IS YOUR WORLDVIEW CHRISTIAN OR SECULAR?
Teleios’ most recent survey explored Christian versus secular society. There were 565 responses. Below are explanations of biblical importance. For full results click here.
All the responses in questions 11, 12, 13 and 14 for advantages and disadvantages of a Christian society are potentials. The advantages of a Christian society are manifold and generally help keep society from depending too much on government (which tends towards a dictatorship). Christianity assists in providing, just and honest government which encourages individuals to freely help their families, churches and communities in a positive and productive way.
Christianity at the governmental level
The way in which Christianity influences society remains a controversial topic. I propose that Christianity profits society on two broad levels: first, at the governmental level, and second, in local and national societal levels.
I emphasize the term ‘biblical Christianity,’ as opposed to the organized hierarchical church, because the two have different goals and are based on a different set of beliefs. Biblical Christianity establishes its basis for decision making in the Bible and seeks to follow its precepts.
In contrast, the hierarchical church is grounded in certain man-made distortions of the Bible. The hierarchical church has performed many important functions historically, however, especially in the Middle Ages, such as:
- Maintaining important historical documents for future generations
- Providing an organized government and society in many localities
- Promoting education and healthcare
- Securing living arrangements and employment for both men and women
- Fostering community defense arrangements
Unfortunately, the hierarchical church departed from biblical Christianity at least by the late Middle Ages onward and adopted many humanistic principles to increase its own power. It promoted unhealthy societal trends such as war, oppression, corruption and totalitarianism based in political opportunism, wealth and power. Its forceful influence was from a top-down perspective.
In contrast, biblically based Christianity promotes an organized society, based on the individual, by which each person is encouraged to obey and support the government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-20).
To my knowledge no good academic, prospective, well controlled study proves or disproves these points. Nonetheless, it is evident that those countries which historically have adhered most closely to biblical Christianity (Northern Europe, the UK and the countries derived from its original colonies) generally are the most successful economically, enjoy functional non-corrupt government, live in free, organized and efficient societies, promote science and innovation, and fight for justice for those who cannot defend themselves or who are impoverished, both inside and outside their own country.
Further, government benefits from a society based in biblical Christianity because it promotes honest, hardworking individuals who minimize the need for government action to maintain order, as well as provides a population with individuals of strong character to serve in the armed forces and administration.
Christianity at the societal level
The Bible and Christianity promote a healthy society in at least four ways:
- Order – The Bible emphasizes an organized society wherein each of us are responsible to government officials (Romans 13:1-7), our workplace (bosses or clients), our position within the family structure (Colossians 3:1-4:2) and the leaders of our church (Hebrews 13:7). All of us are ultimately responsible to God for our behavior.
Order is an important Biblical design for our lives. Historically, the Gospel was brought forth in the Roman Empire. The Romans, while ruthless and despotic, maintained an order internally which promoted peace and community works such as roads and a postal service. These advantages helped propel the dissemination of Christianity.
Order still is needed in today’s society to allow for courtesies, helps, and the spread of the Gospel. Such attributes exist only with difficulty in anarchy when citizens are trying to simply survive and fend off injustices and violence.
- Service – The Bible tells us to do good to all men both within the church and in society generally (Galatians 6:10). Such good works might include: helping the poor, community cultural improvements, doing well at work, job creation and scientific discoveries.
- Personal responsibility – The Bible teaches that we are to be responsible for our immediate family and ourselves, so we and our families do not burden society, and so provide a good example of the church to our communities. We also are to work hard for our employers or clients for the glory of God (2 Thessalonians 3:14; Colossians 3:17).
- Respect for the individual – Christianity is most unusual among religions and political philosophies in emphasizing the importance of the individual. This stress allows us personal freedom to live by faith (Romans 14:24). Further, it teaches us to have careful regard for one another in how we speak and act, emphasizing a love (Greek: agape) that keeps the needs of the other person in view, bearing one another’s burdens, having compassion and kindness towards one another (Galatians 6:2; Romans 12:9-16).
So how do these four factors help our local communities? If each of us is responsible for ourselves and our families, working hard for employers and clients, helping individuals and institutions in our community, all in a loving manner, we can build a gracious and supportive atmosphere where each of us can succeed. Further, as individuals find success and give back to their community we create jobs, innovative new products and medical breakthroughs. For those who struggle within the church and community, in an attitude of respectful helpfulness, we can assist these people so they also may succeed.
In contrast, when individuals are dependent on the government they may develop an expectation of largesse built upon other people’s work. Such government dependence, not based in work, does not promote a gracious, giving community, help improve the individual’s progression to financial independence or personal responsibility, or bring forth institutions or discoveries that benefit society.
Each of us should be committed to teaching these truths to those younger than ourselves, not only to teach the Gospel but to pass on what God’s word explains about creating a healthy, orderly, prosperous and caring society.
The Bible promotes healthy wellbeing not only for the individual but also encourages healthy government and government societal interactions as well!