics too).

The problem is, God exists nowhere if not in ourselves, and by denigrating human nature with concepts such as "original sin" we dishonour God's entire creation.