The Christian premise for social, legal and economic justice rests on bad credit loan online the Christian’s belief that God, the Benevolent Creator, created all humans equal. The common laws of a land designed to protect personal and property rights and to mete out retributive justice to offenders fail to protect social and economic rights of many individuals, often the majority. Sometimes the existing law may not prevent violation of political rights. The Christian’s concept of justice and fair play does not found itself on human assessment but on God’s character, God being the Designer of human society. The best of human representatives, Legislatures can be moved by the instinct of group-preservation. It is impossible to prevent human prejudice creeping into legislation to preserve and protect what is important for a certain sector even though this may violate the rights of another. “What is right to me ought also to be right for you”, has to be the premise of human legislation when it does not refer to a Higher Source for justice and Equality. In Hitler’s Germany , Germans were the super race meant for world domination and Jews were meant for extermination. That was not merely Hitler’s Jurisprudence but that of the majority of his day. Though the French revolution began by establishing equality and liberty, a reign of terror was soon unleashed. Rousseau’s just society did not come about. Truly man needs God to give him laws. (Rousseau – it would take Gods to give man laws).
Present laws provide for protection of existing rights of individuals with no reference to fulfilment of aspirations for equal social and economic rights of the underprivileged. Educational opportunities and opportunities for the full development of natural potential, ultimately provide for economic justice. This is denied to the majority. The existing legal system cannot provide for economic or social parity. Hence the majority mass-movement may produce a peaceful revolution as in the Philippines in the not too distant past. Christianity was a similar revolutionizing force in the Roman empire and in the countries where it gained acceptance.
With the European Reformation, Biblical concepts of law found their way into European constitutions. The Scottish Presbyterian minister, Samuel Rutherford, (1600-1661) published Lex Rex (Law is King) and formulated policy for democratic government. John Locke (1632-1704) secularized these concepts which became the foundation for Anglo-American laws on which the Sri Lankan legal system heavily leans. The British colonial regime gave us our systems of law, education and civil administration that helped Ceylon to become a modern nation in a rapidly industrializing world. Even before colonial regimes exploited countries, these were exploited by their own kings for their aggrandizement, monuments and war efforts . In 1950, we were economically ahead of Singapore , Hong Kong , South Korea and Taiwan . Hence it is folly to blame our present economic predicament on the British colonial regime alone. The government rests no more on the caprices of a king and the political intrigues of the nobles, but on the sure foundation of separation of powers and elected representation. It is to be rememberd that no republic can rise above the morality of the majority. The citizens are both subjects and sovereigns at the same time. In the north and the south of Sri Lanka the reign of terror was unleashed by youth who took the law into their hands. The counter-terror though immoral and illegal, was inevitable.
An apparent dictator merely fulfils the aspirations of the masses initially. This was true for Maximilian Robespierre’s French reign of terror, Leninist – stalinist Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, Castro’s Cuba, Wijeweera’s and Prabakaran’s movements. The monster ( ie . Autocracy – surrendering of freedom for form) once enthroned devours even its protagonists. In many nations in the world at present, the majority wish to vanquish or subjugate minorities. The divide may be ethnic, religious or ideological. Paranoia blown out of proportion for group-preservation will pave the way for irrational hysteria, acrimonious rhetoric and repression. All our national woes will be fathered on newly discovered bogeymen who are seen as enemies of past glory—real or imagined. There will be a great need for men and women with strength and sobriety on either side of a divide, to face up to the present problem rather than resort to incitatory rhetoric based on propositions that cannot work in the body politic today.
A r ighteous Nation
God’s prescription for society is equal social and economic rights, besides the fact of all being equal before the law. Hence law is king and king should not be the law. Even the king is subject to the law. This concept was part of statute law when God gave laws for nation building.
“The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you”, You are not to go back that way again”. He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his Kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel ”. (Deut. 17:16-20)
It is to be noted that the Bible calls for a democratic rule by respected representatives for each nation. It is only when that given nation insisted on having a king that God gave the above cautionary statute. Many autocracies throughout history and now, prove the wisdom of the above statute.
The Bible lays out God’s standard for a righteous society as being its ability to provide each member with equal opportunity for social and economic advancement without infringing on the rights of others. While the present laws prevent the latter, they cannot offer the former. (Spirituality is an integral part of social well being). To equalise social and economic opportunities in a given nation, the ‘haves’ of that nation will have to share with the ‘have nots ‘. But the privileged will not willingly sacrifice their rights. Hence Marx’s postulate for a benevolent dictatorship before the arrival of the communist utopia. We know that history has never offered a benevolent dictator. The only way a nation could redistribute resources equally is for those who are privileged to share their resources willingly. Christianity believes in a personal, heart-level, spiritual transformation by Jesus Christ the Saviour for any who accept Him. Rightly living individuals have to become constituent units of a righteous society. There is no other way to produce a righteous society.
Laws restrain man but cannot transform him from within. All legal systems balance individual freedoms with statutes for social order; offenses are defined and penalties described. The cage may restrain the tiger , it cannot change the brute . The law too is a cage. The Christian experience envisages an individual who excels beyond the restraint of the law by grace ; forgiveness leading on to transformation. Such a person will not only refrain from murder and even hatred, but will also love—not an expedient form of love but costly, sacrificial love for others. He will not only cease from overt thievery but also eschew tax frauds, and go beyond to rectify economic exploitation of the employees and ruthless business strategies. The law of God (God’s intent for man) is miraculously written upon his heart causing a heart and mind reorientation. One is a Christian not payday loan using prepaid debit card by birth, but by conviction and action. (Jesus Christ— show , in deeds, your inward transformation!).
Even as Christianity civilized Europe in the first millennium A.D., a similar need arose in the middle ages to wrest Europe from medieval darkness, an ample testimony to what happens when religious autocrats have access to state and military power. Any religion having access to constitutional or military power has in the past and will in the present and the future, use that power to protect her adherents, promote her cause and subjugate rival ideologies. A religious dogma means nothing unless it lives in the hearts of the adherents. Misplaced zeal is ever a possibility with humans. If not religious zealotry, irreligious-ethnic, ideological and political-zealotry has taken and will take its toll as seen in the brutal repressions of Marxist Communism, Fascism etc. Trade wars will replace the cold war in the near future.
The European reformation of the 16th century brought back Biblical precepts into the everyday life of the masses and into government. Many mistakenly postulate that the renaissance brought enlightened government. It is clear from the failure of the Florentine republic within fifty years of her inception that the renaissance had no moral power to hold a populace law abiding. Having observed the caprices of a democratic republic at work, Machiavelli proposed an autocratic “Prince” as the only form of viable government. This book has had a great appeal to demagogues ever since. The countries in which the renaissance flourished but failed to come under the reformation continued for a long time in political anarchy.
However in a world ruled by selfish and greedy men each nation will attempt to impress its greatness on another and attempt to prosper at another’s expense. Empires of recent or ancient origin were the result of greedy rulers arming their populace for war to subjugate and oppress other nations. What we call peace today is a shaky balance of terror. One superpower is terrified of another because of the latter’s armament. Hence outright war is prevented. Hence the paradox—if you want peace, prepare for war. So true in a greedy and aggressive world.
There is no law to make the rich nations share with the poorer ones.
Nation groups and ethnic groups within a nation are becoming increasingly more vociferous, intolerant and demanding about their claimed rights and national greatness. This could only lead to greater fragmentation of the global body politic. Nationalities within the disintearating USSR are already drawing battle lines along ethnic lines and old ethnic feuds that existed before the monolithic Soviet State took over will re-emerge. Yugoslavia is splintering with a bloody ethnic war. It is fearful to imagine what may happen to India if ethnic wars are fought in all her states. The scripture says:
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the time set for them and exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26)
Ethnic wars and thus fragmentation of global society was predicted by Jesus Christ in His last earthly sermon.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matt. 24:7).
‘Ethnic groups will rise against ethnic groups, state against states.’
While inter-nation and intra-nation conflicts multiply, the Christian looks for a supernatural climax to human history when God will directly intervene in human affairs.
The t wentieth century has seen wasteful consumption of earth’s natural resources. The real problem is not an increase of population and food scarcity but a meaningless waste of natural reserves for human indulgence. Armaments, motor industry, sweets, cosmetics, and toys are some industries with the largest turnover, as well as consumers of precious resources. The affluent fifth consumes too much. Their industrial effluent is polluting the global ecology. A global minority over-eat , over-dress and indulge in a surplus of creature-comforts, not only at the cost of the poorer four-fifths but also to the irreversible detriment of an already ruined ecology. The Brazil Earth Summit has come far too late. Ocean temperature will rise, islands and coastelines will be submerged. Christ predicted this too in the aforesaid sermon.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea”.
Tanimbar islands near Borneo and the area around the Caspian sea are already subjected to oceanic flooding.
Work is an institution created by God, as is the family, government etc. Work teaches humanity to serve one another. This is the basis underlying work. Hence one kind of work is not less honourable than another kind of work. Doctor, Nurse, Labourer , and Coolie all are necessary for a hospital to function effectively. Therefore all work must be justly remunerated. However, this is exactly what does not happen. The result is discontentment and poverty in a large section of society, while a few over-indulge.
God meant love to be given and received in the monogamous family union. The nation of Israel was given a decree that would restrain divorce for any reason, for any whim, of the male. Reinterpreting these laws for the spiritual community He would establish, Jesus Christ forbade divorce and remarriage. “What God has joined together let not man put asunder”. With the social decay of Israel , divorce became a common evil condemned by God. “I hate Divorce [ Malachi 2:16]” The Bible stands implacably against premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexuality and all other forms of sexual permissiveness. The Bible holds unborn life sacred. The greatest right of a woman is to order her home right. The greatest role that God designed the woman to perform was to fashion the young life, that of her offspring, to be a useful citizen of the future. This was the greatest career God designed for the woman. The different roles God assigned man and woman are in no sense discrimination. The family, the basic unit of society, will effectively function only when man and woman perform their respective roles in harmony. The liberated Christian woman does not think she is any less because she performs a different role to that of her spouse. The ruin of the first social institution designed by God, the family, is always the forerunner of the decadence of that society. The fall of Rome was from within, in her social decay. So it shall be in the post-Christian west.
In our society, the majority of working mothers work because the husband is unable to bring home an adequate income. The woman’s right , in an Asian context, is often to have dignity and worth added to her life. The Law of God stands opposed to every form of exploitation of female labour .
Polyandry debases the woman and makes her a mere plaything. Even primitive cultures viz. our Veddhas other tribes elsewhere give evidence to God’s original social design of monogamy. In a post-Christian west where Christian marality and moral authority are rejected; the family unit is crumbling; one out of two marriages break up; 50% of children live in singal -parent homes; child abuse and pederasty, and pornography are the tragic end results . The west is returning to what it was before Christianity civilized her. One must remember that in China and India , the female child was discarded and left to die before Christian influence came into those countries . The stable monogamous family was Christianity’s unique and blessed contribution to many societies which it influenced.
Similarly there is no law to prevent economically powerful nations exploiting the poorer ones. In colonial times, militarily powerful nations exploited the ancient and rich civilizations. The wealth of the latter was 1 hour loan online steadily siphoned to make the industrial west rich. There are no laws to rectify this past exploitation or to prevent present and future exploitation. World trade is so arranged that the poorer countries will continue to become poorer. In actual fact , it is not the people of the rich nation that gets richer but the super-bankers who dictate terms in the rich countries. USA has a staggering national debt. This debt she owes to her super-bankers. World trade is now run increasingly by international bankers who will ultimately control all the economic resources all over the globe—in the first, second, third and fourth worlds . The Bible predicts that these economic power-brokers will install their own Machiavellian “Prince” to run the world. National economies will be made to fail, in order to concentrate global wealth in the hands of an economic oligarchy. The God of the Bible has decreed otherwise.
A nation is a large family in which each member has his or her rights and privileges as well as duties and obligations. Each individual should have an equal share of the nation’s resources. That was God’s intention for a nation. However, we know that no nation on earth lives by such principles. Hence the chaos. Democracy is where many hopefully able and nobal representatives of the people appointed by the people manage the resources of a country for the good of all. Many get together to govern ( eg . a cabinet of ministers) in order to minimize human error. Hence power should not be concentrated in one individual; separation of powers legislature, judiciary and executive – to counterbalance possible prejudice or bias. All these are God-ordained. However all such precautions can be thrown out when governments become demagogic. Like everything else, selfish man will abuse governmental power. Each nation is endowed with certain resources. Nations are thus expected to live as a fraternity.
Capitalism lays too much emphasis on individual freedom and unrestrained gain. Capitalism allows unrestrained opportunities for a few to become super-rich. The core of socialism is a society where one cares for the other. Revenues are supposedly used for the betterment of the entire society. However selfish human beings can never work for the benefit of others. The saviours of Marx’s theoretical Utopia were the workers. Marx could not foresee that even workers do not have altruistic hearts; as long as man remains self-centered attempts at just economic distribution will fail. The oppressed revolutionary of today will prove to be the oppressor in victory. This was clearly proved in the French Revolution in 1789 and later in the Russian revolution in 1917 and in recent times in bloodied Vietnam and Kampuchea . Marx applied the theory of evolution to social change. He believed that two opposing forces in conflict (thesis and anti-thesis; Proletariat and bourgeois) will produce a totally different and beneficial product-synthesis, ie . The Marxian utopia. This did not happen in countries where Marxists succeeded in grabbing power. The alternative is not capitalism either, where few reap the profit. We need a system where human beings transformed from within will learn to share profits with others. The Bible records the story of a rich and fraudulent Tax gatherer who after a dramatic and miraculous life change having met with Jesus Christ, shared half his wealth and restored fourfold those whom he had defrauded. Only a living Saviour can change our heart. Our hearts are wicked and deceitful. Given to ourselves we cannot think beyond our wants. A man whose heart is transformed could own a factory and run it not only to provide a living for himself but also for his employees. Imagine what it would be if the employees too work very hard because of a life change they receive from the same Saviour . That factory will truly be a workers’ brotherhood ; they will maintain high quality standards. Profit will not be the only motive; changed attitudes will serve the community better.
Gambling is viewed as a means for a few to exploit the masses. Christian principles do not endorse earning by chance. It is a denial of faith in God. Gambling and lotteries thrive on the greed of man. It is a mode of earning without rendering service. Money investments should generate employment and add to the GNP.
The righteous society Christ envisages begins with a change in ME.
God’s Law For Nation-Building
(Gleaned from laws given to ancient Hebrews)
Major social Concerns in the Law God gave
Everyone’s personhood is to be secure (Ex. 20:13; Dt . 5:17; Ex. 21:16-21; 26-31; Lev. 19:14; Dt . 24:7; 27:18).
The Bible endorses capital punishment as a penalty instituted by God. When a person takes the life of another he forfeits his right to live. Capital punishment is both deterrent and retributive—the only adequate penalty for the offense. Suicide is self-murder ; often committed for revenge. The individual derives much from society hence is accountable to her for his life. The penalty for suicide is both deterrent and retributive.
2. False Accusations
Everyone is to be secure against slander and false accusation (Ex. 20:16; Dt . 5:20; Ex.23:1-3; Lev. 19:16; Dt . 19:15-21).
No woman is to be taken advantage of within her subordinate status in society (Ex. 21 ;7 -11,20:26-32; 20:16-17; Dt . 21:10-14; 22:13-30; 24: 1-5).
for wrongdoing shall not be excessive so that the culprit is dehumanized ( Dt . 25:1-5).
Every citizen’s dignity and right to be God’s freedman and servant are to be honoured and safeguarded (Ex. 21:2 ,5 -6; Lev. 25; Dt . 15:12-18).
Every citizen’s inheritance in the promised land is to be secured (Lev. 25; Nu . 27:5-7; 36:1-9; Dt . 25:5-10).
Everyone’s property is to be secure (Ex. 20:15; Dt . 5:19; Ex. 21:33-36; 22:1-15; 23: 4-5; Lev. 19:35-36; Dt . 22:1-4; 25: 13-15).
8. Fruit of Labour
Everyone is to receive the fruit of his labour (Lev. 19:13; Dt . 24:14, 25:4).
9. Fruit of the Ground
Everyone is to share the fruit of the ground (Ex. 23:10-11; Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; 25:3-55; Dt . 14: 28-29; 24:19-21).
10. Rest on Sabbath
Everyone, down to the humblest servant and resident alien is to share in the weekly rest of God’s Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11; Dt . 5:12-15; Ex. 23:12); even animals were entitled to the weekly rest.
The marriage relationship is to be kept inviolate (Ex. 20:14; Dt . 5:18; see also Lev. 18:6-23; 20:10-21; Dt.22:13-30).
No one, however disabled, impoverished or powerless, is to be oppressed or exploited (Ex. 22: 21-27; Lev. 19:14 ,33 -34; 25:35-36; Dt . 23:19; 24:6, 12-15, 17; 27:18).
13. Fair Trial
Everyone is to have free access to the courts and is to be afforded a fair trial (Ex. 23:6 ,8 ; Lev. 19:15; Dt . 1:17; 10:17-18; 16:18-20; 17:8-13; 19:15-21).
14. Social Order
Every person’s God-given place in the social order is to honoured (Ex.20:12; Dt . 5:16; Ex. 21:15,17; 22:28; Lev. 19:3,32; 20:9; Dt . 17:8-13; 21:15-21; 27:16).
No one shall be above the law, not even the king ( Dt . 17:18-20).
Concern for the welfare of other creatures is to be extended to the animal world (Ex. 23:5 ,11 ; Lev. 25:7; Dt . 22:4,6-7; 25:4).
The Christian solution for a transformed society is an individual transformed by the Saviour . Ecologically, politically, economically, and sociologically the global community seems to be headed for disaster. While a Christian fulfils his role as a useful citizen he also knows that only a supernatural salvage operation can save the global ecology and the human race. The Bible promises one such.