Optimistic About the Arab Spring? Why?

Americans and other Westerners have a tendency to place hope in any uprising against totalitarian powers. But, why should we?

This first response of optimism is not really “Christian,” it is actually secular and reflects the ideals and presumptions of “modernity.”

Americans and other Westerners have a tendency to place hope in any uprising against totalitarian powers. But, why should we?

This first response of optimism is not really “Christian,” it is actually secular and reflects the ideals and presumptions of “modernity.” The “modern period” of American history spanned the late 18th century to the mid to late 1960’s. Though we have described culture as being “post modern” since the 1970’s, much of modernity still prevails.

Two of the big philosophic shifts of modernity were to separate individuals from their belief systems and to view individuals (all humans) as basically good and “like us.” Some positive results came from these perspectives as it helped our culture to see the good in other cultures and people groups. Too often, American’s viewed themselves as the ideal model that everyone should emulate.

However, a good thing can go too far, and it did. Both secular history and the Bible give us insight into human nature toward evil - especially when faced with the temptations of power. Freedom from the bondages of sin (personally and politically)comes not merely from the overthrow of the latest dictator or even from “democratic government.” Freedom (in degrees) expands as people grow in self governing character and understand the dynamics of the control of political power. These are religious undertakings that have been most closely linked with the power of the Gospel to change individual hearts. In America, it took over a century for this character and understanding to grow and become diffused through the population before our political experiment with liberty began.

I trust that God desires to bringing liberty to the people of the mid-east, but with so little being said about the preparation of the people
for liberty, I am less than optimistic about the outcome. Perhaps the “Arab Spring” will provide stepping stones to liberty... but again, it may just provide opportunities for new dictators to arise.
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