Ideology – the Evil and the Good
Ideology does not need to be bad. It can be good. Ideology is simply a set of accepted ideas from which to function. The connotation of the word, however, is that ideology is something bad because it has so often been that way.
What are the dangers of accepting and functioning in a bad ideology? One of the most dangerous factors of ideology is that people who ascribe to them most typically believe that anyone not subscribing to their views are somehow evil. This actual or perceived evil becomes the enemy and must be defeated.
Ideologies condone almost any type of action against those perceived as enemies. If a person subscribes to a particular set of ideas, that person will justify almost any behavior to eliminate the perceived threat of those who do not agree. This is a perennial problem of politics. Unfortunately it is also a problem of religion.
How can the inquisitions be explained? Ideology is the explanation. How can church problems be explained today? Ideology is one explanation. Ideology justifies any and all actions needed to vanquish the ‘enemy.’ Inquisitions are in force today but without the actual execution of the opposition. The effects however are not so different. Religious people ‘bite and devour one other.’
Ideologies claim to be correct and claim the need to eliminate any and all opposition. The particular ideology must be perpetuated at all cost. Truth is not allowed to enter and error is not allowed to exit. Loyalty to the status quo rules. That is a totally controlling way to live. It can become a radical, nearly fanatical way of life.
Sadly, the rules of Christian engagement are ignored. Christianity is short-circuited and Scripture, discussion and logic evaporate in the heat of faulty, misguided ideology. My way, right or wrong is the approach. In that approach, truth becomes the casualty and people with convictions are eliminated if they do not, can not acquiesce.
Ideologies can consume whole cultures. Once believed, they control all behaviors. Countering them is a huge task but it must be done.
Ideologies exist to self-perpetuate. If you counter them, they will destroy you. They can create spiritual strongholds in religious settings and God’s prophets become the enemy. It has always been that way. It is still that way. Christianity exists to perpetuate the truth and the love of God. If you counter it, God will hold you accountable.
Ideologies are typically isms. Do not allow your belief system to become an ism. Brethren is one thing. Brethrenism is quite another. Mennonite is one thing. Mennonitism is quite another. The isms hijack the historic, Biblical concepts and form them into iron-clad, non-negotiables.
If you encounter an ideology, no matter how good-sounding, examine it closely and discover if it is the love and truth of God or not. If so, embrace. If not, reject. Whatever the cost.
The world will try to “squeeze you into its mold.” Even the religious world will try to do that. Do not let it happen. Bring the mold of God and impose that mold on each and every situation in your life. The faulty ideologies will collapse in the face of the power of God through the Holy Spirit living in your life.
Jesus did not accept the faulty ideologies of His day. He countered them with truth and love. He spoke truth into their systems with genuine and bold love. We, as His followers are called to Jesus’ way today. Jesus modeled a life of teaching truth. That is the call on my life and yours. It is called, “making disciples.”
Jesus became a victim of religious ideology. The ideology would not, could not tolerate His truth. Christianity has a set of beliefs. They are found in the teachings of the Scripture. The truth of Christianity will eventually be the answer to all human ills. By peace and love, Christianity, as the fruit of the Holy Spirit of the Creator God, is the answer to the sins and isms of this world.
While Jesus’ earthly life was a victim of human distortion of God’s law, His eternal life is eternally unassailable. He offers that life as the antidote and cure to all the ideologies of all the world. He offered that life for you then. He offers that life to you now. Accept Him. Follow Him. Emulate Him. Display Him in your life to counter the counterfeits. Display His good and Godly ideology where victims are victors and where sin is overcome and enemies are loved. Where Good will eventually and eternally transform and reign over God’s creation and it works here and now.
Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with Good.