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Modern democracies are based on the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with ground work considered from various ancient scriptures and ideologies. Many modern democracies are based on the assumption that man is a God-given gift. If people follow the influence of Christianity on democracy, it is generally placed before will.
On the other hand, the French Revolution made democracy ‘the people’s will as the source of their civil power. Therefore, many studies have been conducted to analyze and consider the previous terms of clarification in both a philosophical and historical manner.
Meaning of the term democracy
It stands for the government by the people, the people, and the people. The right meaning of democracy has been the topic of discussion since historic times. People need to understand and grasp the term’s true purpose and to correspond the concept well to its reality. The profound impact of Christianity in the democratic world was seen only after the European civilization, which took place in historic times.
It follows Plato’s philosophy which is leaned towards a more mystical, idealistic, and poetic approach, contrary to Aristotle’s scientific and practical approach.
Christianity in a modern democracy
The definition of democracy given by Aristotle was slightly different from the ones we follow today in the modern, Western world. According to Aristotle, a democratic region had a mob mentality with anarchy. His concept of the word democracy was called a ‘free man,’ classified into – rulers, priests, and warriors. The rest of the population was manufacturers, builders, engineers, servants, and women. In short, this category was those associated with goods and services and was not enfranchised as citizens.
After Christianity appeared in the scene, it proclaimed the radical equality of all men, women, and different classes of society as one. It was based on the verse of Jesus, stating that all working-class hews, women, and men are one. This concept of the influence of Christianity in democracy led to a motion that touched the deepest level of human consciousness in moral and religious life.
Impact of Christianity on democracy and socialism
The Christian values and beliefs were later applied gradually in various human institutions as the process of moral education through family, schools, and other mediums of communication and service. It also helped develop society, encouraging people (especially men) to unleash their hidden energies.
In the 16th century, due to the increase in churches, and the existence of human rights guided by Popes, a sense of radical equality appeared in all classes of men and women. However, although Greece brought the concept of democracy, the right impact of it was not established until the laws of Christianity interrupted the necessary fields, providing fundamental equality in men and women, which was significantly absent in the Biblical theologies.
Democracy is considered the best form of government across the world. The main reason for democracy being this popular is that it puts the interest of its citizens first. Currently, many countries practice some sort of democratic system.
You can look into this guide to learn some characteristics of democracy and why they are the ideal form of government.
In every democratic country, there will be a written constitution. The fundamental rules and laws that will guide the country or state will be written down in the constitution. A constitution will establish a legislature, judiciary, and executive and determine their power. It also consists of the citizens’ rights, and they clearly define the duties of the government and the citizens.
Popular participation in politics
One of the essential features of democracy is that it encourages people to participate in democracy. And a government that does not allow or enable popular participation in politics cannot be considered democratic.
Popular participation in democracy is not just a feature of democracy but the core of the system. People will have to participate directly or through a representative recognized by the citizens.
In any democratic state, people will unanimously select who will govern them. This is what is meant by legitimacy. Here citizens will decide who will administer the political affair of the nation or state. This is generally done by voting and will be recognized by the law-making body approved by the people.
Conduct periodic election
In a democratic country, people will have the ultimate power. So, to avoid any possibility of the political power being wielded by any one person or body, they will have a fixed tenure for conducting elections. For instance, the president will be elected for four years in the United States of America. After this, another election will be conducted to select the next government.
So, if one leader is administering the country for a long time, we cannot call it a democracy. Here people have the power to choose and change their leaders periodically.
There will be a separation of power
Separation of power means that the state’s political power will not be vested in a single person. Instead, it should be separated and shared to avoid any risk of dictatorship. Here the political power will be divided between the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary.
Equality before law
In a truly democratic nation, everyone will be equal before the law. No one will be discriminated against based on their class or religion. Everyone will have to face the same law and be punished based on their actions. Even the leaders of the state are not above the law. They are also forced to face the law if they are found guilty.
Freedom of press
Another feature of a democratic nation is press freedom. This means that people are free to create print and can disclose and analyze government rules and laws. This is an effective method to bring accountability to the government.
Thus, various features make democracy the best form of government.
Theology in the context of Christianity tries to understand what God has revealed in the Bible. And theology, by studying scriptures, seeks to understand God himself. It encompasses a wide range of interrelated disciplines like systematic theology, practical theology, and historical theology.
You can look into this guide to learn more about biblical theology and why they are relevant.
Biblical theology is not the same as systematic and historical theology
When people hear the term biblical theology, they assume it refers to a theology that is faithful to the Bible. Indeed, the main goal of Biblical theology is to promote the truth of the Bible, but it is different from other theological studies.
For instance, the goals of systematic theology will be to gather all possible knowledge about a particular topic that Bible teaches us. Studying everything that Bible teaches about salvation is an example of systematic theology. The main goal of doing historical theology will be to show the origin and development of beliefs as in the present day. They also aim to identify the theological errors of the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Biblical theology differs from these studies and can be considered a complementary discipline.
Traces the progressive revelation of God
Instead of gathering all the knowledge related to a particular topic in Bible, biblical theology traces the progressive revelation of God and how he plans to save humanity.
Traces the unfolding storyline of the Bible
Biblical theology analyzes the story of the Bible and tells us the story of the creator, the one who made everything. To sum up, the story of the Bible centers around creation, the fall of human beings, redemption, and new creation. And biblical theology traces this development of the storyline.
Recognizes the contribution of each author of scriptures
We understand God and his ideologies through the various scriptures that over forty authors had written in the course of about fifteen hundred years. Each of these authors had different styles that emphasized different theological themes. While they have different tones, each of the scriptures complements the other. The benefit of biblical theology is that they provide a method of studying and understanding different authors.
Help us find the harmony of the Bible
Along with helping understand the scriptures written by each author, biblical theology help in understanding unity in all these human interpretations. It helps in concluding that all the scriptures tell us the story of God, who will save all mankind.
Biblical theology puts Christ at the center
Biblical theology is that it enables us to read the Bible as a book centered on Jesus Christ. They allow us to see the whole Bible as a story about Christ and help us to understand the Christocentric shape of the Bible.
Understand Bible clearly
One of the advantages of biblical theology is that they help us to understand the real story of the Bible. They will also help us understand God’s might and glory through the various scriptures and see how he has guided us through history.
To conclude, Biblical theology helps us understand God’s glory and lead us to the path of worship of this supreme power.
Communism is an ideology that seeks to build a classless society where there is no economic disparity. And communism believes that production control is the key to creating an egalitarian society where there is no difference between the rich and the working class.
The basic idea of communism as philosophy is based on the ideology of Karl Marx. You can read further to learn some characteristics of this ideology.
Build a classless society
The main goal of communism is to build a classless society. This means a society with no difference between the rich and the poor. Instead, society is divided into the bourgeoisie class and the working class. And communism as an ideology aims to reduce this vast disparity between rich and poor.
Establish common ownership
To mitigate the vast gulf between rich and poor and establish a classless society, people must change the current control and division system. Communism says that common ownership is the core to achieving this dream. Here, the community will produce, and everyone will reap its benefit.
Abolishing Private property
When private people and businesses enter the production chain, their main motive will be to make a profit.
As their earning capacity increases, their quality of life will improve, and their lifestyle will considerably change. But this does not happen for those who do not have money. They will work for the rich people and will not gain anything. Therefore, communist ideology seeks to abolish private property, widening the class disparity.
Achieve Social Equality
The basic characteristic of communist ideology is to achieve social equality. Their main ideology is building an egalitarian society that does not discriminate between the rich and the poor.
Do not support democracy
The ideology of communism is against the idea of democracy. Democracy gives the liberty of a private organization and people to enter the market, which is against the ideology of communism. The latter is against privatization as it will increase class-based differences and discrimination. China is one such communist country that is against the idea of democracy.
Promotes State Ownership
In a communist system, the state owns all the capital, including land, infrastructure, buildings, and everything. Therefore, there is a strict restriction on personal property or own personal items. An example is a communist society moving people from their houses to apartments to use the land for infrastructure projects.
They need a large bureaucracy for central planning and control of the state. Communism as an ideology claims to remove discrimination, but when it comes to practice, it gives birth to bureaucracy. In this situation, the competition from producing value will shift to acquiring positions within the government.
Theoretically, communist ideology is meant to remove all social inequality. But when it comes to practice, they will not tolerate any political opposition or economic freedom. On the contrary, a communist system will repress all these activities and freedom, such as freedom of speech, movement, religion, privacy, and more.
Like every other ideology, communism has its benefits. For example, they can ensure more job security, education, and healthcare regardless of their economic class. But they often use repressive methods and rules to enforce their ideology.
Democracy is considered to be the ideal form of government. Therefore, most countries in this world are democratic to some extent. It is a system where people will elect their leader who will rule as per the expectation and aspirations of the people. Democracy is vital for the development of people and the nation. It is also crucial for freedom of life, which is essential for the citizens to stay happy.
Even though democracy is a very effective form of governing, only some democratic countries are developed. Others are still developing. This is mainly due to the defect in the democratic system.
You can look into this article to learn some of the negative sides of democracy that are hindering the growth of many nations.
One of the most obvious drawbacks of democracy that drags the country backward is corruption. Even though the people elect the leaders, they will be in a position for a long time. Hence, they will tend to use the power to make money. Once they have lost their power, they have the choice of moving to other countries, thus evading the law of the nation. When the leaders of the nations are after money and personal profit, industries and companies can bribe the leader and get many benefits from the nation.
In a democracy, only collective efforts can control the chances of corruption. Therefore, not just the leaders of the nation but every individual in the country, including leaders, officials, people, and businessmen, everyone should work against corruption.
Misuse of equality
As we know, one of the fundamental features of a democratic county is equality. But the rule of equality can be a significant reason for corruption.
Due to democracy, no single person or body can control the smaller leaders. They can defy their superiors. Thus, all the officials and leaders can compromise their duty and steal the nation’s resources and wealth, thus deceiving the common men. But this is not the case with countries that have one supreme power.
The chances for corruption are limited in countries that have one supreme power. But when it comes to democracy, since no single power has supreme authority, all the leaders and officials can demand bribes and steal the nation’s wealth to get rich.
No safety for the common men
In a democracy, the common man is not safe when the officials and political leaders who are meant to protect and safeguard their interest misuse their power. But unfortunately, even security personnel or police officers treat people differently. They favor people with money and power and neglect people who are socially and economically backward.
Follow the divide and rule method
The leaders try to play the nasty divide-and-rule game to maintain their power. They divide people based on their state, language, religion, race, etc. This is an easy way to gain votes and get power.
This does not mean that democracy is bad and ineffective. But instead, democracy is the ideal way of governing the country. But it needs honest leaders and educated and informed citizens to support and make it effective.
Christian studies provide a plethora of terms to keep in mind, which can often be confusing for the readers and followers of Christianity. However, it is easy to confuse the terms when you don’t know what every term means. One among them is the difference between study and theology. Although they mean the same on a surface level, they are vastly different when you speak of biblical concepts.
On the surface level, theology deals with studying the Bible, but there is a significant difference in that too!
What is the difference?
In layperson’s terms, theology deals with the study of God, but biblical studies deal with reading Bible itself. When studying with the lens of studies, you tend to read the Bible book by the book, where theology will take a topical approach. The biblical study generally divides the Bible into common themes and categories, which will help the readers, deliver the overall message systematically.
According to Dr. Tiberius Rata, although we can divide the theme and extract messages from both ways, there is always overlap in certain concepts. He states that whenever a person studies the Bible, they are undergoing both theological and biblical knowledge because the readers get to understand God’s creation, His rule, God, and also about humanity.
Theology v/s Biblical studies
People often ask which form of study is better, and the answer always depends on the goal and the lesson people want to take from the book. Studying the scripture through both lenses is a plus, which helps one understand God’s teaching.
Biblical studies deal with exploring the Bible and finding a teacher to extract maximum knowledge from the scripture. It also deals with the fundamental lessons and the ways of life preached by Jesus to humankind. However, exploring Christian doctrines falls under the biblical theology umbrella, which helps one understand the book better.
Who is it applied to?
Although Biblical studies and theologies can be practiced by everyone interested in learning about Jesus, they can be majored by students interested in studying and preaching God’s work to the world.
A biblical study or biblical theology major is for students who are passionate about learning the Bible and imparting the knowledge t the world to be a better Christian today. It is also taken up by students who are interested in implementing God’s work in the work-life or serving their lives as pastors in Churches and those who wish to have a growing relationship with God. A degree in this subject can help students with the following work opportunities:
· Teachers and professors
· Directors of Church
· Social workers
· Camp counselors and many more
There are various types of women mentioned in the Bible – wives, daughters, mothers, victors and victims, women powerless to change their destinies, and women who created some historical remarks. The ancient societies mentioned in the Bible were deemed patriarchal, mainly because they highlighted the dominance of men in society. For example, the marital and inheritance laws favored men and women, restricted sexual power, and adultery was a crime for women subjected to stoning.
Aside from the patriarchal law followed in the Bible, it also talks about heterarchy. Heterarchy acknowledges the different power sectors of people in the society, which again had their hierarchical arrangements. According to the verses mentioned in the Bible, women also had powers in the system, but they were separate and very different from men.
The Bible also portrays the different types of women who carried various roles, especially in the forefront of the public sector. They are mentioned because they perform tasks out of the ordinary.
Women, sex, and the laws surrounding them
The patriarchal society was first established in 3000 BCE and later followed by many Bronze and Axial Age groups. The Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, and Akkadians of the eastern societies regarded women as the inferior class and gave them a subordinate position. However, this was followed by a few exceptions in the third millennium BC, when women started being considered equal o men.
On the contrary, the position of women in the Western states of Egypt was high, and they were exposed to legal rights with equal powers as men. However, according to history books, even though women could rise to the power of queens in Western society, it seldom empowered female subjects.
In ancient societies, women were typically given the domestic power of maintaining and raising a family, except for Sparta, which treated men and women equally. However, in Greece and other parts, classic authors like Aristophanes, Philo, Socrates, Plato, and many more, popularized women’s empowerment and stated that women are s bad as men.
In Biblical law, the forgiveness of women for adultery and insignificant sexual practices was not an option for mercy and forgiveness. The lovers had to die if caught in the act. However, such punishments were not mentioned for men. Women could apply for divorce after they proved their worthiness, or she was drowned for the asking. Sexual relationships between two unmarried couples result in marriage, and if the husband later accuses his wife of losing her virginity, she is stoned to death.
In short terms, Biblical theology refers to the theology of the Bible. It is what the biblical writers write in their books about the Bible and studying God in particular. It also holds convictions about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God’s work in creating a human history on earth. It is mainly introduced to the people to represent the teachings of Jesus, by various writers.
Understanding biblical theology, written by various writers, depends on how we interpret texts or scripture. Therefore, it is best to use a historical, descriptive, and inductive method to understand the true sense of the term.
Historical approach to biblical theologies
When we view biblical theology through a historical lens, it talks about the teachings of the Bible by understanding each page and verse of the scripture. Generally, meaningful explanations a provided by various biblical writers.
An inductive approach to biblical theologies
An inductive approach provides an open mind to understand every term of the scripture to learn better about Christ and his dedication to improving humankind. Generally, writers and readers who follow an inductive approach have an authorial-intent mind to convey and interpret what’s given in a particular passage. Usually, believers who follow this approach listen and understand the scriptures before bringing their own inputs to a conclusion.
Descriptive approach to biblical theologies
A biblical theologian generally starts with a descriptive approach. This means they will try to relate all the events mentioned in the book by respecting the terminologies used by the biblical writer.
Hence, people who follow the biblical theologies to interpret in their life generally explore all the teaching of major these of the scripture in three different approaches and gain the best perspective from the scripture.
Ideas of biblical theology
The three primary ideas are followed:
- It is practiced only by theologians who believe in gaining knowledge from the writers of the scriptures.
- It does not deal with encompassing the ‘story of the bible’ but emphasizes the teachings of the Lord or Jesus Christ.
- Since most concepts are purely theoretical and descriptive, it provides insights into what people believed in the early ages and centuries.
- It is about creating a redemptive or a salvation history to create a big story in the readers’ minds. Hence it is considered a World Building exercise.
- It generally throws light on how the new biblical writers use the new testament to interpret knowledge from the old testament.
- Biblical theologies do not stress the historical events that took place. Instead, it focuses on the messages it interprets to the people.
- Biblical theology also focuses on the different historical events that generally make up most of the verses and the texts.
- It generally traces themes that are interpreted in the entire scripture, which is revealed progressively through time.
Christianity offered submissive roles to women in most terms but significant roles in marriage and other ministry options in the dominant patriarchal world. Although in ancient times, many roles were prohibited for women in churches, in recent times, a majority of roles have been introduced to hold alignment for both men and women equally. For example, in the Roman and Catholic churches, while the men serve as priests and hold senior positions, women can serve as abbesses and consecrated virgins. In addition, despite the strict rules mentioned in Christianity, many newfound Charismatic and Pentecostal churches allow women to preach in churches.
Among many names, the names of Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene have become some of the most prominent names in Christianity. According to Harvard Professor Karn L King, the authority of women and the history they have created in Christianity have been completely revised in the last 20 years. Along with the mentioned names, many other women have also been added to the list who has contributed enough to Christian society. The new biblical text highlights these concepts, which were highly neglected in the previous centuries and ages.
Many people in the 4th century believed that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, an adulterous, and also a repentant prostitute. This historical error became a general view for the Christians. The pope also mistakenly identified her as the anonymous sinner and confused her with Mary of Bethany. The New Testament and other insights about Christianity have proved that the disreputable portrait of Mary Magdalene was inaccurate. She was a disciple and a significant leader in the early Christian movement; she was also the very first apostle of Jesus who promoted contemporary leadership of women in Christianity.
Authority and inerrancy
In general, there were many gender debates based on the authority of the Bible, mainly formed due to the difference in interpretation of specific Biblical passages. However, some authorities and complementarians have also accused people of opting for positions that denied women a charge in the Bible.
Role of gender and the image of God
Most complementarians believe that Christian ministers ought to be men due to the need to represent Jesus Christ as the ‘son’ of God and preach his teachings to the entire world. God created a relatable position for women, and the woman shares her divine image through a man because she was made out of hum.
Many Christian egalitarians have responded to this point and argued for ages that God has no gender discrimination. Therefore, women and women should hold equal rights and positions without any differences. They also say Christ was a male, not because it was a theological necessity, but because the dominant patriarchal society did not welcome a female Messiah.
Christian Communism follows a theological view with the teachings of Jesus Christ, which mainly supports religious communism and other social systems. According to many communistic ideas and evidence from the Bible, many Christians established their own communist societies following the resurrection of Jesus.
Christian Communism follows the koinonia concept, which directly translates to a typical or shared life, with voluntary sharing of goods and services. The non-Abrahamic predecessors, or the Church Fathers, earlier maintained the human society, preaching Christianity to follow social order in the community. The early Acts of Apostles were also considered to establish the early form of communism, later supported by late historians.
In the 16th century, due to the influence of writers like Thomas More, society started basing their property ownership in Utopia, which was mainly administered by applying reason.
The basis of Christian Communism was on the biblical tests in the 2nd and 4th Acts, marking the beginning of the first communist society. The understanding was based on Luke 12:33, where Jesus demanded all his disciples to sell their possessions and alms to the poor, ultimately helping them in their livelihood to lead a better life.
However, Christian communism does not merely depend on the principles put forth by the early Apostles. Many early Christians also claim that most Christian communities are deeply rooted in the anti-capitalist ideas in their faith. Although the concept of modern capitalism was not introduced during those times, the Christian faith was solely against the love of money and greed and also pointed to helping the poor and needy.
Communism and Marxism
Many ideologies of Christian communism do not entirely agree with various aspects of Marxism, like dealing with the social and the communist society and its doctrines. However, many Christian communities share some political goals and characteristics of Marxism. For instance, replacing the ideas of capitalism with socialism is one of the main points that the later communists also followed in society.
Many young Christians like Louis Althusser and Denys Turner were some of the Christian philosophers. They merged the coherence of Marxism and Christianity and encouraged people to adopt Marxism in their belief system.
The Marxist community also aims at unifying all groups of people together, preaching that humankind is one and there is only one God who does not discriminate against people based on various factors. This concept directly relates to the Christian Universalists.