Dogmatism: Friend or foe?
on April 03, 2009
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"He that knows all the answers does not even know the questions." - Unknown
As I sat trying to referee a small group discussion in Sunday School last week, I found myself thinking about the above quote. We were discussing finances from a Christian perspective and a war broke out between a few of the staunch conservatives and a few on the more progressive side.
I remember being comfortable in knowing all the answers about economics. I knew that capitalism is good and socialism is bad. Low taxes are good and public welfare is bad. The government's sole responsibility is to defend its citizens. The government should not regulate business or get involved in health care. Environmentalists are just trying to destroy capitalism which by the way is God's preferred economic system.
Shortly after college, I got to know some people that lived behind the Iron Curtain. I remember how shocked I was when they told me that there was much about socialism that they preferred over capitalism. That experience was one of many that helped me understand that I did not know as much as I thought.
Today, I don't enjoy the same comfort of knowing I am right. In fact, the one thing I now know more than ever is that many issues are just not very clear cut. So, I am very turned off by dogmatism when I know it is not warranted. Dogmatism is often a sign of ignorance rather than wisdom. It is just an evidence that someone does not even know the questions much less the answers.
Doing research today for someone led me to the website of Gary Moore, an author that influenced me greatly about finances many years ago. I am going to recommend the website but with a big caveat.
First of all, I highly disagree with much of Moore's theology. He seems to embrace universalism, a concept that is not consistent with true Christianity. Of this, I can be dogmatic.
On the other hand, Moore will make you think in a way that is unlike anything you will read from the more popular Christian financial gurus out there. While I would consider his overall theology to be liberal, his economic theology is far more conservative than most of us would dream of.
Unfortunately, most Christians are still at first base when it comes to money. They need help figuring out how to save and avoid credit traps and buy life insurance. Some are under the delusion that being a good steward means getting a high rate of return on your investments. For those people, Dave Ramsey provides a great service.
But if you want to take stewardship a bit more seriously, read Moore and think about it carefully. Ignore his bad theology but let his wisdom about true stewardship change you.
His message is not popular even among conservative Christian circles. In fact, I remember teaching a sunday school class several years ago and mentioned that people should avoid a particular fund because it was heavily invested in gambling and alcohol companies. One person challenged me and said they would not invest in that fund but not for my reason. Their more "legitimate" reason was because that fund had had several years of mediocre returns.
That perspective sadly represents the way many Christians think. We have been brainwashed by a philosophy that is completely anti-Biblical.
Here is the website: http://financialseminary.org