Sunday, May 24, 2009

Christ & Culture Revisited: Cultural Forces – The Mystique of Democracy

Carson skims the spectrum of democratic roots from the Bill of Rights to the French Revolution to the Magna Carta and even to contemporary Iran. The Christian will respond to different democracies differently. For example, as persecution ramps up in Iran, Christ and culture are bound to clash. But Carson spends most of his time looking at liberal democracies of the West. Carson seems to agree with Winston Churchill, who stated, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other kinds” (Carson’s words, p. 123).

While democracy is good, it is not perfect because we live in a fallen world and mankind can corrupt anything. Also, the minority can be mistreated in a democracy or, it is possible for the wishes of the majority to be held captive by the minority as well. The good and bads of democracy, according to Carson are summarized well in this quote:

“For many pragmatic and moral reasons, we may concur that, granted attendant structures and liberties, it is the form of government least unaccountable to the people and least likely to brutalize its citizens without some eventual accounting. It is a form of government most likely to foster personal freedoms, including, usually, freedoms for Chrsitians to practice and propagate their faith. But it has also proved proficient at throwing off a sense of obligation to God the Creator, let alone the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is another way of saying that it is proficient at fostering idolatry. Its freedoms, so many of which are enormously praiseworthy for political, religious, personal, and artistic reasons, include the freedom to be hedonists, to pursue a life revolving around entertainment, to become inured against responsible family life, communal interaction, and self-denying service in the endless worship of massive egos, passing fads, and this-worldly glitter” (p. 127).
While democracy offers many freedoms, it does not deliver the righteousness of God and will, ultimately, come under judgment because we don’t give God His due.

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