You have two men on a stage. We are all sitting, listening to them. The question from the audience is, with all the world’s problems, how are we going to live? What is the right approach to our problems, at an individual and global level? What are the right choices to make in our day-to-day lives? The two men speaking are Charles Darwin and Jesus Christ and they seem to have different points of view on these questions.
Charles Darwin is a leading scientist. With years of education, research, and study, his revelation was that the strong overcome the weak. Jesus on the other hand defies explanation and has shown that the meek shall ultimately overcome chaos. Darwin’s analysis leads to a view held by some of the most powerful figures in history by the name of Social Darwinism. Jesus provided a broad description of true living in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. Which of them is right?
Jesus has many followers. One of them was Dr. Martin Luther King. As someone who strove for many of the realized virtues of Christ, Martin led a change in Western society some time ago. Many of these changes were foreseen in the Civil Rights Act and in his effort in the Alabama Marches. Ultimately, Mr. King paid a price for his beliefs when he was assassinated in Memphis, TN. Despite the peace Mr. King’s efforts facilitated, one of the locations that saw his footprints remain a place of contention today.
Darwin has many followers. They usually don’t perish so dramatically as what we see in the extreme cases of the followers of Jesus. Rather, the more successful of Darwin’s followers lead the world in more comfortable and enjoyable ways of living life. The successful followers of Social Darwinism push on without a moment’s doubt as to the worthiness of their cause. A notable author who channels this ethos is Ayn Rand. The books of Ayn Rand has inspired many of today’s top leaders.
Jesus or Darwin. Which to follow?
In some social circles, it is not even a question. The answer is assumed to be very straightforward. Reality? Not so easy. Not so much due to inability or natural error, but in the very rhythm of our lives, day in and day out. We are raised to believe one way, but the choices that surround us lead to a different reality.
The conflict surfaces when we comfortably participate in religious observance every week, but forget that we belong to organizations and efforts, however indirect, that are focused on the eradication of people’s lives in some distant land. We may say we just push papers or do not carry the gun ourselves, that we need the financial security of working in the field of physical security, but we cannot fully say that the purpose of our efforts holds to views we express in other social contexts.
The conflict surfaces when we are taught to believe a certain way growing up but when in those quiet moments, we fall to the temptation to conspire against others. Perhaps not purposefully, but in quiet agreement with contrary counsel. A joke or disgruntled comment where we would be better advised to neither laugh or console but to pause and offer a different point of view. How about the encouragement from others to enact behaviors that undermine those in the hopes of some elevation? Both formal and informal guidance in those situations often fall more in a certain direction.
Legal policies, economic opportunities, and decision-making in society seems to follow a pattern in most cases. It is slanted towards dominance, sifting out the weak, and . Sometimes good moral pretext is enacted in law and becomes a means to solve one problem while creating others. At the core, the fact is that some laws and judicial judgments are designed to foster the prerogatives of the powerful and have nothing to do with economically weaker individuals. The main prerogative being to withhold the vast abundance on this Earth.
People, communities, and entire classes of individuals will be undermined just so less tax is paid by the rich. Blame the poor and fail to realize like the tribes from which all our ancestors came, the humanity originally survived through end-to-end cooperation, sharing, and the participation of the entire community in raising up the members of the community. Kill more people on battlefields to cut the population and rid the Earth of undesirable personalities and become rich off the slaughter. Such things are hidden behind clever words like austerity, compassionate conservatism on the right and a fostering of the economic status quo on the left.
By observation, sometimes Martin Luther King’s Dream seems like it was a trick. A mass effort of self-deception that people will never escape. A trick that will see many people funneled like sheep through a continuous parade of hampered lives and unfulfilled potential while enlightened onlookers continue to rise in feigned empathy with the plight of those they will leave behind. We will never really know.
I have fully lived the perspectives described up to this point. I was born in good conditions, grew up in poverty, struggled a bit until early adulthood to rise into good conditions only to fall back into relative poverty following the Great Recession of 2008. The recession wasn’t the cause of my conditions, but it became a time for me to learn, involuntarily, all that I have described here. I know about independence and dependence. I have been ashamed as a grown man to see my mom pay my rent (that will end soon however) despite a part-time job. I see both sides of the argument (for and against). Do you become the champion at all costs or strive to hold more to the nobler values despite what you may lose?
I cannot answer that for anyone except for myself. If you learn anything from what I have said it is that what most people are taught growing up is either a lie or the truth. If it is a lie, it serves as a blanket deception to fulfill the needs, through nature and evolution, of the small fraction of humanity that would rule over others and you may benefit in accordance to your alignment to that principle. If it is a lie, then the smartest ones among us are those who master that lie and harness it to achieve greater elevation.
If however what we are taught growing up is the truth, then when it comes to major decisions, no alternative is acceptable. Listen to what these men are saying and then commit yourself to the path you have decided to follow. Just remember, conflict, war, economics, and struggle are not always what they appear. Consider the view of another man named Charles on the situation in Syria. Refugees who we certainly should assist.