World debt and our global community
A Christian Science perspective.
The European Union has decided to help Greece with the financial disaster it faces. The EU may have felt that it had no choice, because much of the debt burdening Greece is owed to banks in other member states. If Greece defaulted, the crisis would affect these banks and those in other countries. And that’s just one facet of the situation, which many fear could slow down the global economic recovery.
Transportation and communication advances have made the world smaller, so it’s more difficult not to feel the impact of decisions made by other nations. It’s becoming less tenable to believe that we can pursue self-interest at others’ expense, and that one country’s challenges can be treated in isolation. We are one family without borders.
It’s tempting to try to maintain separation from those who think and act differently. Reactionary tendencies to reject or embrace globalization are predictable and widespread. Nor are they new. Anciently in Palestine, a prophet pointed to an undeniable fact that offers a spiritual answer to our concerns: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” This prophet also asked: “Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Mal. 2:10).
While the vast majority of the world believes in a Supreme Being, people may tend to operate as though the economic and political worlds are separate from this divine intelligence, and that the results of our decisions are relevant only to our own experience. But this perspective sees good as limited, in terms of financial capital, natural resources, including energy, even goodwill. And it sees evil as overwhelming, in terms of world debt, pollution, selfishness, and hatred of those who are different. Consequently, human expertise tends toward self-preservation at the expense of others.
Because there is an intelligent, loving Creator that governs the universe – the “one father” – the choices we make matter deeply. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ .... ” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340). The decision to care and be generous beyond just our own welfare places everyone under the care of a loving God, and blessings begin to flow from that divine source.
This is an open secret that individuals, companies, and even governments can verify through their own experience. The long-term gain of deciding to be more unselfish brings to light the unlimited spiritual resources of our Creator – including ideas that can create wealth, bring the wisdom to shepherd the environment for the benefit of all, and foster the courage to make hard financial decisions that in the longer term make us solvent.
As the Bible states, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy”
(James 3:17). Prayer to God is not wasted effort when it aligns our thought with divine wisdom and love for our neighbors on this small planet.