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Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
Mar12WedMarch 12, 2014School children ask the most revealing questions. They are the canaries in the coalmine of our culture because their innocent curiosity makes transparent the values of the adult world.
“How can I get a check without working?” That’s the question a second-grader asked my school-teacher wife a few years ago. The seven-year old had already noticed that many of the adults in his life didn’t work, but did get a check every month. Ditto the parents of his peers. He knew a good deal when he saw one, and he wanted in on the game. More importantly, he believed that he was entitled to it.
How did we come to this state of affairs? The short answer is: It’s a worldview problem, specifically, the world-view of the politicians who promote the welfare state.
To give them a very generous benefit of the doubt, the political leaders promoting and sustaining this policy are compassionate people. The Bible also commands compassion, but their compassion is out of balance because they believe something inaccurate about human nature. They have a world-view. They believe that people in tough financial circumstances are basically good, that their goodness will lead them to self-discipline, to working hard at getting a job and keeping it so that they can pay their own way in life. As a result they will get off public assistance as soon as possible.
But the questions of our seven-year-old canaries puncture that philosophy, as do the statistics of welfare in the USA, as reported by The Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Dependence on Government.
"Since FY 2008, spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp program, more than doubled from $37.6 billion to $78.4 billion for FY 2012. The tremendous growth in the SNAP budget means that more and more Americans are dependent on the program. In 1969, 1.4 percent of the population or about 2.9 million people participated in the program. By 2008, the participation rate increased to 9.3 percent of the population with 28.2 million individuals receiving benefits. In 2011, 44.7 million people (14.3 percent of the population) participated in the program. The figure for FY 2012 is 14.8 percent—meaning that one of every 6.7 people in the nation is participating in the program." http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/11/the-2013-index-of-dependence-on-government
The biblical worldview gives us a different take on such problems. It teaches that man was created basically good and that he was made to work. He fulfills his created purpose when he works. Work dignifies him. But the biblical worldview also explains that man is fallen and the world with him. So work will be hard, economic crashes will happen, and he will be lazy. In his laziness he will try to get others to work for him.
To provide for himself man usually has to learn how to subdue his sinful selfishness, work in cooperation with others and share in the prosperity of that cooperation. Thus redemption begins. That is, unless political leaders make it possible to do otherwise.
Finally, the biblical world view teaches that man will be judged for what he did with the resources he was given in life. This knowledge of accountability motivates him to his duty which begins the circle of dignity, cooperation, and redemption and results in prosperity for all.
The bottom-line is this: Our worldview matters in every sphere of life. Whether philosophy, economics, politics, health-care, education, entertainment, science or any other issue we face today, worldview matters. Therefore, knowing the difference between worldviews and how to articulate the biblical worldview in our conversations is one of the most important things we can do.