Christians, citizenship and pledging allegiance

Question 176, from Johanna, United Kingdom

I am considering becoming a naturalised citizen of the UK, and there are two options: swearing an oath of allegiance to the queen (“I swear by Almighty God”), or making an affirmation of allegiance to the queen (“I do solemnly, truly, declare and affirm”). Should Christians swear an oath of allegiance to a head of state? Does it make a difference if the head of state you are swearing allegiance to is Queen Elizabeth II rather than Nebuchadnezzar or Nero?

Historically the relationship between Christians and the states they live in has varied widely. Even today, there are certain political systems that forbid open expression of Christianity, so the question of allegiance, patriotism and loyalty to a particular country is more than academic.

Jesus discouraged his followers from swearing oaths in Matthew chapter 5, verses 33-35, mainly as an outworking of the third commandment about not misusing the name of God. Jesus extends this by telling his followers not to swear by ‘heaven’ or anything else, because to swear by anything created by God is effectively the same thing as swearing by God’s name and thus misusing it. (more…)

Christian and other symbolism in the movie Prometheus

Question 175, from Ian, United Kingdom

There’s a lot of discussion about the movie Prometheus at the moment. I was talking to someone who said that the reference to ‘two thousand years’ referred to the crucifixion of Jesus, who was an alien. What do you think about this?

The following answer contains spoilers

Prometheus poster

Having taken almost $300 million at the box office, Prometheus is the latest box office hit directed by Sir Ridley Scott of Alien and Blade Runner fame.

However, despite its popularity, the film has generated much debate, particularly around the use of religious iconography and themes that seem to be deliberately woven into the storyline.

The basic gist is that archaeologists discover cave drawings and other relics that purport to be a star map. After journeying to the planet identified in the drawings on board the spaceship Prometheus, the crew discover an alien military base that was wiped out following an accidental release of a bio-weapon some two thousand years before. One surviving member of the alien race – referred to  by fans as the Engineers – has survived and attempts to set course for Earth to destroy it and the crew of Prometheus have to stop him by any means necessary.

It is the two thousand year time-gap that has caused many people to speculate whether the story is supposed to link in with human history – especially the death of Jesus Christ approximately that length of time ago.