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All complex civilisations in human history have eventually collapsed. As the complexity of the Babylonian, Roman and Maya empires increased, their administration eventually became to costly and inflexible, leaving the whole system vulnerable to any famine, war or social uprising that would tear it totally apart. The inevitable collapse were seldom instantaneous, it could take decades or even centuries. What it always produced however was decreased complexity with more decentralised governance, more poverty, rural living and a smaller population.
I am fully convinced that if Jesus doesn’t return to end history soon, we will see modern civilisation collapsing. With modern civilisation I refer to the political and economic structure that is based in the “Western”, white part of the world but that influences all nations of the earth and use their resources. It is totally impossible for its complexity to remain on this level or even higher; sooner or later most of our societies will be thrown back to pre-industrial times, and millions will die.
This gloomy prediction of course contradict the myth of eternal Progress that has been a dominant paradigm in the West. Just like in the early days of the Roman empire, increased wealth, health, education and technology made people believe that the future will be eternally bright, everything will get better and more efficient.
This is very different from a Biblical worldview which predicts that the sinfulness of man will constantly follow and eventually consume us. The book of Revelation talks about how the pseudo-glorious city of Babylon, representing power, wealth and civilisation, will collapse: (more…)
I’m taking two courses right now, one in exegesis (Bible interpretation) and one in environmental economics. I see numerous parallells between them. In the exegesis course, I’m doing interpretations of Deut 15:7-11 and Luke 21:1-4 – about how the rich are sinning if they don’t give to the poor and how it’s not about how much you give but how much you have left that matters. And in the economics course, we were assigned to make a video where we try to answer a random question using economic theories. I chose the question “Why do Pentecostals speak in tongues?” Enjoy!
- Whatever you need to know about Economics, get it here (edwardcollin742.wordpress.com)
- Lazarus and the Rich Man – Act 3 (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
- Speaking in Tongues: Medical Study proves it’s the Holy Spirit praying (discernthetime.wordpress.com)
- (1) What is the gift of speaking in tongues? (altruistico.wordpress.com)
Yesterday, IPCC presented the first part of their new report about climate change in Stockholm, Sweden, and it was yet another reminder of the horrible catastrophy we have put ourselves into. The economic system that created climate change and other environmental problem is structurally wicked and needs to change quickly if we are going to save the lives of all the people that are in risk of dying because of environmental destruction and natural disasters. We have to challenge and change capitalism.
All the bishops of the Lutheran Church of Sweden wrote an article in our biggest newspaper today where they argued that changing our lives in response to climate change is a spiritual matter that the church has to adress. I completely agree. In fact, I think the reason why the capitalist economic system has put us into this mess is because it is detached from Christian holiness.
Of course, not everyone think this is the case. I once read an article by a Christian who claimed that the Bible supports capitalism, and he challenged the “misconception” that capitalism is based on greed and thus is sinful. This is not the case, he said, because self-interest does not equal greed, but is something all people base their lives on. Whenever we eat a sandwich we do it out of self interest, and there is nothing wrong with that, he said.
The problem with this argument is that the Bible actually says that self-interest is wrong:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Phil 2:3-4
I’ve already described how the Bible tells us to support social and economic equality and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Now that I am going to one of the most unequal countries in the world, I feel the need to return to this topic. Let me explain why I’m convinced that inequality is immoral, unjust and unholy.
There is a very common argument against equality, used by Christians and non-Christians alike: inequality is acceptable and right if everyone benefits from it. For example, if inequality produces more economic growth than equality would have done, and rich and poor alike benefits from this growth, then inequality is something good.
There are several problems with this argument:
1. Inequality produces social problems. In 2009, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett authored a book called The Spirit Level, which looked upon how inequality impacts social issues in OECD countries. The results were staggering: they found correlation between inequality and infant mortality, crime, poor health, lack of education, etc. Of course the poor suffered most, but even the rich were worse off in unequal societies compared to equal ones. Thus, the thesis that everyone can benefit from inequality is not true when it comes to social aspects and quality of life.