By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Curse of Ethnocentrism

It will likely come as a surprise to many that a central theme of the New Testament is this: leave behind your ethnocentrism.

The message is clear from the Parable of the Good Samaritan to the letters of Paul which make up the bulk of the N.T. In fact, Paul is beaten and stoned for denying the need for new converts to first be circumcised, as required for the Hebrews.

Yet, we persist in the imbecility of ethnocentrism. Here are some examples:

1. European separatism, from the recently failed Scottish version to the Catalonian historical fantasy in Spain, all with the fervor of religious fundamentalism.

2. The Republican hostility in the U.S. to Hispanic immigration.

3. The murderous Islamist version slaughtering any different Others in Iraq.

What do all of these examples have in common?

Their partisans find their fulfillment in being different from the Other.

Paul had a different message:

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28.

Paul surely assimilated the Parable of the Good Samaritan. So should we.

Where is our identity? There, in the Other, especially in the Other who suffers.

(Image of Cuban schoolchildren under Fair Use)