Thursday, April 17, 2008

Equality on the mind

Recently, for some reason I've been thinking about equality a lot- about the equality of mankind, people of all races, nationalities, etc. I've just been reasoning out in my head, whether if all people are really equal, or whether they're not, or whether we're equal in some areas, but not other ways, or that maybe some inequalities balance out within individuals so that everyone has the same "handicap."

I've also been thinking about social justice. And when I say "social justice," I mean justice, fairness, equality, general rights and freedoms in all of society (the world) for all people. Sometimes it seems there is none. For example, right now, I can sit at my computer under a warm roof, but meanwhile someone my age is mourning the loss of his entire family because while they were out trying to make the day's wages to pay for his school fees, a plane plowed through the market they were in and killed them. Or perhaps as I go out tomorrow and meet various people, I have good assurance that I will not be mistreated or killed based on my gender, faith, race, or nationality, but meanwhile someone, somewhere has to live in an environment where that is a real threat everyday.

Do I deserve the goodness in my life? Not one bit. Yet God, in His unfathomable mercy, continues to bless me with daily provisions, plus more than I can imagine, and despite me failing Him again and again, He always forgives. Maybe it evens out for me versus someone else, because of Luke 12:48 - much will be expected of me to give and "invest" back into God and His work, because of what God has and is giving me.

EDIT - March 15, 2010 - I just found a link to the entire film on the National Film Board of Canada's website: http://nfb.ca/film/they_chose_china/

I just watched a documentary I recorded that aired on CBC Newsworld on April 7th entitled "They Chose China." It was a fascinating work that gave a glimpse of some American POWs who were captured after the Korean War and instead of returning to the US to face extradition, they chose to stay and lead their free ("free?") lives in China. One man in particular, Clarence C. Adams of Memphis, Tennessee, captivated me.

As a young black man, he enlisted in the army to avoid getting lynched, because if he was in the army, he could be shipped away to fight a war in Korea, away from the white supremacists in his hometown. During training, American soldiers were told that they would be killed if they were captured by the Chinese People's Volunteer Army. Instead, long-story short, he was captured and then given opportunity to pursue a higher education in China (if he was still in the US south, he probably would have had great hurdles because he came from a working class family) and basically he had opportunity to pursue a better life, without all the racial oppression he would face in the US. Unfortunately, times changed (I gather that this was because of the Cultural Revolution) and Clarence decided to take his family back to the US with him (he had married a Chinese girl). He had problems getting work when he returned, the media painted him as a red communist "turncoat," and was even subpoenaed to be tried for treason. In the words of his daughter Della Adams, "He wanted knowledge, he wanted education, he wanted opportunity. And that's what he told those people...who subpoenaed him. 'Why? Because I'm a black man, I don't have a right to make a life for myself [if I live in the US]' ...[but] he had every right."

I am absolutely fascinated by how people treat other people. And I am also disgusted and sickened by what a person can do to another person. As a result, I must admit, that I am absolutely ashamed about how I have treated other people in the past. Yet, despite my own actions, I am still left confused when I observe what others have done, and I wonder what the logic behind their actions is. Perhaps it is twisted and defiled logic that lies behind the reason of unjust actions.Clarence Adams and 20 other of his fellow soldiers decided to stay in China, because they thought it was better than returning home and facing a government and country that was fighting an unjust war overseas, while social injustice (racism, xenophobia, etc) was rampant on their home soil. They looked at the communist values and ideas that were behind the social structure of the government in China- everyone helping each other, for the overall betterment of all lives. And they thought, if this is true, than they should choose to stay, because in the end, who wants to fight? Who in their right mind desires conflict and struggle, when if everyone just stopped and helped everyone else, than everything would work out perfectly?

According to life, they had every right to do that. To seek out something better, or as the American constitution says, the "pursuit of happiness." And if a favourable choice is given, why not take it? Just as Clarence Adams had done, I agree that yes, he had every right to seek out something better than what he already knew.

The sad thing about all of this is that, for one, we know that communism will never work because people are born selfish. It must have been really nice at first, but all good things come to an end (Heaven is only after we die). Also, there is a great flaw in looking for answers and solutions to problems by means of people (eg. communism-everyone looking out for each other) because people are always failing each other despite good intentions. And no matter how much something may be a good idea and desired for, the practicality to carry it out is unfeasible with human people who have very physical, emotional, and spiritual limits.

I'm probably missing something, but in my amateur philosophizing I have pretty much concluded that in all people in all nations, there is no physical equality. But the equality that God has given to each individual person is spiritual and mental; they are allowed to choose to live their free life and have a power of choice to seek out the best in life. They can choose to seek out if there is something greater that what they can see with their eyes. And hopefully, they will ultimately find and continually seek that the greatest in life is knowing and being with Jesus, and He is the one who has made and given everyone an equal chance of doing that.

I’ll end here for now. I went off on slight tangents in my above writing because they are so many perspectives and so many dots that I tried to connect... anyways, I will still continue to ponder about all this equality stuff.
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In other news, I thought I was 60% Calvinist, 40% Arminian, especially after listening to Driscoll on Predestination... well, I just discovered I'm a pretty solid Arminian!

5 comments:

paulman said...

Talking about the undeservedness of God's Grace, you sound kind of Calvinist/reformed. Talking about how everyone has an equal chance to choose to respond to the light that they are given (leading to Christ), you sound more Arminian. Well... I guess a Calvinist/reformed might say that the Bible explains that we all have an equal chance to choose Jesus: 0% (before God regenerates/re-births us).

I think I'm more Calvinist, though I think it's a bit more complicated than that last answer sounds.

Johnson said...

Fascinating post on equality! (maybe I'll post a more serious comment later)

Johnson said...

as George Orwell has written, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others!

Jill said...

Interesting post, Tim! Only slightly related news: this month's National Geographic magazine is all about China (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/05/table-of-contents).

beko said...

ok...totally unrelated to this entry but thanks for the disk box! i recieved it in the mail the other day and it's very cool...fun to put together too!