Another topic in the class that I have mentioned in an earlier post was the “Theology of humanity.” This really gave me a lot of food for thought.
Basically, most views on humanity fall in three categories:
1) Humanism – The first group believes all humans are created good. Some would add it is society which makes them bad (Marxism). All people are accepted and loved by God (Universalism). Mission in this paradigm means social change. It uses a lot of technology, believing that this will solve all the problems.
The question for them is: if all humans are good, how can a loving God condemn anyone?
2) Dualism – The second group sees God and evil in conflict (spiritual warfare), and humanity is the level battleground. Humans and cultures are neutral. Human agency will affect the outcome of the battle. Mission in this paradigm means doing “the right things” to achieve victory.
The question here is: If all humans are pawns in a cosmic conflict, how can anyone win?
3) Pauline view – The third group believes that all humans were created good but chose to rebel against God. God initiates a covenantal relationship with those who rejected him. Mission in this paradigm often means preaching “bad news”, telling people how bad they are so that they can understand grace. This approach is incomprehensible, for example, for people from shame-based (honor-oriented) cultures.
The question here is: If all humans have rebelled against God, how can anyone be saved?
An important part of our reflection will be to analyze where we are coming from and where people in our contexts are coming from. For example, people with a Pauline view will not be able to communicate to people whose views are largely humanistic (e.g. postmodern). They will talk past each other.
This really makes me wonder how often this is happening in general and where this has happened in my own life. Insofar I found it very helpful to become aware of these differences and reasons for disconnect.