New Harmony, Indiana is a quaint little town with about a thousand current residents. Located on the Wabash River in Indiana’s most southwestern county, its history is an enduring monument to the truth of Proverbs 4:19: “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”
Established as Harmony in 1814 by Lutherans in search of religious freedom, the settlement was purchased by Robert Owen in 1825 and renamed New Harmony. Because Owen was an atheist, he readily embraced humanistic thinking and socialistic beliefs. On February 25 and March 7, 1825, Mr. Owen addressed members of Congress to tout the vision of a utopian community and society that he had.
In New Harmony, all its citizens would live in a large building with a public kitchen and dining halls. Every child aged three and older would be raised by the village, not its parents. Like the Humanist Manifestos that would be published in the 1900’s, Owen was fully convinced that socialism would bring hope and change. In New Harmony, life would be fair, utopia would be achieved, Eden was about to be reclaimed.
On paper, in theory, and within the ivory towers of the lecture hall, man’s wisdom is always superior to God’s truth. The way which seems right to a man always succeeds…until it is actually implemented. It never does thrive in reality.
Owen’s grand project in New Harmony ended in complete economic failure two years after it began. EVERY other social utopian community that Robert Owen (or anyone else) attempted has also failed. Yet, humanism’s faith in the superiority of human wisdom over God’s wisdom vigorously persists, and the truth of Proverbs 4:19 remains vigorously and persistently true.
“The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”