Yesterday I defined what this blog will be centered around — namely, the role of earthly systems in a heavenly context. I also mentioned that I already have my own particular worldview on these issues. But since I didn’t get too in depth as far as explicitly stating where I stand, I wanted to just take a brief moment to clarify my hypothesis on how earthly systems can best be used for heavenly purposes.
My hypothesis consists of two interconnected components:
- Radical Individualism — Individualism has several definitions, not to mention several varying contexts. On this blog, Radical Individualism combines the fundamental core of traditional individualism (the pursuit of one’s own goals, plans, self-interest, etc.) with the principles of self-sacrifice Jesus put forth in the Gospels. The “radical,” then, comes in to play by turning traditional individualism on its head — for if we are to follow Jesus’ most radical commands (e.g. believe He died on the Cross, sacrifice our lives for others, give up our wealth for His name, etc.) we must assume a radical view of self-interest. Radical Individualism, therefore, promotes the idea that true self-interest is both rational and just, not because it is aligned with the individual, but because the individual is aligned with God.
- True Community — True Community can be seen as the natural byproduct of Radical Individualism. If individuals are living lives of self-sacrifice and devotion to God (which is in their self interest), such lives will most likely prompt them to join with others and form voluntary and highly effective communities. The only reason the word “true” is even necessary is that throughout much of today’s society we have seen a perversion of the term “community” by those who think it means a forceful round-up of people for a common social goal. This blog differs by seeing community as a strictly voluntary outcome, where people join together based solely on choice and mutual interest.
The proper execution of these two components would result in the Remnant Culture — a culture formed by free individuals, each of whom is pursuing their own relationship with God successfully and coming together freely to accomplish community goals. This culture is not one defined by geography or ethnicity or tradition or political identity, but simply by the maximization of individual potential through heavenly eyes.
But how does this look in application? Each of us already has some sort of structure built around us. Everyone is born into a family of some sort, whether it’s out in a lawless wilderness or in a mechanized metropolis. The question for all of us then is not whether we have a society to impact, but how exactly we can or should impact that society. The concepts of Radical Individualism and True Community may sound good in theory, but how do we execute that theory properly? Without a clean slate to work from, is such a goal ever truly achievable?
If the answer rests in empowering individuals, as the theory holds, then it would seem the most preferable earthly system would be the one that simply empowers individuals. But it’s not that simple. We might all agree that individuals are born into unequal circumstances, but does that mean we all require different levels of empowerment? Does the person born into poverty need a bigger boost than the person born into great wealth? Does the person born into a broken home need more help than the person born into a stable family structure? In any case, should empowerment come from within, from others, or from both?
Every situation is different, which is why my viewpoint involves a mixed solution. I believe true and permanent empowerment comes from within, which is why personal salvation through Christ is the most sure-fire way to rise from difficult earthly circumstances (e.g. poverty, addiction, family conflict, etc.). However, even with salvation, we often need help from others, whether it’s simply needing advice on the first redemptive step or needing continuous love, mentoring, and healthy relationships. By looking at the broad array of human “success stories” it seems certain that redemption with God (or even with man) is not a one-size-fits-all process.
This is why I believe the answer to our redemption as a society is most likely not a one-size-fits-all solution. If it comes down to the choices of each and every individual, how much of an impact can a human system like the government truly have? Certainly it can forbid us from doing something “wrong.” Certainly it can provide our bread and water for us. Certainly it can educate and even “enlighten” us on certain matters.
But can it understand our personal situations, our dreams, and our vocational callings? Can it really predict and provide what we need when everything around us has failed? Can it have the permanent impact on us that our families, churches, and communities can? Can it change us in the same way an act of sheer voluntary love can? We are certainly called to empower each other in life, but is that goal best achieved by outsourcing the responsibility to the government, or by taking it up ourselves? It’s certainly easier to let someone else do the empowering for us; but, like most things that are easy, it has proven to be far from effective.
Which is why my hypothesis is this: The earthly system that promotes the most non-earthly human potential is the one that maximizes the most human choice.
I am eager to put this hypothesis to the test. I am eager to discover what such a society would look like, both in detailed theory and practical execution. I am eager to hear about why you agree or why you think I’m dead wrong, because maybe I am.
What are your initial thoughts? What is your best guess as to how our earthly systems can maximize the number of true individual relationships with God? What is your hypothesis?