Is the majority always right?
That’s a serious question and needs to be answered. But it’s also a dangerous question because a conniving answer could undermine our social order. Remember, our society consists not only of various levels of government, it includes families, social clubs, churches, and businesses; and to a large extent our society is based on the “majority rule” principle. That’s what local and national elections are all about.
Before we proceed, please understand I am not advocating a rejection of elections, majority-rule in Congress, congregational government in local churches, and so forth. In any scenario, the first result could be the rise of a dictator and that is abhorrent. But also understand this: Even with majority rule in place, we can still have a dictator, anarchy, or chaos when we elect people who have no fear or reverence for God into office. (Think that one through.)
How can that be? I’m glad you asked. Let’s look at a couple of stories in the Bible. We’ll start with Exodus 32:1-6. Moses was on the mountain getting the rules for living (Ten Commandments) from God. But the majority of the people wanted a god they could see, so they chose a common god of the middle east: a young bull (“golden calf”) to worship. Even Aaron the high priest — Moses’ brother — cooperated with them. But the majority was wrong. Majority-rule here was disastrous.
Look at Numbers 13. The Israelites had left Egypt, spent two years hearing from God and getting their society established. They were at the border of the Promised Land, and “home” was in sight. God — who created the world and all that is in it, so He has the right to do what He wants — told Moses to send 12 men across the river to get information.
All 12 gave a good report about the weather, the fertility of the soil (they even brought back figs, pomegranates, and a huge cluster of grapes), the availability of forests for lumber, etc. But 10 of them — 83.3 percent — said they should not go into the land, while Joshua and Caleb — 16.6 percent — gave the correct report.
The masses agreed with the majority, and God issued judgment: all those over the age of 20 at that time would never enter the Promised Land. All, except for Joshua and Caleb, because they agreed with God. The ungodly majority ruled, and they reaped disaster.
However, Proverbs 11:14 says, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.” So what should we do?
We must have wise leadership; but we — the people — must be knowledgeable enough to:
• know who is wise,
• be courageous enough to elect them, and
• be wise enough to follow them.
How do we gain that wisdom?
Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear and reverence of the Lord is the foundation of all wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” That is beautifully self-explanatory.
Proverbs 11:10a says, “When the righteous [Godly people] do well, the city [society] rejoices [prospers].” Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous [Godly people] are in authority, the people [society] rejoice; but when the wicked [ungodly people] are in power, the people groan [suffer].”
We have seen a lot of that in our nation’s history.
Therefore, since the “majority-rule” concept often gets us into trouble, we should be looking in a different direction. Where should we be looking? Some of you readers may get bothered with me, but the answer is found in the Bible. We should be looking for wise people to lead us.
One man exclaimed, “I am not looking for a Christian to lead me; I want a good politician!” His friend standing nearby mockingly said, “Isn’t ‘good politician’ an oxymoron?” I laughed and said, “I know some good politicians. They are people of high integrity and who cannot be swayed by money, sex, fame, or power. Most of them are Godly folk who pray about their own life, and about pending decisions. And I know a few non-Christian politicians of high integrity.”
We need to understand that the majority is not always right. Therefore, like Joshua and Caleb, we should not be swayed by the opinion of the masses; rather we should study Scripture, pray about decisions, and base our lives on what is right in God’s sight — even if we must stand alone.
But remember: God will be standing with you.
— Gene Linzey is a speaker, author, mentor and president of the Siloam Springs Writers Guild. Send comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.