WHAT MATTERS MOST: Sowing seeds of inspiration
FAITH IS ALL MAN NEEDS to believe in or not believe in God. It does not require proof and therefore ought not to be intellectualised. As a consequence, every man, even one who cannot read or write or has never seen a Bible, ought to have access to God.
If one cannot read or write, there still has to be a means by which the individual communicates with that which he/she believes in. The means is the soul of man, which is his/her spiritual identity, but is not to be fully equated with his spirit. It is the frequency that the maker uses to communicate with his followers. It is believed to be immortal. There is a uniqueness to the soul since no one else shares the frequency. In this regard, it shares a very special quality with man’s physical identity known as the fingerprint.
Even if man does not believe in God, he is stretched to explain the beginning of life. Whenever all the theories are exhausted, the issue still is how to explain “In the beginning . . . .” It truly comes back to having faith. Anything that relates to or affects the human spirit is said to be spiritual.
The notion that a people can be spiritual is well recognised by some, especially those who are in the business of seeking to influence the human spirit. This influence can take on several forms and come from several sources. Unfortunately, man does not have to believe in something to use it to gain an advantage. The gain may come as an addition of a perceived good to the person or as a bad to someone else.
There are two possible extreme cases that may represent man as used in this article – arguably, the politician at one end and the priest at the other.
Politicians are known for seeking advantage from knowledge that they do not necessarily believe in. On the other hand, priests are expected to believe in the knowledge which they use to their advantage in doing the Lord’s work.
Donald Trump’s ridiculous charge that all Muslims should be forbidden from entering the United States of America is a perfect example of seeking an advantage from something which one certainly cannot believe in or indeed believe is right. But he is a politician.
If the example of Trump is extreme, a more typical example is where politicians who do not believe in God seek to use Him to gain an advantage among the people or, more particularly, the voters. What would inspire these individuals who do not believe in God to quote The Bible so liberally? The answer to this question is not to determine right or wrong but rather to understand what motivates them. What always motivates the politician is self-interest.
There is a widely held view that there can be a negative correlation between being more learned and believability with respect to The Bible. In similar vein, there is a view that atheists go out of their way to know The Bible as well as, if not better than, Christians. In the circumstances, the question is, does quoting from The Bible make the non-believers feel more eloquent, more learned or more believable?
The greatest of these three ought to be believability. Unfortunately, this is the reason why politicians who do not believe in God or The Bible may seek to use Him or it to gain an advantage. The issue of eloquence is also seen by politicians and priests for different reasons as critical in making them seem more learned and more believable.
Perhaps the real issue is the ability to inspire people. When God ordered Moses to lead the children of Israel out of bondage, Moses expressed reservations: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast last spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue . . . . Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person.”
The great men of The Bible were not perfect but yet were used to inspire others. This inspiration came through faith, not proof, and faith starts with belief. The notion that leaders do not have to believe what they say makes it exceedingly difficult for them to inspire the people.
There is a sense in which seeds of inspiration have to be sowed to restore our pride and industry. Perhaps, it ought to start with recognising the second verse in the National Anthem of Barbados which suggests spiritual guidance as the basis for growth in strength and unity.
Dr Clyde Mascoll is an economist and Opposition Barbados Labour Party adviser on the economy. Email:[email protected]