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  • Author or Editor: Emanuel Gerrit Singgih x
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In: The Law of God
In: The Law of God
In: Liturgy and Ethics
In: Liturgy and Ethics

Abstract

The claim of Philip Jenkins that there is now a new Christendom emerging in the Southern Hemisphere, i.e. in Latin America, Africa and Asia is not in line with the conviction of Asian theologians who started precisely from the position of Christians in Asia as a minority. In this paper, the view of three Asian theologians will be contrasted with Jenkins. Even from the list of statistical tables provided by Jenkins it is clear that Asia cannot be included in the next Christendom. However, the clash of civilizations of which Jenkins feared will happen in Asia between Christian fundamentalists and Islamic radicals is not dismissed out of hand, but will be evaluated from the experiences of Christians in Indonesia.

In: Exchange

Abstract

After an introduction sketching some phenomena of corruption in the administration of Indonesia the author shows why it is almost impossible to remove corruption from Indonesian society. He discloses how the concepts of shame (gengsi) and sacrifice (rejeki) still motivate people both in society and in the church. After a delineation of the various cultural and religious backgrounds of these concepts including the cultures of the Batak, the Javanese and the Chinese he makes a plea for a return by the churches to the principle of preferential option for the weak and the poor. That will be the only way of removing corruption from Indonesian church and — hopefully — also society.

In: Exchange

Official ecological and disaster mitigation policies in South-East Asia are often experienced by the local people who live close to nature as being detrimental to their well-being and future. It can be seen in the experiences of the Karen people in the highlands of Thailand, the gunung Balak people in South Sumatra and the people who live in the surroundings of the Merapi volcano in Central Java. The policies are usually based on Western or modern construction of nature, which excludes human beings from nature. To save nature means to save it from the reach of human beings. Modern disaster mitigation also starts from the same assumption. As successful mitigation policy must reduce risk to the minimum, it always ends in eviction and resettlement. This is different from the traditional construction of nature, which includes human beings as part of nature. The way of life of those who live in the areas which are designated as “protected forest or wilderness” never endangers the continuation of nature, as the end of nature means the end of human beings as part of nature. Natural disasters are not seen in the same way as in the Western model, where human beings must prevail against nature and no risk is taken. Natural disasters are dangerous, but they are part of the cycle of life, and in life people have to take risks. So it is a clash between different worldviews. Here it is proposed that a dialogue between these different worldviews should be taken, and perhaps Christian communities who live close to nature can contribute theologically to the development of a Christian theology of creation, which does not place in antithesis, nature and human beings, and even nature and God.

In: Exchange

Religions often offered themselves as answers to suffering. Not infrequently the adherents of a certain religion consider the answer of their own religion to suffering to be the best, as it is based on one’s truth-claim. Recently in South-East Asia, this kind of truth-claim can be detected also in the phenomena of ‘commodification of religions’ done by various groups within Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, thus causing rivalry and intolerance. It was Paul Knitter who first describes global suffering, or ‘the pain of the world’ as religious challenge for all religions. In Indonesia, the recent social and natural disasters can be interpreted as a challenge to the established tolerance nurtured by the state ideology Pancasila, which does not question truth-claims. Panikkar’s view on religious pluralism is accepted, but only after broadening its horizon of rationality to include the people’s experience of disasters, to enable a new vision of religious tolerance.

In: Exchange