Saturday, August 29, 2009

More on the Nehemiah Institute Thing

The Nehemiah Institute divided their 20 statements on their Biblical Worldview test into five categories. I'm going to address those in the "social" category today, because they call me Biblical (and I agree with them) on most of those. I know that means I don't have a fuss to make here, which may make for a boring post, but I thought some of you might be curious to hear what they were anyway. And maybe one of you has a fuss to make about one of them--which I would be curious to hear! So here we go . . .

The first two I can deal with quickly. Statement #2: Human nature, because it constantly adapts and changes has an unlimited potential for progressive development. I disagree. The problematic word here is unlimited. We have tremendous potential for progressive development, but it is not unlimited. Only God is infinite in his power. I will say, though, that we are so far from our limits in our potential that perhaps it wouldn't matter that much if we did believe this . . other than the unbelievable chutzpah it reveals . .

Chutzpah . . . what a great word I picked up on the east coast!

Statement #7: The major obstacles to social progress are ignorance and faulty social institutions. I disagree. Ignorance and faulty social institutions are certainly obstacles to social progress. But the major obstacle to social progress is sin, our unwillingness to believe and act on what God says about us and our world. We don't progress because we try to do it our way instead of God's way, as if we know better. But that fact doesn't excuse us from trying to elimination ignorance and faulty social institutions in our society as well.

Statement #15: Social reform should be designed and enforced to correct inequalities in schooling, housing, employment, and recreation. I found this statement rather confusing. By "social reform", I assumed they meant action taken by the government, although that wasn't necessarily clear. And by "inequalities in . . .", do they mean inequalities that are the result of specific unjust discrimination? If so, then I might agree. But if they mean just general inequalities -- you have a nicer house than I do and that's not fair -- then no, of course not.

It may sound silly to think they might mean the latter, but I think a lot of "socialist" measures start to inch awfully close to that. They are an effort to level out all the classes, eliminate the categories of rich and poor. But NI points out in their explanation on this question that the Bible says "there will always be a segment of society identified as 'the poor'; some will be poor of their own doing; others may be poor because of the Lord's doing (for reasons known only to Himself) . . "

Actually, that was rather thought-provoking to me. That God, "for reasons known only to Himself", has designated certain people to be poor and certain people to rich. Some to be beautiful and some to be ugly. Some to be brilliant and some to be slow. Some to be athletic and some to be clutzy. One thing that says to me is that we shouldn't consider any of those situations as somehow more or less blessed than another, for they are all ordained by God.

Many years ago, I was driving somewhere with a particular friend who was always in difficult financial straits. We happened to drive by a neighborhood with huge expensive houses, and she remarked how she felt sorry for those people. The comment struck me as odd at the time; living in such a neighborhood now, I find it remarkably insightful.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this . . . I think it's that while we should always be ready to help someone in need, we shouldn't assume that an inequality automatically implies a need -- or an injustice that needs to be righted.


The last of the four social statements on the test was the homosexuality one -- and I already expressed my outrage about that. I'm still trying to decide if I need to open that proverbial can of worms here. I suppose if anyone out there has any real desire to hear my feelings on that, you can let me know so in the comments section.

1 comment:

Keith said...

I think the other major issue in #2 is "progressive". What gets to decide what is progressive/progress? There are many things that some would define as progress that I think are very much going backwards in social thought, technology, government and about any other area of thought.

I would also throw into the fairness argument that there are those who think it's not "fair" that someone who wants to be a professional basketball player is only born to be 5'2" and they should be given some advantage when playing basketball to make up for it so they can accomplish their dream.

Conversely that same 5'2" would have advantages as a gymnast that Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't have.

Sorry, some things just aren't fair, never will be and shouldn't be. Nevertheless everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you have a passion for something that is a weakness it's up to you to overcome it - it's not the job of the government or of society.