Utopia and a Biblical Worldview

Submitted by Kyleigh on Sat, 05/03/2008 - 17:50
This is one of my recent literature papers for Medieval/Early Renaissance Literature. There are a few other reasons I could support my thesis with, however none of them were long enough to make a full paragraph so they were not included in this essay. --- In Sir Thomas More’s book Utopia, More’s friend Raphael lays out a description of Utopia, the perfect society. Raphael describes the way the government and daily life in Utopia run, from the pursuit of happiness to their views on euthanasia. However, in order for a perfect society to exist, the people must be sinless and this is only possible through Jesus Christ, Utopia does not have a Biblical worldview. Two main views differ from the Bible, the pursuit of happiness and euthanasia. Thus, More’s Utopia does not have a Biblical worldview.
First, the Bible disagrees with a Utopian view of the pursuit of happiness. The Utopians believe that God in His goodness designed that they should be happy, but they believe true happiness is found outside of God. Instead, true pleasures are knowledge, “the delight which contemplation of truth carries with it,” a well-spent life, and things which give the body a sense of real delight. On the other hand, the Biblical worldview tells the Christian to “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). While a Utopian pursues happiness in earthly pleasures, the Christian finds true joy in the Lord.
Secondly, the Bible differs from Utopia in its view of euthanasia. Utopian doctors do all they can to save a patient, but when the invalid has very little chance of being healed or is in great pain, the doctors decide to kill the sick one, for “they shall be happy after death.” The ill one will take opium, and “by that means die without pain.” However, the Bible clearly states “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Murder is the killing of someone without a completely just cause. The Biblical use of the term murder even includes the accidental killing of a person as murder. The Utopian view on euthanasia, then, is breaking the Biblical commandment of “you shall not murder.”
Sir Thomas More’s Utopia does not have a Biblical worldview. Utopian society differs from the Bible in two ways, the finding of true joy and murder. Many say Utopia is the perfect society because it is fair, just, and peaceful. However, no society is perfect unless all of its citizens are sinless. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Paul states in Romans. Therefore, a perfect society cannot exist on this earth. However, one day Christians will worship the Lord in the only perfect society – Heaven.
Author's age when written


It seems to me that Utopianism is also one of the common themes of various failing political ideologies, such as communism, socialism, nazism, and the American liberalism plaguing our nation today; each one thinks that a perfect society can be achieved through man's own goodness. The problem is, man is not good. The founders of the U.S. generally realized this, and believed that a good (not perfect) society could be attained with minimal government by a people who believed, feared and obeyed the God of the Bible.

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

I believe your analysis is correct, however I believe he was just as much critiquing the Church and society of the time as much as creating an ideal world. Even More says you cannot have a perfect society without people who do no evil, and since he was an active and firm believer in Christ I feel like he was not laying out what he believed was the actual perfect society. Remember a few things, he coined the phrase "Utopia" which is derived from Latin and meant "not here" or "far away" not perfect as it does today. Also, More was executed because he would not give allegiance to the King above God. In Utopia Part 1, More puts himself into the story as a way of pulling himself out the piece, because he is sharing what he was "told" not what he believes. Just my take on it.