Ways of Christ

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Part 3 Ethics and society

 General Christian viewpoints for society and politics *).

Matthew 22, 21; Mark 12,13-17; Luke 20,20-26: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" is a realistic attitude concerning paying the tax to the Romans. It shows a clear discernment between state and religion too. But it does not mean being subservient to the authorities in general; Acts 5,29: "...We must obey God more than men." Jesus does not speak of "inherent necessities" as an excuse for every failure.

On the one hand one cannot translate the general scale of values in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) etc. directly into instructions on how to handle problems in society. But on the other hand it would not be in accordance with Jesus’ teachings to practice charity in private life while applying the opposite principles in unions or political functions. Honest ethical values**  must prove their worth on all levels, even on the global one.
E.g. it would contradict the truthfulness and responsibility which Jesus demonstrates to hold one's own against competitors with dishonest methods, to deceive the public and to realize projects without first establishing the harmlessness for (non-criminal) people, and without asking those concerned. So independent Christian thinking beyond traditional "left-wing" or "right-wing" thought patterns may be necessary.

In Matth. 7:5 Jesus does not want us to work on our own weak points only - as some Christian groups seem to believe. We simply should start with our part of the problems, and then - more free than before, without ascribing our problems to others - rebuke or critisize them, where it seems to be necessary. This may concern our friends, or politicians as well.

In Jeremia 29,7 we find a prophetic piece of advice: "Seek the best (the peace and prosperity) of the city to which I have carried you... Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper". It suggests a decision for the sense of solidarity. Also Matth. 5,13, Matth.13,33 etc. recommends being warmly interested in the society and being "the salt of the earth.
There are also situations in which Christians are asked to disassociate from a bad state in social affairs. Revelation 18,4: "Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Come out of her (the city of Babylon), my people, that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues...".

*) The Website Ways-of-Christ.net has no political purpose. Here only general food for thought about this topic is given.
**) See also our extra pages "Basics of ethical values";
and "Christian viewpoints for economy and social questions".

 

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