In Episode 6 of Fist of the North Star we are introduced to…God Army. What is “God Army?” It’s a group of soldiers who believe that they are doing the will of their god. Their god is revealed in a later episode, but what they basically believe in is power over all else. They take what they want whenever they want it from whomever has it. The God Army completely disregards others and hope to dominate for their god. They abuse the poor, manhandle children, and steal from the needy to give to themselves. They are the strongest, so only they deserve the best. They give some portion, it appears, back to their “god,” who turns out to be Kenshiro’s archrival, Shin.
Their preying on the weak ends up getting the God Army into the cross-hairs of Kenshiro as he is trying to protect a small community of people. As Kenshiro kills his way through the ranks of this horrific battalion of abusers, he has a realization with an important grain of truth. He says, “The God Army is nothing but rogues abusing the name of God.”
Kenshiro was right. The God Army wasn’t about God, it was about the worship of self. They focused inward on making themselves stronger. They stole from whomever, whenever. Their actions were all self indulgent and worldly focused. The soldiers were thieves and murderers who felt they were justified in their crimes because they claimed a god was on their side. Their god, however, was Shin—a mortal man who is obsessed with a woman who hates him and with retaining power, and is filled with rage toward the one person who he knows could best him in hand-to-hand combat. That is nothing like the God I worship.
The God of the Bible is not about storing up power for yourself on Earth, but rather about storing treasures in Heaven. The treasures the God Army members try to store up for themselves are worthless and will all eventually fade away; the Lord calls us to look heavenward, not earthward (Matthew 6:19-21). This focus on worldly pleasures and opulence was called out by the most opulent of all Biblical Kings, Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes. In an article from my personal site on Solomon, I wrote:
What does Solomon tell us in Ecclesiastes? He tells us about all the things under the sun that he invested in – money, additional wisdom, women, food, drink, and “things.” What did he find after years of trying it all? Emptiness.
Having everything doesn’t fill the void within us; it only leads to us craving it more. The more we take from the world, the more we want. There’s a reason that the God Army’s work is never done—they can never be fully satisfied by the things of this world. They need to keep taking, taking, and taking from the people around them like parasites. In so doing, they keep harming everyone around them until there’s nothing left.
Kenshiro recognizes this and recognizes the insult to the name of God by elevating Shin to godlike status and pretending murder and theft is ordained by the Lord. While he may not worship the way Christians worship, even he recognizes the fallacy in the name of the God Army.
Misusing the name of the Lord or doing things in His name that are against His wishes is actually pretty explicitly called out in the Bible. Specifically, commandment #4 of the Top 10. Using His name to promote murder is clearly using the Lord’s name in vain. This is sinful and wrong.
When claiming Christ, it is said more will be expected of us. While we are saved by grace in Jesus, we are also supposed to live a new life. This means we try to abide a life with as little sin as possible. Of course we fail, but that is not an excuse to just give up and run around sinning. Being freed from sin isn’t a license to kill. The God Army took using their god’s name as that license. They were wrong. They were evil. Kenshiro was right.
All screen shots from Fist of the North Star, which can be streamed legally at Crunchyroll.