Tuesday, October 04, 2011

RWC (5) - Nationalism

The RWC us a festival of nationalism. I dislike nationalism. I consider it to be one of the most evil forces at work in the modern world. Most modern wars have been driven by a nationalistic belligerence. Terrible deeds have been done in the name of a nation.

Nations are relatively modern invention, as five hundred years ago they did not exist. People lived in villages and their main loyalty was to their family and broader tribe. They might be loyal to a local leader who provided protection, but that loyalty only lasted as long as protection. Since urbanisation has broken down these local, nationalism has provided a less meaningful substitute for real communities.

Nationalism does not provide much, as it is a poor substitute for real community. On the other hand, it demands a lot. During peacetime, it demands taxation to support national goals. It also demands support for the national sports teams. During wartime, it demands commitment and death for the national cause.

The emergence of nationalism was driven by national political leaders. They needed to create a bond that would enable them to hold diverse and disparate people together under their rule. Nationalism filled the bill.

Nations are artificial entities created for political purposes. Membership of a nation is actually defined by submission to political powers. The modern nation state needs this loyalty to survive. Without nationalism, modern nation states would not exist.

Nations have no place in the Kingdom of God. They create loyalties that are false. They divide groups of people apart on the basis of differences that are not real.. Our loyalty is to the Kingdom of God, not to a nation, or race. As the Kingdom of God emerges, the barriers between nations will become irrelevant. The only division will be between those who are in the Kingdom and those who are not.

I can understand why the people of the world cling to these loyalties, but Christians are citizens Kingdom of God. Our main allegiance must be to our king. We should also have an allegiance to our families to the part of the body of Christ that supports us, but in the Kingdom of God, “there is neither Greek nor Jew” (Col 3:11). That means there are no Australians and no New Zealanders in the Kingdom of God. When we become citizens of the kingdom, loyalty to a nation is made irrelevant.

War is the best tool for strengthening nationalistic fervour, as people get pushed together by fear of a common enemy. During peacetime, international sport fills the same role.

International Sport is the maidservant of Nationalism.
Nationalism is the cheerleader for Totalitarian Democracy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Makes great sense. Thanks!