Race, class and religion

The concept of the city-state has been with us for thousands of years. History books provide us with evidence of their rise and fall. Out of the desire for stability, security and success, our ancestors journeyed from nomadic to native lifestyles.

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Anthropologists vary in their opinions on how we made the transition. However most agree that as people groups evolved from clans, bands and tribes to chieftains and finally states this changed the political, social and economic structures of society.

So why do states rise and fall?

The early Mesopotamian period reveals the way states battled to maintain supremacy, each vying for political, military and economic power. Although thousands of years have passed, the nation states of today are fundamentally no different. Fuelled by the insatiable desire for dominion, states strive to build according to their own designs, precepts and standards. Unaware of this, we fail to remember the history that brought us here. The tides of previous societies which have arisen and fallen before us.

For hidden away in our philosophy is the very virus of pride and arrogance which will be our undoing.

For every state is ultimately destroyed by three hidden enemies that manifest the corruption of men. These are race (outward man), class (inner man) and religion (innermost man).What do you mean? I hear you say! Let us briefly explore these foes, whilst endeavouring to reveal how they foil our pursuit of happiness.

Race

Race constitutes how a people group identify their origins and distinguish themselves from others. The United Kingdom serves as a good example. When we ask the question what makes a people English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh? What do we mean?

Race reflects the outer man.

We must conclude that these people groups are constituted by a unique history of development from tribal origins to a nation state. Having survived war, disease and famine these tribes become established by the uniqueness and success of their social, economic, environmental and political journey.

Over time these tribes settle into established patterns of governance built upon the idea of an inherent right to the ownership of the territory they occupy. This idea cultivates a culture underpinned by a deep sense of national pride and superiority.

Class

Class discrimination, also known as classism, is prejudice or discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes individual attitudes, behaviors, systems of policies, and practices that are set up to benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class.

Class reflects the inner man.

Where race tends to focus upon the outward man and the external conflict of competition with other nations, class reflects the inner man, the soul and pertains to how he compares himself with his kin, his neighbour in the pursuit of the idea of happiness.

Needless to say, class is always dictated from the top down and is arguably cultivated by the inherent competitive spirit compelling society to become more elitist and selfish. This is supported by propagating social stereotypes that no one wants to be like, thereby depending upon consumerism to avoid becoming.

Religion

Religion can mean many different things to different people. When I say religion, I begin with the root meaning of the word 'devotion' not necessarily an experience, set of tenants or an established faith-based institution.

Religon reflects the innermost man.

Whereas classism reflects the inner man, religion deals with the innermost man, our hidden and naked state that reflects why we see the world in the way we do. Hence what we are devoted to forms the basis of our presuppositions. Out of our presuppositions grow our morality, ethics and philosophy of life. These become powerful ideological weapons in our pursuit for this elusive idea called happiness.

When we see religion in its purest form as “devotion” we can see the gods of today manifest in our unquenchable obsessions and addictions. The more powerful we become the more we see ourselves as the standard for others to follow, the more we cultivate a moral and ethical justification for our actions home and abroad. In other words, we are defeated by our devotion to our own messianic tendencies.

These messianic tendencies lead us to the following outcomes. Through race we define ourselves as separate from the world geographically, politically and economically, through class we distinguish ourselves from within nationally and socially and through religion we obsess about ourselves selfishly.

What does the Bible say?

From the beginning the bible has warned against these perils and remains true to remind us of the fundamental presupposition upon which both man and state must build his affairs.

With regards to the outer man (race) the book of beginnings “Genesis” is clear that ALL men having come from the earth were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and therefore have and will always be one race of men. Seeing that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, he has in his own way provided the earth for all men in order that in their pursuit they would find him as the benefactor of their success (Acts 17:27) , and not define themselves by the uniqueness of their journey.

Consistent with the order of one race the Lord has also only created one class of men. Based upon the blessings of his covenant, be fruitful, multiply and have dominion, nowhere does this class include the subjugation of other men. Hence for this reason the Lord God has and will continue to punish men who build nation states off of the back of subjugation and various forms of slavery.

And as to religion, since man was made in the image of his maker, it makes absolute sense that he would find the only safe place for such commitment in devotion to his maker.

Finally, to my dear brothers and sisters, citizens of the household of his Ekklesia. I would admonish you not to become ensnared in the pursuit of happiness promised by your nation state.

Rather by simply fulfilling the first commandment, by devoting yourself to love the Lord thy God with thy innermost, inner and outward man (Matt 22:37), you will be delivered from such an affliction and misery. And whilst being delivered you will also be rewarded with the joy of the race, class and religious liberty of the spirit.

For king and for country…

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