If you live very long you’ll eventually see, hear about and personally deal with these two issues.
First, basic definitions:
keep down by severe, unjust force or authority, weighed heavily on
act or instance of resisting, the capacity to resist, a force that tends to oppose or retard motion, an underground organized to struggle for national liberation in a country under military or totalitarian occupation
There is a time to resist, to rebel, to fight, to move away from if not pull the rug out from under people, societies and institutions you have rightly considered oppressive. There are times when there is sustainable reason and logic in doing so.
No woman being beaten by her partner should quietly allow it. No person of color being threatened or belittled should have to “accept it”.
There are also times one may be in a personal (or shared) fight with God Himself, and the people in question are judged as being worthy of resistance due to what some would call the idea of any “god” oppressive. There have always been plenty of individuals and for that matter, groups who in essence consider themselves to -be- god. This would include atheists, agnostics and believers by the way…
Here is where I both shudder as well as laugh at the “THIS FITS!!!” mentality of those who would call those who disagree with them evil, deluded and truly oppressive… when those on the other side are judging them in the exact same way. Often it’s about who gets their way and little else.
In other words, mere disagreement doesn’t equal right vs. wrong, holy vs. unholy, worthy vs. unworthy of resistance.
If the Bible never said “Thou shalt NOT” (my emphasis) it would go a long way to defuse the argument that religion IS OPPRESSIVE!!! Ha. I as a Christian can just as easily say what I consider others ability and right to sin oppressive to myself and those I love, that much of their manner of thoughts, words and behavior in particular are truly worthy of resistance.
So which of us is correct?
Awww… I’m such a modernist… forget logic, let’s just make our own rules. Better still, there are NO rules. But wait… you (the oppressor…. WANT rule… YOUR RULES! Errr… but you’re saying it’s cool for you to do that, but not me. Hmmm… yeah, let’s not worry about the apparent dichotomy in all this, let’s just EMOTE and WIN the BATTLE AT THE BARRICADES. Sigh…
Sorry comrade, I’m rebelling, See how easy this is? Actually… it’s a train-wreck. And it happens in marriage, families, all sorts of human communities and societies throughout history. It happens within and outside of faith communities.
I am convinced I have never had an enemy as bad as myself, my own ability to choose wrong, hurtful, yes- sinful (by basic Bible, Jesus’ apparent words which define sin) thought, word and deed.
There are those who consider anything they disagree with as worthy of resistance and as oppressive- never willing to face the face that if THEY held the power and ruled the world (or local school board, PTA, city council, State House, presidency, local church, etc., etc.) that others who disagree with them can and at times will claim they are the oppressed.
Communists (see Stalin’s Russia) were clearly as oppressive as Nazis in pre-war and actual WWII times. The German people were split on these and several other political and other grounds, but to say one was truly more righteous and oppressive than the other is in my view not so easily defended. Both parties in the end, considered others in society as repressive with regard to both parties’ claims to power and control. For them it became more about winning than truth, righteousness, moral convictions of what was truly best for Germany. They both got it wrong.
Resisting -both- in either Germany or Russia could and did get plenty of people arrested, tortured and murdered. Are there times to resist, to call out this or that regime as repressive? Certainly!
I have heard the old wag for YEARS about the horrors of the oppressive faith of Christian families, local churches, denominational groups, this or that mission society, etc.. Any truth to these? Of course! Sometimes. So in each and every case the person laying the claim is pure, you’d be happy to have them as a neighbor and blessed if they married your kid or grandkid, right??!
Must one be a Christian or Islamic or Jewish or whatever in order to be correctly labelled oppressive, worthy of resistance, self-seeking? Please!!
“None is righteous, not even one”.
We all find it sooooo easy to take sides and shoot one another. Cain and Abel, over and over in history in and OUTSIDE of any faith or church or this or that society of people.
So obvious but rarely part of the arguments I hear.
There are days I have wished “Oh if only this or that person could live in the same house as you for about 2 or 3 weeks. Your snap judgment on their judgments and positions would be educated beyond your current ability to get who they truly are.”
Indeed, nobody but God REALLY knows another person’s deepest motives. An individual’s apparent (to you or I) lack of love, compassion and justice may well be judged by us but if in the end there is no God and no text (other than another, like myself, flawed human’s personal opinion) worthy of helping me make choices on who to resist and when in fact it is me seeking to control and oppress… well all bets are off for any soul-peace much less the sort of love and non-judgmental society we all say we’re seeking.
Things to think about… or not 🙂