God Not a Tyrant

2002-10-10 14:12:00

Larry writes:
"If you use JJ's own definition of tyranny as "absolute power" then that has no allowance for saying that something is not a tyranny if people don't see it that way (you used the phrase "in the eye of the beholder").

This is a very misleading statement. I never said that a tyranny was merely absolute power. If you mistakenly thought so, this should have been clarified in my last post. I pointed out that there have been kings and emperors who have had absolute power, but did not tyrannize their people and consequently the kingdom was not a tyranny. I clearly wrote of Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor, had absolute power yet was a good man, the people loved him and lived in domestic security.

I did state that, in my dictionary, the closest definition that harmonized with my thinking read as follows:

Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly.

I also said that I was not satisfied with any dictionary definition as they were all short and could be misapplied, in my opinion.

I therefore offered one of my own.

Tyranny - "A situation where absolute power is in the hands of an individual or group, and such power is cruelly used to satisfy the desires of the individual or group with no regard to the pain and suffering of the subjects who are forced to obey or suffer death, unjust imprisonment, excommunication or torture. The power of the cruelty of the tyrant is so pervasive that the majority of the people live in fear of expressing any type of opposition.

I hope this clears up the fact that my definition of tyrant is far from mere "absolute power" alone. If I thought this then I would have to think that God is a tyrant.

"This... [is] a country where the will of the majority is the law, and ought to be the law." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:85