Three cheers for democracy - Hope 103.2

Three cheers for democracy

By David ReayThursday 5 Oct 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Romans 13:1-2

1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. (NLT)

Winston Churchill is reported to have said that democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man—except for all the other forms of government so devised. We who live in such democracies can get frustrated out of our minds by the action or inaction of those who govern us.

But we have to admit in our more honest moments that we ourselves haven’t got all the answers either. We want more services but we want to pay less tax. We want more fairness but don’t want to surrender any benefits we are already receiving. We want improved infrastructure but don’t want to suffer the inconvenience of it being built.

Our democratic system of government tells us something significant about ourselves and somehow reflects biblical teaching on humanity. We have value and dignity and capabilities and so can be entrusted with some power. We are fundamentally egocentric and limited in our understanding and so cannot be entrusted with absolute power. The checks and balances of democracy reflect both the capabilities of humanity and the limits of those capabilities.

We might wonder if benevolent dictatorship might be the best model. However given our understanding of human nature, truly benevolent dictators are hard to find. Whatever system we have in place is flawed because those involved in it are flawed and those who are governed, namely us, are flawed.

God in his wisdom has put authorities in place to guard against our worst anarchic tendencies. Democracy is one such form of authority, and to paraphrase Churchill, it is probably best of a rather mixed bunch.

David Reay

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