Our twenty-first century is emerging as a “Century of Discontent” with leaders of religion, education, politics, and military, and this discontent is spreading rapidly throughout the world. Over the past century, the world has experienced exponential growth in world religions, academia, science and technology, space exploration, medical research and great financial and material wealth. At the same time, the world is experiencing exponential growth in global humanitarian and peace organizations. To the intellectual observer the twenty-first century should blossom into a new era of high civilization with social and economic equity, technological empathy, peace and prosperity, and fairness and justice. Essentially, this new paragon of leadership should consign wars, and ‘humanly caused’ and ‘humanly inspired’ suffering to history.
Despite exponential growth in science and technology (www.Scientific.net), human intelligence, world religions, and financial and material wealth, human beings lack the capacity to build and sustain great civilizations. The reason for this incapacity is a lack of understanding that we are spiritual beings, living temporarily in physical bodies, and that our primary need is spiritual. In a Christian context, spirituality is not synonymous with religion. It connotes the connection between the human spirit and God’s Spirit. In practical terms, it is a demonstration of “the Fruit of the Spirit”, which is an extension of God’s love (agape) exercised towards others, such as: love, joy, peace, patience (longsuffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self–control (Galatians 5: 22–23, New King James Version (NKJV)).
These spiritual attributes empower leaders and create a barrier to the path that leads to enslavement, colonization, apartheid, genocide and wars underpinned by a “secular worldview”. The great divisions among nations result from our desire for mastery over money, wealth and power, control over natural resources, and legal, social and economic advantage over peoples and nations. These same human conditions have wrought havoc in the ancient world. They confront leaders in the twenty-first century with a resounding message that history repeats itself. The image attempts to alert the reader to the exponential growth in human knowledge, in science and technology, militarism, and world religions as spirituality (“Fruit of the Spirit”) ebbs.
The need for spiritual interconnectedness begins and ends life’s trajectory (pre-mortal, mortal and immortal). The emptiness that flows from a lack of higher purpose is a higher call for spirituality that only a life imbued by the Spirit can satisfy. The search for spirituality has perplexed every religion from tribal systems to the most sophisticated mono–and polytheistic religions of our modern world. It is the way to find meaning, purpose, hope, comfort, inner peace, happiness, joy and security. Spirituality is a pre-requisite for enlightened global leadership, but it is imperative to differentiate between Spiritual enlightenment that comes from God versus Age of Enlightenment described by post-medieval times (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason) (1620 – 1789).
Despite 6000 years of records of human history as an empirical guide to inform leaders in the twenty-first century, global equity, and lasting peace and harmony among nations, religions, races, and cultures elude humanity. The recurring power imbalances in the world, technological, social, and economic, have become a threat to human survival as a viable species. The observable decline in spiritual leadership (qualitative deficit) is responsible for a “universal” decline in international peace and harmony. Greed, hoarding of strategic resources, the accumulation of superfluous wealth, and the spread of violence among nations underpin this “universal” decline in spirituality. An increase in spirituality would place humanity on a progressive, authentic and sustainable path as a viable species.
National self-interest has become the leadership guide in our twenty-first century, evidenced by tens of thousands of human laws, underpinned by a “secular worldview” that guarantees the ruling elites maintain a permanent social and economic power imbalance. A dominant “secular worldview” rejects any notion of a “Christian worldview” as the path to world peace and harmony. Paradoxically, when something goes wrong in society, there is an immediate call for the “sword” (human authority) and the “Bible” (God’s authority), but with God’s authority a remote consideration.
A major global challenge to leadership is the need to achieve a balanced perspective informed by the Triad Colossi (1) God (Spiritual Intelligence (SI)), (2) Man (Human Intelligence (HI)), and (3) Machine (Artificial Intelligence (AI)). These three belief systems must be congruent. Spiritual Intelligence (SI) enables Human Intelligence (HI). Similarly, Human Intelligence (HI) enables Artificial Intelligence (AI) in machines. Higher Spiritual Intelligence (SI) imbues the human mind for discernment and decision making, when faith, belief, and practice are congruent.
Machines (robots and cobots (collaborative robots)) are designed to work in collaboration with human co–workers to serve the needs of humans. (MIT Technology Review, Computing News, Will Knight April 23, 2014). The paradox of this advancing need for new technologies (Artificial Intelligence (AI)) to evolve the information age is its overshadowing of the critical need for Spirituality to underpin humanity. Spiritual progress, the most important form of progress lags behind, when compared to scientific progress. The challenge is that some machines are approaching godlike characteristics (an ironic perspective), for instance, military drones are becoming omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (all places) and omniscient (all knowing) — digitally speaking.
International and national leaders no longer serve nor lead on behalf of the people. Democracy is becoming a doubled edged sword for many, with great prosperity on the one hand, and great fear, hunger, poverty, homelessness and disenfranchisement on the other hand. Global leaders no longer view the people they serve as sovereign. GENEVA, June 20, 2014 (UNHCR) – “The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people”.
Whenever something goes wrong within a nation, between or among nations, there is an immediate call for more authority. This ‘authoritarian worldview’ diverts resources, and financial and human capital away from important investments to improve the human condition (spiritual, moral, social, intellectual and physical). Have we found hope, peace and security on an authoritarian path? Have we found it in higher levels of expenditures by militarizing the world? “World military expenditure in 2014 was an estimated $1776 billion” (http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex).
Have we found hope, peace and security in political authority, the authority of the modern church, in great world religions, or in our gods? Have we found it in modern education or academia? Modern education has provided humanity with a “materially driven life”, which is emerging as a threat to the “Spiritual purpose” of human existence as a viable species. Have we found hope, peace and security in secular universities or global peace organizations? Have we found it in political authority or by incarcerating approx. 11 million individuals (World Prison Population List (Sixth Edition))?
Have we found it in peace pacts, peace treaties, peace marches or in civil rebellion? What, then, is the basis of authority upon which all of human civilization must rely for hope, peace and security? The basis of authority lies within the Word of God. “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1 NKJV). When we adopt this basic premise, only then will a new world of reforms spring forth and lead to the creation of national and international peace and harmony and the lives of fulfillment that we crave.
The great city of Nineveh in the Old Testament, cited in the book of Jonah (circa 767 BCE) received God’s gift of mercy. “Then word came to the King of Nineveh; and he rose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself in sackcloth and sat in ashes, and decreed: “let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said that He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:5-10 NKJV).
We have relegated the management of God’s creation and His created beings to the elites in religion, politics, academia, and the military, though it is only the sum total of human knowledge that will provide a way forward. Paradoxically, empirical evidence demonstrates that ‘war’ instead of ‘peace’, ‘insecurity’ instead of ‘security’, and the breakdown in human relations grow exponentially alongside gross national and international expenditures in the trillions of dollars in armaments and security apparatus worldwide. Ernie Regehr (1980): “We are dealing here with the issues of life and death for humankind”. Where are the voices of the great religious leaders to bring God’s revelation to global leaders? God gives His assurance: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).
By Errol Gibbs (June 2015)
Writer, Self-inspired Researcher, Mentor, International Motivational Speaker, Ambassador for Peace with the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP)(An NGO in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations)
Tel: 905.875.4956/Email: firstname.lastname@example.org