Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
The world is changing. It’s a cliché I know, but it’s on an accelerated path towards some worrying possibilities on the horizon.
Ten years ago, our focus was primarily on combatting extremist terrorists. But for many in defence and foreign policy circles, our assumption was that the world was becoming more peaceful, conflicts less deadly, arms control more effective, and a major war between sovereign states unlikely.
Fast forward to 2021: the terror threat hasn’t disappeared, and new forms of terrorism have been added to threat lists. A new global geopolitical competition among powerful countries has emerged, along with competition among regional medium powers often brutally seeking to advance their own interests beyond their borders.
There is already a new nuclear arms race unfolding. International law and platforms are undermined, sidelined, and often judged incapable of meeting the current challenges. These are all accelerated by the new industrial revolution we are going through, from drones to artificial intelligence to information flows.
Today’s world is precarious, full of misinformation, and risks of miscalculation that could easily escalate a crisis between countries.
As a Christian working on foreign policy, defence, and security issues, I often find myself asking: what do these factors mean for Christians? But, most importantly: does the gospel have anything to offer a world that is seemingly spinning out of control?
Sadly, there are no easy answers here, and no space for platitudes. Revamping old debates or rhetoric, from ‘just war’ to pacifism, are not of much help; neither are uncritical sentiments towards past wars or today’s militaries. We need new voices and perspectives on global challenges based up on Christian ideals, to discern new personal responsibilities and new frameworks for national and international accountability.
Yet, what is new is most likely to look like what was always a given: appreciation of a good world intended for peace, not war; a fallen world, full of danger; a way forward centred on crucifixion and resurrection that offers an alternative basis for being human; but also a hopeful vision of the future that refuses to give darkness and pain the last words.
Every generation is called to grapple with what God’s salvation story means for the particular challenges they face, and every generation faces the temptation to walk away from the implications of such questions. May our generation take up this mantle, and choose well.
Dr Ziya Meral
Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute