Friday, August 20, 2010

The United Nations

My wife and I spent four days in New York City for a mini-vacation. We saw some Broadway shows and did some sightseeing. We stopped in at the United Nations and looked at some exhibits they have in the main lobby.

I was thinking about how the UN was established back after the horrors of World War II. Its vision was idealistic and utopian in many ways, and the hope was that the UN would succeed where the League of Nations had failed. Sadly, the UN has not succeeded to the extent that had been expected. China and Russia have veto power, and many countries don’t want the UN to take bold action where it is needed. In addition, the UN has degenerated into a political organization with a bloated bureaucracy and an out of control budget.

While I applaud the original vision of the UN and much of the good work it does around the world, no UN-type of organization will ever fully succeed. I see three reasons for that:

First, it is impossible to get consensus from approximately 200 diverse nations. Many countries in the world are despotic and don’t want the UN to take action against despots.

Second, humankind has a sin nature and will not always work towards the common good. Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (NIV)

Third, such organization are, by nature, secular. As we read in Psalm 127:1: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.” (NRSV)

Nevertheless, we should continue to pray for peace, seek peace, and support all national and international efforts to help our fellow human beings to live in peace, safety, and comfort.

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