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Hope in a Hurting World
Michael Goheen
Trinity Western University
May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace as
you trust in him, so that you
may overflow with hope by
the power of the Holy Spirit
(Rom.15.13).
Hurting World
• Poverty
Some Poverty Stats
• 3 b. live on less than $2.50/day; 80% of on less
than $10/day
• 30,000 children die each day due to poverty
• Wealthiest 20% of population accounted for
76.6% of consumption; poorest fifth, 1.5%
• Wealthiest 10%, 59% of consumption; poorest
10%, 0.5%.
• Priorities: Americans spend $8b. on cosmetics
and $17b. on pet food while $6b. is needed for
education for all, $9b. for water and sanitation
for all, and $13b. for health and nutrition for all
Hurting World
• Poverty
• Environmental destruction
Some Environment Stats
• If the whole world lived at the level of North
Americans the world’s resources would last about
10 years
• Ozone layer: Earth’s protective ozone layer has
decreased 20% over last 20 years
• Global warming: Doubling of carbon dioxide
emissions will produce 1.5-4.5 increase in
average world temperature
• Acid rain: In Eastern Canada 10% more acidic
than normal with $1b. damage
• Loss of biodiversity, toxic chemical waste,
deforestation, depleting energy supply, unbridled
harvesting of resources from ocean floor, etc.
Hurting World
• Poverty
• Environmental destruction
• Arms buildup and terror
Military Spending Stats
• One day’s worth of global spending would feed
world’s hungry for years!
• $780b. spent on arms
• US spends $2b. per day on military matters
• US’s military budget larger than next 15 nations
combined
• $4b./year would cut hunger in half in Africa over
next decade
• 10% of US military budget would take care of
basic needs of world’s poor
Hurting World
•
•
•
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Poverty
Environmental destruction
Arms buildup and terror
Psychological troubles
Psychological deficits
• Low self-esteem; Depression; Stress;
Obsessive compulsion; Sado-masochistic;
Identity crisis; Seasonal affective disorder;
Post-traumatic stress disorder; Burned
out; Paranoid; Bulimia; Midlife crisis;
Anorexia; Psychopathic deviate;
Repression
• All these words have come into English
vocabulary in the last half century
(Gergen)
Hurting World
•
•
•
•
•
Poverty
Environmental destruction
Arms buildup and terror
Psychological troubles
Social problems
Sampling of Social Problems
•
•
•
•
•
•
Breakdown of marriages and family
Crime
Sex trafficking
Suicide
Impoverishment of life through technology
Enormous ethical/medical issues raised by
technology
• ETC.
Narrating Our World
• Which story on offer gives hope for our
hurting world?
• Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate
the World? Contending for the Christian
Story in an Age of Rivals
• “This book addresses the most pressing
spiritual issue of our time: Who gets to
narrate the world?”
Which rival story?
• Global story of western
humanism?
• Muslim story?
• Christian story?
Global story of western humanism
• This story:
– developed in Europe
– spread to European colonies (e.g., North
America, Australia, etc.)
– has roots all the way back to the Greeks
– became the public religious story of
Europe in the 18th (vision) and 19th and
20th (embodiment) centuries
– is globalising
– is the dominant global story today
Enlightenment Vision: Seeds of
Global Story
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Progress
Paradise images
Material prosperity
Reached by reason
Discerning natural laws
Translated into technology
Society reorganized according to
reason
• Exaggerated place of economics
19th Century Implementation
• Age of revolutions: Society brought into
conformity with the Enlightenment faith
• French, industrial, American, democratic,
Marxist
If the Enlightenment vision is true then “the
establishment of new social institutions is not a
tedious incidental task, but a dire necessity and
a highly ethical imperative. In that case, the
narrow way to the lost paradise can only be the
way of social revolution” (Goudzwaard).
20th Century Development
• Two forms of Enlightenment story:
– Liberalism in North America and Western
Europe
– Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe
• Two forms dominated most of 20th
century
• Collapse of Soviet Union
• “The end of history?” (Fukyama)
Does the liberal humanist story
offer hope for a hurting world?
• Acknowledge it has brought much
good
• Economic and technological idolatry
• Producing consumer society in West
• Exacerbating (if not primary cause of)
poverty, environmental destruction,
social and psychological problems
• Inevitable collapse beneath idolatry
Muslim story
• This story:
– has roots back to 6th century A.D.
– is primary contender to western story
– is hostile rival to western story
– gaining momentum and confidence
globally and in heartland of western
story (Europe)
– numbers, money, single religious vision
– is interpreted differently by different
factions of Islam
Religion?
“Islam is not a religion in the common,
distorted meaning of the word, confining
its scope to the private life of man. It is a
complete way of life, catering for all the
fields of human existence. Islam provides
guidance for all walks of life . . . The
Qu’ran enjoins man to enter the fold of
Islam without any reservation and to follow
God’s guidance in all fields of life.”
(Ahmed)
Struggle between Islam and West
“The underlying problem for the West is not
Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different
civilization whose people are convinced of the
superiority of their culture and are obsessed by
the inferiority of their power. The problem for
Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. department of
defense. It is the West, a different civilization
whose people are convinced of the universality
of their culture and believe that their superior, if
declining, power imposes on them the obligation
to extend that culture throughout the world.
These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict
between Islam and the West.” (Huntington).
Does the Muslim story offer hope
for a hurting world?
• Danger of radical Islam
“Islam is a comprehensive system that tends to
annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the
world and enforce its own program. . . . a
revolutionary concept and ideology which seeks
to change and revolutionize the world social
order and reshape it according to its own
concept and ideals.” (Mawlana Abul A’la
Mawdudi 1903-1979)
Does the Muslim story offer hope
for a hurting world?
• Moderate Islam offer more hope?
• Refusal to stand against radical
Islam—why?
• Heart of Muslim faith
Heart of the Muslim faith
• One God—Allah
• To found a community ruled by shariah law
over all of life (umma)
• Two regions: daar al-salaam/islam and
daar al-harb
• Mission: Establish peace throughout world
by striving (jihad)
Jihad
“ . . . a defining concept or belief in Islam, a key
element in what it means to be a believer and
follower of God’s will . . . A universal religious
obligation for all true Muslims to join the jihad to
promote a global Islamic revolution.” (John
Esposito)
“For most of the fourteen centuries of recorded
Muslim history, jihad was most commonly
interpreted to mean armed struggle for the
defence or advancement of Muslim power.”
(Bernard Lewis)
Heart of the Muslim faith
• One God—Allah
• To found a community ruled by shariah law
over all of life (umma)
• Two regions: daar al-salaam/islam and
daar al-harb
• Mission: Establish peace throughout world
by striving (jihad)
• Intrahistorical victory
Tolerance: Christianity and Islam
“What is unique about the Christian gospel is that those who
are called to be its witnesses are committed to the public
affirmation that it is true—true for all people at all times—and
are at the same time forbidden to use coercion to enforce it.
They are therefore required to be tolerant of denial . . . not in
the sense that we must tolerate all beliefs because truth is
unknowable and all have equal rights. The toleration which a
Christian is required to exercise is not something which he
must exercise in spite of his or her belief that the gospel is
true, but precisely because of this belief. This marks one of
the very important points of difference between Islam and
Christianity.” (Lesslie Newbigin)
Hope for hurting world . . . problems
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•
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Toleration and Islam
Islamic imperialism in first centuries
Debate about democracy among Muslims
Treatment of minorities and women
Issue of conversion
Preservation of democracy after used to
gain power
• Human rights: Islam and UN
(Colin Chapman)
Christian story
• Start with the good news of Jesus
Christ
• Claims to tell the true story of the world
“The whole point of Christianity is that it
offers a story which is the story of the
whole world. It is public truth” (N.T.
Wright).”
Christian story
• Start with the good news of Jesus Christ
• Claims to tell the true story of the world
• Much to learn about this from Muslims!
Ziauddin Sardar’s critique
• Christianity has “become a handmaiden to
secularism . . . Christianity, it appears, always
chooses as secularism wills.”
• Christianity is dualistic as a result of historic
compromises with Platonism and rationalism
• “ . . . The spread of Christianity in the Third World
goes hand in hand with the introduction of liberal
secularism and Western capitalism into developing
societies . . . Christianity thus serves the interest
of secularism in the Third world, despite loud
declarations of love and an appearance of
authenticity, missionary activity spreads a
dehumanizing form of Western culture and
capitalism”
Christian story
•
•
•
•
•
•
Start with good news of Jesus Christ
Claims to tell the true story of the world
Much to learn about this from Muslims!
This story offers hope for restoration of all things
Call to church to embody the end today in love
This story must penetrate and shape the whole
educative enterprise
• Again, much to learn from Muslims!
Abdul Qadir’s (Philosophy and
Science in the Islamic World)
“The Islamic theory of knowledge . . . is
based upon the spiritual conception of
man and the universe he inhabits, while
[the Western theory] is secular and devoid
of the sense of the Sacred. It is precisely
for this reason, according to Muslim
thinkers, that the Western theory of
knowledge poses one of the greatest
challenges to mankind.”
Abdul Qadir’s further comments:
Islamic belief in the sovereignty of Allah
“means that the sense of the Sacred which
furnishes the ultimate ground for
knowledge has to accompany and to
interpenetrate the educative process at
every stage. Allah not only stands at the
beginning of knowledge, He also stands at
the end and He also accompanies and
infuses grace into the entire process of
learning.”
How can our education produce . . .
• A community who experiences God’s presence in a secular
world?
• A community of justice in a world of economic and
ecological injustice?
• A community of generosity and simplicity (of ‘enough’) in a
consumer world?
• A community of selfless giving in a world of selfishness?
• A community of truth (humility and boldness) in a world of
relativism?
• A community of hope in a world of disillusionment and
consumer satiation?
• A community of joy and thanksgiving in a world of
entitlement?
Christian education today
• Need to know and find place in biblical
story
• Need to understand world Bible narrates
(worldview)
• Wrestle with implications for education
• Lifelong calling
• Serious business!
• Need for vital spirituality