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How Do We Eradicate Injustice and Poverty?

In order to eradicate injustice and poverty in the world many ideologies, or systems of ideas and ideals, have been put forth. Two notable ideologies as of late are Communism and Free Market Capitalism.

Communism and Free Market Capitalism

Whereas Communism (Marxist Form) supposedly eradicates all class lines and injustice by providing for the needs of its people through a centralized government, Free Market Capitalism puts power in the market, believing, when given free rein, human behavior will automatically drive toward that which is most beneficial for society [1].

In believing their respective ideology will fix societies problems, each party raises their system to a Messiah like status, arguing vehemently for their ideology, while demonizing the other. In raising their ideology to a Messiah like status, both camps believe they will fix society without any dependence on God or a moral code.

Trying to Fix Society With an Ideology Will Lead to Disaster

For one, each ideology serves as a “limited, partial account of reality that is raised to the level of the final word on things” [2]. With this mentality in place, no other ideology has the right or ability to provide an idea, thus blinding those putting forth their ideology to the negative attributes and effects of their own system, while at the same time handicapping themselves because they are too narrow-minded to seek answers outside their own ideological system.

In addition, those putting forth an ideology irrespective of God will always be blinded to the affects original sin has on people’s actions. Whereas their ideology may work in a perfect world or in books, they are quick to forget we live in a world corrupted and marred by sin, one where people function much differently than one would hope. The oppressive states of Russia, Germany, China, and North Korea, as well as the world’s financial crisis of 2008-2009 are just a few indicators that sin throws a major wrench in the initial thoughts of a utopian society created by a particular ideology [3].

Thus, given the blindness of those putting forth their ideology to its negative affects, and the fact that those putting forth one of these particular ideologies are attempting to fix society without any regard for God, an universal moral code, or original sin does nothing more than insure their failure to solve the problem of injustice and poverty.

Read what C.E.M Joad, a leading British agnostic philosopher turned Christian after WWII has to say,

The view of evil implied by Marxism, expressed by Shaw and maintained by modern psychotherapy, a view which regards evil as the by product of circumstances, which circumstances can, therefore, alter and even eliminate, has come to seem [in light of World War II and atrocities by both Nazis and Stalinists] intolerably shallow… It was because we rejected the doctrine of original sin that we on the Left were always being disappointed, disappointed… by the failure of true socialism to arrive, by the behavior of nations and politicians…above all, by the recurrent fact of war [4].

The Answer

The answer to solving injustice and poverty is for us to mend our relationship with God [5]. The only way we can mend our relationship with God is through faith in the gospel message. The gospel tells us that God provided a means for our relationship with Him to be made right through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and subsequent resurrection, we can experience a mended relationship with God. When we believe that Jesus is our Savior, who paid the price for our sins in His once for all sacrifice, our relationship with God is mended, and we receive a new heart. A heart that abhors injustice and poverty. A heart that does not desire to assert its own selfish desire for success and power over others. If one truly follows the commands of Scripture as put forth in Philippians 2:3-11, injustice and poverty will be eradicated.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ”  (Phil 2:3-11)

Here is the catch though, men are not going to serve others, counting them more important than themselves and take up the self-sacrificial attitude and actions of Jesus, unless their hearts are changed and sin no longer has dominion over them. Imposing a system or ideology on society without any regard for the corrupting affects of sin will always lead to failure, but exposing a man’s heart to the gospel will lead him to be humble and self-sacrificial, even to the point of death.

Conclusion

So then, the answer to solving the world’s problems of injustice and poverty should not begin with an argument for Communism or Free Market Capitalism because both systems, to their detriment, neglect the corrupting affects of original sin; rather, it should begin with the proclamation of the gospel. For the gospel alone is the only thing that can deal with the real problem behind injustice and poverty, which is the problem of sin (Rom. 3:23).

Resource

[1] Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods (New York: Dutton Press, 2009), 105-106.
[2] Ibid., 104.
[3] Ibid., 105-106.
[4] Ibid., 105 quoted from C.E.M. Joad, The Recovery of Belief (London: Faber and Faber, 1952), pp. 62-63.
[5] Ibid., 107.

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 comments on “How Do We Eradicate Injustice and Poverty?

  1. [...] How Do We Eradicate Injustice and Poverty? (christianitymatters.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. [...] 17 augustus 2011 Door – ascleses – vindt deze informatie belangrijk om met u te delen- In order to eradicate injustice and poverty in the world many ideologies, or systems of ideas and ideals, have been put forth. Two notable ideologies as of late are Communism and Free Market Capitalism. Communism and Free Market Capitalism Whereas Communism (Marxist Form) supposedly eradicates all class lines and injustice by providing for the needs of its people through a centralized government, Free Market Capitalism puts power in the market, b … Read More [...]

  3. While it is abundantly clear that the gospel is the only means for a radical and total change that leads to a reduction in poverty and injustice, it is also clear that most will not accept the gospel. With this in mind, we must necessarily construct governments and social systems that serve both believers and non-believers. Scripture is very helpful in doing so because of what has traditionally been referred to as the third use of the law. Certainly some social systems correspond more closely with God’s law than others. So while gospel proclamation is of primary importance, it is also important to have God-fearing men who are knowledgable concerning the Scriptures directly involved in government and thinking through social systems. The gospel ethic should certainly drive the church; but until the Lord comes again we will remain in need of governments and social systems that reflect God’s law.

  4. Dustin,
    Thank you for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have written. I too believe we need to construct governments that can serve both Christians and non-Christians, and that these governments should be erected with Scripture in mind.

    Wherein the problem lay that I am attacking in my article is the raising of one ideology to a Messiah like status irrespective of God. Our ideologies are not going to save us, and they are not going to eradicate injustice and poverty. In fact, a government relying heavily on a worldly system that is devoid of God will fail because it does not account for the sinful nature so influencing its citizens.

    I believe you have offered us a balance. A government that can both govern Christians and Non-Christians alike. And I believe you are wise to suggest we need to build this government on the foundations of Scripture. It is wise to say this because Scripture accounts for the sin so consuming and controlling humanity. It also places its ultimate hope in God, not in man.

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