Anyone aware of the events currently taking place across our globe can recognize that while there are still gaps of understanding between nations, the cultural gaps between people are growing exponentially. It is sad to think that nations can’t get along, but in a way, it is even more sad to think that people of the same nation are sometimes willing to impose maliciously their ideologies upon their own countryman. This appears to be a growing trend in our modern societies despite constitutional efforts and strident calls made to encourage respect and tolerance. This trend is alarming, because if unchecked it is bound to take our modern world down the road that leads to self-annihilation.
Ideologies are important, and they should all be respected and tolerated; but only as long as they inflict no harm or discomfort upon others. People of all faiths persuasions should be allowed to live and celebrate their persuasions and cultures. In most modern societies they are free to share with others the love they have for their faiths and cultures. However, celebrating and sharing one’s persuasion or culture should always be done with tolerance founded on love. It is our duty as members of the human family, to respect and love one another, but that does not mean that anyone should be compelled or coerced to accept the faiths, cultures or persuasions of others. It should be viewed as desirable to love people whose persuasions and cultures are different from our own. Indeed, there should never be a reason to mistreat or hurt in any manner a person whose faith and ideologies we do not share. As intelligent humans we should be able to accept to love our fellow humans even when we disagree with their ideologies.
Our world is filled with ideologies of all kinds. Some may appear to make more sense than others, but none are perfect, not even those we might be tempted to uphold and proclaim as the only solution to solve the world’s woes. All religions make such claims, but which religion has openly stated and demonstrated by their words and actions that hurting or killing someone is always wrong? Hurting others is not only the administration of physical pain upon others; words can be even more hurtful; they often hurt more than death, because it is pain that lingers indefinitely in wounded hearts.
It is regrettable that in history Christians have often suffered at the hands of other Christians only because they understand Scripture slightly differently. Even in modern history we have witnessed the bombing of buildings and the killing of abortion staff founded on mere differences of understanding Scripture. It should always be acceptable to compare the differences between ideologies and faiths; we all have something to learn from others even when there are disagreements. Such deliberations should be respectful of others, and carried out with the ultimate goal of better understanding one another’s views. This is the only mechanism that leads to progress. The same is true in science and all walks of life. Disagreements can be constructive, but only to the extent that all parties are willing to recognize the value of sound logic while retaining full respect founded on love for others.
Scripture says that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). We could state this verse a little differently by saying: There are ideologies that may appear to be useful to humanity, but if pursued unchecked they eventually lead to death. The converse of that statement is also interesting to consider: There is one ideology that may appear useless and counterproductive to humans, but when pursued with enthusiasm and dedication it leads to life, and even eternal life.
Indeed, the ideology of God does not appear valid at first sight. In fact, when correctly understood the ideology of God appears totally incompatible with that of all human ideologies. From a purely human perspective, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was not wrong when He said that the teachings of Jesus are utopia. Indeed, love never wins in a dual with evil. Who has ever seen a person determined to love his or her enemies and win a conflict between them? The one who lacks love always wins. It is for this reason that our world has adopted laws and rules intended to protect those who hurt or kill in self-defense.
The ideology of Jesus appears to protect the aggressor, not the victim. “Do not resist the evil person.” He said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
What Jesus is saying is that love for enemies will cause His followers to be “persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). What Jesus clearly implies is that His followers will likely be persecuted because of their unconditional love for their enemies. The ideology of God that Jesus taught and lived makes universal and eternal sense. How can we expect to reduce evil in the world if we render evil every time we suffer the ill effects of evil? What Jesus is saying, and what He was willing to live all the way to the Cross without the least hint of contempt in the face of His enemies, is that rendering evil for evil will never cure the problem of evil in this world. It is better to die loving than to die rendering evil for evil that only perpetuates evil.
It is for this reason that He was raised after three days in the tomb. He showed His followers that they had nothing to fear about life, not even death at the hands of enemies. Love for him was more important than life. His resurrection was intended to show humanity that as long as they love they have nothing to fear, not even death. Resurrection for those who love is just around the corner, because even time does not count in death, just as sleep is timeless. May humans begin to recognize the value of the only Way to the Truth that gives Life Eternal (see John 14:6). Since the only antidote to evil is love, why not love one another regardless of culture or ideology. That is the ideology of God Jesus represented on His behalf here on earth, as it should be the ideology of all those who choose to follow Him.
Jesus said, on God’s behalf: “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, (His ideology) I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:25, 26).