Merry Christmas to all my Facebook friends on this very special occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be a Christian or be a religious person to celebrate the coming of a great revolutionary, who spoke truth to power and was in return martyred.
In his book, ‘When Bad Christians Happen to Good People’, David Burchett argues Jesus was a total revolutionary. “He granted status to women where none existed in the culture. His views were strange and upsetting to those in power… In that period of history, women were viewed as property. Divorce was a no-fault procedure for the husband only… And infanticide of baby girls was common in the Roman and pagan cultures.”
Jesus believed in unconditional love and compassion and he totally rejected many of the established norms of his time. He confronted the hegemony of the priestly class and religiosity based on rules. He championed instead the idea that we are all sinners and everyone is redeemable. Most significantly, he refused the temptation to side with the rich and powerful, and instead embraced the poor people, leapers, prostitutes, disabled and others who had been out cast.
Great divine souls, prophets and revolutionaries, like Christ, Mohammed and Nanak ji, periodically come to this world and leave their divine imprint for ever. In their short lives, like the Sun, without discrimination, they shine brightly into all those who are blessed to have received their message. Great beings like Jesus Christ do not belong to any one group. What makes them special is their ability to transcend all kinds of social and cultural divisions and taboos. Their focus on humanity means their appeal is universal.
They display immense courage in rejection of the prevailing orthodoxies, myths, ideologies and political structures. And because threatens those in power, they often do so at the expense of sacrificing their own lives. Ironically, often after they have left this world – though in another sense they never leave – the very people who may have opposed them, end up memorialising and mythologising them!
Tragically, by replacing old identities and divisions, they end up creating new religious identities; and they reinforce these by building monuments and spinning miracles stories. The irony and tragedy is that often the religion that seeks to institutionalise the teachings of the prophets become are far reminded from their teachings!
2020 has been a very challenging year. Along with the ongoing injustices in the world, we have had to contend with the terrible pain and suffering brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. Though we are not out of the woods, there is is hope that we may just be in the path to recovery.
But this year has also shone light on the amazing acts of humanity and generosity the world over, and I have no doubt, the spirit of Jesus Christ and the all prophets and revolutionaries, is shining brightly through those divine souls.
Happy and peaceful Christmas to all.
[Gurnam Singh is an academic activist dedicated to human rights, liberty, equality, social and environmental justice. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick, UK. He can be contacted at Gurnam.email@example.com]
* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Towards a more loving, sharing and caring world in 2021 (Asia Samachar, 22 Dec 2020)