How long, O Lord?
Living gently and revolutionarily in a hostile society and degraded-human life world
One thing that is certain in the American society and contemporary global community: the life of a person is not worth a penny. We have invented different grades and scales to assess human dignity and life depending on one’s economic status, privilege, race, gender, religious affiliation, and equally on one’s geography on the world’s map. The dignity of human life has become a social construction, not a natural gift from God himself.
Various global news channels and media just reported the horrible massacre of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in the annihilation of 49 individuals and the physical injury of 20 individuals. The incident occurred in two different mosques, and the victims were praying in the mosque. As it is reported, “The chief suspect, a 28-year-old Australian-born man, allegedly published a racist “manifesto” on social media before the attack, featuring conspiracy theories about Europeans being displaced, and details of two years of preparation and radicalization leading up to the shootings” (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47578798 )
I suppose that in addition to the inhumane nature and workings of economic capitalism and globalization—these two human structures lead to all sorts of problems in the world: global poverty, hunger, disease, death, underdevelopment, health hazards, lack of running water, etc.)—arguably, the two comparable threats to global peace and human flourishing in the twenty-first century global world are “violent religious extremists” and “catastrophic white supremacist ideologies.” Notice that I did not say “religious people” or “White people” are the world’s problems. In addition, I did not state that all religious people are violent extremists nor did I affirm that all white people are catastrophic and white supremacists. I am referring to two particular “worldviews” that have become some of the most pressing needs and dangerous ideologies in contemporary Western civilization and in the world today. Ideologies know no race, ethnicity, gender, identity, or geographical boundary. Both of these phenomena are structural, demonic, systemic, transcultural, and interreligious. These two deadly sins against humanity and human flourishing must die in order for cosmic peace and redemption to reign supreme.
I am not anti-white humanity or anti-religion; certainly, I am against all forms of structural ideologies and epistemologies supported by a particular racialist-based ideology or lens to interpret human dynamics in the world and global history. Correspondingly, I am against all categories of religious ideology and doctrine that exclude certain human beings—because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or geographical location in the world—from God’s abundant grace and global love for humanity. God’s gracious love knows no boundary. Divine love transcends all spheres of life, human cultures or societies, the highest form of human knowledge and achievement, and all potential human capabilities and limitations.
However, religious ideologies predicated upon the mental process or practice of extremism and fanaticism, and racist worldviews grounded on the doctrines of the supremacy of a particular race and the inferiority of other races are products of the devil, the depravity of the human heart, the crisis of human reason, and the structural organization of contemporary societies and world-systems. Yet we must remember that these twin ideologies have a past, a history, and they continue to haunt and degrade our lives and make us suffer.
(White supremacy is a form of spiritual warfare that must be fought with the armor of God and the best Christ-inspired human tactics and weapons. Changing oppressive systems and evil structures is instrinsic to the idea of Christian justice and upholding human dignity in the world. Unjust and oppressive systems and ideologies such as racism, xenophobia, and Islamphobia challenge the dignity and image of God in humanity. They’re sinful, demonic, anti-Christ, and anti-human flourishing. Isn’t it a Christian duty to denounce what’s ungodly and dishorable to God? Those in the seat of power and influence have always interpreted the Bible to carry out their personal and collective agendas, and silence the voice of the oppressed and the poor. They portray themselves as the Guardian of truth and the divine revelation. Sir, We have RECEIPTS!)
I discussed these critical human concerns and pressing needs in a little but important book called “Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity” (UPA, 2017; 103 pages). How shall we then move forward? In other words, how shall we now live peacefully and in mutual understanding in this world of uncertainty? Below, I suggest ten possible ways toward this end.
Ten Basic Steps to move yourself and the world Forward toward Communal Peace, Global Shalom, and Human Flourishing:
1. The task begins with the self-examination of our conscience and personal actions to discern if we are complicit in the suffering and mistreatment of other people.
2. Be a peacemaker and an advocate of transformative justice in your family, work, community, city, church, and country—or among your friends.
3. Be a servant to people in need and serve them without reproach or grudging.
4. Always find creative ways to inspire and empower people to attain their dreams and for them to become useful and democratically-minded national and global citizens.
5. Defend the rights of the vulnerable and the poor to exist and contribute to their ability to explore their full potential in society.
6. Be an active ally to the (socially and economically) marginalized and racially-minority groups in our society or your community.
7. Do not endorse politicians and legislations that are detrimental to another group, class, or race in our society or in your state.
8. Do not endorse politicians and their foreign policies that are not human flourishing-oriented, peace and unity-based, nor those that do not lead to the improvement of nation-state diplomatic relationships and global safety, prosperity, and unity.
9. Help someone to realize the greatness of God’s love and mercy for himself or herself and for all peoples in the world.
10. Embody and promote the revolutionary ideas and liberative call of Jesus to love all people: “One command I tell you is to love one another, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I believe the revolutionary life must entail the pursuit, practice, and doing of all these transformative interventions named above. The revolutionary life is a gentle life that redirects one’s attention from the self toward the service and well-being of the other individual and the collective. Living gently and revolutionary is not only a matter of changing one’s attitude toward wholeness. It is in fact an existential commitment that resists self-interest in order to pursue the happiness and joy of other people—, which could and must lead to radical deracination of human evils and oppression and radical transformation of societal structures and organizations, as well as modes of human interaction and rapport. With God’s active assistance and providence, we will together create another humanism, another country, another world, another society for ourselves, for our children, the next generation, and the global community. We must create a world that is based strictly on love and mutual love; that is the only hope for the survival of the human race!