Last week I was thinking about writing a blog on the crusaders of the medieval Church, as I was researching and pondering on it the news of 50 people being killed in the massacre at a mosque in Christchurch, Newzealand reached my ears which pulled me in to writing about the incident. I was not surprised though hearing about this heartbreaking news since it was a nightmare that I knew was coming. Being a careful observer on the affairs of the world and the global changes of the recent times, as well an enthusiastic learner of history and social science in the light of the word of God, this seemed very real and very characteristic of a pattern that has been arising which not only a reminder of the past but acts as a sign of things to come. My sister who is living in Newzealand was very much surprised and was laden with shock, she felt it’s one of the most peaceful and friendly nations in the world and How could this happen to Newzealand? Was her question, I replied, “Now that it has happened, it’s time to come out of this sacred bubble”. One cannot expect to be treated well just because of your goodness, but goodness is the only option nevertheless.
The world time and again witnesses this old enemy in new and different forms. The first consequences of human disobedience and sin were evident in Cain’s hatred and jealousy towards his brother Abel. And acts of violence like these have traveled across time and space still making a point that we have failed to identify this old enemy in its new attire. Jesus asked to be watchful about the signs and times that we are living in. (“But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are about to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36). We sometimes restrict “Biblical times” to the time-zone of the Bible, but the truth is we too are living in Biblical times; the revelations and prophecies are very much active in our age. What is actually happening in the world? I have written lot of times about this for some years now but I have to retell again that we are living in times of great shift. We have come to the rigors of liberal globalization and the counter-trend that’s happening is neo-nationalism, a new kind of identity-based conservatism married to capitalism.
The last century has seen Globalization the birth child of yesteryears Colonization as the single largest manifesto of the modern world. The rampant desire for connectivity and a robust trade activity along with people sharing as well as knowledge sharing on the bridges of globalization, liberalization, human-centered ideas ended up shaping a multicultural new world which was different and more diverse yet more simplified than the previous ones with technological advancements. The changeover of colonial imperialism to democracy in many countries gave a push for this new trend and vice versa. The post world war scenario which ushered a call for world peace and global coordination paved the way for consumeristic wars replacing actual world wars thus opening up a massive trade ecosystem. Especially the shift from the colonial era to the idea of modern nationhood created many imbalances especially in the Middle East and other parts of the world, the power consolidation fuelled by nation-centric and relegio-centric ideas lead to political unrest with people seeking safe havens in Americas, Europe and different part of the world. This migration led to lot of paradigm shifts in those countries fabric socially, legally and politically creating insecurity to the people who think they are indigenous losing their identity and past glory because of this new invasion from unchartered territories. This insecurity is used and translated into hatred by the political establishments as a counter to the trend of the previous century and the counter-narrative in political discourses through modern technologies which cuts across all boundaries set ablaze the anger against those they consider as the product of the previous trend and consider them a threat with difference of race, color, religion, and culture. The result of all this was an emotional young man killing 49 precious lives in the name of nationalism and patriotism.
Hate speech is violence against the soul, but today politicians of highest office across the globe are unceremoniously using it for their political gains resulting in polarization and radicalization of the civil society resulting in increased hate crimes. Slowly this idea of neo-nationalism along with its friend tribalism is coming to the mainstream obviously in for a larger counterattack by the liberalism group. As Jesus said Nations has to rise against nations then the world will go in for a global deception, I believe we are gradually heading there. Many countries are finding it difficult to balance both these counter attacks with innocent lives being lost in the middle.
My take on this issue is that we are living in very crucial times and we have to act carefully. Leaders should be people-centric rather than power-centric, welfare centric than identity-centric. Though we cannot neglect the issues in immigration, economy, and law, we can build consensus through dialogues based on mutual respect. The conservative parties should refrain from addressing “Islamic” terrorism, by giving an identity to terrorism you are actually enhancing it and you are radicalizing innocent people of that faith and giving way for them to counter with “White” terrorism or “Christian” terrorism pointing out the Newzealand incident where the Muslim community was a victim of terrorism and violence, this is unnecessary as it creates so much of distrust between the communities, hatred is a crime and sin and who allows it, it will rule over them. In the Middle East, we got to work on a comprehensive policy to create safe economic zones so as to keep its people from migrating, and the big business houses of the developed countries create indigenous job opportunities in these nations to meet its manpower and distribute its wealth and welfare to the nations affected by conflicts.
Anyway, these are things far beyond our control and much deeper than we think. The only thing we can do is to take small steps towards change with the help of God with people around us. It’s true we humans fear diversity and become insecure, we all want everybody else to be like us and there lies our comfort zone. I think we got to stop this feeling and treat those who are different from us and especially those who have a different opinion than us with kindness. God challenges us to love in the midst of our differences and truly that’s challenging, on the inside we are all the same, we have the same needs, we all need love. It’s important that those who profess to follow Christ should not fall prey to sensationalism, we are called to be holy and not to be radically patriotic. We are called to build Gods kingdom and not a political party or a political ideology which might push us from the standards of God and to hate our neighbor than love them; if we do that we are in a direct war with the teachings of Jesus. God wants us to treat immigrants with respect, the Bible talks about it (Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God). Remember Abraham was an immigrant, Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt and he too was an immigrant from heaven who was not treated well!! Jesus cut across cultures and manmade boundaries to love people, and we have the same calling and the calling is to even love our enemies. Yes, there are issues which need to be dealt with wisdom and temperance but as a follower of Christ, we have to approach this with the heart and mind of Jesus. We should pray that God shows us the way through these dark and confusing times. When the Church shows the untamed love of God, the world will know the unbound power of God. Love well!!!