This is a really meaningless question. However in recent times I have often heard the phrase "if Jesus were around today he would ....." used by some to advance their pet causes. So I have used a paraphrase without blush as the title for this post.
When questioned by Pilate Jesus answered "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36
And as we know Jesus spoke not to the rulers of men but the to humble for the most part. He was not a lobbyist for social change but sought to change mens hearts that they would not be perpetrators of injustice and would ameliorate the sufferings of those less fortunate. Changing society by changing the individual and how he or she relates to others.
I suspect that Jesus were he around today would not involve himself in secular politics at all and I am almost certain he would not endorse a particular candidate, party or policy.
But we live in the world for now and have to accommodate ourselves to its ways and to do what we can to shape the future for the benefit of those who will come after us - and living in a democracy we do have some, albeit minute influence when we go into the ballot box.
And herein arises a divide between Christians, not the traditional denominational ones but the one between the "progressives" and "conservatives" within the Church. Interestingly this divide seems to encompass both theology and secular politics - although the correlation between the two is probably close to but not quite unity.
Hi Lucyna, just discovered your site. Gosh, what a lovely advertisement you and your chums are for right-wing christianity (funny, my priest calls that an "oxy-moron" whaever that is) - do tell, where can I sign up for the National Party and the Catholic church? Wednesday, December 19, 2007 9:06:00 PM NZDT
Hi Pat. Did your Priest also tell you not to be hasty with your judgments? I'd be interested to hear why you think Lucyna is acting inappropriately. Wednesday, December 19, 2007 9:45:00 PM NZDT
Hi Zen. Yes, he did. That's why I thought long and carefully before deciding that the loving and compassionate expressions of pure christian love expressed by your supporters above are just the sort of thing that Jesus himself would approve of. Just like the hitting little children, cutting the benefits of the poorest and giving more money to the rich that the National Party works so hard for. Oh yes, do let me join, please.
Pat Wednesday, December 19, 2007 10:01:00 PM NZDT
The implication would seem to be that Christians should support left wing politics if they wish to follow Christ.
A very bold claim IMHO.
Jesus also said " For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.". Mark 14:7 . And it is clear on reading the scriptures that Christ will return long before men can build any utopia here on Earth.
To be sure we have come a long way since the time of Christ in creating a more just and humane society although in many parts of the world this is not so. And it is those nations which have had Christianity at their core that have made the greatest strides in this regard. The correlation between the two will be vigorously denied in some quarters but it is self evident in looking at the state of human affairs around the world today.
Where the original commenter on this exchange has gone astray is that she has forgotten that God gave us all free will. And while any reading of the Gospels most certainly tells us that if we wish to follow Christ we must look to the welfare of those less fortunate than ourselves nowhere does it enjoin us to compel others to do so.
The Gospels say that we should choose to provide for the needy of our own free will - they do not say we should be forcing others to do so if they don't choose to do so on their own. Which is exactly what a lot of socialism is about - changing people by compulsion- regulations and laws, taking from the rich to give to the needy (as defined by the rulers of the day) and in the process removing the element of free will and the other elements that receive mention in the scriptures about how a Christian should tend to those in need, that is with love and discretely.
This is not to say a Christian cannot support socialistic policies - of course they can, free will in action. Some of the architects of modern socialism had their politics formed by Christian conviction and who are any of us to say they were wrong in doing so.
But I personally think that socialism is a very bad idea and I know it can't deliver utopia despite the hollow promises of its promoters. One of many reasons that has become apparent to me why socialism is the road to perdition is genuine cases of need often go unmet whilst those who better fit the template of the system (or more usually make themselves fit it) can do quite well with little effort. And where significant need goes unmet I have often heard someone comment "why isn't the government doing something about it". Wrong - as Christians it is up to us to do something about it. Looking to central government is looking to the wrong place. We need to look to our Lord and ask for his guidance in what we should do and how we should go about it. It just could mean lobbying our MP and appearing on Campbell live but it is far more likely and will certainly be more immediate if we as individuals can address the problem ourselves in part or in full in the spirit of Christian love.
Often to correct a perceived social problem the policies of the the socialists have just created new ones. One case where this is abundantly clear is the no fault divorce laws, originally designed to make it easy for women to escape from violent marriages, a good thing on the face of it but a policy that has led to the breakdown of at least 30% of all families, with all the problems that introduces, and the majority of which were never violent. And this of course contradicts the teachings of Jesus who's statements on divorce seem fairly unequivocal.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,' 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
But Christians do get divorced, they are as fallen as any other and more do now that it has been made easier than in former times, usually to their financial and more importantly spiritual detriment and that of those they love.
To finish up, I will leave you with one final thought, 2000+ years after the angels sang "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men" (Luke 2:14) , celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the earth the four horsemen still ride as they ever did. We are still beset with wars.The sick are left untended, even in the most prosperous countries. Famines still stalk the earth and where aid is sent much is diverted from those for whom it is intended then misused to advance the agendas of the unscrupulous. And bodily death still awaits us all despite advances in medicine and endless hectoring from governmental health bodies about reducing our salt intake and wearing sunscreen.
And perhaps part of the reason for mankind's failure to conquer the horsemen is that we forget to put God at the center of our efforts. Something we all do to a greater or lesser extent in our hubris.
And this is why they never will be fully overthrown. The best we can do is mitigate the misery they cause, but this is something that we do most effectively as individuals mostly by the actions, that we take upon ourselves, with God's guidance, when we see a need and to a far far lesser extent by choosing wisely when we enter the polling booth.
I for one support no political party and never will - they are all flawed. When I vote next year it will be for the best out of a lot of bad alternatives, but don't try and tell me my choice whatever it turns out to be is giving support to policies that contradict the teachings of the Gospels, of course it will, no party has policies that are fully in accordance with the scriptures - that is probably not even possible in our fallen world.
I will be looking for policies that I perceive that will provide the best opportunities for the future welfare of this nations citizens, spiritually and materially in that order.
And I suggest you do the same.