In the next few weeks I will introduce professors, pastors, and other leaders in the northeast Indian state of Manipur to the story of Christianity’s contribution to the development of nations. One topic I will address is finding the proper balance between entrepreneurship and environmentalism, a balance that, in the gloomy twilight of the early 21st century, clearly tips Green in the post-Christian West. Finding the right balance not only concerns development, but has everything to do with what it means to be human.
In Part One, I proposed that key themes in a Christian vision for national development include the idea of God's reign over the nations (He is not a tribal God), the Kingdom of God (which is a “now, not yet” reality), and the cross and crown of Christ (courageous, gutsy servant leadership points to Christ’s Lordship over nations). In Part Two, I suggest there are four more themes.
Over the past week, I have spoken with two groups of students on the University of Minnesota campus, answering the question “Does Religion Help or Harm?” It’s one of those trick questions that I wish had handled more deftly when I debated the same question a decade ago with Dan Barker, the atheist co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Unless we first define religion, and, secondly, develop criteria for identifying what makes a religion “helpful,” we’ll argue in circles.