Our Readers' Opinions
January 18, 2013

The God Challenge

Fri Jan 18, 2013

by: Adaiah Providence-Culzac
Zhejiang University, China

I have followed with delight Jomo Thomas’ Plain Talk column in the Vincentian newspaper over the past month, on his “spiritual journey”, sharing insights into his appetite for religious studies. In his last piece titled, “Why does Religion Endure?” he seemingly affirms the conclusion offered by Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and a member of the British House of Lords, “Religion is the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer/materialistic age. The idea that society can do without religion flies in the face of history and, now, evolutionary biology.{{more}} It certainly shows that modern societies can ill afford to lose their sense of God.” However, unprecedented cultural forces may yet prove that society is moving towards removing a titular god.

Unlike the individual scholarship by evolutionists like Charles Darwin and noted atheists who have written against God’s existence, it seems modern forces are disturbingly bent on offering a new form of opposition and/or challenge to a God figure by dismantling his ‘likeness’, statutes and laws — his very essence and foundations of Christian theology. Unlike Darwin who approached the subject with trying to remove our belief in the Godhead, modernists who have won increasing cultural and political space have been purposefully cutting away at the traditional theology and Christian beliefs and significantly, its dominance especially in the Western world. Whether atheists, anarchist, reformists or the “Occupy Wall Street” brand are responsible or there is a coherent drive by unseen forces, it does not appear that the principles and laws that God represented at the foundation of the world would remain. The question is, “Do we need a modern God?”

Our societies have fallen prey to idealism and “politicking.” Every issue is now a constituent base and consideration is first given to ensuring politically expedient outcomes rather than any firm normative value judgment. This obviously presents further questions: “Who decides what is in the best interest of all the people” and “Who decides the shape and form of our society and select our common values.” For small countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines, many international charters and the guiding principles of our Constitution play an important role. So, it may not be difficult to imagine that the cultural transformation taking place in Washington, and London and other European cities will soon end up at our doorsteps and the debate will be messy.

Today, as one writes a letter in the newspaper, it is a matter of record and in a world where you are now being trained to be “politically correct” and neutral, it seems that regards for “rights” is the shadow of a movement to dismantle the social construct of our society. This political correctness has caused many in power to cower to the political forces, including large organizations and big spending lobbying groups that push the agenda for our politicians. Today, it seems offensive not to give “carte blanche” support to any minority group seeking to claim their “freedoms and rights.” Right before our eyes, the Bible, like our laws, is given a new organic reading, making it adaptable to society’s current trends, norms and values.

So, the Girl Guiding UK, according to the new Chief Executive Officer Julie Bentley, in announcing plans to remove any mention of God from its oath was quoted in the Guardian as saying, “Times do change, the world has changed and the way people viewed the world has changed. Our response is not to be stuck in a rigid way, but to respond to the needs of our membership.” In December, it was also announced that gay clergy in civil partnerships would be allowed to become bishops in the church of England if they remain sexually abstinent. This is against previous Church doctrine. These are not all of the watershed moments that can be listed. We are not immune to the winds blowing, as we globalise and build multi-cultural and multi-faith societies. The need to ‘re-address’ our concept of humanity in that unique Vincentian context is fundamental in the new global economy and the challenge will be to figuring out that answer and where it would come from. If it is that Washington, through the usual “stick or carrot” approach, will hold sway, then teachers at local Sunday schools will have a very hard time reconciling the words of the Bible to the new teachings being dictated.

It is here that Joshua’s charge at Joshua 24 verse 15 still resonates soundly “And if it seem evil into you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” So far as the eyes of the reformist are currently turned inwards into their own capitals, we have been sheltered from engaging in this debate at the moment but this should not leave us in a state of unpreparedness, as the reformists will come knocking on our doors in the guise of “multilateralism” at the opportune time. The prayer, the cross and the assembly of saints have all been diminished or removed from public in many countries that led the Christian movement. Oaths to God are now being removed for more politically correct formulations. Organizations like the Girl Guides, Scouts and Boy’s Brigade, whose formation were on this Christian faith, are being faced with the challenge of lawsuits pushed by a “reform or else” agenda.

The challenge to God is not the “Big bang theory” or the human evolution from animals. It is not even from those who proclaim that God does not exist. The challenge confronting Christians everywhere is the institutional and systematic challenge to the essence and nature of God and his timeless Statutes and Commandments. It is the movement that led to the removal of Pastor Louie Giglio from delivering the benediction at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural ceremony, because of his anti-gay remarks some years ago which the President’s Inaugural Committee has said “don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country.” This deprecation will no doubt prove to be more fatal than anything hitherto, but alas we are assured that in the end “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord.”