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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Does Having All The Answers Make Us Hopeless?

As one looks at both the political and economic landscapes across our nation, a reoccurring theme is becoming more and more prominent: hopelessness.

This hopelessness does extend to many political and economic settings. Many of those who still have jobs that support middle class or better lifestyles don't understand the economic hopelessness that many who live in certain urban areas where most of the jobs pay poverty wages experience. Many who live in those circumstances see no accessibility to the type of jobs that could lift them out of poverty either now or in the foreseeable future. And even some of those who have jobs that support middle class or better lifestyles see ominous clouds lurking on the horizon. Their perception is based on a knowledge that our economic system cannot possibly continue to support them and/or that our political system will destroy what they have. And like their brothers and sisters who live in depleted urban areas, they see no hope that our decaying systems can change in order to avoid a total demise.

Paradoxically, we seem to have an increasing number of groups who claim to have a monopoly on knowing the solution is to all of our significant problems. And this presumptuous claim  is demonstrated by both the religious and nonreligious. It is definitely evident among many Conservative Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed Christians. For both Conservative Catholics and Lutherans believe that their doctrines are without error. And here we should distinguish between believing that the Scriptures are inerrant from believing that the doctrines of one's denomination are inerrant. What is the difference? Believing that the Scriptures are inerrant does not imply that one understands everything taught in the Scriptures. But our doctrines are interpretations of the Scriptures. So believing that our doctrines are inerrant involves more than claims about a book some of which we may not understand, these are exclusive claims to one's own understanding of the world around us.

As for some of the Reformed churches, there is the teaching that only Christians have the answers to society's and our world's problems. And the basis for that claim is that only Christians can have a belief in absolute morals and values which is based in a reality outside of themselves. Nonbelievers might adhere to at least some of the absolute morals and values we do but they can only do so for  sentimental reasons, according to some Reformed Theology Christians.

Among seculars come my fellow Socialists who believe that only  the proletariat know how to solve all of our problems. And with the way that Republicans and Democrats bicker and fight with each other, they both imply that their own group could solve our problems if only the other group did not exist to interfere.

Now it is this exclusive claim to truth that is condemning our society to an eventual collapse. Why? One only needs to read a comment one reader, Matthew Lawrence,  wrote to my comment to an article on why we have culture wars to see why (see http://religionnews.com/2016/05/24/why-the-culture-wars-rage-on/#comment-2715492807 ). He wrote the following:
You seem to be implying that is more than one reality. You say one group is trying to force its view of reality on someone else, but if there is only one reality then either one or both side of the argument are just wrong (contrary with actual reality). It is my opinion that the culture wars rage (as supported by the article) because we have a large portion of our society that believes they make up their own reality as their will defines it. The other side (for the most part) is left scratching their heads in incredulity and are just trying to maintain a sense of sanity.

When people who believe that they have a monopoly on the truth, they are more inclined to be afraid of and thus try to conquer those who have different beliefs than to work together with them. These people want to own power and society instead of sharing both and working together. And such is the problem with our political and economic systems today. They are viewed as winner-take-all venues. 

Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have multiple groups that have diverse beliefs. Thus, both our political and economic arenas are being fought over tooth & nail by rabid rivals. The fear is that one of these groups will win and will rule tyrannically over the rest of us. Of course, when one has all of the answers, why should one tolerate diversity and dissent? And while the fear that one group will conquer the rest of us looms over our thoughts, the present reality is that the current battle for supremacy is preventing us from cooperating and sharing to solve our problems. So in either case of one side becoming victorious over the rest or of the battle royal that continues to be waged by all of the groups, those behaviors that are essential to our survival and well-being, cooperating and sharing, are viewed as sabotaging one's own cause and thus never considered.

Note that this king-of-the-hill battle for power exists in both our political and economic areas of life. And it is becoming apparent that we have a winner in our economic world. It is those with the most wealth and they are not resting on their newly earned laurels. Rather, they are, and have to a large part, succeeding in conquering much of our political sphere (see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746  ). And a major reason why their position of being on top seems secure is because all of the other groups have their sights set on replacing them as being the new and improved king rather than being content on merely unseating them. For if the other groups settled for the latter, then what would replace the rule of the wealthy is a coalition rule where all groups are cooperating and sharing power for the benefit of all members of society.

I have certain beliefs about how society should be. Some of those beliefs come from my Christian faith while others come from my Socialist political convictions. And though my beliefs are strong and I have many struggles with sin, I never could or would claim that my beliefs are inerrant or that my group has a monopoly on the truth. And I never could or would say that any segment of society should be denied representation, and that includes the wealthy who are ruling over our economic and political systems. We need the cooperation of and sharing by all groups if we are to survive. What we are seeing today can only provide a sense of hopelessness as everyone is seeking to win our current king-of-the-hill battle between different segments of society and the world while the real world problems of those who are vulnerable and at risk as well as the future of all of us are put on hold.

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