Sense of Entitlement
It is true of all faith traditions that if doctrines are not revisited as our world advances in ethical literacy, they quickly become at odds with the common good.
As to the notion of praying for ‘the old time religion’, we should be reviewing our doctrines in light of social and intellectual progress. This is exactly what the prophets were trying to achieve which we see culminating in Jesus’ teaching.
In fact Jesus so radically moved the boundaries of Judaism from the position of cultural identity to one of global relevance. Instead of discriminating by avoiding spiritual contamination from non-Jews or gentiles as the faith so believed, to accepting all, in one new humanity. Hence Luke traces his genealogy to the mythical figure Adam, as to the mythical figure, Abraham.
One of the key areas in the quest of these early reformers was the notion of Entitlement or Privilege. For example, Amos, argues that if other nations suffered the consequences of unethical actions, then Israel will not enjoy any special privileges.
In fact, all known faith traditions tackle the problems of Entitlement. Some to a higher degree, others lesser. In Hinduism, there is the Ego which must always be evaluated. Jesus would warn his followers against it in a scripture that is all too often misunderstood, stating:
So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done! (Luke 10:7-10)
A sense of entitlement is said to exist when a person believes they deserve certain privileges, and they are arrogant about it. Social commentators argue that we now live in a culture of entitlement, as such we have highly unreasonable expectations about what we are entitled to.
Sense of Entitlement and pride go hand-in-hand, and Christians have been found wanting, especially those of pentecostal or evangelical traditions. The idea that they have a monopoly on God, and that everyone else is either spiritually inferior, or on their way to hell has severely hampered their vision.
We see this in Nigeria over the issue with farmers and the Fulani herdsmen, where Christian leaders are quickly assuming the moral high ground, and some are even speaking negative wishes in the name of Christian privilege, owing to the idea that these herdsmen lack spiritual legitimacy in the eyes of God, simply because they are Muslims.
With all the harm that have been done to our world in the name of religion, especially Christianity, we ought to be more humble.
The writers of Exodus present the Egyptians as people with a notion of Entitlement, and warned the people in Deuteronomy of the consequences of acting with a Sense of Entitlement and advancing unethical behaviour. They note:
Know, then, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people (Deuteronomy 9:6)
Join us at 3pm today, From Order to Chaos: a study on Exodus
St John the Evangelist Hall, Church Rd, Sidcup DA14 6BX
Healingsprings fellowship: Human Capital Development
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