Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Monday, May 3, 2010

What is the Best Society?

The best society is found where the people choose to serve God over all else. St. Matthew records the Savior’s words, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” It is true that one cannot choose both. There is no golden mean in these two extremes; an individual must decide either to serve God or serve mammon. This Heavenly society could best be described in a Greek word, to kalon, which means, the beautiful. Thinking and acting beautifully in his or her service to God, would be the mode of life. Do we suppose that this will be a dull, monotonous and mechanical society? Absolutely not, situations will present themselves just as they do in today’s society, but we will respond to them in the way we were created to do as children of a royal and divine heritage.

Upon what principle should this society be based? Aristotle believed that virtue was the means to our ultimate happiness. Everything we do, he concluded, must depend on moral virtue to make its aim right. Moral virtue gives man the most stable and durable condition in which to confront all of life’s deterrents. David of the Old Testament inquires, “who shall stand in [the Lord’s] holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Numerous times the Lord condemns hypocrisy because it pretends to be virtuous. Hypocrisy is not being true to who we are and what we were created to be. This writer agrees that whether it is a pure heart or being true to self, virtue is the principle to base the best society owing to the fact that virtue encompasses all good qualities.

What would be the purpose for this society? Principally speaking, most all human beings wish to be happy no matter their race, culture or class. Even our Founding Fathers included happiness and the pursuit thereof, as one of the most important and attainable goals in the Declaration of Independence; they recognized happiness as one of the inalienable rights.

In addition to happiness, the purpose of this society would also be to prepare the people for the Lord’s second coming. Paul’s epistle to the Philippians teach the ancient saints to have one heart and one mind and to love and serve one another. In preparation of Christ’s second coming, the modern reader remembers Paul’s words, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Preparation for His reign on earth and the happiness of His people are the purpose for this society.

What would be the purpose of government in such a society? Cicero said, “there is no human being of any race who, if he finds a guide, cannot attain to virtue.” In most worldly governments that I have studied, there has been not only a guide, but also institutions set up to constrain the people to be virtuous. This coercion has not created a virtuous society, but one of corruption and vice. The government of the best society would not be an oppressive government as is the norm; in fact, there would not be a government, as we know it. The governing power would be within each person as Plato described in his Republic. He explained basically that our head and our heart would rule our gut and that we could achieve full happiness in this life as we applied virtue and justice to our individual character. Cicero writes of the natural propensity for love and service to others, “For these virtues originate in our natural inclination to love our fellow-men, and this is the foundation of Justice.” As a result of each person’s integrity to his or her true being and virtuous character there is no need for a government of man.

We have just discussed that the people govern self, however, in truth there is a higher government; one that is not coercive, but is based on character. It has to do with the intense individual desire to be virtuous. That drive to obey is because of the love each has for God, their loving Heavenly Father and for his laws. Talking of this heavenly city, Augustine writes, “The laws of the most high Creator and Governor are strictly observed, for it is by Him the peace of the universe is administered.” Additionally, the people yearn to obey God’s laws because of promised heavenly blessings. “Blessings are upon the head of the just,” taught wise King Solomon.

What would God’s government look like? Unlike the worldly governments, God’s government would naturally and without coercion provide for the poor and needy. By virtue that each person was created with certain gifts, talents and abilities to act, there would be some who would lift a sad heart, some who would feed the hungry, some who would cloth the poor, etc. until all the needs of each individual were accounted for. God knows our needs and desires and although he uses His children to fulfill the needs and desires, still He grants them. Worldly riches and wealth would not be the goal of this government. The goal, in accordance with Aristotle, would be to do individually what we were created to do and do it beautifully, and in that way provide for all. Christ differentiates between worldly and heavenly matter, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Christ also teaches that we do not need to take thought for our life i.e. what to eat or what to wear or where we shall live. He knows our needs, presumably because we sincerely pray; and since He knows and that we desire it, He freely gives.

What would be the governmental powers? Isaiah prophesied of this heavenly society with Christ as the King, “And the government shall be upon His shoulder,” wrote Isaiah. The Resurrected Christ will reign in Glory as the King and Judge of the best society. Virtue will be His throne, truth will be His gospel and Love will be His governing power.
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