This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Collection of Essays and Poems
Copyright 2014 Domenic Marbaniang Published by Domenic Marbaniang at Scribd
All rights reserved. No part of this book should be reproduced in whatever form whatsoever without prior permission in writing from the author.
Democracy And Ethics .................................................................. 6 Christ, Truth, and Politics .............................................................. 8 The Sword is Not the Answer (Matthew 26:52) ......................... 14 Winds of Change ......................................................................... 15 The Rule of Law Vs The Rule of People ....................................... 17 The Kingdom in Secular Politics .................................................. 19 Thy Kingdom come... .................................................................. 25 Anatomy of Religious Violence ................................................... 33 Slumdog Souvenir ....................................................................... 43 Struggle for Separate States ....................................................... 44 Government of the Poor ............................................................. 46 Peace - A Poem ........................................................................... 47 The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen.12:1-3) ...................................... 50 Religious Tolerance in the Old and the New Testaments ........... 54 What India Needs??? .................................................................. 56 The War of Kalinga and Modern Religious Conscience .............. 58 Academics, Politics, and the Gospel ........................................... 63
The Sixth-Fifth Century BC in the Theology of History ............... 65 Divine Sovereignty - Confusions Regarding Freedom and Power .................................................................................................... 67 Systems of Offences and Leaders of Change .............................. 68 Three Levels of Aggression against Religion ............................... 76 Corruption in India: Roots, Challenges, Solutions ...................... 77 Estrangement and Belongedness in the Ultimate Sacrifice of God .................................................................................................... 82 Is Philosophy Dead? Is Science All That Is? ................................. 84 Creed of the 21st Century Christian ........................................... 86 Philosophical Roots of Law and Politics ...................................... 89 The Psychology of Evil and the Spirit of Victory ......................... 92 The Crime of Silence (-"if he does not tell it, he bears guilt." Leviticus 5:1) ............................................................................... 95 The Constitution ......................................................................... 99 Slavery as Limited and Liberating in the OT (Deut.15:12-18) ... 102 Violence .................................................................................... 104 Politics and Lies......................................................................... 109 GOD AND POLITICS IN SECULAR INDIA ..................................... 111
DEMOCRACY AND ETHICS
India is a democratic country; and by that we mean it is governed by us, its people *“democracy”, from the Greek democratia: demos, people, and kratia, government or rule]. Ethics refers to the study of moral conduct, of “what one ought to do”. Our nation recognizes the ideals of Justice, liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in its constitution. With the complexity of religious beliefs, its diversities, secularistic views, and the influence of the media ethical decisions are becoming more and more difficult in our society. The film producer defends his stance of overloading his film with sex as right, while a religious or even a secular man opposes it as morally depraving and detrimental to society. The advertisement agencies technically propagate lies deluding people to believe something which is not true. Our nation has found itself in a closet of ethical relativism – subjectivism and conventionalism. Variant religions assume their own moral standards. The Western culture is having a profound influence in our society, especially through the media (TV, Cinema, Song Albums, Novels, Journals, etc.). In such a context of diversity, and complexity, what kind of ethical standard should we, as citizens of democratic India, adopt form making ethical decisions? Following are some options: 1. Ethical Egoism (from the Greek ego, I). It is a consequentialist ethical theory (“the end justifies the means”) which asserts that “right” is what is beneficial in the end to the individual (“to me”). Two of its forms are: Hedonism, according to which pleasure is the ultimate good; and Self-realization, according to which knowledge, power, or rational self-interest, and the promotion of all one’s capacities is the ultimate good. Its method of justification is selfinterest. This theory, of course, poses a number of problems. There is the issue of conflicting interests, the danger of self-benefit at the expense of others; and in a democratic country like ours, it cannot be the ultimate standard of ethical decisions.
2. Utilitarianism: This also is a consequentialist theory that asserts that “right” is what produces the greatest quantity of happiness or pleasure. Its two forms are: Act Utilitarianism, the morality of an action is determined by the quantity of happiness it produces for the most people; Rule Utilitarianism, our actions should be governed by such a rule that produces the greatest happiness for the most people. Its method of justification is empirical evidence. The problem of this theory mainly consists in the problem of knowledge. How do I know that my action have produced the greatest happiness for the most people? How can I trust the authenticity of the consequences? What about the minority? Is what is happiness to me, or in my sight, happiness to everybody else? 3. Altruism: (from the Italian altrui, “someone else). This is the theory of self-sacrifice, of concern for the welfare of others, and as such is opposed to egoism. It is the attitude of selflessness. It is doubtful if this theory is applicable to the majority: for a person cannot be selfless unless this position and attitude produces in him a greater satisfaction and happiness. Now, which of the above criteria is applicable in a democratic society? It is my opinion that none of them as a solitude can be applied. A person should consider egoism (not total egoism) for self-development, utilitarianism for society’s benefit and happiness, and altruism that he may not become overly selfinterested but will have concern for the welfare of others as well. The blending of these three together will produce an ethical standard applicable in a democratic society; a democratic ethic, which has respect for the ideals, aspirations, and talents of others. © Domenic Marbaniang, 1999.
CHRIST, TRUTH, AND POLITICS
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:38) It is interesting to note that the only instance where Christ ever met Pilate in recounted history was at His trial. The ensuing dialogue between both of them is intriguing. It heavily concentrates on the urgency of Truth in a world mismanaged by humans. The trial of Christ at Jerusalem reminds us of the trial of Socrates at Athens. Tertullian might have been too quick to retort “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” The unjust sentence of Socrates explicitly points out the fact that the greatest problem with humanity is not that it has not known the truth but that, to the contrary, having understood the ramifications of truth it has suppressed it and chosen to put an end to any voice that speaks on behalf of it. Weren’t there at least 80, of the earlier 220 who voted Socrates as innocent, who also later voted for his death penalty? Truth had less significance in the democratic Athens, whose laws Socrates himself highly respected. In Jerusalem as well, though Christ’s sentence was not decided through a Jury based on votes, yet it was the voice of the mob that prevailed against the truth. The obvious truth was that Pilate had found nothing worth condemning in Jesus. Yet, however, he talked of the Passover custom of releasing a prisoner and had Christ whipped despite the evidence that Christ was not a criminal. The contrast between Socrates and Jesus is high at the point where Jesus begins to speak of a kingdom beyond this world and of His coming to bear witness to the truth. While for Socrates, truth had to be discovered through rational analysis, Christ claimed to know the truth and be a witness to the truth. While Socrates didn’t find
any meaning in a world beyond Athens, Christ talked of a kingdom that transcends all spatial-temporal existence. Pilate’s question to Jesus as to what was truth insinuates several meanings. He might have meant “Does truth mean anything at all?” or “What is truth in this situation?” or “Is truth absolute or relative?” or “Do politics and truth go together?” or “Even if there is something called Truth, is there any significance to it?” or “What truth are you talking about?” Whatever the import of the question was, the fact remains that Pilate found nothing appealing in any understanding of truth in a world that relativized everything to suit its selfish purposes. Pilate had already become infamous for his hard ways of dealing with mobs. Josephus tells us of Pilate’s aversion of Jewish religious interference in his political moves. For instance, when he brought Roman banners with Caesar’s image on them, the Jews protested. He tried to put them down by deploying his troops only to find out that these people were committed to their religion more than they were committed to Caesar. In another instance, he sent his soldiers dressed in tunics to infiltrate the crowd and beat the offenders with clubs. They had protested against his secular employment of temple treasure. And so, now, when the Jews come to him with Jesus, he straight away dismisses them with the words “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law.” When they insist that he was a political malefactor, he takes him aside and asks him some questions only to find out that the Jews who once protested against the images of Caesar were now using the name of Caesar to get rid of Jesus. Later, Pilate finds himself accused of enmity against Caesar on grounds that he wished the release of Jesus. Understanding the breadth of experience Pilate had in politics, it is not amazing that his famous question “What is truth?” comes in response to Jesus’ statement that He was a King and had come into the world to bear witness to the truth. How could one be a King and also bear witness to the truth at the same time. Was the Roman Empire ready for such news?
Several centuries later, an Italian political philosopher by the name of Machiavelli was to write that a ruler is not bound by traditional ethical norms and is free to use whatever means available for his political purposes. His principles of power politics came to be known as Machiavellianism. Machiavelli proposed that it was better that a ruler be both loved and feared; but, since a combination of both was too difficult, it was desirable that a ruler be feared though not loved. His formulation of such principles was allegedly drawn from studies in Roman political history and the politics of his age. Unquestionably, tyranny and despotism are perfect possibilities in a political system that doesn’t recognize the sovereignty of God. Assuredly, every Nebuchadnezzar still needs a Daniel. When questioned about His Kingship, Jesus promptly replied: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” This clearly recognized that force was indispensable to kingdom. Puzzling, however, is the way Jesus uses the concept of kingdom. He distinguishes between two kinds of kingdom: one, of this world; another, not of this world. He claimed to be the King of the latter with an additional comment that His servants didn’t help Him now because His kingdom was not from here. The word used for ‘world’ here is kosmos (world, order), not aion (age, course). It denotes this very physical world order that we live in. Important is also the phrase not from here, which is to mean that Christ’s kingdom didn’t have its origin or basis in this world. It is from above even as Christ is from above (the second man). And the King of this other-worldly kingdom is a witness of truth. His passion for truth led Him to come to this world confused by raging falsehood and deception. He said that everyone that belonged to the truth heard His voice. He was the King of the Kingdom of Truth. A few chapters earlier, He claimed to be the personification of Truth itself so that anyone who believes in Him and follows Him is delivered from the falsehood of
this-worldly glory (which truly is darkness) and transferred to His kingdom of light. Knowing Him is far more urgent than knowing several diverse truths. He is the Truth that connects together all truths of past, present, and future and fills them with transcendent and eternal meaning. Pilate could not hear Christ’s voice. Dazed by Christ’s statements, he retorted “What is truth?” and left without waiting for an answer. Immediately, he goes out and declares to the Jews: “I find in him no fault.” That was the truth. However, he added: But ye have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” That was the falsehood. Why talk of releasing Christ as a criminal when no fault indicting Him had been found in Him? The ethical relativism of this-worldly politics thickens still further when the crowd demands the release of a notorious robber (they could endure physical robbery as long as their spiritual status was left untouched and their religiosity approved of). Pilate scourges Jesus and lets his soldiers humiliate Him thinking, perhaps, that this would soften the violent temper of the crowd. He still tries to stick closer to justice and truth though the current is tearing him away from it. Jesus had told him earlier that His kingdom was not of this world. Pilate still seems to be out of touch with the import of His word. He asks Him: “Where are you from?” Jesus gave no reply. Pilate says: “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to crucify you, and I have authority to release you?” To which Jesus replies: “You could have no authority against Me unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” The relating of political authority to a transcendent Rulership above is significant. Hegel in his Reason in History writes regarding the role of the Divine in politics: Religion is the sphere where a people gives itself the definition of what it regards as the True. Such a definition contains everything which belongs to the essence of the object, reducing its nature to a simple fundamental characteristic as focus for all other
characteristics – the universal soul of all particulars. The idea of God thus is the general fundament of a people. ...secular existence is temporal and moves within private interest. Hence it is relative and unjustified. Its justification can only be derived from the absolute justification of its universal soul, its principle. And this is justified only as determination and existence of the essence of God. For this reason the State is based on religion. Of course, Hegel writes of God, Religion, and Truth within the framework of his Phenomenology of the Spirit. But his insight into the necessity of truth and God as the unifying fundament of a people is great. Biblically speaking, God is the creator of man, and is the giver of not only political authority but also vision and direction to a nation. A nation which loses sight of God, will soon lose sight of practical value in truth and honesty. Private interest and engrossment with the present would reign high and become the ground for the release of despotism and tyranny. Jesus, by reminding Pilate that his authority was from above, was telling him that he was not autonomous in his field of politics. He was accountable to God. However, it is the one who handovers Jesus to Pilate that has the greater sin. Pilate has an opportunity to be just. He tries to release Jesus but is backfired by the crowd with the words: “If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” Threatened by such accusation, Pilate gives in to the demand of the crowd and handovers Jesus to be crucified, at the same time referring to Jesus as the King of the Jews, to the chagrin of the priests who, themselves having succumbed to the relative situation, ironically exclaim that they have no king but Caesar. Pilate, however, doesn’t stop here. He inscribes on the title on Jesus’ cross the words JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS and refuses to change it despite the chief priests’ protest. Somehow, Pilate seems to be attempting to stick close to the truth despite his obvious distance from it. He had already fallen prey to the public appeasement of secular politics. Truth had fallen in the earthly city.
But Christ, the Truth of God, did not die forever. He rose again on the third day. By His physical death on the cross, He put an end to the falsehood of this world order and rose again as the Firstfruits of a new world order founded on the very fulfillment of truth (His life and teaching), righteousness (His obedience), and justice (His sacrifice). If He didn’t arise humanity would have been left without any hope of justice and a life eternal that transcended this world. But He rose again. And one day, He will come back to judge the world according to Truth (Romans 2:2). He will return in the glory of His kingdom (Mt. 16:28; 2 Tim. 4:1) to inaugurate a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Pt. 3:13). © Domenic Marbaniang, 2005
THE SWORD IS NOT THE ANSWER (MATTHEW 26:52)
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Matt. 26: 52
1.The Sword is not The Answer. It is only a Temporal Answer. It has no Eternal Effect. Destruction of the wicked is not the answer to the problem of evil. Such procedure requires a cyclical repetition (Also e.g. avatars). The answer is still earth-bound and has no eternal cosmological benefit. If sword were the answer, Christ had legions to assist Him towards that end. Christ came to deal a permanent and final blow to the problem of sin. 1Jn 3:8. 2.The Sword is an Incomplete Answer. The sword serves the political and judicial purpose in this life but does not deal with the spiritual dimension of evil in the world. As such it is unfulfilled and incomplete. Violence is indispensable in judgment. However, violence doesn’t serve the eternal divine goal for man to be in loving fellowship with God. The rule of sword was not God’s actual design. It was only accommodative. The real and complete answer to the human predicament was provided when the Son of God stepped down to the earth and bore all the violence of divine wrath on Him to succor humanity from hell and reconcile man to God. 3.No Man is Worth to Wield the Sword. The sword of God’s wrath hangs over the head of every man. Man is doomed to perish. His wielding of sword in such fated context is absurd. 4.The Sword is Symbolic of Human Government often severed from divine will. It is the human and only possible way in a world of evil. Might has often been right and the rule of the strong is the rule. And as the mightier always supercedes the mighty, they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.
WINDS OF CHANGE
‘Days have changed’ said an elder. Crafty change takes a stealthy stride. And even before the eyes could wonder Supersonic change does steal the ride. Neither allowing to predict nor ponder, Another change soon whizzes by. ‘It’s Future Shock,’ said Alvin Toffler. 'Inevitable process,’ said Harvey Cox. ‘It’s last days,’ said Paul the apostle -On winds of change the world now rocks. We’re living ‘midst lights and thunder, Camera truths and lusty lies. The tower of Babel looms sublimely higher, Now built of neither brick nor clay. Floors of fantasy built one upon the other Defy the heavens in total array. But Babel comes tumbling down asunder And men depart as flurrying flies. Lie is a multi-headed monster, Unsatiated, ever-seeking some new Fancies to placate its infernal hunger, Spinning changes and choices not few. As insatiable desire flares up stronger, The hurried heat is its death-sigh. This world of wars, wishes, and woes Now finds in it her most fearsome foes, Lawless winds of change on fire Burn this world with venomous desire. But rough winds corrode mind’s apt power To tell the difference between truth and lie. Truly, a vision for change t'wards the good is noble. One must leave the wrong for right;
For fanatical falsehood breeds contagious trouble, And falsehood can't with falsehood fight. Fanaticism is a blind surrender To unchecked views that might one day die. But, truth’s unfrightened by bullet or ink; Neither does it rot nor stink; But while men’s fancies expand and shrink, Truth’s eye will never wink. The wise take courage to stop and think How change changes by the brink Of eternity, another world to link That’ll bring to the just living waters to drink. Icons, Idols, Images now fall and crumble Before God’s own Son and our True Life © Domenic Marbaniang, 2008
THE RULE OF LAW VS THE RULE OF PEOPLE
Basically, there are two kinds of government or rules: the rule of people and the rule of law The rule of people is manifest in democracy (mobocracy) where majority rule or in dictatorship where the whim of a single man pilots the state. Obviously, the rule of law is preferred above the rule of the mob. However, the appropriateness of the laws is an important question to tackle. As far as best governance is concerned, the best government is considered to be that which has the least control. In other words, if you have to monitor every act of your subjects you are not a good administrator. For the goal of administration in a healthy setting is freedom, justice, fraternity, and equality. This also means that the laws of the state do not specifically interfere with every minute detail of the subject’s life so as to keep him in constant terror, insecurity, and uncertainty. As far as the nature of the laws is concerned, there are two opinions: one group argues that the best laws are those that have the best consequences and these we call the consequentialists; the other group contends that laws reflect the fundamental recognition of the essentially good or evil, and these we call the absolutists. Obviously, the laws governing any body, be it a great nation or a small organization, cannot be consequentialist; for then, law would become arbitrary. Therefore, a rational recognition of laws becomes important. Thus, the role of a legislator is prominent in administrative settings. The legislator is in reality the governor or leader of the state or organization. Classically, there are three divisions made of human society: (1) Those governed by reason – they should be leaders (2) those
governed by passion – auxiliary and warriors (3) those governed by desire – workers and traders. The qualities of the leaders – they are the mind of the society, the lawmakers, men in ultimate authority, the rulers. They know the absolutes on basis of which relatives are arbitrated. They are those whose passion and desire is governed by principles and laws. (Josh.1.8; Pr.31.4; Tit.2.6; 1Pt. 1.13; ‘sober’ – ‘be in right mind’ ‘watchful’). Do not lose yourself in the market of common jesting and pleasure. The qualities of the auxiliary – passionate and zealous; defy death and danger; positive minded, victory oriented, depend on the interpreters of law, the legislators. The qualities of workers, traders – desire and mood is predominant, fluctuating decisions, money makers, fund-raisers; since mood changes, are easily led away by circumstances, orators, etc. Domenic Marbaniang, 2007
THE KINGDOM IN SECULAR POLITICS
The word secularism comes from the Latin saeculum, m eaning ‘a generation or this age,’ and corresponds to the Greek aeon. Its meaning extends on to connote also this ‘wordly;’ thus, its Lower Latin form saecularis means ‘worldly.’ Basically, secularism is the ideology that facilitates practice without reference to religion of any kind. When applied to politics, it is the state policy of being indifferent to political theologies, the policy of keeping politics free from religious interferences. In his book, The Secular City, Harvey Cox differentiates secularization from secularism. According to Cox, secularization ‘implies a historical process, almost certainly irreversible, in which society and culture are delivered from tutelage to religious control and closed metaphysical world views.’ Quoting the German theologian Friedrich Gogarten, Cox announces secularization as the legitimate consequence of the impact of biblical faith on history. It is not untrue that biblical faith has had a powerful impact in the reformation of cultures world-wide and the shaping of modern history. According to Cox, the biblical doctrine of Creation is the ground of freedom from animism, totemism, pantheism, and magic. This has led to the development of natural science. Today, sacrifices to wind, rain, and sun are laughed to scorn as science and religion are separated from each other. Further, the Exodus narrative is seen as the desacralization of politics. It signifies insurrection against a duly constituted monarch who claimed divine rights to governance. This not only frees politics from priest-craft but has also become the basis for modern political liberation movements and revolutions. Cox further contends that with the Sinai Covenant and its prohibition of idols, values are deconsecrated. The devaluation of idols is the precursor to the devaluation of absolutes. With the revelation of idols as mere projections of human mind, their absolute value is broken down. Thus historical relativism is considered to be the end product of secularization. Consequently, traditional values are no longer
regarded as absolute. This emancipatory impact of biblical faith, according to Cox, is irreversible and must not be feared since it emancipates man for a proper relationship with nature, state, and society. It is, however, the ideology of secularism that needs to be checked for secularism, in contrast to the process of secularization, is an ideology that is atheistic; thus limiting the individual’s mind to the natural alone. But when viewed in the political context of religious pluralism, political secularism can be an aspired policy of the state. Evidently, religious politics of any kind can be destructive to religious freedom. The history of Christianity is proof enough of the atrocities committed by Christian rulers against Christians who were considered to be heretics because of their liberal or reformative views. Religious freedom can only be realized in a truly secular state. But, as Cox notes, a secular state itself can become guilty of imposing secularism as an ideology on its citizens; for instance, when it declares practice of religion as anti-scientific or criminal. This kind of approach has been observed in hard secular atheist states were communism has held power. Total indifference towards religion, however, is impossible since man is not just a political animal; he is also a religious being. Yet, it is within politically sanctioned freedom of religious practice that religion itself can find true realization. There are at least two things to note about the development of secular politics in relation to the Kingdom of Christ: 1. Political Irreligiosity 2. Religious Individualism Political Irreligiosity Modern secularism has dethroned the gods from the realm of politics. The dethronement of the divine from the human hemisphere was a gradual process appearing first in Classical Greek philosophy. Thales (5th Century B.C.) is considered to be the first who ‘shifted the basis of thought from a mythological base to one
of scientific inquiry.’ The first philosophers, known as sophos, challenged the mythological and superstitious assumptions of traditionalism, thus unshackling philosophy from the control of religion. The impact of the rational and secular spirit of Classical philosophy, however, could be seen in the development of citystates that de-emphasized the role of gods in politics and separated government from religion, magic, and superstition. With the fall of Greece, however, this secular influence over politics disappeared. Roman politics was highly coloured by religious sentiments and beliefs. Secularism resurfaced during the Renaissance (A.D. 1359-1600) as humanism and individualism gathered momentum. However, it was during the Protestant Reformation that the theory of the separation of church and state took root. Religious persecution under Papal political influence led Reformation thinkers to denounce the authority of the Church over political matters. In 1523, Martin Luther published his “On Temporal Authority,” in which he argued for the division of the church and the state. Luther specified two distinct realms or powers: weltliches Regiment (German word for ‘the kingdom of the world,’ ‘the State’) and geistliches Regiment (German word for ‘the kingdom of God,’ ‘the Church’). The state was connected with God’s continual work of creation and the Church with God’s continual work of redemption. God, Luther stated, is the head of both the kingdoms. Therefore, subjection to the ruler’s edict was only necessary as long as the edict conformed to God’s divine will as shown in the scriptures. With the American and the French Revolutions, the idea of human rights gained ascendancy. The first amendment of the American constitution declared that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ The American and British constitutions had a great impact on the development of constitutions like that of India. The secularization of politics meant the dethronement of the gods from politics. There are still elements that try to disrupt the secularity of
politics through religious provocations; however, secularized society finds such religious provocations as quaint. Yet, the Nazi style of breeding ethnic or communal animosity on non-religious basis does have powerful effect on the masses. This, nevertheless, shows that it is not the gods but communal sentiments that are behind them. Religious Individualism The secularity of politics is based upon the recognition of man’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion. Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Freedom of religion is a right recognized by the Bible. It is based upon the biblical doctrine of human liberty. Therefore, the Bible never teaches forced conversion. The Bible emphasizes truthfulness and spirituality of worship as acceptable before God (Jn. 4: 23). Sure, religion was more a social phenomena in the Old Testament; however, the individuality of spirituality was always highlighted (Gen. 4: 7; 6: 8; Ex. 32: 10; Ps. 51: 6-17). Similarly, one finds in the New Testament that God is individually concerned about His children (Lk. 15). Religious individualism, however, is not the same as religious privatism. Religious privatism does respect the freedom of conscience; however, it regards religion to have nothing to do with public life, often to the extent that talk of religion at public places or by means of public media seems disgusting. Unfortunately, religious privatism is one of the byproducts of social secularization. Religious individualism, on the other hand, respects both the freedom of conscience and the freedom to religious speech or religious preaching. The individualization of religion must be seen as the effect of the Gospel of the kingdom of God. It is based upon the preaching of individual responsibility for salvation through personal commitment to Christ. It is religious individualism that makes
religious reformation possible and assists the true development of the spirit of religion. True secular politics does not judge one’s national allegiance by means of one’s religious allegiance. Thus, though one may be a Hindu or a Christian in heart, he could still be a true Indian at the same time. This could only happen when the socialist nature of religion is replaced by an individualist one and the strength of the nation is measured, not by religious plurality, but by political stability, law and order, and economic growth of all classes. The kingdom of God operates individualistically and transcending all national barriers since God is primarily concerned with the individual person and not the nation to which that person belongs. Therefore, individual freedom of conscience and religion must be seen as in tune with the dynamics of the kingdom of God. It is the preaching of the kingdom that holds people individually responsible before God. However, both the above facets of political secularism must only be seen as having pre-judgment significance. At the second advent of Christ, all acts of freedom will be judged. Secular politics will cease to exist since all knee will bow before Christ and all tongue will confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2: 10, 11). That Christocratic rule will not be enforced by might of sword but by the final revelation of God. The final judgment will separate the people of the world from the people of God. It will mean the salvation of the believers and the condemnation of unbelievers. This eschatological perspective is significant since one is not entitled to judge anyone before the Day of Judgment. In other words, religion now is an individual issue. No human is judge in religious matters pertaining to the conscience (cf. 1 Cor. 10: 28). A believer stands or falls before his God (Rom. 14: 110). Thus, in the modern scheme of things the secularist promotion of religious individualism must be seen as veritably biblical. In summary, social secularization is seen as the emancipation of politics and society from religious dictatorship. Political secularism not only frees politics from domination of religion but also promotes religious freedom. Social secularization is
individualistically liberating, as Cox saw it. This is clearly evident in the modern secular city where a person enjoys more individual freedom than in the villages or even towns. The social adhesive provided by religion and tradition is weak in the cities. This is all the result of freeing society from dominance of religion. This, however, does not mean that social relationships have come to an end. It only means that they have taken newer forms and meanings. Also, instances of religious fundamentalism or even atheistic fundamentalism must be seen as anachronistic. They look odd amidst the secularized status quo. The extent of such secularalization must not be regarded as anti-Christian, but as assisting the cause of Christ’s kingdom by giving the Church an opportunity to reach individuals with the Gospel with the result that individuals are now freer to make a rational commitment to Christ. References Cox, Harvey. The Secular City, New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., 1975. Perry, Marvin. Western Civilization, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, 4th edn. Thompson, Bard. Humanists and Reformers, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman's, 1981. Zacharias, Ravi. Deliver Us From Evil, USA: Wpublishing Group, 1997. Published in Basileia (Itarsi: CITS, Oct, 08).
THY KINGDOM COME...
Night dragged on clumsily as the disciples snuggled miserably against their drowsy companions. From a distance, the painful cries of their Master fell heavily on their dull ears. One silently observed in the moonlit darkness, the thickness of the Master’s sweat -drops in prayer falling like drops of blood to the ground. In agony, the Lord cried ‘Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me….’ Darkness gloomed terribly, as if with incisors ready to devour patience, before the Lord steadily continued ‘nevertheless not as I will, but as You will it.’ Matthew tells us that Jesus repeated the same words not once, but thrice before He was arrested in Gethsemane that Passover evening of April, 32 AD (Matt. 26: 44). Indubitably, those words sum up the whole struggle of spirit against flesh from the creation till the end of the world. While disobedient Adam and the adamic race lost the battle and fell into the voracious jaws of death, Jesus Christ submitted to the will of God and dealt death a fatal blow on the cross of Calvary. So, the crucifixion of Christ is not tragic news: it is good news. The will of God is paramount for all things owe their existence to God’s will (Rev. 4: 11). Therefore, Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6: 10). Heaven is where God rules; in other words, whatever God rules over absolutely is heaven-ruled. And so, if God rules over our lives, our lives become heavenly. Hell is just its opposite. Jesus began His ministry preaching about the kingdom of heaven. ‘Repent,’ He said, ‘for the kingdom of heaven is near’ (Matt. 4: 17). This world we live in is a synonym of evil. Just a cursory glance around displays a morbid exhibition
of authorized evil. It is no wonder that the Christian is identified by his separation from the world, whether it appears good or evil. Paul said that by the cross of Jesus Christ he was crucified to the world and the world to him (Gal. 6: 14). The Christian does no longer belong to the world; he belongs to the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Col. 1: 13). A Christian will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15: 50). Thus, the kingdom of God unleashed by Jesus Christ is both a present and a future reality. Sinners are being saved, the sick healed, and nations transformed; this shows that the kingdom of God is at work right now. A day also will dawn when the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healings in His wings. Then will be fulfilled the prayer: ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ THE HUMAN PREDICAMENT In Cecil DeMille's movie The Ten Commandments (1956), to Moses’ question of why God left his people in bonds of slavery, Joshua replies, ‘God made man; and man made slaves.’ Human government has historically been a host of inequality. The veins of politics carry germs of corruption fed by lust of power and pleasure. Though the rule of wise and strong men is desired, almost elevating the ruler into a god or demi-god, what really rules all men alike is a fact that could shock anyone. Two millennia and a half ago Plato (c. 428-c. 347 BC) envisaged a polis in which wisdom ruled over passion. Plato was aversive of the irrational form of democracy (or mobocracy) in which indiscretion was the judge. To him wisdom and justice had no shelter in a democracy where majority vote killed the wise Socrates, his teacher. Not surprising then, his The Republic is a serious attempt to destroy democracy and establish the rule of wisdom. An analysis of the Platonic problem is necessary. The root problem of politics is the avaricious nature of man. Governance is necessary because passion is chaotic. The struggle is between wisdom and
untamed passion. Plato argues that the best government is where wisdom prevails over passion. This requires that first the rulers be purged of all folly and corrupt desires before the state as a body is purged. The situation is a serious one because humans are seen to be basically selfish. In The Republic, Plato posits this problem in the person of Glaucon, who states it through the story of Gyges. According to the story, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia. One day, while he was out in the field feeding his flock, there was a great storm and a great earthquake which left a big opening in the ground nearby. Startled by this sight, Gyges descended into the opening to see, among many marvels, a hollow brazen horse within which was a naked corpse wearing a gold ring. Gyges took the ring, wore it and got out of the hole. On coming back to his companions, he noticed that whenever he turned the collet of the ring inside his hand, he became invisible to all, and whenever he turned the collet outwards he reappeared. Quite dazed, he made several trials of it before realizing that he was in possession of this magical ring that could make him invisible. By means of this new acquirement, he contrived to enter the court, seduced the queen, slew the king, and took the kingdom. Glaucon concludes, ‘Suppose now there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.’*2+ Gyges’ story is reminiscent of the biblical account of man just before the Flood (Genesis 6: 1, 2). Since there was no established form of human government then, might became right and man did whatever he liked. The resulting condition was so chaotic that God had to destroy the world by means of a flood before renovating it with only eight members of a family whom He had saved. Further
studies of Scriptures show that though evil men were exterminated, evil itself retained its scepter over human hearts. As solution to the human predicament, Plato proposed a welldesigned program of education whereby able men could be trained to be rulers and warriors of the state. Obviously, the rulers would be philosophers trained in the highest form of learning. They would possess the four virtues of wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Thus, Plato believed wisdom and justice would be guaranteed in his utopian city. But, the possibility of producing such guardians has been greatly debated. History is evidence that evil and political leadership have deep relationships. Still deeper is the relation between evil and the human heart. Different opinions exist regarding this problem. Some like Plato believe that education and training based on idealism can cultivate the good spirit of man and help to overcome the fleshly passions. Some, however, believe that education cannot transform man since his nature is corrupted by inherent sin. Sin rules deep within the heart of man. Transformation is only possible by the gracious enabling of God’s Spirit. There are still others who, like Nietzsche, believed in the total elimination of the old notions of good and evil and the redefinition of values along evolutionary lines. The rise of Adolf Hitler as an incarnation of Nietzsche’s superman who scoffed at the ‘weak’ virtues of Christianity is well -known to history. The destructiveness of such an approach is a lesson learnt at the price of World War II. Peace and human rights has become an important concern since then as seen in the rise of the UNO. Man has come to realize that he cannot live without regard for his neighbour. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ is a divine directive for the only possible harmonious life in this world. While knowledge of morality is ubiquitous to man, the probabilities of adherence are minimal. Therefore, civil government aims to
restrain evil through forceful execution of law and order. Man has no rights in the ‘natural’ state of anarchy. This makes civil government a necessary agent of justice. Unfortunately, even the agent of justice is tainted by its own sins and stands condemned by the law it seeks to uphold. The dissatisfaction with governments and growing political confusion reflects the moral (and immoral) unrest of the world that can’t manage itself.
Religions look to things other than human government for the maintenance of justice. For instance, Hinduism accepts the law of karma as the regulating principle of good and evil. Christianity, on the other, hand looks to God for justice. Karma, however, being an impersonal principle has no sympathy and is bereft of mercy. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism see the existence of man itself as evidence of ‘sin’ or ‘wrong desires’ or ‘self-centeredness’. But the problem of salvation from sinful living and its penalty is not satisfactorily answered. The Hindu advaitin attempt to deny the reality of sin and the Buddhist attempt to deny the reality of the soul are nihilistic and do not answer to reality. THE BIBLICAL ALTERNATIVE In moving our discussion from human government to religion, we have also moved from the natural to the supernatural. Sin is not just a physical problem; it is originally a spiritual problem. By reason of proximity and closeness, the world is very appealing to man through his senses. The natural man, according to Paul, lives to fulfill his flesh’s desires (Rom. 7: 5). Comfort, security, and fleshly satisfaction in the immediate present are his priorities. However, being created in God’s image, man is not left to his instincts but is endowed with intellect and volition for responsible conduct of life (Gen. 1:27; Rom. 2:15). Therefore, man is without excuse for having chosen to debase himself despite of God’s law revealed within his own heart. Man stands condemned before God and is incapable of extricating himself from the reality of divine judgment. God’s answer to man comes in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of divine salvation. He is God’s life and
righteousness (1 Jn. 5:20; 1 Cor. 1:30). The destiny of humanity is decided by its decision regarding Christ. By His atoning sacrifice Christ has offered His blood as the price of our ransom from sins. He gave His life as the sin offering on the cross so that those who look to Him in faith will be saved as the Israelites were by looking at the brazen serpent. Faith in Christ, therefore, justifies the sinner and presents him guiltless before God (Rom. 8:1). The first step into God’s kingdom is the acceptance of Jesus as Lord of life. Christ cannot be savior unless He is first Lord of our lives. This is the key-stone of sanctification and victory over sin and the devil. Ascetic techniques and yogic principles may avail a little in controlling the body but they cannot bring victory (Col. 2: 21-23). It is only the consecration of will at the altar of the Lord that emancipates the soul (Rom. 12:1, 2). ‘Not as I will, but as You will it’ is the statement of victory. It is the declaration of faith in God and the submission of self to His total outworking in one’s life. The Spirit, the Paraclete, works only in co-operation, alongside of us. One needs to make up one’s mind despite the painful strug gle, and endure to the end (Heb. 12: 1-4). A Christian who lives such committed life displays the rule of God’s kingdom in his life. He becomes a vessel that is sanctified for the Lord’s use, prepared unto all good works (2 Tim. 2: 21). However, there is a prospective reality of the Kingdom of God as well, which is ultimately significant. The present experience of the Holy Spirit is only a foretaste of the powers to come (Heb. 6: 4, 5). The Spirit of God in the believer is a guarantee of his inheritance in the Kingdom of God (Eph. 1:13, 14). The outpouring of the Spirit on the believers after the ascension of Christ was an unleashing of a power in the midst of the Church that ultimately means the vanquishing of the Kingdom of darkness. The upsurge of evil in the end times is but the sudden flare of an extinguishing flame. The Kingdom of God is God’s answer to the internal and external problem of evil. The resurrection of Christ meant a death blow to death itself. His resurrection is an assurance of the resurrection of
saints in the last day (1Cor. 15: 20-26). The German theologian Pannenberg was right in a way when he stated that the end of the world has begun with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We are living at the end of the age. The end will consummate in the revelation of the Son of God from heaven, the judgment of the world, and the gathering of all things in Christ (2 Thess. 1: 8-10; Eph. 1: 10). Then will all knees bow at His name and all tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10, 11). Therefore, obedience, now, to the Gospel of the Kingdom is vital. The Kingdom is not just an option: it is a forced option that decides the choice between life and death. The choice of disobedience is a revolt against the divine proposal of peace: it only means the death of the rebel. Therefore, obedient faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is crucial to the experience of Kingdom righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14: 17). ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done’ is a prayer that is prophetically secured. The only need is for the individual to submit to the Kingdom offer of peace and a life that pleases the King. ‘Not as I will, but as You will it.’ References Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy, New York: Washington Square Press, 1961. Ken Gnanakan, Kingdom Concerns, Bangalore: TBT, 1989. Plato, The Republic and Other Works; trans. B. Jowett; New York: Anchor Books, 1989.  Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (New York: Pocket Books, 1953), p. 12  Plato, The Republic and Other Works (trans. B. Jowett; New York: Anchor Books, 1989), p. 44  The development of material culture as the focus of modern education relegates spirituality to the private life.  Ken Gnanakan, Kingdom Concerns (Bangalore: TBT, 1989), p. 85.
 According to the American philosopher William James a forced option is one that cannot be avoided. Once the option is presented, there is no standing place outside of the alternative. Published in Basileia (Itarsi: CITS, Oct, 08)
ANATOMY OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE
The history of religion has been a seriously blood-bathed one. It reveals the intense power, weight, and depth of religion within the human heart. No wonder, the word “religion” itself comes from the Latin religare meaning “to bind”. Religion binds the adher ent to its belief, authority, and community. It holds an intense power over the individual. Of course, there are several instances of religious faith opening itself to philosophical dialogues and investigations in the past. However, it is a fact undeniable that much of religious faith is a matter of faith alone and not rational discussion. Therefore, they have the potential to invite physical opposition by not submitting to any force of logic. That is why in some cases words are silenced by blows – with the sanction of some religious authority. Religious violence may be defined as violence committed in the name of religion. It is both intra-religious violence and interreligious violence; i.e. violence within the group and violence against other groups. It must be differentiated from communal violence, apartheid, and religio-political violence, i.e. political violence in a religious garb. While communal violence and the like are more a matter of cultural differences, communal feelings, and dehumanizing theories; religious violence is exclusively related to a clash between religious beliefs, religious sentiments, and religious practices. A religious community may suddenly get infuriated at some other religious community and commit violence; however, this kind of violence should not be termed as religious unless it is committed in the name of religion alone – i.e. in recognition (true or false) of some authoritative religious basis for doing it. In this essay, we will analyze some theories that authorize religious violence and then show their unspiritual nature and irrational procedure in the assertion of faith.
EPISTEMIC BASES OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE By “epistemic bases” is meant the grounds for believing that religious violence is right. Analytically, all sanction for religious violence is based on authority. I used the word “analytically” because the word “sanction” itself implies sanction by some authority. There is no rational principle for religious violence. There may be one for justice and retribution but not for religious violence. On the other hand, one may look to instinct or emotion as the psychological basis for violence. However, such psychological sources of violence cannot be the sources of theories sanctioning religious violence; therefore, though instinct or emotion may be reactionary sources of violence they cannot be considered to be the epistemic basis for religiously justifiable violence. In fact, no religious authority ever sanctions the unreflective obedience to the passion of emotion. The epistemic basis is, therefore, neither reason nor experience, but it is religious authority in the form of religious tradition, leader, or scripture. Political Allegiance through Religious Allegiance In the Roman persecution of Christians in early Church history, the authority was chiefly political. The persecution of Christians was mainly because they were suspected of working against the State. Their allegiance to the State was examined by asking them to deny Christ and sacrifice to the gods for the well-being of the king, failing which they were punished. This reveals the epistemic bias of judgment; that an individual’s allegiance to any God should not be above the state or against any decree of the king. Later, however, when Emperor Decius assumed control in 249 Christians began to be persecuted and punished for failing to show their respect and allegiance to the Roman gods through offerings to them. The assumption was that anyone who had no respect for the Roman gods could also have no respect for the government that honored these gods. Therefore, Christians who did not offer to the gods were singled out as traitors of the Empire. In modern secular politics, however, with the separation of religion from state such
criteria of allegiance no longer exist. However, there is always the danger of fundamentalist tendencies gaining root to the extent that the political guarantee of religious freedom is lost. Dharma and Violence The concept of religion in popular Hinduism is captured in the word dharma. Dharma means duty or righteousness (or being true to what one ought to be). Dharma includes among many things the practice of truth, justice, caste-duty, and spiritual discipline. In modern times, however, dharma is often used for “religion”. But many Hindus still don’t see an infrastructural difference between world religions and consider the essence of religion to be dharma (observance of what is one’s right). That is why, Hinduism is considered to be a pluralistic religion. Its pluralism is expressed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita in the following words: By whatever way men worship Me, even so do I accept them; for, in all ways, O Partha, men walk in My path (IV. 11). Whatever form a particular devotee wishes to worship with faith – concerning that alone I make his faith unflinching. (VII. 21). However, this liberalism is not without its restrictions; for it is soon qualified by Krishna’s claims to his own exclusivity. Even those devotees of other gods who worship (them) endowed with faith, worship Me alone, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), though in an unauthorized way (IX. 23). Notice that Krishna calls the other ways of worship as “unauthorized” or, as one version says, “not according to ordinance.”*3+ Still, those ways are acceptable to him. However, though the ways of worship may be different, such differences and relativity is not allowed in matters of dharma or personal duty; for all personal duty (primarily of caste) is by divine ordinance. Thus, when Arjuna, the archer, is saddened by the thought of having to kill his cousins in the war, Krishna shows the irrationality of all such grief by teaching him the gist of what he claims to be true dharma. One quickly notices in the early part of the Gita the common-sense
teleological ethics of Arjuna in contradiction to Krishna’s view of true morality or dharma. Krishna explains to him that his grief over having to kill someone is unfounded since death is never a final event. The phenomena of slayer, slaying, and slain is not real in the ultimate sense; since the self is neither born nor does it ever die; it only changes bodies at death and rebirth as people change clothes (II. 19-23), phenomenally speaking but in its true sense it is unmanifest, birthless, and immutable. Arjuna must do his own duty (swadharma) which evidently in this case is punishing the wicked. The caste-duty (varnashrama dharma) of a kshatriya was to vanquish the foes of righteousness. The Gita never promotes religious violence in the sense of persecuting other religions; however, it does sanction violence against downright wickedness as a religious duty with a justification based on pantheism and the immortality of the soul. The Command to Defend The Koran declares Allah as the All Sovereign and Merciful one (Sura V. 39, 40). Therefore, he forgives those he chooses to forgive and punishes those he chooses to punish as it says: “Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. He forgiveth whom He will, and punisheth whom He will. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (Sura III. 129). In other words, since God is Sovereign Lord, He may forgive whom He will and punish whom He will. The condition for forgiveness is, however, belief. Unbelief is intolerable by God with such severity that believers (Muslims) are commanded to fight and destroy the unbelievers till they are all destroyed or converted, although they are also to be judged in the Day of Resurrection. In fact, violence in Islam originally began as a means of self-defense and as a response to the unabated religious persecution by the people of Mecca. Seeing that such persecution is only detrimental to Islam, the Koran declares: “fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah” (Sura VIII. 39). The fight against unbelievers, however, is merciless against those who do not convert. Accordingly it says,
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom (Sura V. 33). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Sura IX. 5). The injunctions are clear: those who war against Allah are to be destroyed and those who repent are to be accepted as brethren. One knows of the many atrocities committed by kings like Aurangazeb who wanted to establish the Islamic religion. But there are also examples of those like Akbar and the Sufi saints who looked for peace and tolerance rather than snatch away from others their religious freedom. It is evident that all methods of conversion by force are only, at the most, externally efficient. They can’t affect the internal soul. But while self-defence is justifiable seeing that one has also the obligation to care for his own body, yet it is wrong to inflict pain on anyone just because of his faith. Truth is never in need of violence unless it is in danger of being violently destroyed. However, truth cannot be violently destroyed because it is founded in the nature of God Himself and no one can destroy God. At the end, all things will be brought to judgment and consummation. Therefore, the Bible tells us not to take vengeance, for vengeance belongs to the Lord. The Command to Love The New Testament is straightly against violence, except when it is justly executed by a civil government, in accordance to the Law of God (Rom. 13: 1-5). However, religious violence is never endorsed by Christ for political purposes. It was biblically untrue for the Church in the past to unite with political leadership and punish
those who it considered to be heretics. The Crusades are a dark spot on the history of Christianity. However, they lack an epistemological foundation in God’s revelation through His Word. It was during the Reformation that the evil of the Church’s uniting with political leadership to persecute the true Christians was observed. Luther differentiated between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God and made room for just rebellion against evil government when they violated God’s Laws. The Beatitude says: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matt. 5: 10). The contrast between Krishna and Christ is stark here. While Krishna calls those blessed that persecute others for righteousness’ sake; Christ said that it is not the inflictors but the sufferers of persecution for righteousness’s sake who will be rewarded. For the strength of the belief is not measured by the ability to hunt people down but by the commitment to live for it and die for it. Thus, though permitting violence in accordance to the justification of moral governments for establishing justice in society, the ultimate end of all relationships according to Christ is the Love of God. He Himself is our example who chose to suffer rather take revenge on His enemies. He doesn’t take the law into His own hands until the Father permits it. For, though Christ is our Savior, He will also return as Judge of both the living and the dead. Thus, we have seen two kinds of epistemic bases: politico-religious relationship and scriptural authority. PSYCHOLOGICAL DIMENSION Modern psychological research has shown that authoritative devaluation of any human through dehumanization and deindividuation can lead to severe crime in society. Contrary to the anarchists who say that man rules and is ruled best when left to himself alone with nature; psychological research has shown that by demeaning someone, treating people as anonymous or by treating them as less than humans, violent emotions and actions
against them can be evoked. Propaganda through literature, billboards, advertisements, secret meetings, etc are ways in which indoctrination regarding falsehood occurs. The brute extent of it was witnessed during World War II in the Nazi concentration camps. Obviously, the Nazi tortures were not confessedly religious; however, they at least tell how dehumanization can bring a change in the character of man. Professor Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University, who has done intensive research on the psychology of evil, writes: At the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by which certain other people or collectives of them, are depicted as less than human, as non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labeling. Prejudice employs negative stereotypes in images or verbally abusive terms to demean and degrade the objects of its narrow view of superiority over these allegedly inferior persons. Discrimination involves the actions taken against those others based on the beliefs and emotions generated by prejudiced perspectives. Dehumanization is only possible where love for one’s neighbor doesn’t exist. However, while earthly philosophies are not opposed to hatred for the enemy – even torture of him, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for them; because it is hatred that dehumanizes any individual or community and discriminates against them. Love accepts the fact of being in opposition (it doesn’t suppress it) but it refuses to let such opposition transform its perspective into prejudice and hateful discrimination. One another psychological influence is mass suggestion where deindividuation gathers high tones. Riots and majority ruling influence people to join gang of persecutors in their evil acts; in such mob-feeling, conscience is set aside. Further, propaganda and false testimonies lead to enrage people in such direction.
CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE Evidently, the Old Testament cannot always be seen as supportive of religious tolerance. For instance, the Law of Moses stipulated death penalty for idolatry and witchcraft, for breaking the Ten Commandments, and for dishonoring God (Lev. 24: 16). But this was only binding on those who were considered to be the members of the Covenant. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament allows any persecution of other religions in the name of religion. The Bible indicates in 1 Timothy 2: 1, 2 that if people are not able to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, then a great part of it is due to the failure of civil governments to comply with the moral government of God. The word for honesty is semnotes in the Greek and also means “dignity” and “honor”. Obviously, in a state where religious violence is rampant the dignity and honor of the citizens is lost through dehumanization. Therefore, Christians are called for to pray for the government so that there may be peace and order in the state. We also learn from the life of Jesus and the apostles that religious persecution must be avoided as far as possible. For instance, Jesus tells His disciple to leave any city which as a whole refuses Christ’s message and starts persecuting the messengers (Lk. 9: 5; cp. Acts 13: 51). Jesus Himself avoided unnecessary falling into the enemy’s traps (Matt. 4: 12; Lk. 4: 30). Similarly, Paul escaped once through a basket when people were in wait for him, was prevented by the disciples from getting beaten by a crazy mob, and took measures to inform the authority of a group of Jewish fanatics who had vowed to not eat till they killed him (Acts 9: 25; 19: 30; 23: 17-21). He also used his Roman citizenship as a privilege to prevent unnecessary torture, to appeal to the highest court of justice, i.e. to Caesar, and to get people understand that they cannot just by-pass laws to persecute the minority (Ac. 16: 35-40; 22: 25; 25: 11). Thus, it is obvious that the Bible desires Christians to be rational in their conduct of life, seeing that the Bible does allow the avoidance of persecution if it is possible.
But in any case the Scripture forbids vengeance (Rom. 12: 19). Trials do show the strength of the truth of one’s faith in the Gospel and in the love and justice of God. The Scripture exhorts us to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5: 44). Jesus came not to punish the wicked but to save the sinners. However, man is accountable for his every word and deed at the final Day of Judgment. The believer, truly, is not frightened by anything for he walks not in agitation but in faith, hope, and love. References Bhagavad Gita, trans. Swami Vireswarananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1974). Booty, John E. The Church in History, New York: Seabury Press, 1979. Frost, Jr. S.E. (ed.) The Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972. The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. M. M. Pickthall, New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1992. Selected Glossary: Dehumanization – process or procedure of divesting humans of their human identity, dignity, and rights. Deindividuation – process or procedure of removing individual identity and individuality; thus, creating a sense of anonymity. Epistemic – epistemological or that which is related to the problem of knowledge. Individualism – philosophy that emphasizes individual worth, rights, and specific identity apart from society. Secularism - philosophical ideology that stresses, especially, the separation of science and politics from religious dominance. Secularization – process by which society is freed from absolute dominance of religion or the supernatural.  John E. Booty, The Church in History (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), pp. 150-151.
 Bhagavad Gita, trans. Swami Vireswarananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1974). *3+ S.E. Frost, Jr. (ed.), The Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972), p. 58  The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. M. M. Pickthall (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1992). All quotations from the Koran, unless specified, are taken from this translation.  www.zimbardo.com & www.prisonxp.org *6+ “The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo” (www.lucifereffect.com).
Published in Basileia (Itarsi: CITS, Oct 08). Copyright © 2008 by Domenic Marbaniang
No man is a dog; nor a dog, a man One can only be treated so. And yet these metaphors are bad – Which I now intend to show. There are dogs on street and dogs at home So, a street man can’t be a dog, For then would men at home also be dogs; Though never Bull or Alsatian; for all are one. A dog’s got no moral sense; a man has at least some. And even if he had none, The categorization is worse, and not less; For, a dog’s still known for its faithfulness. The street boy might become a millionaire, And a millionaire, come to the street; A shack is still a home to someone; A cover from the heat, a rest for one’s feet. A child still laughs in the slum A baby still cries in the palace An eye still awaits one more dawn While one wishes the night would prolong. The slums have their dogs; dogs of different breeds. Some belong at home; some rover on the streets. But slums and all settlements are known for their men, women, and children; Though rich or poorer they be; They are one of us; And in God’s sight each is precious: Each one still one in a million, Each one still a millionaire.
STRUGGLE FOR SEPARATE STATES
Nationalism and patriotism have been admirable concepts. There must now be a new term to describe "zeal for separate state"; perhaps, it should be "State Nationalism," for the term "Cultural Nationalism" has weak political bearings. The independence struggle symbolized a unity against foreign rule. The modern freedom fighter seeks independence from his own brother. Well, we do have much talks about brotherhood, though in practicality "brother" is nowhere, while hoods are everywhere. The Gorkhas of Darjeeling dream of a Gorkha Land; the Bodos, of a Bodo Land; the Karbis of a separate Karbi state; in Andhra, it's been a 40 year old struggle for Telangana; in Assam, again, for Dimaraji state; in Jammu and Kashmir, for Ladakh; in Uttar Pradesh, for Harit Pradesh and Purvanchal; in Bihar, for Mithilanchal; in Madhya Pradesh, for Vindhya Pradesh and Bundelkhand; and in Maharashtra, for Konkan, Marathwada, and Vidarbha [For a full list click here] There are various reasons advanced for separate states. Whether such bifurcation of states is commendable or not is a matter of administrative judgment. Even the human cells bifurcate (mitosis) while the human body grows. Well, that doesn't mean that such divisions should regularly occur in the nation; for that would leave the whole as composed of city states. Yet, where the rationale is proper administration and healthy supply in the system, one must always remember that the soundness of the State is the goal, and such soundness can only be a reality when each member of this massive organism has the means and opportunity to exercise his or her fullest potential. This also means, accepting our differences; yet, preserving the feelings of love and unselfish generosity towards our neighbors. What about the migrants? Don't they serve as the blood vessels that link the whole nation through interspersing of cultural values and riches of our heritage? What about the wicked and corrupt, the pests of society, some of whom also serve in the administrative system? I believe that if the cells, molecules, and organs in the body preserve their integrity and
immunity, the whole system will automatically be disease free. It first starts with spiritual renewal and faith in God, who gives the transcendental meaning in the life of each individual.
GOVERNMENT OF THE POOR
"The king who judges the poor with truth, his throne will be established forever" (Prov. 29:14). The government of the poor is the government that'll endure. The Government that protects the poor, fights for their cause, gives them justice (economic, social,and political) is the Government that is functioning right; the Government that is functioning right is the Government that is healthy; the Government that is healthy is the Government that lives and thrives on.
PEACE - A POEM
The copters up grinned as down dropped the bombs "How easily have we humanity erased!" "No, it's not we but they who pilot us That have first erased humanness from their own hearts!" The copters bladed away as bullets ripped the air "Metal kills metal as men kill men!" "No, metal is lifeless, men are alive; Only metal kills men and metal alike!" "So, these men are as us without mercy or shame, What made them so lifeless, what power what name?" "Fear, anger, hatred, and doubt Are the negatives that deaden their hearts." A little girl below (running with her brother in arms): "Cry not, my brother, my little dear doll, The copters will go away and with it all noise!" "I want my mother, I can't see her around!" "She is now in heaven, and sees us here down." The girl cries... "O mother, O mother, we're left all alone, We're left with no mother, we're left with no home!" The copters returned with more anger and ire, They poured all their fury in brimstone and fire. The girl ran for shelter with the toddler in arms, The bombers rattled after unaware of this all For, as the smoke and the dust rose into the sky The eyes of truth were curtained.
The next morning, a Priest wails: "Why God, my Master, did You all this allow? O terrors of darkness, what else you seek now?" GOD answers: "This history is yours. It's you who'll write The story of man devoid of His God." "The story is sad... it's still You who allowed the guillotines, the gas chambers, the fiery clouds!" "If it was I who should have governed the earth, Then why create man to have dominion on earth? These are your inventions, your wisdom, your resolves That drive these divisions, that compel these discords. It's you who for religion hate each other and all And become more repulsive in the eyes of God. It's you who for your mission of justice for all Give in to the religion of violence and harm. It's you who for riches of this fleeting world Have exploited your brothers, your own flesh and blood. And, shall I not requite this faithlessness of you all Who abused your power while stewards in My house? I'll return your violence into your bossom, Your withdrawal of justice, of mercy and compassion. For, the end of all things will surely come, Men shall be judged for all they've done. For, what could be rewarded unless it were done; But, you've chosen hatred and love you've shunned. O, turn now from evil, turn now from shame! Turn from judging each other by some name! For your hearts are fashioned all alike, But, evil is a venomous viper that strikes; So, beware and make amends, make peace with all first, Cease from all violence, from treachery and lust.
Then, shall righteousness spring forth from the ground And bless you with assurance of glory from above." The little girl comes in between... "God, I see Your answer is so true and so wise; But, we've lost our mother, we've lost all we had!" GOD answers: "You've lost not your heart, my daughter, You've lost not your child-like faith. One day and sooner after, The world will get a bold shape. Then, you shall reign in glory Over princes, rich and strong, And they who are now stronger Will then be proved wrong. Keep this heart of yours as innocent As I've made it with my heart; I'll return to give you justice, I'll come back with my reward." Then, GOD vanished into thin air; And, the copters bladed through the air again. © Domenic Marbaniang, 2010.
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT (GEN.12:1-3)
When Abraham lived with his family in Ur of Chaldees, God called him out of that land with the following promise: Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen.12:13)
This was God's Covenant with Abraham, which takes a ritual in chapter 15, and is composed of five promises: the promise of a land, the promise of a nation, the promise of making his name great, the promise of making him a blessing, and the promise that all the families of the earth shall be blessed in him. History has seen its fulfillment. 1. A Land When Abraham went to Palestine, he sojourned there in tents all his life. His son Isaac, and grandson Jacob also lived in tents. That land was never theirs - they were strangers in it. The only possession that Abraham had was the tomb that he bought to bury his wife Sarah. But, God gave a prophetic word with a promise in Chapter 15:
Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." (Gen 15:13-16) Accordingly, under Moses, the people returned to Canaan land and, later, under Joshua's leadership took the land. Historically, since the land belonged to the Israelites. God also prophesied that if the people rebel against God's Covenant (made through Moses), He would take them out of the land. That did happen when Assyria invaded Israel and Babylon took Judah into captivity. The law of the Sabbath had a special relation to the land, and there were several laws related to the land that made sure that the Jews were not landless, but everyone had a share in the Promised Land. When the people broke the Sabbatical laws, God prophesied that He would uproot them out of the land so that the land would get its sabbatical rest (2Chr 36:21). However, He also promised that He'll gather them back to their land. So, when Israel was formed again in 1948, the world knew that this prophecy was fulfilled for a people who wandered through the nations for several years; but, now had come home. 2. A Nation This refers to the people's ethnicity. They were Abraham's offspring. That's one reason why genealogies were important among the Jews. Anyone not found in the family tree could not be considered to be a Jew.
In the New Testament, the Christians are called offspring of Abraham according to his faith. However, according to the flesh, it is the Jews who are the children of Abraham. Interestingly, Esau was not considered into this line of the promise. It was because he chose to give up his birthright and name in the family. He excommunicated himself for a morsel of food, and that was taken seriously, because what he sold was the substance that bought his food. He had no more chance for repentance. So, the children of Jacob or the children of Israel (as Jacob was also called after his experience at Peniel) became known as the Jews. The New Testament records that God didn't forsake this nation. They have a place in God's plan which will unwind at the end of times. Of course, the Anti-Christ will make a covenant with them according to Daniel 9 and, perhaps, also assist in building the temple that he'll defile; but, the Messiah will return to destroy the demonic ruler and to establish the Kingdom of righteousness. 3. A Great Name Though Abraham became great in his own time, it was through the nation that he gave birth to that his name was known to the entire world. The Jews call him "Father Abraham". The Hebrews or the Jews have had a significant name in the rolls of history. 4. A Reciprocal Blessing God called Abraham to make him a blessing to the world. And, indeed, he became. The promise stated that those who bless him will be blessed and those that cursed him will be cursed. In the past, we've witnessed what evil anti-semitism had caused against this people. But, those who blessed Abraham, were blessed indeed. 5. A Messianic Blessing This refers to the blessing of Abraham through the Messiah. This is the spiritual dimension of the promise and is not according to flesh
(the believers are not circumcised Jews) but is according to faith. They are children of God, born by the Word of God. So, inheritors of the promises of God.
© Domenic Marbaniang, 2010
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENTS
The Old Testament idea of religious nationalism is deeply based on God’s covenant relationship with the people of Israel. The nation of Israel is seen as existing because of God’s covenant with Abraham and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai. Instances of religious intolerance find explanation in God’s relation to Israel a s a husband’s to his wife. As infidelity in marriage is intolerable, so is infidelity in religion. The covenant relationship, however, required wilful commitment. The New Testament, however, sees this in a different light. Religion is more an individual issue than a social one. The religious individual world is separated from the political world. Jesus differentiated between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God (Jn. 18: 36). The kingdom of this world is influenced by the god of this world, who is Satan (2 Cor. 4: 4). The world, therefore, is blind towards the gospel and is unable to recognize the lordship of Christ (1 Jn. 3:1). At the same time, political authority is to be understood as given by God Himself (Rom. 13:1, 2). This reiterates the revelation in Daniel that ‘the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.’ (Dan. 4: 17). There seems to be a paradox here. If God controls world politics then how does the devil bear the sceptre? The answer will be evident once the right meaning of ‘world’ is understood as sinful humanity (except in cases where it refers to the natural world). The devil rules over sinful humanity (Eph. 2:2) and wherever politics is pervaded by unjust laws or law enforcers, the sceptre of the devil is visible. However, the devil cannot supercede God in wisdom and power. Thus, the rule of devil is visible wherever falsehood and lawlessness exist. However, the rule of God as terror to evil works (Rom. 13: 3) is what makes justice possible in this world. Obviously, God’s use of rulers such as
Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus against evil-infested kingdoms shows the overarching power of God over all political world. In the New Testament, the kingdom of Israel as a theocratic kingdom in this world is replaced by the more comprehensive concept of the kingdom of God. The obsession with national politics is consumed by the passion for the spiritual kingdom. The church of Christ is seen as transcending all national, ethnic, and linguistic barriers. As such, religious intolerance as a carnal and political practice is not admitted. Further, the Bible makes it very clear that true spirituality is what God seeks (Jn. 4:23). This can only come from ones grasp of truth and wilful allegiance to it. This respects the freedom of conscience. © Domenic Marbaniang, January 10, 2008.
WHAT INDIA NEEDS???
The country has certainly come a great way from 1947. We have seen roads, bridges, schools, colleges, communication, technology, and several multi-dimensional developments. The internet is a boon as ticket bookings (rail, airways, etc) can be done from home avoiding queues and counter tensions. Also, children are exposed to a brave new world of difference. However, a few things still strike concern. 1. Population. It's estimated that the population will hit 1.4 billion by 2021. That's hot multiplication. This gives rise to several problems in governance. The main one is economic. There needs to be proper production and distribution of resources to meet the basic needs. With more people in the land, there are more individuals with rights that correlate duties by the government. Educational and employment opportunities must also be provided. Then, there are health concerns that the government must address. 2. Pollution, Scenic, and Culture Problems. This is a grave problem for sure. Somehow, once the giant is aroused and set to go about, it's difficult to stop him. But, hopefully, the introduction of CNG et al. may bring some relief. Smoke, dust, drainage, plastic bags, and a myriad such issues await solutions, yet. We still have dirty railway platforms, bus stations, government offices, damaged roads, and ponds that the government cares less about. These are far from any aesthetic adoration. We shouldn't try to compare, but it's still very easy to spit wherever one wants in India. The same Indian, when he goes out of the country, will have begun to learn that this is not right, and he wouldn't feel to do the same in that kind of a surrounding. The government must learn to create a culture that favors cleanliness.
3. Moral Development & Corruption Issues. The government has failed to be a moral example to the people. Certainly, we learn of moral lessons in the schools; but, go to any usual government office or police station (or try a train travel), corruption is almost ubiquitous. The khadi is now despised as polluted by the police and the politician. Also, liquor is licensed, ruining families. However, thanks for several rights movements and noble men in the government as well who have brought significant reforms to a great extent. Now, ragging is banned; so, are several other social evils that had invaded the cultural fabric. Something more significant is to be done to put an end to human rights violations in red light areas, foot paths, railway platforms, and work places. Also, the censorship board seems to have changed its opinion in the past one decade. One wonders what change it's going to have in the next decade. Does it seem to accept that there are no moral absolutes and that the West in more moral than the East, as far as the Screen is concerned, and that we are still behind in Screen culture??? Other issues stand as well. But, following the Lao Tzu method, it's the leadership that is to blame for most of the issues. History teaches us that one leader can lead the whole nation to hell (e.g. King Manasseh, Adolf Hitler). History also teaches us that one leader can lead the whole nation into a brave world. The leaders must learn to lead and not just manage the status quo. It's not economic strength that determines the strength of the nation, it is conscience and the commitment to truth and love. Each individual of the nation is a leader in his/her own sphere. Please step to be an example, play your role right, and start the transformation of the nation. But, remember, leaders never quit - they lead us to the destiny, they carry the banner to the pinnacle.
THE WAR OF KALINGA AND MODERN RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE
In around 260 BC, King Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire invaded the Republic of Kalinga, now in modern day Orissa, engaging in a bloody battle that within a short period of time caused such massive destruction that it appalled the chronicles of time. It was the first and the only battle that Ashoka is said to have fought, following which he encountered a profound change of heart and gave up violence. The conquest did make Ashoka an absolute monarch over a great part of the Indian sub-continent; the change of heart, however, stripped him of any desire for further military conquests. The massive loss of life and suffering caused by this war weighed heavily on the mind of the King and plunged him into deep remorse. On the 13th of his 14 Major Rock Edicts, he inscribes: On conquering Kalinga the Beloved of the Gods felt remorse, for, when an independent country is conquered, the slaughter, death and deportation of the people is extremely grievous to the Beloved of the Gods and weighs heavily on his mind... Even those who are fortunate to have escaped, and whose love is undiminished, suffer from the misfortunes of their friends, acquaintances, colleagues and relatives... This inscription of dhamma has been engraved so that any sons or great-grandsons that I may have should not think of gaining new conquests, and in whatever victories they may gain should be satisfied with patience and light punishment. They should only consider conquest by dhamma to be a true conquest, and delight in dhamma should be their whole delight, for this is of value in both this world and the next. [as quoted by John Keay, India: A History, 92-93] "Herein lies the greatness of Ashoka," writes R.K. Mookerji, "... at least no victorious monarch in the history of the world is known to have ever given expression to anything like it" [Ibid]. The
conversion was total and it unleashed a rare time in the history of India known as the Golden Age of Indian history. Though seemingly deriving several principles of statecraft from Kautilya's Arthasastra, Akbar resorted to the ideology of dhamma as derived from Buddhism to make the foundation of his rule. Ashoka's remorse had a ready remedy in the already existing Buddhist dhamma, with which he did have contacts from his previous stay at Avanti and his marriage to Devi (Vidishamahadevi), a Buddhist. The remorse was decisive, but even more important was the availability of the religion of non-violence in the form of Buddhism, and Buddhist chroniclers waste no efforts trying to depict the pre-Buddhist Ashoka as a monstrously demonic ruler, whose evil mind had to go through Kalinga to experience the decisive change. It is recorded that some 100,000 people were slain and 150,000 deported during the Kalinga War. The subjugated Kalingans were treated in accordance to the principles of Arthasastra: "having acquired new territory the conqueror shall substitute his virtues for the enemy's vices and where the enemy was good, he shall be twice as good. He shall follow policies that are pleasing and beneficial by acting according to his dharma and by granting favours and exemptions, giving gifts and bestowing honours." [Keay, 92] The presence of a non-violent religious conscience was strongly felt throughout the Golden reign of Ashoka. It's absence was horrifically sensed in the modern fascist regimes rooted in the dehumanizing roots of Darwinism. Darwinism accomplished the reduction of man to a mere biological being. Spirituality was stripped of any significance. Two powerful ideologies, viz. Fascism and Marxism, that plunged the world into horrific crimes against humanity ensued from its principles. These philosophies stood strongly opposed against virtues of the religious conscience. In his book The Antichrist, Nietzsche blatantly expressed the logical political ethics of Darwinian ideology, ideas that went into shaping the fascist regimes of the 1930s. Not surprisingly, influenced by the Darwinian
principles of natural selection, struggle for existence, and survival of the fittest, his doctrine of will to power stood ferociously opposed to the virtues of love and compassion. He wrote: What is good?--Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man. What is evil?--Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness?--The feeling that power increases--that resistance is overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtue, virtue free of moral acid). The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it. What is more harmful than any vice?--Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak... I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is injurious to it. A history of the "higher feelings," the "ideals of humanity"--and it is possible that I'll have to write it--would almost explain why man is so degenerate. Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power: whenever the will to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the highest values of humanity have been emptied of this will--that the values of decadence, of nihilism, now prevail under the holiest names... Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold.... Shortly after writing this book, Nietzsche suffered nervous breakdown and ended in an asylum where he soon died. But, his megalomaniac philosophy became the fuel of Fascism and Nazism. Both Mussolini and Hitler were influenced by Nietzsche’s vision of
the Superman, the Overman (in Thus Spake Zarathustra), which they further interpreted along their socio-historical experiences. The fascist ideas did spread to as far as Japan and the century saw one of the most brutal and violent histories of all time plunging the world into a global Kalinga of World War II. The difference: "Supermen" didn't have the means of remorse this time. They either committed suicide or were executed by those that defeated them and saved the world from self-destruction. There are instances of crimes against humanity that send a shiver along our spine. The concentration camps of Hitler and the Nanking massacre to mention two. Though opposed to fascism, Communism also viewed man with the anti-spiritual spectacles of naturalism that dehumanized the individual, but with a Hegelian tint to its philosophy of history. Pity was substituted with brutality, where the enemy was not just destroyed, but his humanhood was stripped off. Man, in the age of technology, with advanced weapons, was back to barbarianism. The religious conscience was annihilated. Among those who did speak of a religious conscience but perpetrated crimes against humanity, their violence was sanctioned by their religious authority, sectarian view of humanity (that dehumanized other people groups), quest for political supremacy, racism, and/or a history of hatred, revenge, and anger. In the Indian soil, sadly, as Romila Thapar noted, "the ideology of dhamma died with the death of the emperor [in 231 BC]" [Keay, 99]. After Ashoka, there was none like Ashoka. The modern period was a period of petty kingdoms warring against each other, of numerous social evils like child marriage, sati, casteism, temple prostitution, female infanticide, etc. The East India Company that came into India did put an end to the petty kingdom wars by assuming control over most of the land, however, it didn't interfere with the local customs. It was missionaries like William Carey and reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy who first began to take a stand against the social crimes sanctioned by religion and community.
Consequently, the British administration imposed a ban over several of these. From this time forth till the Independence of the nation, three major influences could be felt throughout the land: British Evangelicalism, Italian and German Fascism, and Russian Communism. While people like Gandhi and Tagore were influenced by British Evangelicalism, Golwalkar and Hedgewar (RSS) were influenced by Fascism, and Bhagat Singh was influenced by Communism (though these influences had a unique blend with the Indian socio-historical experience). The non-violent and peaceful protest methods that Gandhi upheld had an immense impact on the conscience of the nation. Certainly, as Bertrand Russell noted (and his statement hangs emblazoned in Mahatma Gandhi's home in Ahmedabad), "It is doubtful that the method of Mahatma Gandhi would have succeeded except that he was appealing to the conscience of a Christianized people." One wonders if Gandhi's methods would have had any success in Hitler's Germany or in the Ottoman Empire. In addition, we do understand the importance of a military to defend the nation. However, it is the quality of the religious spirit that fosters a sense of humaneness even at times of war. It teaches one the principle of treating ones neighbour as one would have treated oneself. "Love your neighbour as yourself," said Jesus and, in addition, "whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them" - the Golden Rule of ethics. The Divine Spirit of Grace works within the human heart against the animal instincts of unrestrained passion for power and pleasure. One can either succumb to the base forces and enter a world of meaningless void and striving with the wind, or submit to Divine Grace and become a beloved of God, Devampriya (a title of Ashoka). Leaders can either destroy or build the nation. History tells us who built and who destroyed. Let us dare to follow the truth!
ACADEMICS, POLITICS, AND THE GOSPEL
“not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing" (1 Cor.2:6). Two great forces control the modern world: the University and the Parliament (to put it the other way, the school and the scepter). How credulously falls the world before the sublimity of the educated; how feebly it creeps before the iron-fist of the rulers! But, the world has God universally despised and denied. To many the God-idea is outdated. But, then, how long shall the world-ideas last?? When Paul was writing his epistle to the Corinthians (around AD 57), Nero, "the emperor who fiddled while (later) Rome burned", held the reins of the Great Roman Empire. He was forced to commit suicide on June 7, AD 68. A few days before his arrival at Corinth (sometime between 50-52), Paul had been at Athens, the ancient capital of philosophy, and had talks with the Stoics and the Epicureans. They had taken him to Mar's Hill from where he preached his famous sermon on "The God of the Altar to the Unknown God". Only a few responded positively, while the rest ruled him away, because they thought it was silly and unscientific to have mentioned the resurrection of the Christ. Well had Paul begun, when he writes this epistle, that "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" (1Cor.1:18), and that "since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (v.21). Paul chose not to imitate the method of the world, whose cup of wisdom and scepter of power would soon fall and crash with the tides of time, and then finally extinguish before the majesty and might of the eternal Word of God. He writes: "my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but
in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (2:4). But, that doesn't mean that the message didn't contain wisdom, for can wisdom lie anywhere than in the message of God: "we speak wisdom among those who are mature," he writes "yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing" (v6). The glaze and the glory of this world is short-lived. Blessed is he who has apprehended the wisdom and the might of God and the age to come!
THE SIXTH-FIFTH CENTURY BC IN THE THEOLOGY OF HISTORY
Proceeding from a Christo-centric view of History as a linear and purposeful succession of events that are centered around the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the consummation of all things in Him, we also observe that the 6th-5th c. B.C. had a significant role to play in the development of the preparatio evangelica towards the advent of Christ. This period of world-history was characterized by reform movements worldwide. Middle-East: The Babylonian invasion of Israel, the burning of the temple, and the rise of Prophetical reforms among the Jews. The shift of focus from the temple to worship in spirit and in truth. The prophets in action as Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and also Haggai and Zechariah, while Ezra and Nehemiah lead the Jews who return to Jerusalem in true spirituality. The gentiles also witness the Sovereignty of YHWH and His rule over all the earth. Zoroastrianism is widespread in Persia (the traditional view placing Zoroaster in the 6th c. B.C.). Europe: Greek Philosophy comes to surface. Reason supersedes blind faith, investigates belief, and unleashes the search for true wisdom. Asia: Jainism and Buddhism rise as protest and reform movements in India. They protest against violence, priestcraft, practice of sacrifice, polytheism, and the social evils and preach a highly ethical and non-violent path. The religion of ahimsa (non-violence) is taught in the people's own tongue, and not in the elite Sanskrit. The way is opened to all people.
In China, Confucianism teaches what the ultimate goal of religion is. Whether these reform movements were in anyway influenced by the Jewish diaspora is a thesis that needs to be researched. However, one thing is evident. The spiritual wall between Jerusalem and the world was being leveled down as people everywhere openly begin to seek the way of the right and the vision of Truth. Corruption would soon creep into each of these various movements, but reforms would spring up now and then again and again. The Spirit of Christ prepares peoples and cultures for the salvation of God by turning their hearts away from the vanity of vain religion. Yet, the shackles haven't been fully broken. Yet, the world has been saved from the cascade of self-destruction. We also begin to see several key theological truths emerge during these years: 1. God is Sovereign. He overthrows the wicked and will destroy evil. (Judaism, Zoroastrianism) 2. God must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth and not merely through rituals of religion. (Judaism) 3. True religion doesn't consist in cants, castes, and creeds. True religion is personal and salvific. (Jainism, Buddhism) 4. Animal sacrifices cannot bring deliverance. Sacrifice should be personal. Salvation consists in emancipation from the bondage of human lusts and passions. (Jainism, Buddhism) 5. Duty towards our neighbor is more important than the knowledge of metaphysics, or of heaven and of hell. (Confucianism) 6. Morality cannot be based upon polytheistic beliefs. (Greek Philosophy) 7. The Good is the golden path between the extremism of hedonism and asceticism. (Aristotle, Gautama Buddha). © Domenic Marbaniang, February 2, 2011.
DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY - CONFUSIONS REGARDING FREEDOM AND POWER
Divine sovereignty does not preclude human freewill. For God to be sovereign doesn't mean that He has to charter the course of every action on earth according to His will -- to stay, allow, or carry out everything on His own. In that case, "sovereignty" itself would be emptied of meaning, since it can only apply to that which can be ruled, particularly in a political sense. For instance, we call India a "Sovereign Republic"; it doesn't mean that all Indians are devoid of freewill. But, all Indians certainly are called to submit to the Law of the State. That is sovereignty. If the world were what it is in history because of divine predetermination, then freedom of will wouldn't exist; meaning, that the world would be like a big machine that an operator is operating; the machine has no will of its own and so can submit to none by its own free choice; it is amoral. But the human world is not so; it is governed on ethical and socio-political laws that call on virtues such as wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Divine sovereignty means that God is the Lord of the universe and defiance of His authority is the greatest punishable offence.
SYSTEMS OF OFFENCES AND LEADERS OF CHANGE
Text: Matthew 18:1-14 This excerpt from Christ’s earthly conversations has an intense outflow of emotions and light. The question that is posed is significant. But, far more significant is Christ’s elaboration of the problem at hand. He begins by answering the question of true greatness and then tracks down into an agonizing analysis of the world-problem that nips that same greatness in the bud. For, the child is certainly the sacred model of greatness, but the child is sooner going to reach the age when he has to look back to his childhood for a recovery of that child-like innocence again. At this 4/14 Window Pre-Summit, I believe it is apt to reconsider the roots of our world that shape the consciences of the next generation. True Greatness When the disciples asked Jesus “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus did not point at Alexander the Great, or to Augustus Caesar, or to Plato or Aristotle. He brought in a child into the midst of them and said “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Of course, the question was not “Who is the greatest on the earth?” but “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” For, earthly greatness could never be an issue for man. It is blatant, though ephemeral. But, the true disciple searches for what it really means to be great in the kingdom of God, for a greatness that spans true eternity. And, the divine answer could only be found in the lips of the divine Master.
By Christ’s verdict, the child is the model of true greatness. The child epitomizes the kingdom virtues of simplicity (unsoiled by culture), credulity (unblocked by sophism), dependency (untainted by ambition), innocence (uncorrupted by sin), tenderness (unhardened by offences), and pliability (untempered by willful convictions). The very reason the question of greatness is asked demonstrates the rootedness of the world-problem. The question of greatness would never have been posed unless the child-likeness was already destroyed in the first place. The problem of inequality, indifference, rejection, and all injustice lies at the root of this world-problem that Christ now brings to light. The conversation here significantly focuses on the value and experience of a child. Of course, some have interpreted the rest of the passage as talking of the least of the disciples; but, the context here does centrally focus on the world-experience of God’s child. The parable of the lost sheep doesn’t speak of a disciple being lost, but shows the importance of the one little sheep among the ninetynine. The Father is not willing that any of these little ones be lost. And, isn’t it true that lostness and rootlessness is an experience that falls on the kids of our generation in the 4/14 Window? Worlds in Conflict Two worlds are in conflict in this passage: God’s world versus man’s world. In God’s world, the child is regarded with honor, respect, dignity, greatness, and significance. Despite, the theological contentions within the spectrum of the Calvinist-Arminian debate, the child’s position is secure in the world of God. The universality of sin cannot be denied; however, the universality of the child’s tender nature also cannot be ruled out. The world in all its manifold deception
still can’t generally tolerate offence against little children. How much more would God stand for them? In man’s world, the child is unwelcomed, unwanted, unaccepted, unrecognized, oppressed, tempted, and snared into evil. In fact, often times, the human modes of welcoming a child into the world are so much tainted by sinful culture that the true place of the child is lost into a corner (completely different from the place God gives them). Christ breaks out “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!” (v.7) But why is the world such an offensive system? In fact, the world as it is cannot be regarded in the singular anymore. It is a system of systems and a world of worlds. We do not live in a universe, but in an ideological pluriverse. The worlds are systems of thoughts, relations, and functioning that are both in conflict with each other and with God’s world. We may divide the world-influencers into three groups: World-Views: These are ways in which we perceive the world. They are the ideologies and philosophical theologies that stay rooted at the base of any world-system. Casteism, Communism, Humanism, Talibanism, Hindutva, Fascism are all examples of world-views that influence human values. When Christ brings in the child and sets him in the midst, He demonstrates the conflict of God’s world -view with the world-view of the general world at hand. World-Systems: These are ways in which our particular world functions in this pluriverse. It is the cultural setup of any worldmachinery into which a child is forced to fix in. The Nazi government, Taliban government, Communist government, Castesystem, etc are examples of world-systems that influence human conduct. Usually, cogs within a machine are bound to submit to the laws of that machine; however, it is also possible that in a multiinteractive cultural setup, exposed to a plurality of world-views and systems, individual world-systems could spring into being. These may look as a minority and strange, but one must understand that every human is a dynamic entity that imbibes and constructs her
own cultural mind-world of meanings and values. It is not slantingly that the Scripture annunciates, “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen.6:5). This is not to incriminate every world-system as totally evil, but to show that any world-system that doesn’t subscribe to God’s kingdom principles is routed for self-destruction. It is in this sense that we may understand the exclamatory “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!” (v.7) World-Leaders: These are the agents that lead the world-system on the principles of particular world-views. They are humans. Christ declares, “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” and “woe to the man through whom they *i.e. offences+ come!” (vv.6,7). A world-system is a world-game with its own rules, codes, language, and modus operandi. It is aimed to be completely selfsufficient, self-contained, closed, and rational. In a world-system that is thoroughly evil, evil is not felt, because of the smooth modus operandi. Evil itself is a rational principle of operation in that machine. It is like a closed space shuttle speeding at a uniform velocity. The astronauts inside wouldn’t be able to say whether the shuttle is moving or is at rest, since it is detached from all coordinates of reference outside. That is why, for instance, stoning to death, a practice in some cultures, would appear an evil to outsiders, but to those within that particular culture, it would appear quite necessary. Similarly, until the Renaissance movement struck the cords of the Indian conscience, sati and child marriage were not considered evil. Some interference and clash of worlds was necessary in order to begin the reformation. An evil worldsystem permits oppression, promotes oppression, practices oppression, and profits from that oppression; but, is incapable of
perceiving it as oppression. It is thoroughly infested with evil; therefore, it is subject to the predication of a “Woe!” Any rescue can only be holistic when it rescues one from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We can’t just keep trying to save people from being crushed under the giant wheel of destruction; we need to jam the wheel itself (cf. Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and certainly the biblical way. We must work at the grass root level; but, we shouldn’t forget the ideological roots behind all surface evils as well. Isn’t there a r eason why in some cultures, beggary is non-existent, while in others beggary is prevalent and religiously endorsed? Why is it so that in particular contexts, red spits of chewed pans stain walls of government offices, while in other contexts offices are as clean as could be? Why are there so many uncared street children lying on the platforms and footpaths in some cultures, while in others such people groups are never around? Care, compassion, cleanliness, and conscience are all strongly influenced by the world-system we try to conform to. The world-system is based on a general worldview and is led ahead by world-leaders. The Bible is very specific: one leader can lead a whole nation into hell. Historically, that has happened. One shouldn’t marvel why the N orthern Kingdom of Israel so greatly differed from the Southern Kingdom of Judah before the end of their monarchies. Historical Examples The Cult of Moloch – Child-sacrifices are rarely heard of today. However, they were widely prevalent in ages past. The cult of Moloch of Canaan was one such cult in which children were offered up as sacrifice for the betterment of the land and community. The ritual was cruel; however, the people considered it necessary and indispensable to their system. The religious world-view that they had influenced their world-system (cult, culture) and was strongly led on by leaders (priests, elders, rulers).
King Manasseh of Judah – 2 Kings 21 records one of the most oppressive periods in the history of Judah. King Manasseh’s sins are recorded in the words: “He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD , provoking him to anger” (v.6), “Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end-besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the LORD” (v.16). Manasseh is not only an example of someone who did evil but of someone who led the whole nation astray into occult religion, sin, oppression, and violence. His influence was so widespread that it is said: “the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites” (v.9). The anti-faith world-view into which he strayed led him to build a world-system which rebelled against the principle of heaven and sank the nation into the helpless whirlpool of wickedness. God’s wisdom could no longer look sensible to them. The occult that they now subscribed to demanded the sacrifice of their own sons. Adolph Hitler – The man who plunged the world into World War II. His charismatic weaving of the Nazi governmental fabric on the principles of Nazi philosophy was so apt that it left almost no loophole for an overthrow. He was a leader of a bad change, constructing a system in which the conscience of his men was deeply altered. There is one story of an SS officer who was standing by watching the Jews being brought into a concentration camp. One woman, with her four children walking hands in hand, looked at him and asked, “Look at these little beautiful faces. Can you really have the heart to kill them?” The SS officer answered nothing. Children were usually immediate gassed in Hitler’s concentration camps. They were useless. That evening, he returned back to his home and normally played with his own children without feeling a bit stricken over what had transpired during that day. Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University has called this the “Lucifer Effect”, a process in which the saintliest person can be
turned into a devil, when his mind is guided along avenues of impersonalization, dehumanization, and deindividuation of others. One can’t regard ideologies slackly; not at all those systems that are being built over them. One can give examples from Communism, Talibanism, Cults, Occults, and several socially evil systems. However, if there can be leaders of evil change; there have been and must also rise up a leadership of good change in the world. If a leader can lead a nation into hell, a leader and a synergy of many leaders can certainly lead this nation into a better world. Unless we are able to penetrate the ideology and culture with a transformative outlook and function, we cannot expect lasting changes. Challenges The two main challenges simply put are: To identify the ideological bases of a particular offense system. It is not just enough to treat the symptoms. The root of the disease must be identified. If we are not willing to acknowledge the ideological problem, chances are that we are drifting with it. If we do not stand to expose it, we are no longer functioning as God’s children of light. To eliminate the problem on Kingdom principles. The Kingdom principles are the ones that Christ practiced. It is not silver and gold but bold witnessing, the call to repentance and a ministry of healing and deliverance that can emancipate the society and individuals from the clutches of oppression. The purpose of the anointing is to bring deliverance (Lk. 4:18). Unless we are spiritually confronting the forces of evil, we are not really functioning as the ambassadors of Christ in this world. We can never transform the world unless we have learnt the significance of right communication and implementation of Kingdom principles in the place where we set our foot.
This might seem easy to say and difficult to do; but, to have said itself will have accomplished and brought to light a massive need of the church. Solutions Christ gives us the solutions: Confrontation and Elimination: He said “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” (Matt.18:8). It is importa nt to decide if we would allow the whole system go to hell, or initiate a transformative work that heals the whole body and brings lasting deliverance. Elements of culture that are destructive and false must be confronted with the light of the Gospel and loving practice of truth. Saving the Little Ones: Christ calls us to go out and save the little lost sheep. We are glad that there has been a great movement towards ministry among children in these days. We realize that if we can save the little ones at their tender age, when they are highly vulnerable, we have saved them for eternity. It is only a heartless shepherd who would leave his hundredth sheep to die just because he got ninety-nine more. Every little child of this world is precious in the eyes of God. They must be brought back into God’s fold, into the place and culture of true greatness. For, our “Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matt.18:14). © Domenic Marbaniang, 2011
THREE LEVELS OF AGGRESSION AGAINST RELIGION
1. Philosophical or Ideological Clashes The clash is between ideologies, and aggression is usually vented through the media of literature, lectures, art forms and media. E.g. Propaganda Literature of Communism, Da Vinci Code, etc. 2. Political Motives Aggression and persecution with political motives. E.g. When Nero burnt Rome and blamed the Christians, executing many of their leaders. 3. Profit Motives Aggression to eliminate economic rivalries or blockades. E.g. Persecution of Paul by Demetrius at Ephesus (Acts 19), Persecution of Jews.
CORRUPTION IN INDIA: ROOTS, CHALLENGES, SOLUTIONS
There doesn't need to be a commentary on the problem of corruption in India. It is widespread and infecting every nerve and cell of the governmental administrative system. It's important to ax the tree at the root in order to destroy it. ROOTS The problem is systemic. One who gets into it usually ends up practicing it not just because others are practicing it, but because he might have got into the system through a corrupt mechanism of bribery on one hand. On the other, it may also mean that there are people out there who are willing to keep the mechanism going for their own benefit, meting injustice to the poor, and, perhaps, avoiding it would mean a loss of job or favor. CHALLENGES The challenge is not to uproot the wheat with the weed. There are many still in the system who are right, while the judicial system that relies mainly on evidences would fail to find some to condemn the corrupt. There is also the danger that the just ones are falsely condemned in place of or with the corrupt. The challenge is not chiefly for retributive justice, but for corrective justice. SOLUTIONS Plato compared the State to the human body. Administration of proper drugs can weed out diseases and allow natural healing to take place. Truth is the best drug. Justice is the result of it. To a great extent, entertainment media and traditional cultures foster false world-views and expectations that provide real space for corruption as a quick alternative. These have to be adequately and properly countered by truth.
Minimum doses of Truth will not work. Since the disease is heavy, the doses need to be heavy and voluminous. Information has power. Hitler knew that and the Nazi government thrived on a system of heavy propaganda. The propaganda was false, therefore the results were disastrous. The modern world doesn't have time for truth. It wants anything that could bring fast wealth, prosperity, and materialist meaning in life. This is submission of spirit to brute forces. It is only when matter fails that people realize they need to halt and seek spiritual wisdom. Those who realize experience a gradual but happy convalescence. In order to bring healing to the nation, we need more ambassadors of truth who will stand for it, in their own little corners, bringing light to the darkest sections of our community. Truth is Victorious. Truth Prevails. But, it can't without its ambassadors. Candles need to be burnt, lanterns need to be taken out in the open. Who will do it? Not those who are enslaved; only those who are free.
PS: Corruption and Government Corruption is a governmental problem, basically speaking. If there weren't government, "corruption" as such wouldn't exist. But, throwing the baby with the bath water is not a solution. It has been said well, "That government is best that governs the least". There are more instances of corruption in states under dictatorship than under any other form of government. Corruption exists where governmental hold exists, but in weakness. The government is not omnipresent and omniscient, and so cracks start up and grow large, allowing injustice, disorder, and lust to corrupt the governmental rule. There is always hope as long as the ship hasn't violated the law of buoyancy; however, once the shipwreck has occurred, the only salvation remains in abandoning the ship and getting into some safe place (if it exists....). But there is always hope as long as
there is life (Eccl. 9:4). The body will only survive if the members don't turn on each other to consume them; but, will work in harmony and mutual construction. Those in authority must remember that authority or power is a huge responsibility. The "rulers" are responsible to keep the head in its proper place. The failure of the head leads to self-destruction in every way possible. The wise man keeps his eyes on his head. Those who have lost the ability to see cannot oversee. The kind of leadership and the choice of the right leadership is pivotal to the health and life of the nation. Becoming Corruption-Free A corruption free government is itself a law. It's like the law of gravity or the law of aerodynamics. It is the way it functions. The functioning creates the experience of Justice, Liberty, and Equality. The letter of the Law is not the chief point of focus. The spirit of the Law is important; and, the spirit of the Law is Justice, Liberty, and Equality. A corrupt government curtails Moral Justice, Moral Liberty, and Moral Equality. It is immoral in essence. It is immoral because it is essentially lawless. It may have written, verbal laws. But, it lacks the spirit of the Law of human community function. A corrupt government is also a law: a law of disease and death. The Essence of A Healthy Nation The essence of morality is Love. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is the sum of all law. Love is what integrates a person into a healthy living. Love is what integrates a nation into healthy living. Therefore, any law that discourages the principle of "Love your neighbor as yourself" is immoral and devoid of the spirit of Justice, Liberty, and Equality. Love is not just an emotional game. Love is the act that flows from a recognition of the dignity of the human individual, the human person. Love is not mere idealistic. It is personal.
A corrupt government leads the nation into: 1. Distrust of governmental justice 2. Bribery, aristocracy, and marginalization 3. Terror. The government is looked at as a monster. It has weapons. It has forces. It has power. It rules by force and not by honor and love. Citizen's role in creating corrupt government: 1. Desire to escape justice and personal responsibility. (If you wish justice done to you, then you must also be willing to fully suffer for the injustice you have done to others; or else, you're partner with injustice.) 2. Love of money and wealth to the extent that the dignity of a human as human loses value. 3. Selfishness. Lack of love for one's fellow man/woman, whoever it is, is the first act of murder. 4. Cherishing inequality by allowing religion, anti-religion, communalism, cultural nationalism, sexism, racism, etc to dictate feelings of inequality. Cultism. 5. Pride. Crave for power through despotic thinking: desiring everyone to believe what you believe and think as you think. Such things are usually not possible even in families. Disagreements do occur, since diversity is the rule of community. 6. Rational blindness, and non-scientific temper, even in the name of science. Fanaticism that is not open to rational verification. 7. Tolerating injustice. Allowing violence to dampen the voice of reason and truth. 8. False hope that ultimately everything will be alright without us doing anything. Citizen's role in creating corruption-free government: 1. Articulate absolute aversion to corruption. 2. Unite against all practices of corruption. 3. Challenge laws that promote corruption. 4. Instill in children hatred against bribery and immoral practices.
5. Be an example to children and youth of true patriotism, integrity of character, purity in love towards fellow-citizens, and moral responsibility. 6. Strip the esteem of money-mongering culture; repudiate greed and avarice; exalt the virtue of social responsibility. 7. Find out NGOs, Media workers, etc who are committed to a corruption-free government and inform them of any instance of corruption anywhere. 8. Believe in God, the True Judge of the Universe. He will give justice.
ESTRANGEMENT AND BELONGEDNESS IN THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE OF GOD
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…” (John 1:10-12) [Excerpt] The reason why the Son of God came to the world was because the world was made through Him – it ultimately belonged to Him. It was lost; yet, it was His. He was willing to leave alone the 99 in order to seek this one that was lost. But the world did not recognize Him, His own didn’t receive Him. There are sharp, acute, and yet distinct pictures here. The pictures are sharper in prose than any poetry can portray. The world is not the world as a whole and yet it is the world as a whole. Not everybody failed to recognize Him, and not everybody rejected Him; and, yet in the moment of the Sacrifice, that was what happened. The world as a whole was represented by the leaders (both religious and political) who put to death the Son of God. The depth of estrangement and contortion was manifest in the kind of death administered: the death of the Cross. It was the world that failed to recognize Him – the world that belonged to Him. Yet, the real story is not that the world rejected Him; the real story is that He was willing to let the world reject Him. Divine selfemptying, divine servanthood, and divine crucifixion are powerful themes that shock the philosophy of religion. Nietzsche called the greatest of all sins to be the murder of God (deicide). There was nothing more sinful than that. On the reverse, the greatest of all righteousness fulfilled was in the self-giving of the Son of God. This self-giving brought an end to the history of hostility between man and God. It cancelled all debts. Man had committed the greatest of
all crimes, and God had allowed it to be done to Him in the ultimate divine sacrifice. The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was. The one act of righteousness by the Son of God nullified forever the writ of accusation against all humanity. The veil was torn away; the entrance is paved, now the ball is in our court. He has accepted us. Do we receive Him or choose to remain estranged? Therefore, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
IS PHILOSOPHY DEAD? IS SCIENCE ALL THAT IS?
In my book Epistemics of Divine Reality, I have argued how the empirical approach to knowledge would attempt to jettison metaphysics. In the early 1920s, a group in Vienna called the Vienna Circle tried to annunciate the death of philosophy by founding a school of philosophy called logical positivism. The group was composed of mainly mathematicians, physicists, sociologists and economists, but no professional philosophers. So, their utter dislike of metaphysics can be understood. But, it is interesting that one attempts to overthrow philosophy by constructing a school of philosophy. But, that contradiction in terms is natural to any form of empiricism that seeks to avoid the rational. The Law of Verification that they proposed was what dealt a death-blow to the theory itself. It was itself unverifiable (of course, because the philosophy was not empirical itself). The two World Wars did reveal, if not anything else, this one thing that philosophy was not dead. Nazism might have some evolutionary scientific tinge, but it was a philosophical system after all, and one with disastrous consequences making the best use or misuse of science to further its goals. Nations and people are governed not by the discoveries of science but by philosophies and ideologies that they hold to be rationally true. Logical positivism soon went into the grave. Recently, Stephen Hawking has been quoted as saying that philosophy is dead having been overthrown by Science. Again, it is a statement by an empiricist scientist against the rational, speculative disciple. But, again, empiricism is itself a philosophical perspective; only, that it fails to fully answer the rational demands of knowledge. If the physicist can’t escape granting eternity to at least the physical and empirical Law of Gravity (though it is not necessitated at all), he, of course, also ought not to refuse acknowledging the eternality of some non-empirical Laws of Logic (which aren’t provable by science, though invoked by it). Philosophy couldn’t be dead after all. However, with all the scientific advancements, discoveries, education, and predictions, it
is still worthwhile to ask if philosophy is truly dead. Let’s consider the following: What is it that still governs politics and legislation in a nation? Is it science or some ideology? Where do ideas of morality and justice come from? Where do people get their ideas of rights? Does science tell one that rights are fundamental? Where do people get the concept of crime and justice? Are the concepts scientifically discovered? Can their truthfulness be determined by science? Where do people get the concepts that motivate their engagement in charity and welfare work? Where do people get their ideas of freedom of will, Truth, and validity of knowledge, since science holds to a deterministic view of the universe? Where does one get the idea of sufficient evidence in order to be able to make a claim as omnisciently negative as the one that “God does not exist”? Obviously, science is not all that is.
CREED OF THE 21ST CENTURY CHRISTIAN
We believe in One God, irrespective of nation, language, or creed. He is the Creator of all that is visible and invisible and is the God of all nations. We believe in the Holy Community of the Divine Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, who by virtue of His pre-existent divine nature (uncreated) could not be born (created) of any human union, but incarnated as the Son of Man by the power of the Holy Spirit once for all. We believe in the equality, dignity, and fraternity of all humans, made from one blood and created in the very image of God (Slavery, Racialism, and all forms of anti-human discriminations are contrary to the divine order). We believe in the equality and sanctity of the human sexes, created by God in His own image and likeness, created as male and female. We believe that marriage is divinely instituted by God as a covenant between one man and a woman, and whom God has joined no man shall put asunder (Polygamy and Divorce are alien to God’s original institution in Genesis 1 and 2). We believe in the Fatherhood of God, who especially is concerned for the poor, the unprivileged, the oppressed, the widows, and the orphans and seeks the Brotherhood of Christ to also be concerned for the same. We believe that all humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and is totally incapable of redeeming itself by any means within the world.
We believe in One Savior, Jesus Christ, His Eternal Priesthood, His Atoning and Sacrificial Death for the sins of all humanity, His Resurrection from the dead, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, where He continues to make intercession for us as the Faithful High Priest, and His Second Coming for the salvation of all who believe in Him. We believe in the divine inspiration, total inerrancy, and finality of the Holy Bible communicated to us through the Holy Prophets and the Holy Apostles of Jesus Christ. We believe in the Unity of the Church as the Body of Christ, spiritually united in faith by the Name, the Word, and the Glory of the Father through Jesus Christ. We believe in the ministry of prayer (in the One Name), the word (of the One Revelation), and worship (ascribing God the Glory due His Name) in Spirit and in Truth. We believe that the Nation of Israel, as a people, has a Covenantal and Historical significance in the plan of God for the nations. We believe in the Ministry of Reconciliation in the power and administration of the Holy Spirit (not by carnal means) to reconcile the world to God through word and deed. We believe that Christ will come again soon to usher in His Kingdom, for the salvation of those all who believe, for the redemption of their body, and the deliverance of all creation from the bondage of corruption. We believe in the Final Judgment of the world when all thoughts, words, and deeds will be uncovered before the Judge of the Universe. The confirmed godless will receive the justice of a godless
eternity and the confirmed godly will receive the justice of a Godgoverned eternity.
PHILOSOPHICAL ROOTS OF LAW AND POLITICS
About four decades ago, the American theologian Harvey Cox, had already defined secularization as an inevitable process. Almost a decade prior to that, Bryan Wilson, in his book Religion in Secular Society (1966) had considered it to be irreversible. However, history has a different tale to say. The scepter of philosophy is hard to cast away. Somewhere or the other it holds its reins and pulls history on. In the 1920s a small group of scientists, mathematicians, sociologists, and economists, (not philosophers) had gathered together in Vienna to develop a unified philosophy that embraced science and attempted to destroy philosophy. Their new philosophy came to be known as Logical Positivism. It, of course, suffered a natural death soon. But, what the empiricists then did not realize was that philosophy may be philosophically denied but not scientifically annihilated. In less than a decade, the world saw the angry reins of philosophies on the chariots of the nations as political philosophies collided, clashed, and combatted with weapons that science had produced to shock humanity with the Second World War. There had to be some other stronger ideology that had to deal with the issue of justice corrupted by corrupt philosophies such as Nazism that tried to base themselves on the evolutionary model provided by the scientific community. The Nuremberg Trial tried Judges who had committed the crime of obeying the unjust laws of their own regime. Some legal philosophy, and not science, had to decide the question of right or wrong during these trials. The definitions and directions were laid down in the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal. The Trial, of course, was subject to much criticism; however, it did open a new chapter in legal history when it defined justice not merely as a domestic political affair but in relation to the notion of natural human rights; thus, the head of a state can’t just merely dictate any law under the pretense of positive lawmaking; he was accountable now to the international community. This also entailed individual responsibility of any person whosoever,
irrespective of the laws prescribed by a particular nation. Thus, the ILC’s Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind declared in Article 2(1): A crime against the peace and security of mankind entails individual responsibility, Article 3 continues: An individual who is responsible for a crime against the peace and security of mankind shall be liable to punishment . . A deeper probe would question the basis of such a law that claimed superior and absolute status above all laws and demanded conformity to it. From the scientific perspective, didn’t the principle of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest look quite natural? In that sense, wasn’t Nazism quite close to nature? But, what science defined to be a principle of nature and what philosophy recognized to be just and right were two different things. The very reversal of the evolutionary natural principle is uplifted as the virtue of greatness: viz., benevolence and compassion. However, only a philosophically valid method can determine if a philosophical contention is tenable. The above elaboration was essential as there is a tendency among educators to neglect the primary things altogether and focus on more tangible areas that cater tangible results only. However, the age long scheme cannot be broken so easily. The practical man can’t go on for long without the theoretical man; and, there certainly will come a point when the practical man will have to turn to the theoretical man. The British thinker G. K. Chesterton, over a century ago, had dedicated a whole chapter to this issue in his book What’s Wrong With the World (1910). He called it, “Wanted: An Unpractical Man”. One can’t talk of politics without considering the philosophical roots. Chesterton’s observation is appropriate:
Now our modern politics are full of a noisy forgetfulness; forgetfulness that the production of this happy and conscious life is after all the aim of all complexities and compromises. We talk of nothing but useful men and working institutions; that is, we only think of the chickens as things that will lay more eggs. Instead of seeking to breed our ideal bird, the eagle of Zeus or the Swan of Avon, or whatever we happen to want, we talk entirely in terms of the process and the embryo. The process itself, divorced from its divine object, becomes doubtful and even morbid; poison enters the embryo of everything; and our politics are rotten eggs.
 Harvey Cox, The Secular City (New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., 1975) p. 18. *2+ Néstor Da Costa, “Secularization and Sacralization,” http://www.religion.ucsb.edu/projects/summerinstitute/alumni.ht ml, Accessed on November 27, 2012.  Kelly James Clark (ed), Philosophers Who Believe (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), p.11  Online Text available at Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtconst.asp. Accessed on November 28, 2012.  As cited by Christian Tomuschat, “The Legacy of Nuremberg”, Journal of International Criminal Justice 4 (2006), (Oxford University Press, 2006), p.841. http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu. Accessed on 28 November 2012.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIL AND THE SPIRIT OF VICTORY
Psychologists have always pondered on the psychology of evil and the corruptibility of humans. For instance, the Stanford Prison Experiments and studies conducted by Philip Zimbardo show that certain psychological mechanisms that are part of certain cultural or political systems (e.g. racialism, Nazism, casteism, etc) can act as justifying frameworks of inhumane behavior. Zimbardo himself observes that at one point during the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which volunteers had been arrested in a realistic show style and put into prison cells where they were subjected to dehumanization and deindividuation, he arrived at a point where he had confused reality with this false world created for just an experiment. He writes: I was sitting there all alone, wjosephaiting anxiously for the intruders to break in, when who should happen along but a colleague and former Yale graduate student roommate, Gordon Bower. Gordon had heard we were doing an experiment, and he came to see what was going on. I briefly described what we were up to, and Gordon asked me a very simple question: "Say, what's the independent variable in this study?" To my surprise, I got really angry at him. Here I had a prison break on my hands. The security of my men and the stability of my prison was at stake, and now, I had to deal with this bleeding-heart, liberal, academic, effete dingdong who was concerned about the independent variable! It wasn't until much later that I realized how far into my prison role I was at that point -- that I was thinking like a prison superintendent rather than a research psychologist. That is not impossible. Players immersed in a soccer game can get so caught up in it that they, for a moment, forget that the game (with all its rules) is only something put together by man and is not all of reality. The game that we play (the system that we accept) usually defines the persons that we become. Usually, people are
either born into (e.g. a culture) or drawn into a game (e.g. a political revolution). They still have the freedom to cast it away or resist it; or continue in it or accept it. The founder of Logotherapy, Viktor E. Frankl, was an existentialist psychologist who didn’t accept the deterministic and mechanical interpretation of man. To him, human existence was spiritual. Words like “meaning,” “purpose”, “hope”, “reason for living” play important role in his view about man. However, the answer, the reason (the logos) is not abstract; it is so concrete that it becomes the motivation for living. According to logotherapy, says, Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning (1959)*3+, “we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.” The Bible says that a living dog is better than a dead lion. This is because there is hope for anyone who is living (Ecclesiastes 9:4). Scripture is filled with several examples of people who didn’t allow evil to overcome them. They stood like a rock and prevailed against the onset of evil. Joseph, Nehemiah, and Daniel are great examples of those who didn’t allow circumstances to mold them and humiliate them. The greatest example of victory over evil, however, is none else than our Lord Jesus Christ. In the hour of temptation, He said that the flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. He asked His disciples to watch and pray that they fall not into temptation. There is no other solution that Jesus provides. Only those who watch and pray and are living and walking in the Spirit will be saved from the virtual world of carnal fantasy. Those who live according to the flesh will fall, but those who walk according to the Spirit will overcome.
 http://www.prisonexp.org/. http://lucifereffect.com/ *2+ “A Visit”, http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/27. Accessed on December 7, 2012  IVth Edition, 1992.
THE CRIME OF SILENCE (-"IF HE DOES NOT TELL IT, HE BEARS GUILT ." LEVITICUS 5:1)
If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter; if he does not tell it, he bears guilt. (NKJV) If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible. (NIV) If you sin by not stepping up and offering yourself as a witness to something you've heard or seen in cases of wrongdoing, you'll be held responsible. (MSG) A popular quote, usually attributed to Edmund Burke rightly or wrongly, says "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In the same vein, Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." While the right to silence is a right that citizens have in order to guard against false self-incrimination, a witness of a crime who doesn't stand up to oppose a crime or testify against it is held as an accomplice in the crime. A blog entry on October 29, 2009 on CNN.COM asked the question: "Should people who witness a crime face jail for failing to report it?" The writer, Jack Cafferty, referred to a case in which a 15 year old girl was gangraped in the presence of around 10 onlookers who did nothing to save her from the two-and-half hour assault that was going on. None of them even called 9-1-1 to report the crime. On the other hand, the Police reported that some witnesses took photos while others laughed. There were other cases in which witnesses even refused to come forward to testify. The unwillingness of witnesses to report and/or come forward and
witness against the perpetrators of such crime made such cases maddeningly wicked. Cafferty reports: California law makes it illegal not to report a crime against a child, but the cutoff is 14-years-old. Since the victim in this case is 15, cops say they can't arrest the spectators. The law needs to be changed immediately.
Meanwhile this horrific rape of a young girl follows that brutal beating death caught on video of a 16-year-old honor student in Chicago. That case has been hampered by the refusal of witnesses to come forward. These kids in Chicago also stood by and watched this teenager murdered - beaten to death in broad daylight - and did nothing.
Experts say the reason crimes aren't reported could be a social phenomenon known as "the bystander effect" that means the larger the number of people involved in any situation, the less will get done... One famous case happened in New York in the 1960s - where people watched or heard a serial killer rape, rob and murder a woman named Kitty Genovese. At the time, one witness said: "I didn't want to be involved. To Cafferty's question: "Should people who witness a crime, like the gang rape of a 15-year-old California girl, face jail for failing to report it?" one former Judge, Joe, replied: "I am a retired judge. If I had these people in my courtroom, I would charge them with aiding and abetting the crime and deal with them accordingly." The Bible calls inaction against crime as sin, even if it were a simple failure to witness. The earthly law courts are greatly dependent on
witnesses and evidence for the administration of proper justice. Eyewitnesses play an important role in the determinations of a case. However, the Bible makes it clear "whether he has seen or known of the matter", one must report. Failure to report or testify against crime is abetting of injustice. Such a person has become judicially dysfunctional and is like an organ of the body that has lost connection with the brain. This also applies to the Church. In 1 Corinthians 1:11, Paul writes to the Corinthian Church saying "some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you." The whole letter was an answer to reports of what was going wrong in the Church. Obviously, some would try to label Chloe's family as being gossipers, whisperers, or talebearers; but, the Bible commends their action. Because, it is not talebearing to report a wrong matter to the head (Paul was their father, 1Cor. 4:15). If he doesn't know, there won't be correction; and if there was no correction, a little leaven, a little root of bitterness, one garment spotted by flesh would defile many. Genesis 37:2 tells us that Joseph brought a bad report of his brothers to his father. Obviously, he was not very much liked by his brothers for doing that. But, to someone who's interested in justice, whether someone likes them or not matters very less. This didn't mean that Joseph was too self-righteous. It meant that he was a faithful son. The Bible condemns false testimony as sin. However, it commands testifying to the truth as a responsible act in a politically just society. Some Proverbs in Line Proverbs 12:17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. Proverbs 14:5 A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.
Proverbs 14:25 A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful. Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. Proverbs 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish. Proverbs 19:28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil. Proverbs 21:28 A false witness will perish, and whoever listens to him will be destroyed forever.
After FREEDOM, the Constitution came and defined our: 1. FORM - The word "Constitution" itself speaks of form and identity. The Constitution declared the nature, form, and identity of the nation. It answered questions like "What is this nation?" "What is its form?" "Who is its citizen?" "Who are the officials?" In India, Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950. The date of 26 January was chosen to honour the declaration of independence of 1930 at Lahore. The new Constitution of India, as drafted and approved by the Constituent Assembly of India, was mandated to take effect on January 26, 1950, to commemorate the 1930 declaration. On that day in 1950, India became a republic.... India achieved independence from British rule on 15 August 1947 following the Indian independence movement noted for largely peaceful nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress. The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth (later Commonwealth of Nations): India and Pakistan. India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as governor-general. The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr.B. R. Ambedkar as chairman. While India's
Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution. A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, it came into effect throughout the nation. 2. FUNCTION. The Constitution established the various functions of the State: of the governing officials as well as the citizens. As responsible citizens, we are called to abide by the rules of the Constitution of our nation. Without the Constitution we were without a distinct form and function. BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS Old Testament The Israelites got FREEDOM from Egyptian slavery in Exodus 12; but it was only in Exodus 19 that they saw who they were as a Covenant People (Form) and what they were supposed to do (Function) - the Covenant Laws. New Testament The Church also began with FREEDOM; but, Freedom is not an excuse for Lawlessness. We see a FORM emerge through the Book of Acts and the Epistles. The various FUNCTIONS of the members of the Body were pointed out. Commandments and observances were given. The Republic Day reminds us of the importance of Constitution, first, within our own selves. Law-abiding begins within us. Law-
abiding is the sign of a healthy soul; in which every element within our self is in its proper place and fulfills its proper role. If the Law is written in the book of our hearts, then Justice and Liberty will be innate to us.
SLAVERY AS LIMITED AND LIBERATING IN THE OT (DEUT.15:12-18)
People sometimes bemoan the fact that slavery was permitted in the Old Testament; but, what one needs not fail to recognize is that it was permitted for only a liberating purpose and with certain limitations. It was both limited and liberating. Deuteronomy 15:12-18 underscores at least three laws about the practice of slavery: 1. It was to be VOLUNTARY. The Law specifies, "If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself.." It was not to be a forced bond-labor. It had to be voluntary. When a person would be in so much debt that he couldn't pay it back anymore, he usually would prefer selling himself as a slave. In other cultures, such slavery would become permanent and for generations. But, the Bible didn't permit that, unless the servant voluntarily willed to remain with the master (16-17). 2. It was to be TEMPORARY. It says that when one has served for 6 years, in the 7th year "you must let him go free." Slavery couldn't spill over into the 7th year, which was the year of emancipation and rest. In that way, though a slave would not receive any hire wages for six years, except the food and basic necessities he needed, his debts would ALL BE PAID within just 6 years. Imagine that! 3. It was to be EMANCIPATORY. On the 7th year, the slave was not only released; the Law says, "And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed.
Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you." The 7th year not only liberated the slave from ALL his debts, it was also the year of blessing for him. He could start his own business with all that he received from his master! That is why David said "I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous..." (Psalm 119:75). In modern times as always, slavery is certainly an evil- in the Old Testament, it was only permitted as a lesser evil though with a seed of freedom implanted in it. However, today there are other more wicked ways in which people try to make slaves of people for life. When products are sold by using addictive mechanisms, when employees are forced into helpless subjection through manipulative methods, when banks and businesses force people into eternal and violent debts, these are more evil than the slavery that was present in olden days. Bond-labor and forced bond-labor must be opposed; especially, bond-labor of kids: it is wickedness because the kids are innocent and not indebted to anyone: in fact, the world is responsible for the kids' welfare. But, at the same time we must also oppose mechanisms of society and economy that violate freedom through deception and intellectual violence.
“God is Love,” the Bible tells us, and His sou l is absolutely aversive to violence (IJn.4:8; Ps.11:5). We are told that He once destroyed the entire world by the Flood when He saw that the earth was filled with violence (Gen.6:11,13). “But, isn’t that also an act of violence?” someone may ask, “When God punishes people, throws them into hell fire? And, what about the violence that God commanded in the Law of Moses to stone people to death, to destroy the Canaanites? How can we say that God hates violence, then?” At the very beginning, we must make a distinction between divine violence and sinful violence. To say that God is non-violent is to deny the obvious. God’s violence is evident in the Scripture; however, His violence is true to His own holy and righteous nature. His violence is the violence of justice and salvation. The violence of sin, on the other hand, is the violence of injustice, evil, and destruction. It is man’s active expression of His estrangement and separation from God. It is this violence that God cuts down by His acts of righteous judgment. And who can stand before Him? Now, we know that God is Love; which also means that He is opposite of everything that is not Love. We also know that God is Light; which also means that He is opposite of Darkness. In other words, God’s nature has no place for anything that is opposed to Love and Light. He is the pure and personal form of Love. God is the Person called Love. Consequently, as the nature of light is to destroy Darkness, so the nature of Love is to destroy Hatred. In the Kingdom of Light, there is no place for Darkness, there is no night (Rev.22:5). This destruction is natural; in other words, true to the very nature of Love and Light.
We do not appreciate Hatred to triumph over Love; if it did, just imagine what would become of the world. We also do not appreciate Darkness to triumph over Light. It is an impossibility. So, we know that Love always triumphs over Hatred as Light triumphs over Darkness (Rom.12:21; John 1:5). It is impossible for Hatred to persist in the presence of God who is Love. When the Bible talks about violence as sin, it refers to the violence that is antithetical to the nature of God. There is a form of violence which is harmless. For instance, when a surgeon uses knives, scissors, and needles to cut open and sew together the flesh of a patient, it is a form of violence; but, it is not sin. Such violence is intended to bring healing. The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns the second time, He will seize away and take away by force His Church with Him – that is what the Greek word harpazo (for “caught up”) means in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. That will be an act of violence; but this is a violence of salvation. But, why will He seize the Church away? To protect her from the evil that is going to set loose on the earth, to keep her away from the Tribulation, and to save her from the Judgment to come. It will be an act of violent love. Salvation is an act of violent love. We know that. Someone said it well that when Jesus hung on the Cross, it was Love crucified by Sin. The Bible tells us that Jesus endured the hostility of sinful men (Heb.12:3; 1Pet.2:23). He let the blows of sin fall on His body, and He bore our sins. The Crucifixion of Christ was the greatest act of Violent Sin that humanity committed against God; because, in it man tried to violently murder God Himself. However, the Crucifixion of Christ was also the greatest act of Violent Love that God showed towards humanity; because in it He allowed man to hurt Him personally and embraced him as he was there on the Cross. Thus, He cancelled the writ of Law against us, the declaration of Judgment, because Sin was consumed in His voluntary Sacrifice. And, there is no Law that can stand against God’s voluntary Sacrifice. He allowed the violence of man on Himself. He gave
Himself up on the Altar of the Father. He drank the Cup of Suffering. That’s why the saints talk about agape as Sacrificial Love. And, God is Agape. On the Cross, Love triumphed over Hatred. But, how does that answer the violence legalized by God in the Old Testament? We have already looked at one face of the answer; the next is also important. The Bible says that God is Life (1Jn.5:20). This means that God is the opposite of Death. Death and Life are contradictory to each other. And, Life triumphs over Death. Thus, anything opposed to God is Death. When man in Noah’s days rebelled against God and did whatever he liked, walking according to his evil imagination (Gen.6:5), he embraced the finality of Death. Only Noah found favor in God’s eyes (6:8). This doesn’t mean that God didn’t give a chance to the others. The Bible says that God waited patiently for them, but none except the 8 people who got into the Ark, could receive the favor of God (1Pet.3:19). The Spirit did strive with the people, but they rejected God, they rejected Love, they rejected Life, because of their own hatred and sinful violence (Gen. 6:3; 1Pet.3:19,20). Noah accepted the grace of God and became the heir of righteousness by faith (Heb.11:7). To reject Life and embrace Death is foolishness, we say; but, that is what humanity does again and again. We have no rights to Life when we have rejected Life. It’s a contradiction. What about the Canaanites then? Why did God order to kill them all? The same principle applies even there. However, this time God uses man to judge man, a nation to judge another nation, instead of using a flood; for He had made a Covenant: “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen.9:11).
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Gen.9:6). Not even Israel was exempt of this universal Covenant. When we read the books of Kings, Chronicles, and the Prophets we know that when they sinned by rejecting God, God raised another nation to execute judgment over them. Judgment is nothing but giving someone his/her rightful place – in this case, when someone rejects Life, he/she embraces Death and Death comes in various forms: sword, pestilence, and famine to name a few (Jer.14:12). With regard to the Canaanites and the nations that God commanded Israel to destroy, God makes these statements with a warning for Israel: “Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Lev.18:25) “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Lev.18:28) To vomit is a hurtful and violent experience; but to vomit is to cast out substance that is unacceptable, even lethal, to the body – it is one way of saying, “We are opposed; we can’t stick together!” If a body doesn’t vomit up a lethal substance, it accepts its own destruction. It’s an either/or condition: Either Light or Darkness, Life or Death. God is not compelled to cast them out. It is His nature as Light, that when He turns His face to action, Darkness is blotted out. He is not like man who might be indecisive at times. He is the Perfect and Absolute one and in Him there is no shadow of turning (James 1:17). His Love is so violent that it embraced us despite of the hurt we gave Him. It is also so violent that it will vomit us out if we don’t renounce ourselves and become one spirit with Him (1Cor.6:17).
When we do that, then we’ll find in our lives Love and not Hatred, because the fruit of the Spirit is Love (Gal.5:22). We will be as He is.
Protection of the Innocent in the Old Testament (Deut 19) 1. CITIES OF REFUGE (19:1-13) These cities were places where an unintentional killer (someone who didn't kill by intention, but by accident) could run and be safe. However, if he left the city, his blood was on his head. 2. LIMIT OF WITNESSES (19:15-20) The limit of witnesses was at least two or three. The Law specifically states: "One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." (v.15, NIV) 3. MANNER OF INVESTIGATION (19:18) The judges were required to make a "thorough investigation" (NIV), a "careful inquiry" (NKJV) of the matter. 4. DETERRENT OF CRIME (19:18-21) "..if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deu 19:18-21 NKJ)
POLITICS AND LIES
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:38 KJV) Since the Fall of man, man has resorted to the tools of violence and deception in order to rule man. While the use of arms for protection of justice can be justified, the use of deception is a symptom of the inherent human vileness. Religion, superstition, education, media, propaganda, disinformation, riots and a host of tools have been politically exploited to keep the masses under bait. Hitler coined the term "Big Lie" for a propaganda technique that he himself used. "...in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." - Hitler, Mein Kampf
In brief, the principle states, as someone put it: "Tell a lie, speak it loudly, repeat it often, and the majority of the masses will believe you."
The masses lose out for the power of appeal. Sometimes it is the appeal of authority (someone who is well knowledgeable would know better, they think; but, fail to register that that same person could be deliberately lying or have been deceived himself). Sometimes, it is the appeal of the masses (the majority cannot be wrong, they think). Sometimes, it is the appeal of a famous personality or a celebrity (the appeal here would be more of a psychological nature, because one often tends to like what is liked by the person he/she adores). In the olden times, lie was woven into religion through myths and legends that tried to establish the superiority of the royal family, the division of family lines, the inferiority of certain people, and taboos that protected power. In modern times, when science has destroyed many of the mythical grounds, there are other lying techniques ready at hand that deceive and delude men to support a political leader or party. The Bible predicts that this is how the Antichrist, who will be an agent of the Devil, the Father of Lies, will come. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th 2:9-12 KJV) Modern Universities, Arts & Media, Politics, Markets, and Religion are all marching forward to the gate of deception that will soon happily welcome the Son of Perdition. But, everyone who is of the truth hears the voice of the Lord; everyone who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (Joh 18:37; 3:21)
GOD AND POLITICS IN SECULAR INDIA
God and politics are not strangers to each other in India. Of course, that might preliminarily appear to be a theologically precarious announcement. Secularity has taught us to abstain from referring to God in history; while theology closed the lid on divine history, at least, with the fixation of the Canon in the 4th century. That didn’t mean that individual testimonies ceased to exist; however, individual testimonies ceased to hold documentable authority for the development of a theology of history. Certainly, that was crucial to the sealing of revelation in history; theology of New Testament is not permitted to extend beyond the original Apostolic doctrine. But, of course, this didn’t rule away the possibility of supernatural experiences though their significance had to be interpreted in light of the revealed Scriptures. The modernism of the Enlightenment in the 18th century encouraged a somewhat deistic view of divine abstinence from human history; a view that seemed to have become strengthened, through diverse interpretations, among a few theologians in the Post-War era, in the Death of God movement. Of course, these exemplified only a few; most continued to believe that God was interested in human affairs and that God has a historical plan for the world. Prayer became a powerful privilege to such who sought divine intervention in personal and national matters. The Dispensationalists were keen to identify the nation of Israel in the divine historical timeline and interpret all current events in relation to the dispensationalist points of reference. Nations and nationalisms had no individual significance apart from their place in the eschatological timetable. Missionary anthropologists, however, seemed to discover the chronological significance of nations in the ecclesiological plan of God. In some way, it was also anticipated that evangelization would hasten the end of times. But, was God specifically interested in the history of any nation just for its sake?
Also, could a Christian nationalism be possible? Do nations possess individual significance like Israel did or was Israel the only significant physical nation – so that theology had to only deal with the physical Israel and the spiritual Israel (church) so far as national historical significance was concerned? The question needs to be theologically answered and not just sensationally aired. Interestingly, it seems theologians have not given any theological credit to Christian nationalisms, popularly embraced. Liberational movements may raise some themes; but, a full fledged systematization doesn’t look to have been attempted. But, the results do seem to have theological antecedents. Commenting on the phenomenon of American Christian nationalism, Stephen Backhouse notes: ...the worldview is itself an example of a rationalist, modernistic mindset, albeit with adjustments. It is a religious Chosen People ideology, bolted on to a classically liberal interpretation of the progression of history, cemented by a thoroughly Enlightenment vision of modern nations and national identity. The result is a theology best described as 'Christian nationalism'. The theology is not systematic, but it is pervasive. It does not have a single source or author, but it does appear regularly from multiple voices and at multiple times. It has not been explicated dogmatically, but its core themes recur with remarkable consistency..... Space doesn’t permit here to attempt a theological dissection of nationalism. Certainly, there is no New Testament basis for any such. Jesus made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world. Does that rule out our political involvement in nations? Of course not; what belongs to Caesar must be given to Caesar – “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7, ESV). Our eschatolo gical
identity doesn’t preclude our historical responsibilities. Thus, we are called to pray for our political administrators (1Tim.2:2) and understand the importance of peace and order for the propagation of the Gospel: the Gospel is still central. The Reformers of the 16th century considered the alliance between politics and religion as an unholy matrimony. In 1523, Luther published his “On Temporal Authority” in which he argued for the division of the church and the state. To Luther, the weltliches Regiment (‘the kingdom of the world,’ ‘the State’) was distinct from the geistliches Regiment (‘the kingdom of God,’ ‘the church’). The state was connected with God’s continual work of creation and the church with God’s continual work of redemption. God, Luth er stated, is the head of both the kingdoms. Paul instructed the Christians of the Roman Empire to submit to the political authority as an authority ordained by God (Rom.13:1-7). But, certainly, the Ordainer was greater than the ordained and so obedience to Him was primary (Acts 4:19). The implication is that political authority (delegated to either Christian or any other) is divine though unecclesiastical. This certainly establishes God’s direct relationship with politics, though separate from religion or the church. The relationship existed prior to the church. God works in politics secularly; pointing towards the secularity of God (i.e. as unrelated to the church), politically speaking. But, God also calls the church to seek Him through prayer to bring political peace for the peaceful propagation of the Gospel. This precludes the idea of Christian nationalism though establishing the significance of a Christian’s role in political history. Interestingly, God as secular (disconnected from organized religion) is open to the nations as the God of the nations. As such, He belongs to them in the place and time that they are.
Pluralism, Secularity, and Divine Sovereignty with reference to the Indian Context
Probably, in this sense, we can look at the postmodern pluralist Indian in a more sensible manner. Gandhi’s pluralistic spirituality; and now, (the atheist turn theist) Kejriwal’s pluralistic spirituality admit of sincerity. Kejriwal’s public gratitude to the Supreme Father God (Parampita Parameshwar), Ishwar, Allah, Waheguru is also a declaration of the pluralistic faith in the supremacy of God who transcends religions and relates to the politics of the nation particularly. The secular God’s interests are not limited to just a single religion; but, here to a nation. At the same time, He is the Supreme God, He is Allah, He is Waheguru; thus, He is also transnational simultaneously. Interestingly, Kejriwal’s refusal of security with a rational apologetic that if God protects a man, nothing can destroy him, but, if it is His will to take him away, no security can save him, speaks of a theology applied to reality. “I don't need any security. I don't need any escort...God is my biggest security,” he is reported to have said. Is Kejriwal tying politics with religion? He doesn’t quote the God of some singular, organized religion. His pluralism may be accused as being politically tainted; but, it is not invalidated by God’s secularity. It also reflects a local, geographical historical response to the Unknown Supreme Father (cf. Acts 17:2429). However, such a view has to be informed by some theology whatsoever, which must not be just pragmatical. There might be many claims to the sources; but, we know the spirit of the age to be humanistic and spiritual. Kejriwal’s request to the Delhites to swear an oath against corruption with him would be meaningless without these categories subsisting in the background of it all. What seems attractively cogent is the implied refusal to associate with any singular religion. Yet, this God of the secular is not impersonal. He is sovereign. He is both transcendent and immanent, being interested in the affairs of humans. He answers prayers. He respects faith. He fixes destiny, determines the times, and fights against corruption. He is open to all His children, irrespective of race, caste, gender, creed, or class. Is such implicit
theology explicit of post-secularity in India? I doubt. Perhaps, in some way or the other, the secularity of God and the secularity of India aren’t confused. The secularity of God is what makes conversations and dialogues possible. The temporal is the platform for the eternal. From a Christian vantage point, can we seriously pronounce AAP’s victory as a divine miracle, as Kejriwal publicly and humbly confessed? Or should we treat it as accidental, a wave of the times, bearing no theological value? I think we don’t have any justification for treating any political event as accidental. Certainly, the Bible is too clear to be misunderstood: …the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. (Dan 4:17 NKJ) …there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1-2 NKJ) Of course, this would more seriously imply that the authority which resists the ordinance of God will bring more severe judgment on itself; because it answers to God, though it may not recognize it – and this irrespective of religion, in secularity alone. The judges who were tried at the Nuremberg Trials (1945-46) had to concede to the fact that a corrupt system doesn’t justify compliance to corruption. There was a Law above the laws of Hitler; and they were first obliged to the greater. Individuals who stand against the crimes of the nation stand out before God. Secularity doesn’t imply unspirituality, because “in Him we live and move and have our being”. This might seem inclusivist; and, it is; but, here again, God is not spoken of possessively but secularly, as one belonging to the nations. An Inclusivist Political Theology?
The New Testament is clear about the fact that God is interested in nations individually. He is willing to leave the 99 righteous in order to rescue the one in peril. Does this abrogate the place of Israel as a covenant nation in modern times? In Isaiah 44:28-45:1, God refers to Cyrus, the Persian emperor, as His anointed, His shepherd, who will do His pleasure by building Jerusalem and its temple. Somehow, God’s dealing with the nations seems to be linked to Israel. In modern times, Christians have considered seriously the place of Israel in God’s layout of human history. Dispensationalism and Premillenial eschatology, popularized by J.N. Darby and C.I. Scofield, has deeply influenced present Christian political thought. These inform the theology of history which seeks to interpret local instances in light of God’s covenants and prophetical pronouncements. For instance, perhaps it is not accidental that the “Times of the Gentiles” that began with the Fall of Jerusalem in 6th century BC saw not only the rise of the great empires, but also the liberation of religion under the great worldwide protest and reform movements during the same time [the 6th and 5th centuries saw the rise of Greek philosophy, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Confucianism]. Stephen Spector has pointed out the two biblical texts that have strongly influenced the modern Evangelical attitude towards Israel.*5+ The first is God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 in which He declares that He will bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him. In his 1909 edition of the Scofield Reference Bible, Scofield noted that this promise has been “wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew — well with those who have protected him.”*6+ The other text is in Joel 3:1-2 where God declares that He will judge the nations on the Last Day according to how they have treated the nation of Israel. Teachers of prophecy refer to this as the “Judgment of the Nations”.
Interestingly, in India the main political voices that have supported the cause of Israel came from the Hindutva camp. In his letter of 19th December, 1947, Veer Savarkar celebrated the notion of the creation of the nation of Israel. He wrote: After centuries of sufferings, sacrifices and struggle the Jews will soon recover their national Home in Palestine which has undoubtedly been their Fatherland and Holyland. Well may they compare this event to that glorious day in their history when Moses led them out of The Egyptian bondage and wilderness? and the promised land flowing with milk and honey came well within sight. Of course, his nationalistic stance and opposition of the Islamic conquest ideology defined his terms. He wasn’t favorable towards the then India’s position with regard to Israel: It is consequently to be regretted that the delegation which represented our Hindusthani Government in the UNO should have voted against the creation of the Jewish State. The speeches of Shrimati Vijayalaxmi in particular were justly ridiculed when she declaimed melodramatically that the Indian Government refused to stab the unity and integrity of the Palestine State in the back by carving out a seperate Jewish State,—forgetting for the while that the very Indian Government had stabbed the unity and integrity of their own nation only the other day and gloated over it as an event for public jubilations! Pandit Nehru made his case more untenable by stating that the creation of the Jewish State was opposed by his Government to secure the goodwill of the group of the petty Moslem States in Asia…. The international policy of Hindudom at any rate must always aim to break up the power of the Moslem Blocks from Africa to the Malayan Peninsula. The creation of a strong and independent Jewish state must serve to checkmate the aggressive tendencies of Moslem fanaticism in general.
Nehru does have one chapter on Palestine in his Glimpses of World History (1960) in which he admires the Jews as a very remarkable people who stood through the many times of affliction during their diaspora; however, he felt that returning their homeland back to them was at the sacrifice of those who were already dwelling there and this only created the Jews-Arabs conflict. Savarkar’s nationalism (based on his ideas of Hindu -ness) didn’t seem to be threatened by Jewish nationalism. “The Jewish people bear no political ill-will towards Hindudom,” he had said. His original directive (“Whatever the attitude of the present Congressite Government be the Hindu Sanghatanists at any rate cherish goodwill towards and extend their moral support to the establishment of the independent Jewish State in Palestine on moral as well as political grounds”) seems to have been carefully observed by the Sangh Parivar. Israel-India ties were strengthened during the BJP term. On the other hand, Hindutva nationalism has opposed Christian evangelization, prompting us to ask if this obfuscates its nationalist favoritism for Israel. We are not called to be judges here. But, of course, unlike the Dispensationalist Christian support for Israel (which may sometimes be vested with selfish interest – to be blessed in return and not be cursed), Hindutva support of Zionism has a different ideological premise. It certainly doesn’t know about Genesis 12 or care anything about it. We have noted Sava rkar’s sympathy for the Jews as he considers Palestine to be their own land. Also, he seems to become more sympathetic because the Jews bear no ill-will towards Hindus but the Moslem states are usually anti-semitic. Certainly, there is a point in Christian political theology that cannot ignore the Israeli question. The people are the chosen ones. But, one must not stop to enquire about the nature of this chosenness.
Certainly, God’s choice of Israel is only part of His greater plan for the world. In the ultimate sense, it is not the world towards Israel; it is Israel towards the world. Also, we cannot ignore the Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12. But, we must also not forget the vision of the promise “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. The reference to Cyrus as God’s anointed in Isaiah 44 and 45 is, obviously, in relation to God’s plan for His own covenant people Israel. His famous Edict (536BC) that empowered the Jews in exile to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1) is documented with references to his acknowledgement of YHWH as God (1:2,3). The discovery of Cyrus’ Cylinder in 19th century did spark lot of enthusiasm since the clay document confirmed the historical authenticity of the Biblical record. The prophetic word regarding Cyrus was: “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward” (Isa 45:13 NKJ). While it may appear that God’s election of Cyrus was utilitarian (for t he sake of His people Israel), we are not without biblical evidence to also say that the election was part of God’s governance of the world -- “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will” (Dan 4:17). As such, His interest is also in the individual nations. In fact, in the ultimate sense, God is not interested in the nations for the sake of Israel, but God chose Israel because He loves the nations, and wants to bless them. The choice of Israel is one step in affirming God’s belongedness to the nations – His initiation of reconciliation and of making them a people of God. Thus, Cyrus or any other ruler or government might be unaware of the theological horizon, but God’s governance includes them; His sovereignty over the earth is not obstructed by man’s incognizance of His person. Of course, God’s governance is not through hard -determinism. There are situations where He permits evil rulers to come to power by evil means; there are conditions in which He abandons humans to their selfish and destructive desires; but, then He also seeks for people to stand in the gap to intercede for God’s will to be done on
earth as it is in heaven – and, it is He who answers the cries of the innocent by giving them justice. He is interested in the one missing sheep. Obviously, God’s interest in the salvation of Nineveh was not towards Israel, but from Israel to the world (“Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22)). The only rationale God provided to Jonah was: You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left-- and much livestock?" (Jon 4:9-11 NKJ) God created the nations of the world and His interest in them individually (even to the livestock) is much larger than the nationalistic self-interest of any people. His interest is global and personal. Indian Christians must avoid any form of nationalism that is religiously oriented. Such nationalism is not theologically warranted. We have already noted God’s involvement in politics in a secular fashion (unecclesiastically). The church is separate from the state. Thus, historically, it is seen that even though a government wasn’t secular, God was secular. He didn’t drag religion into politics, but silently did intervene to administer temporal justice and order in the world (i.e. temporal justice in relation to temporal authority). With regard to the church, it doesn’t seem that God is interested in an organized religion at all. Christianity had nothing to do with an external temple. Each Christian is the temple of God. This is what frees Paul to do his own theology, separate from the Twelve. Their association with Jesus for three and half years, and their direct and public appointment by Jesus didn’t give them theological advantage over Paul. But from those who seemed to be something-- whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism
to no man-- for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. (Gal 2:6 NKJ) God is not interested in a political structure within the church, where power lobbying will be an issue. The church is not a political kingdom; nor is it meant to become a political nation. The Bible doesn’t know anything about a Christian nationalism. It speaks nothing of it. We should be careful of notions such as a “Christian nation”. Politics is theologically meant to be secular. In fact, it doesn’t seem unhistorical to maintain that the progressive secularization of the world is “the logical outcome of Biblical religion.”*10+ Of course, the eschatological question does remain. We leave it to God to deal with the question. This is not to disregard eschatology; but, to affirm the sovereignty of God over all things. The Christian is called to respect the secular political authority. The Christian is also called to be salt and light in the world. However, a Christian who is in a political office must desist from mixing religion with politics. He should also serve the world as serving Christ and must not compromise his Christian faith in any situation. He must remember that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will”.
God and Politics in the Secular So, when Kejriwal is grateful to God, in his pluralistic sense, the acknowledgement certainly seems to be honest. The question about the identity of this God is tackled in his naming all the names of God, in different faiths, that he considers pertinent in the Indian setting. Of course, the inclusivist Christian is well aware of such usage (Parmeshwar and Allah have been used for God in Hindi and Urdu Bible translations). At the moment, the confession seems to be more secular than religious. Certainly, such public confession is not biblically discouraged. In fact, both in the New Testament and
the Old Testament, any ruler who got megalomaniac got immediately punished by God (Daniel 4:30-34; Acts 12:21-23). Kejriwal’s public humility, in light of this, is highly commendable. Also, Kejriwal seemed to echo the secular God, the God present in the secular world of politics, unpossessively of any religion. His faith is both personal and public at the same time and important for his identity as a political activist standing for the purification of Indian politics. Certainly, this is not just the cry of the people, but also the heart of God for them. We must desist from mixing religion (i.e., of the organized kind) with politics here. However, a secular politician is better when he has faith in God. God is not a stranger to politics; in fact, He governs the political world. The queries with this regard don’t end here; there is much to be reflected. However, it should certainly be a challenge to understand that there is also a way in which God relates to the world even if the world is unaware of Him; perhaps, that shows us the secular face of God.
References Backhouse, Stephen. Kierkegaard’s Critique of Christian Nationalism, Oxford University Press, 2011. Cox, Harvey. The Secular City, New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., 1975. Marbaniang, Domenic. Secularism in India: A Historical Analysis, Lulu, 2011. Nehru, Jawaharlal. Glimpses of World History, NY: The John Day Company, 1960. Savarkar, S.S. for V.D. Savarkar, “Glad to Note that Independent Jewish State is Established”, Historic Statements by Savarkar, Bombay: G.P. Parchure, 1967. Spector, Stephen. Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism, Oxford University Press, 2009.
*1+ Stephen Backhouse, Kierkegaard’s Critique of Christian Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2011), 18  Domenic Marbaniang, Secularism in India: A Historical Analysis (Lulu, 2011), 22 *3+ “Once-atheist Arvind Kejriwal thanks God, calls it miracle”, Times of India, Dec 28, 2013, 02:18 PM IST, timesofindia.indiatimes.com *4+ “God will protect me, says Arvind Kejriwal as he refuses security”, NDTV, December 23, 2013 23:57 IST, ndtv.com  Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism (Oxford University Press, 2009), 23-35  As cited by Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel, 23 *7+ S.S. Savarkar for V.D. Savarkar, “Glad to Note that Independent Jewish State is Established”, Historic Statements by Savarkar (Bombay: G.P. Parchure, 1967), 135. Savarkar.org  Savarkar, Historic Statements, 136  Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History (NY: The John Day Company, 1960), 262  Harvey Cox, The Secular City (New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., 1975), Cover Page