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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

isms

With all the talk in the world today about socialism, fascism, and all the other isms out there, it got me to thinking. I wonder how these different forms of philosophies fit into a Biblical worldview. If we believe we're in the end times, and I do, we have to pay particular attention to the world around us and understand isms a little better.

I wish I would have paid more attention in school. When I was in grade school, I didn't try to learn and regularly got C's, D's , and F's. I started showing some interest in middle school and high school but apparently I missed some real important formative years.  Now history fascinates me. Though I am particularly interested in US History, I am drawn to history in whatever form.

In history, there have been some good, some not so good, and some downright awful philosophical systems of government. The point in history, though, is to learn from people who have come before us. We should be able to recognize previous systems that have been oppressive, inhumane, or detrimental to humanity.

It seems that as a people, we don't do that too well. We don't seem to learn from the mistakes of others. But wise men store up knowledge and they're discerning. They evaluate the world in which they live and act accordingly.  We need to learn what has worked and avoid the monstrous mistakes of our predecessors.

So what does a Biblical worldview have to with isms? First, let's understand what Biblical worldview means.  For me, I believe it means how we view the world through the lenses of God's eyes. By that I mean we have to be able to interpret the world through what the Bible says.   Clyde F. Autio explains the Biblical worldview this way:

A person’s worldview, whether it be Christian, humanist or whatever is a personal insight about meaning and reality. It is how a person interprets, through his or her own eyes, a personal belief about the world. A person’s worldview tries to give reasons for how the facts of reality relate and tie together. The summation of these facts provides the big picture into which the daily events of a person’s life should fit.

I tend to believe that if we can learn from history about the isms we can apply a Biblical worldview to our current situation today.  Not only to learn what forms of philosophy to avoid in government but to apply a Biblical perspective to a system that would work best.  The problem that I see today is there is a lot of anger over how the government is trying to usurp power here in the USA. Of course, if you fail to realize that our freedoms hang in the balance and that the original philosophical system of capitalism is the path that our forefathers set us on, then none of this is going to mean anything to you. But if you do understand the implications, you need to also understand what it is that we're up against.

With all the talk of the isms, I for one wasn't sure what it was that we were losing our freedoms to. I think it's important that we understand so we can intelligently debate the facts. That seems to be the one thing the government has a hard time with. So let's look at what the isms are and see for sure what they mean.

In this blog by Bob O, he goes into some detail on a few of the more well-known isms.  Another site I've seen that does a fair job is at Restoring America.  But a more expanded list of the various philosophies can be found at The Phrontistery.  In any case, it wouldn't hurt to read a few of them and try to glean some understanding of these various philosophies.

The two that I would like to focus on at this point are capitalism and socialism.  I was going to mention communism, but as I was reading on it, communism is apparently a branch of socialism.  Although, by reading through the definition on All About Philosophy, communism does seem to put our current government situation into a better light.  But for now, let's look only at socialism as the broader economic and political system for comparative purposes.




Capitalism, according to Capitalism.org, is a "social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.  Under capitalism the state is separated from economics (production and trade), just like the state is separated from religion.  Capitalism is the system of laissez faire.  It is the system of political freedom."



Socialism, according to YourDictionary.com, refers to "any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy."





Now, the first thing that we need to understand when analyzing the differences between these two system is which one fits the model of a Biblical system of government and economy better.  Kelly Boggs, writing from the Baptist Press, states that there isn't a political or economic model that comes straight from the Bible.  However, he does point out that capitalism does fit best against Biblical principles.  FaithFacts.org does an excellent job at explaining how Biblical principles led our forefathers to establish the form of government, using capitalism, that has given America the ability to succeed.

After reading FaithFacts.org, I came away with a better understanding of what our nation was built on.  It helped me to see a Biblical perspective and those freedoms and principles that I want to hold on to as a believer in Christ and a citizen of the United States.  But when I look at what is happening today, with our President trying to redistribute wealth from the rich in order to govern the country he sees fit, I cringe.  Let's get one thing clear.  I am not wealthy and would surely benefit from paying less in taxes and letting the rich assume most of the burden.  But for me, there are two problems with this.  One, I find that in the Bible, God values work.  It seems by taking something from the wealthy, I'm actually taking something that isn't mine.  Secondly, I do believe in a system where those who work hard, succeed in life, and  take risks and reap rewards actually benefits a society.  These people would be the minds that dream big dreams, that invent and discover, and actually improve life through technology, medicine, science, and other such benefits.  When these are the people who take their resources and invest them in mine by giving me a job and helping me to learn and grow, why in the world would I want to do anything to inhibit that?

But what happens if our government and the current administration gets its way?  Is it going to bring about a better way of life?  Sure, the government can spend and mismanage our money, and find multiple ways to make it look like their ideas (socialist ideas) are working, but time is the big factor.  In time we will see, much like other nations that follow this model, that greater success comes from people who take ownership (as in capitalism) rather than those who rely on others to take up their slack (socialism).

I know that those who like the idea of socialism (socialism seeks to distribute, or rather redistribute, a society's wealth more "equally" to all its citizens) would love to believe that in this form of society, we would all work hard and we would all equally benefit.  But if you truly understood the condition of man, you would know that sin causes such a system to fail.  Man is wicked in nature and man will find ways to take advantage for self.  If there isn't motive for a person to succeed on his own, then there's not much chance that he'll contribute to the success of the whole.  That's sin.

So, do you understand what I mean about having a Biblical worldview in light of the condition of the world today?  We need to understand the times, and we need to understand the Bible.  If we sit back and do nothing, and say nothing, then we have only ourselves to blame.

5 comments:

  1. Excellent post. Since you like history, here's a great clip on the different government systems and what the American form of government truly is. Worth watching, not long at all. Reminded me that I should have this on my sidebar, especially for other home school families.

    Thanks for visiting.

    http://www.wimp.com/thegovernment/

    ReplyDelete
  2. One Heart -
    Thank you for the link. It's really interesting and it's something I think everybody should know about.

    Kim -
    Thanks. Always glad to visit other believers' blogs! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jesson And Rey Ann -
    Thanks! I think I tend to write a lot, but I like it, so...

    ReplyDelete