Political Philosophies of Men, Mingled with Scripture

From my observations, it seems to me that when Mormons think of, or evoke the phrase ‘philosophies of men mingled with scripture’, that they have in mind religious philosophy or theology, and the concern or worry is in regard to church doctrine.  This concern is an important one, and we ought to be ever mindful of it.

However, it also seems to me that the phrase ‘philosophies of men mingled with scripture’ is rarely, if ever, applied to political philosophy.  There are probably two main reasons for this.  One is that we Mormons seem to have pretty strong political opinions, and if we scold each other for teaching the political philosophies of men mingled with scripture, it will largely put an end to all our fun.  The second reason may be that we often do not think of political opinions as being a philosophy.  But they surely are.

Political philosophy has been part of philosophy all along as far as I know.  Plato’s Utopia is a prime early example of this.  And political philosophy, mingled with scripture, may well have a very profound and direct impact on those that are influenced by it.  Perhaps even a greater influence than religious philosophy mingled with scripture.

Is it just me, or does the amateur religious philosopher/theologian get warned about mingling their philosophies with scripture (which at some level is unavoidable), much more often than the amateur political philosopher?  Should we not be just as concerned about one as the other?

8 Responses to “Political Philosophies of Men, Mingled with Scripture”

  1. 1 Chris H. January 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Wait…but I am not an amatuer.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson January 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    This does not apply to you Chris. Although I am sure you have an opinion on it that is supported by scripture.

  3. 3 Chris H. January 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Of course, but I am heading into class. More later. 🙂

  4. 4 Eric Nielson January 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I would sincerely like your take on this Chris. Whenever you have time.

  5. 5 Paul January 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Fascinating thoughts, Eric. I’m interested to see where this thread heads.

  6. 6 Eric Nielson January 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks Paul. Sometimes threads go nowhere. Time will tell.

  7. 7 Stan Beale January 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I believe that often there is often a third aspect that makes it a triumverate–self interest. Let me give three simple examples.

    The defenders of slavery in the antebellum South could use both the Old and New Testament to support slavery. Matthew 10:24; Mathew 24:45-46; 1 Timothy 6:1-5; Ephesians 6:5-6 and Titus 2:9-10 all condone the existance of slavery. George Fitzhugh,in his 1857 book, “Cannibals All!!” in fact argued that if we did not hold that slavery was appropriate, we would destroy the truth of the Bible. Certainly one can see the relation of political theories and scripture in our”pecliar Institution.”

    The Gospel of Wealth which when espoused by Andrew Carnegie sounded quite munificent, has its very ugly side. Using Paul’s idea of stewardship the proponents created a justificaion for excessive wealth which helped them then argue for governmental policies that harmed th worker and consumer. All of this, of course, in contradiction of so much of the New Testament and the warnings about dangers of wealth.

    Today, we have one of the sadder cases. The Conservapedia folk are begining a project to rewrite the Bible to reflect their political beliefs and values. If anyone is curious, Google “Conservapedia Bible” and go to their website. They list the principles that they will use to finish their effort.

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