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Works like "Mere Christianity" try and address common Christian beliefs and help recognize the diversity of belief systems within Christian sects. The question is whether this is what all of Christianity is, or is there more? Do Christian religious texts provide guidance on how to organize society and govern it with justice and fairness?

Added after reviewing comments through morning of 1/13/12:

  1. Is it true that the family & social laws in the Old Testament texts are to be ignored? Yes/No? (provide supporting information)

  2. If OT laws are to be ignored by Christians, does God/Jesus provide substitute laws in the New Testament texts? I.e., if God thought it important to provide laws (in addition to requiring certain beliefs) to guide people prior to the New Testament, why has He not deemed it important to either re-affirm these same laws in the New Testament, or provide substitute laws?

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"justice and fairness" is a huge sticking point - there are some rules and morals, sure, but...; the vast majority of those are not unique to Christianity in any way; the ones that are unique tend to be... trouble-spots, contested hugely even within Christianity. There are a number of Christian morals (not enforced by all Christians, I stress) that really don't reflect what the rest of the population generally considers "fair" and "just". –  Marc Gravell Jan 12 '12 at 23:51
    
By, "Christian religious texts", I presume you mean The Bible? (There aren't any other texts for mainstream Christians, though there are for smaller groups.) –  Wikis Jan 13 '12 at 13:44
    
@MarcGravell: interesting examples of what people might not consider "fair and just" but are a core part of Christianity include, "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies". –  Wikis Jan 13 '12 at 14:40
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@Probe: your additional questions are quite different to the original question. I suggest you add them separately. –  Wikis Jan 13 '12 at 15:11
    
If nothing else, Jesus changed the class system for the Jewish people. So, I'd say that Christianity is more than a belief system. –  user1054 Jan 15 '12 at 2:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Christianity is not, "just a belief system", nor is it "also a system for organizing and governing society".

It is simply the way for imperfect people to get into an eternal relationship with a perfect God, not by our good works but by the gift of Jesus. John puts it better than I can:

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Of course, there are consequences of this that affect the individual (e.g. a commitment to honesty and love) which then in turn affect society. (We are also instructed about our duty to society, e.g. "pay your taxes".) But that's a by-product, rather than the central aim.

More directly answering your question, the Bible does not explain how to organise society but it does contain some very light weight (by which I mean, not overly proscriptive) examples of how to organise a church (e.g. mentioning elders).

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I am accepting this is a good half answer - please see follow-up questions 1. and 2. above. –  Probe Deeper Jan 13 '12 at 23:09
    
@ProbeDeeper: you added them after I had answered! If you put them as a separate question, I will give it a go. Thx for the accept. –  Wikis Jan 13 '12 at 23:20
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Thx. I created a new question: Do Old Testament individual, family and social laws and guidance apply to Christians or did Jesus come to discard OT laws and guidance? –  Probe Deeper Jan 14 '12 at 14:05

Islam proposes a system of government. But the Bible does not. Although many systems with Christian beliefs have tried to force a political system or government. I would say that they failed.

I am not saying in any way that a Christian should not do politics and act out of his belief system. What I am saying is more that there is no such thing as a Christian nation but there is an Islamic nation.

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If you liked Mere Christianity, you might like to read Screwtape Letters and see what Lewis has to say about using Christianity to further political ends.

That being said, Christianity is the basis for a Church, which is a bigger thing than a government. In the OT, we've got the Covenants (Individual: Adam and Eve, Familial: Noah and his Family; Tribal: Abraham; National: Moses; Kingdom: David) and in the New Testament, Jesus establishes a new covenant with His Church, one that will not pass away.

If the old covenants were used to organize and govern those societal groups, getting bigger and bigger until the Kingdom of Israel. Then what Christianity is, is actually too big to be used as a tool to govern a society, it's for all people, even though not everyone accepts it.

This is why at consecration, the priest says "for many" in the English translation now, they had it translated "for all" for the last 50 years, but Christianity is really just for those who accept Christ.

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Peter - I see your point that the Church is bigger than a government, of course it is. Do you mean the OT has passed away? If so, can NT be used extract individual, familial, societal, and national rules for organizing and governance? –  Probe Deeper Jan 12 '12 at 21:53
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I must counter: no, Christianity is not "for all people"; as evidenced by the fact that a pretty huge portion of the earth is non-Christian, and Christianity is actively adversarial towards a non-trivial amount of people (some of which identify as Christian!). Additionally, Christianity can't agree on what Christianity is - there are schisms within schisms, each following different day-to-day rules. This does not bode well for a tool of government. Which indeed it should not be. –  Marc Gravell Jan 12 '12 at 23:42
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@MarcGravell When christian say that christianity is for all people we understand "open to" not that every individual will belive, or that the majority of the world will be saved. –  David Laberge Jan 13 '12 at 12:19
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You're both right. –  Peter Turner Jan 13 '12 at 14:34

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