Political ideology : perspectives from the Bible

Wax, Kevin P. (2002-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Modern society is plagued by an intense conflict of political ideologies. These conflicts in many instances reflect very serious religious overtones. Each person or group claims the right to react to socio-political issues on the basis of their own worldviews that are shaped by their cultural backgrounds, religious belief systems and political ideals. Human diversity serve to complicate matters even more and has in many instances found expression in political and religious intolerance, a fact testified to by the large-scale abuse of human rights that took place with increased intensity in the 20th century. Many Christians have failed to challenge the injustices that have resulted from these political ideologies and have instead opted to become 'apolitical' or simply hiding behind the argument that politics and religion does not mix. The author through a careful study of biblical political structures in the ancient Near East attempts to demonstrate the extent to which political ideologies of communities were influenced by the cultural milieu within which they existed. The feelings of ambivalence we experience in our faith are a direct result of these influences. An understanding of political ideology from a biblical perspective is essential to understand current world conflicts especially those that relate to the Middle East region. The author also argues for a reconciliation of politics and religion in the collective psyche of Christians. This would enhance a sense of sociopolitical responsibility in terms of the biblical mandate. The responsibility of government structures in terms of this mandate is also important and needs to be emphasised. The primary responsibility of any government is the welfare of its citizens and the management of public resources in an orderly, moral and efficient manner. A large percentage of government officials find it extremely difficult to face up to the challenge. The perspectives presented not only gives one insight into the historical development of biblical political worldviews. but presents us with challenges to pursue opportunities for peace and justice that would recognise and advance human dignity, human equality and human responsibility.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die moderne samelewing is oorweldig deur konflikte van politieke ideologies. Hierdie konflikte is in baie gevalle 'n weerspieëling van baie ernstige godsdienstige motiewe. Elke persoon of groep behou hom die reg voor om te reageer op socio-politiese aangeleenthede op grond van 'n eie wêreldsiening wat geskep word deur kulturele agtergronde, godsdienstige geloofsstelsels en politieke ideale. Menslike verskeidenheid maak hierdie aangeleenthede meer ingewikkeld en het in baie gevalle gelei na politieke en godsdienstige onverdraagsaamheid. Dit het verder aanleiding gegee tot die grootskaalse menseregte skendings wat plaasgevind het met groter intensiteit gedurende die 20ste eeu. Vele Christene het nie daarin geslaag om die uitdagings van ongeregtighede, wat voortspruit uit hierdie politieke ideologieë, die hoof te bied nie en het verkies om of hulself as 'apolities' te verklaar of om te argumenteer dat politiek en die godsdiens nie bymekaar hoort nie. Die skrywer, deur 'n indringende studie van bybelse politieke strukture van die ou Nabye Ooste te onderneem, poog om te demonstreer dat politiek ideologies gekleur was deur die kulturele samestelling van die gemeenskap. Gevoelens van ambivalensie wat ons ervaar in ons geloof is regstreeks as gevolg van hierdie omstandighede. Politieke ideologie vanuit 'n bybelse perspektief gee vir ons die geleentheid om huidige wêreldkonflikte beter te verstaan veral dit wat betrekking het op die Midde Ooste streek. Die skrywer stel ook voor die versoening van politiek en die godsdiens in die kollektiewe psige van Christene. As gevolg hiervan word die socio-politiese verantwoordelikheid van die Christen verhef in lyn met die bybelse mandaat. Die verantwoordelikheid van regerings strukture in terme van hierdie mandaat is ook belangrik en behoort beklemtoon word. Die primêre doel van enige regering is die welvaart van sy burgers sowel as die bestuur van sy openbare hulpbronne op 'n ordelike, sedelike en doeltreffende manier. 'n Groot aantal regeringsbeamptes vind dit moeilik om hierdie uitdaging die hoof te bied. Hierdie perspektiewe, wat hier aangebied word, gee nie net vir ons insig tot die historiese ontwikkeling van bybelse politieke wêreldsieninge nie, maar daag ons uit om geleenthede vir vrede en geregtigheid wat menslike waardigheid, menslike gelykheid en menslike verantwoordelikheid erken, na te jag.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53004
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