The rise and fall of kingdoms, the emergence and decay of national identities, the roll call of kings, despots and statesmen, the warring and divvying up of spoils, redrawing maps, ideologies in and out of vogue… it goes without saying that our world is in a state of flux. The fall of Adam was the beginning. The confusion of languages at the tower of Babel was a catalyst.
Is it ever “ok” for one people group to impose itself on another, overrunning its territories, denigrating its culture and stifling its language and customs? If it is acceptable sometimes, then when is it acceptable and for whom? Saying, “God is on our side” puts us out on a limb because, usually, the other guy uses the God card, too.
Imperialistic, colonizing agendas generate a plethora of moral and philosophical quandaries:
"The legitimacy of colonialism has been a longstanding concern for political and moral philosophers in the Western tradition. At least since the Crusades and the conquest of the Americas, political theorists have struggled with the difficulty of reconciling ideas about justice and natural law with the practice of European sovereignty over non- Western peoples. In the nineteenth century, the tension between liberal thought and colonial practice became particularly acute, as dominion of Europe over the rest of the world reached its zenith. Ironically, in the same period when most political philosophers began to defend the principles of universalism and equality, the same individuals still defended the legitimacy of colonialism and imperialism. One way of reconciling those apparently opposed principles was the argument known as the “civilizing mission,” which suggested that a temporary period of political dependence or tutelage was necessary in order for “uncivilized” societies to advance to the point where they were capable of sustaining liberal institutions and self-government.”
Even an attempt to claim "divine right” would be arbitrary and invalid, rendering justification for conquest equally baseless. It becomes a question of "might makes right": the stronger aggressor imposes its self-interested agenda. Grand schemes for colonizing morph into a lust for power and wealth, protection of vested interests, racial divisiveness, oppression, and brutality.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are obligated to protect the credibility of our witness. Getting caught up in power struggles and politics during our brief, earthly sojourn is a risky tangent. Shall we allow partisanship to compromise the universality of the Gospel message?
Regardless of where or when we live, our responsibility is the same… our loyalties are the same… our mission is the same. We were meant to live above the fray… to live and speak passionately for Jesus Christ.
We owe that much to our fellow man.
“I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them." (1 Corinthians 9:19)