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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Root Of Our Economic Problem

When Vishal Mangalwadi first visited Holland, coming from India, he saw a level of trust that allowed a dairy owner to let people help themselves to milk and put their payments in a bowl on the windowsill. He was dumbfounded! "Where did this morality come from?," he asked. "Why isn’t my society equally trustworthy?”

Mangalwadi asserts the foundation for this morality was laid by European reformers like Martin Luther and John Knox, who created a new kind of education that made character formation a primary goal. These pioneers of modern education, Mangalwadi maintains, developed education "precisely to civilize generations that could create a new Europe."

The education developed by the reformers was much different than we generally see today. Their kind of education was rooted in Judeo-Christian premises, which Mangalwadi identifies:

1. God is holy.

2. God has given us moral laws (as in the Ten Commandments).

3. Obedience to God's Word is the source of good life.

4. Disobedience to God's moral law is sin that does not go unpunished.

5. Sinners can repent and receive forgiveness and new life.

"This good news," Mangalwadi says, "became the intellectual foundation of the modern West, the force that produced moral integrity, economic prosperity, and political freedom."

Early settlers coming from Northern Europe brought this brand of education to America, and Harvard was established just sixteen years after the Puritans landed at Plymouth.

Why is the moral integrity that Mangalwadi found in Holland not present in his native India? Because the Judeo-Christian premises upon which education was founded in Western Europe and Colonial America are not at the base of Indian society. Other worldviews prevail.

But Mangalwadi asks another important question: "If moral integrity is foundational to prosperity, why don't secular experts talk about it?"

Great question! I think it gets to the root of our current economic mess. Because the root of our economic problem is not economic, but moral and spiritual.

The reason the secularized experts don't talk about moral integrity, Mangalwadi maintains, is because the universities no longer teach the concept of "universal moral truth." Why? Because the universities have abandoned the very idea of "truth" itself!

Harvard's original motto was Veritas, Christo et Ecclesiae, Latin for "Truth, for Christ and the Church." This motto was later shortened to simply, Veritas: "Truth."

Any day now, I expect it will be changed to: "Whatever."

More to come.

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4 comments:

  1. Christian, great word. I am convinced that the turnaround in our culture/world rests in the laps of Christ-followers. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is true or it is not . . . I believe it to be very true . . . where is the call to prayer for our corrupt, immoral, and dying world? Where is the call to repent and confess to God? It must start with Christ-followers who realize it cannot be fixed by any means other than God's intervention and grace. We need to be on our knees!

    Roy Peacock
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  2. Vishal Mangalwadi also wrote a book about William Carey, the first protestant missionary to India, which gives him credit for many major positive reforms in Indian society. Application of God's word to a culture--biblical principles--can transform it just as Christ can transform an individual believer. I think this is what being the salt of the earth is mostly about...

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  3. I think so, too. Thanks for letting us know about Mangalwadi's book about William Carey.

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