The erstwhile #MeToo and the fairly recent BLM movements, as anti-harassment in nature, has been giving a strong handle to the demand for equality among races and sexes, and rightly so.
It is indeed true our communities and the world have suffered long under oppression, division and uneven distribution of talents and wealth.
While equality as an absolute standard on this earth is impossible, what most of us want is equality at some specific juncture and point of contact.
We want to be equal in economic advantages with other individuals or groups, or we want to be equal in social privilege with another class of people, or we want to be on parity in terms of prestige, power, or political opportunity with others.
The biblical explanation for the differences and divisions among men charges this to human pride.
In the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, we read that the people of earth said: “Come, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name.”
The stated the reason for their mighty effort is given in the words: “Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
Then God, taking notice of their impious efforts, commented: “Behold they are one people and they have all one language, and this is what they will begin to do.”
When men were equal to one another, they sought to become equal to God. But God turned back their pride upon themselves to their confusion and to the confounding of their purpose.
The tower that was to reach unto heaven became the tower of Babel. The symbol of the unity of mankind built by man’s strength became the byword for confusion and failure.
Human pride still makes it difficult to discuss, much less to do anything about the inequalities among men.
The generally accepted phrase for soothing our consciences without coming to grips with the issue is “equality of opportunity.” But we do not face the question: Equality of opportunity for what and with whom?
Today, there is little equality within the races and even less among the races anywhere in the world.
With or without legislative consent, human pride finds its own method of oppression.
The ideal of absolute equality, even of opportunity, appears unobtainable, although that makes it no less an ideal. And the matter is confused by some who seek to secure the unobtainable while others fight to prevent the inevitable.
As in the days of the tower of Babel, the issue of equality has become an instrument of pride to provoke people to division.
Regardless of the terms in which equality may be debated in other arenas, Christianity proposes to ignore the relative historical achievements and standards of men in order to raise all men into the equality of fellowship as children of God.
The Word of God recognizes that there are differences among men even in His service. Therefore Paul says: “And He gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists…”
These differences and others, however, are dissolved in the presence of God where “there is one body and one Spirit, even as also we were called in one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”
The recognition that absolute equality is to be found only at the throne of God in heaven, lays a heavy responsibility upon the churches of God to represent Him in His attitude toward the inequalities of life’s actual experience.
The churches must transform her people to make it possible for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In the relation between labour and management or the relation between members of different races or sex — in whatever area of economic, social, or political life — inequalities are always grounded in justice. In these circumstances, members of Christian churches must speak out the disapproval of God.
The church of Jesus Christ belongs to no class or race. As the instrument of God, she must take the nature of her God as the clue to her course on earth.
First, the church must consecrate and sanctify herself to the ideals of a transcendent God. Men who seek God do not poke and putter in the muck and mire of the world. They lift their eyes unto heaven as the epitome of a classless community.
If, while seeking worldly gold, glory and pleasure, people come upon the church engaged in the same pursuit and covered with the stains of the world’s standards, they are likely to ascribe little value to the church.
Christ said to his church: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
Narayan Mitra is a volunteer chaplain at Thompson Rivers University.firstname.lastname@example.org KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 wordsin length and can be emailed to email@example.com. Please include a very short bio and a photo.