Requiring Unquestioning Obedience: Sin or Not?
“The requirement of unquestioning obedience by any human authority is a sin and defiles the very intent of God’s Word. The unquestioning obedience which Scripture requires is only to God, never to kings, rulers, employers, husbands, or parents. To render unquestioning obedience is a sin.” R.J. Rushdoony
I won’t go so far as to say that obeying without question is sin. I will say that it is foolish and dangerous, both for you and the person wielding such unfettered unchecked power over you.
And I will say that to demand unquestioning obedience is sin. If we are to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s, and if God is the only one to whom we render unquestioning obedience, then for us to demand unquestioning obedience is to put ourselves in God’s place. That is a a terrifying thought.
Which makes me wonder if I’m doing right by my children. I ask them to respond “Yes, mom” instead of “Why?” when I tell them to do something. I scold my youngest when he questions me instead of just obeying. Am I setting them up to be manipulated, controlled, or brainwashed down the road?
It’s true that I need them to obey immediately for their own safety… sometimes. Nearly all of our rules are to keep them safe, not to demonstrate our absolute power over them. The rest of our rules are designed to help them learn how to function in our society. You have to listen to your teachers, wait patiently, use manners, respect police, etc.
Sometimes asking questions is appropriate. Sometimes it isn’t. (Though the irony of all of this is not lost on me, the professional asker of questions. I specialize in asking the obvious and “dumb” and in saying what no one else will say out loud.) When I bark “let go of that!” or “get out of the road!” I need them to do it Right Now. But I can’t get over my unease over the possibility that I might be putting myself in the place of unquestioned authority figure. That terrifies me.
Help me sort this out. How do I teach my children how to be respectful and polite and submissive where appropriate, and how to think for themselves and not be swept away by those who would use them for their own gain?