Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Coming of Christ

I have been terrified recently by the massacres of innocent people in the raging sectarian war in Syria as I received videos of these violent events by human beings against human beings who share with them the same land. Many other terrible things took place in the Philippines, Mali, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. And I add Canada too in the scandals of the blame game between the Mayor of Toronto and his Council members.  My reaction was to turn to the good news of those few men who, having won the lottery in Canada, decided to share the gains with many persons in need. Although they did not wish to steal the camera light on TV, their good news were given top coverage. They include Tom Crist who donated the $40 million he won in Lotto 649.  In the news too, there was a good story of a woman saved from the attack of a bear in Western Canada by a neighbour. She was rushed to hospital and had an emergency surgery, Erin Greene survived. See the story here:

The only way to keep your sanity is to receive, adopt, and communicate good news. We must stop the blame game which Adam pronounced against God "The woman whom you put here with me--she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it." (Genesis 3: 12).

However, I wish to relate the above to the good news of Christ.

When I was 14, our teacher of Arabic talked proudly about a certain Arab who went to study in Paris a century ago. According to the teacher's story this Arab man explained to his European counter colleagues in a restaurant how to eat. "Rather than using spoons and forks, my spoon is my own hand and my fork is my fingers..." after which, according to this Arabic teacher, coming from a primitive society,  his European colleagues dropped their spoons and forks and used their hands instead. This could have been a little joke had not the teacher meant it with utter seriousness in the time of the Pan-Arab leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser. 

But Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, gives a much different view in his best-selling book "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined." His book was published in 2012. I bought it and was reading it then when my eyes pointed one of his findings. Professor Pinker gives a reason why the knives we use at table are not sharp-edged but rounded. He says that centuries ago the European societies adopted such edge-rounded knives. The reason is simply to reduce violence that often erupted at restaurants when hot-blooded men got into a match of fight at petty things and ended up using their knives against each other which harmed the other person and caused more violence because of the death in such incidents. 

Professor Pinker claims in his book that all the 20th century conflicts put together (including two World Wars) caused less  damage than any previous century. He backs his claims with formidable data collected from historical sources.

Why I believe in collaboration with people of good-will is grounded in such historical development. It does not matter whether they believe in Christ or otherwise are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Skeptics, or declared Atheists. If Christians truly live up to the calling of Christ, there will be many less anti-Christian attitudes by moderate people.  In a debate with George Cardinal Pell of Sydney in 2012, Richard Dawkins, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford, well-known evolutionary biologist and an avowed New Atheist, admitted he does not support the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest. For Dawkins, human moral values are more valuable for the advance of global society than blindly endorsing survival of the fittest. The entire debate is on YouTube and can be viewed here:

America, Canada and the European Union have entered into talks of Free-Trade agreements that may see the light in one-two years.  It is not because Americans like Europeans but because economists and governments in both continents see the usefulness of better trades that should bring a more collaborative  exchange of better ideas and their implementation for their people. Likewise Canada is on a trade deal with China. The rest of the world must join collaborative efforts to better human lives with justice where possible. 

Slowly but surely, humanity should be advancing in the development that the Jesuit priest and scientist Teilhard de Chardin predicted in the 1940s and 1950s.  In spite of our own failures, the advent of Christ in the so-called Omega Point is slowly taking place. Let us contribute to the development of the civilization of love and life from here into eternity. The joy of Christmas is more than bells ringing in churches or gifts wrapped under a tree in our homes. The Church is alive in all continents but needs all Christians and people of good will to advance her mission by the grace of God. God works in those who following the dictates of their conscience and the teachings of the Gospel, transform their world.    

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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