Philosophy Lite: Thoughts on the brotherhood of man
Brotherhood is the feeling we have for one another where there is common ground. Of course, the closest bond of brotherhood is that of family members, or at least, it should be.
If there is one thing that can make a world of difference in families, it is demonstrative love. The brotherhood of man got off to a bad start, however, when Cain slew his brother Abel. (Genesis 4).
Because sin had already been loosed, and probably because Adam and Eve did not have good parenting skills, the brothers obviously did not love one another as they should have. For one thing, they had different interests. Abel was a keeper of sheep, while Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Another definition of brotherhood is, "an association of men united for common purposes, as a fraternity or union." Here in Victoria, there are clubs and organizations that draw people together: woodcarvers, singers, photographers, dominoes, hunting and fishing, Lions, Kiwanis and Optimist clubs. The list is long.
If a person feels lonely and isolated, he has but to make contact with some group that shares his own interests.
The best brotherhood can exist between church members. Granted, we are not all socially oriented, but if there is any bond between people, it should be that of the fellowship of Christian people.
That fellowship is about as close to the ideal as we can get because our faith expects us to go beyond our natural tendencies. In practice, we are beginning to see more and more people of color in "white" churches and white folks worshipping among people of color.
The New Testament has much to say about love. The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians is known as the love chapter. John 13:35 reads, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
We hear a lot today about the Muslim Brotherhood. Formally outlawed since 1960, today it is resurging after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
The brotherhood has established its own political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and as such, it has captured nearly half the seats in the post-Mubarak parliament.
The Coptic Christians are wanting to establish a Christian brotherhood, but the Coptic leaders are against the idea because that organization could foster sectarian strife and lead to further polarization of Egyptian society.
It is interesting that the Muslim Brotherhood's symbol is a pair of crossed swords, while the proposed Christian brotherhood emblem would consist of two olive branches.
Pluma Brown, of Jackson, Minn., writes, "Humanity needs to turn aside from the insane pursuit of material ideas long enough to recognize that on the spiritual side we are divine, brothers equally pure, with no difference in caste, color or condition."
For centuries, man has worked toward an integrated society, with limited success, but when God establishes his Kingdom on earth (hasten the day), we will all be equal and pride will no longer divide us.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria.