What would a consistently Christian social order look like?

If C’tians could get their act together & create a social-political system consistent with the Biblical teachings of Jesus & the Apostles (I do not distinquish between the two), what would it look like?

My own thoughts-

the Constitution would acknowledge the Creator God as sovereign, with the prophets of Israel, Jesus, and his apostles as the foundational teachers for
the society;

a tripartite representative democratic constitutional system structured much like
the US or a parliamentary system;

personally holding to C’tian doctrine & practice or church membership would
not be required for candidacy for office or voting rights (or any other rights)-
however, a pledge to acknowledge and uphold the Constitution would be,
with any attempt in office or by political action to subvert it resulting in loss of
rights to run/be appointed to political or vote suspended;

(Sample Preamble-

"We the Citizens of …, dedicate our society to the One God, Who makes all things and all peoples, and Who reveals His will to us most fully through the
prophets of Israel. Jesus of Nazareth, and His Christian Apostles, and Who commands us to do justice, seek mercy, and walk humbly before Him.

Beliefs and trust neither can nor should be forced by human power. That is in the provice of God. He has however put into human authority the protection of individuals and society from the harmful actions of other persons and groups.
It is with this Divine mission, we develop this Constitution…")

a tax system with a cap of 9 .99%, with incentive tax breaks given for job-creation, adoption, going into various social service/educational/medical professions.

tax exemption of all religious & educational non-profit organizations;

no direct tax subsidies to any of the above- however, social services & educational vouchers may be used with them;

marriage will not be a matter for the government, social contracts will. Certain actions such as conceiving a child together will create such a contract. Living together for in a family situation will also.

A citizen’s militia of every healthy adult citizen (the age of adulthood being 20)-
much like the Swiss or Israeli systems. Technically voluntary, but chock full of incentives. Emphasis on defensive warfare. If we have an enemy whose nature
demands we war against them, outright warfare will be the last resort after a campaign of isolation, destabilization, internal revolution & assassination have failed. (Yes, I believe the assassination of evil leaders is a more Christian option than the bombing of nations.)

Criminal justice system will be based on multiple financial restitution for crimes against property, financial restitution &/or corporal punishment arranged with the
victim for crimes of violence, exile to penal islands for life &/or execution for extreme or habitual violence, sexual violation- especially of children, & murder.

All abortions except for the child’s extreme defectiveness, rape/incest, and risk to the physical health &/or life of the mother will be banned after the second month of pregnancy. Still not sure about before that.

Laws against consensual adult sex will be repealed. However, prostitution & porn will be “sin-taxed” and participants may risk voting rights. Polygamy will not be legal (no social contracting with multiple spouses), but conceiving children with multiple partners will create enforceable contracts to support said children.

Social service/welfare systems will exist, encouraging recipients to pursue education & develop work skills & be weaned off the system soon as possible.
Everyone but the most disabled will be required to do something.

Trade and aid policies with foreign governments will be strongly tied to their human rights records.

That’s about all I can think of now. And what would you suggest?

I’m not sure how you got to this one… why would they be tolerated at all?

That sounds a bit scary too; sinners would be disenfranchised? Who is the arbiter of this procedure?

A lot would depend on the specific flavour of Christianity. Also on whether or not there would be one Official State Church (with, perhaps, the head of state also the head of the church, much like heads of state tend to be titular commander in chief of the armed forces).

AFAIK, most major branches of Christianity are pretty strong on bringing out the Good Message, especially to children. Obligatory instruction in Christianity for all children, either as part of the school curriculum, or as obligatory Sunday school or similar.

I don’t remember Jesus’ stance on divorce. He was pretty negative, wasn’t he? Divorce only legal in cases of abuse. No remarrying.

It’s been a while since I read the Bible, but IIRC Jesus was pretty big on forgiveness. I see a legal system based on his teachings placing a heavy emphasis on rehabilitation.

No turning the other cheek? :slight_smile:

As a practical matter, to a non-believer it would look a lot like the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I’m not sure where most of this is coming from.

Of course.

Why? I mean, if it was growing out of the US or another western democracy, sure, but why couldn’t it be structured as an elected monarchy, like the Catholic Church, or a constitutional oligarchy, like many church governinbg boards.

Why? Give unto Caesar and all that. Hell, the early church as described in Acts is explictly communist. I think the a Christianized government might see Christian charity falling under its mandate, leading to an expanded welfare state.

Marriage will be a matter for the government in that they determine what social contracts are valid. Don’t hold your breath for any “marriage” that doesn’t comprise of one-man and one-woman.

I have no idea why you’d think a Christian nation would have compulsory military service. I agree that a truly Christian nation would avoid war at all costs, but this is teh real world, and this government based on mortal men. Watch for Just War theory to take a dive if it becomes inconvenient.

What’s wrong with the current US system?

I am. It would be banned.

Um, no. Biblical standards of sexuality will be enforced in law. Hard-core pornography would be banned. Soft-core stuff (including stuff that would not be considered pornography now) would be sin-taxed. As would alcohol and possibly tabacco. Harder drugs would be illegal.

I’m confused as to how you envision a truly ‘Christian’ state as a democracy. Don’t religious states of every stripe tend toward autocracy or oligarchy? I mean, religion tends to be the ultimate ‘appeal to authority,’ so I can’t see how you can both have adherence to a holy book and the rough give and take of politics.

I am also curious as to what Christian sect you take your vision from- a Catholic state would be much different than a Baptist one, than a Pentacostal, Assembly of God, Mormon, ad infinitum.

I think Evil Captor is right on the money- no matter how it starts, we’re looking at the Taliban all over again.

In my own peculiar vision of a Christian society, there would be no State Church, no requirement to be an actual Christian in order to hold office or to vote, no
government suppression of dissenting views and organizations. Judeo-Christianity would be it’s founding principles, but besides that, it would almost be
free-market Christendom.

Such a society could only be created if the vast majority (say, 75-80%) were committed Christians. It could be maintained as long as a simple majority were committed Christians. If a committed Christian population dipped below that, the societal structure could indeed be compromised by non-cC voters & officials & rightly so, as a penalty to the cC’s for the failure to maintain their population.

Yes, a criminal justice system would involve rehabilitation and perhaps reconciliation. However, like true faith, forgiveness cannot be mandated. Victims of crime would have the option of forgiving & thus ameliorating some penalties, The society/state has no such option as total forgiveness- some crimes must be punished. Sentences would be extremely harsh in anything victimizing the defenseless, particularly children. Jesus Himself didn’t seem especially concerned in forgiving child-victimizers. It’s the one passage in the Gospels in which he came closest to calling for execution.

The Jerusalem Church was voluntarily communalistic, not mandatorily communistic.
That was a matter of personal faith. The tax cap was based on what is Divine Law- the Tithe, God only requires 10%, Caesar does not get to claim more.

A tripartite, constitutional representative democracy manifests the principle of seperation of powers/checks and balances, which manifests the principle of universal fallibility (unfortunately misunderstood as “Original Sin”). No one person or group can be entrusted with complete uncontested authority.

Divorce (dissolution of the social contract) will certainly be allowed in cases of infidelity, abuse or abandonment, and re-contracting would be allowed. Jesus was condemning the practice of divorcing one spouse to marry another- not mandating that divorcees must remain single forever. Truthfully, however, I see no reason to regulate divorce that strictly except in unions which one spouse is clearly kept dependent upon the other, and of course, where there are children involved.

Believe it or not, I’d allow some type of social contracts between same-sex partners, as well as among friends & between family members. If adult unmarried sibs want to contract, let them. Unless they are sexually involved, there’s no problem. (And if they are, it’s really no concern of society unless they procreate. THEN, the law may be quite severe.)

I’d be in favor of banning “convenience” abortion from conception. But IF there must be a point in which it must be allowed, I would say that biology indicates six to eight weeks as the limit (I think brain waves are established by then).

Biblical/Jewish & Christian history & ethics & culture would be part of a public educational system. Worship & profession of faith would not. Students would have to know, for example, about the doctrine of the Trinity and the Arian controversy, they would have to know the theories of Evolution
and Creationism, they would have to know the principles of Communism and Capitalism- they would not have to accept any of them -to get good grades.

Which is the real reason that there’s religious freedom and separation of church and state in this country: not to accomodate the atheists, Jews, Muslims, etc., but because the memory of Europe’s religious wars was still Fresh in the minds of the Founding Fathers. Christianity has become varied enough that it’s fndamentally impossible for any one nation to embrace the values of all denominations.

I think it depends on what we mean by a “consistently Christian social order”. The Taliban was repressive by the standards of medievil Catholicism! The UK, for example, has much more “ceremonial deism” than the US, even an established church, but it’s actually more secular than the US.

FriarTed, you are descrbing a government system that you would find ideal (and that I wouldn’t mind living in, to be honest, it has some problems, but no fatal ones, IMHO), and then tracking Christian values and window dressing back upon it. You are ignoring the political beliefs of the majority of folk who do want a explictly Christian nation, as well as the varied political opinions of Christians throughout history (ie liberation theology).

That said, aside from certain moral and social guidelines (it’s hard to argue that any “consistantly Christian” nation would not criminalize homosexulatity and abortion for instance) I don’t tink we can say exactly what a Christian nation would like like. The Bible is a guide to personal spirituality and morality. It has very little to say about what governmnet should be like except “love thy neighbor”. The Old Testament is the closest thing to go by, and it’s clearly monarchist.

FriarTed- your vision is not too far out of line with this atheist liberal’s vision for a working civil society…the issue I have is that the sort of people that have the political will to push for a ‘Christian order’ are not the ‘live and let live’ sort of people.

It comes down to this: once you merge religion and politics, your political opponents have gone from being bad to being EVIL. And who would balk at even extreme measures to eradicate evil?

Well, ignoring the inconsistencies between the apostles and Jesus and Paul of the Many Letters, you’d have…

• no law enforcement because there would be forgiveness and not judgment

• no money system or other means of keeping track of / compensating labor and other endeavors, or at least no discernable need for it, because everyone would share and not keep track of debts.

Anarchy, obviously. But yet with laws (just no law enforcement). A culture guided by the wisdom and instructions of the Torah.

Voluntary cooperation, people actively doing tasks to benefit one another. Communitarian.

The Taliban… piffle!

I’m talking about something that would probably be a more consciously & consistantly Christian version of 1950s America (no institutionalized racism, sexism or Red Scares, not that the latter wasn’t based on some reality). Hell, Puritan New England wasn’t as bad as the Taliban.

My own faith perspective, Arminian Charismatic Protestant with a high regard for the liturgical, sacramental & classical Theological heritage of our Orthodox-Catholic forebearers- thus, I’m hardcore aboutboth “mere C’nity” and distrust of centralized authority.

Harumph. I guess it’s the Happy Days show, but in real life. It would never work. It would eventually be taken over by some sort of “mad prophet” and would become twisted and distorted. There would be a state religion, inquisition polices, and sooner or later some sort of harsh “biblical” law. There would be religious riots and religious wars. There would eventually be heresy trials. Europe tried all this in various forms, and all it got them was constant warfare. There are reasons why the Founders separated church from state (no established state religion), and this was never a country “founded on christian principles”. It’s a horrible idea.

Why do you assume that racism, sexism, or xenophobia are any less Christian than the positive traits you mention? Scripture is certainly ambiguous on the subject, as evidenced by the multiple Christians sects that disagree on these issues. Perhaps the ‘golden age’; you pine for was only made possible by the existence of those other phenomenon?

Also- you’re probably right re: Puritans v. Taliban…but in the pluralistic society that we currently have, why do you assume that a rigid system of control would NOT be necessary to achieve your desired result?

The opening of my OP was

If C’tians could get their act together & create a social-political system consistent with the Biblical teachings of Jesus & the Apostles (I do not distinquish between the two), what would it look like?

The comments, including the criticisms, are all good & expected, but how about some suggestions RE the above?

I don’t see how maintaining any military forces whatsoever, whether for offense or defense, is in keeping with the undeniably pacifist philosophy of Jesus. Unless your Bible says, “Love your enemies, but you can shoot at them if they at shoot you”, I think any army is right out. How else can you interpret “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”?

I do deny it. Unconditional pacifism is enabling to predators, just as unconditional charity is enabling to parasites. I reject both in favor of wise peacemaking & restrained warmaking, and of wise giving.

Except for Dualists, Christians hold Jesus to be the Agent who fully reveals YHWH, the God of the Hebrew Scriptures, Who is far from being a pacifist. The teachings of Jesus provided a necessary corrective to the mishandling of Torah to justify personal vengeance & futile revolution, not to absolutely forbid the use of force against criminals and invaders. Do you also believe Jesus forbids police, courts, juries, government at all?

Onion sauce, I say!

And what is this:

Where in the philosophy of Jesus do you find any justification to punish crimes of property? All I see is, “If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.”

How do you justify this in terms of the teachings of Jesus? If you don’t want to ‘enable’ predators or parasites, that is one thing, but you cannot do so and call yourself a Christian without looking like a total hypocrite.

I apologize if my posts were a bit snarky. In all honesty, the way I see it going are either:

  1. Taliban authoritarian state

  2. Hippy Commune

given the historical political viability of the two systems, I’d bet on #1. I’m speaking of political realities- that way we can avoid the subject of exactly which interpretation would be the ‘most’ christian.