I’ve been reading a bit of political philosophy in relation to social justice. Got me thinking again about the justice of God and how just and fair God would be in sending the majority of people who have lived on earth to eternal hell. Think about this: when it comes down to why certain people are successful and others less so (or why some are richer and some less so), I think it ultimately boils down to factors that quite arbitrary from a moral perspective. This is John Rawl’s argument and also that of many philosophers and I think that of anyone who spends time thinking about it. Why Lee Hisen Loong (the current Prime-Minister of Singapore) and his siblings are rich and famous and successful is not ultimately due to something that they did. Not ultimately because they have been hardworking or whatever. I’m sure they all have been hardworking but that cannot be the main reason. Ultimately, it’s because of their genes. It’s because of the natural talents they inherited. It’s because of their family background. Why a person living in a one room flat (apartment) is not so rich or successful? Not because he’s not hardworking (perhaps so, but not always so). A lot of it has to do with factors that are beyond our control.
Ultimately, what I mean to say is that I think this is a world that is thoroughly unfair. The fallenness of creation I believe is the cause of it. The world looks up to people like Lee Kuan Yew and his family and not to someone who is not as successful as them. Do they deserve such praise and the money they’ve earned? Perhaps they do if it can be proven that they have put in hard work. But in most cases effort does not explain the difference in fate. Social background and natural talents are the main causes and there is no way one can say that these people deserved to be born of a rich family or deserved to be born with such great talents. It’s not fair.
My hope is that God is a just and fair God. He will rectify such problems which are a result of the fall. That’s why I believe a homosexual who was born with such inclinations will be judged differently. To say that he’s responsible for what he was born with and will be judged in the same way as a heterosexual, is to say that it’s totally fair that person A is rich and successful because of being born in an advantageous social background and being born with exceptional natural talents while person B is poor because he lacks such a background and natural talents. Is it fair that you’re born in Singapore and pretty well off compared to say a person born an orphan and with AIDS in Africa? I don’t think so.
And this also brings us to the issue of whether it’s fair that a person born a Muslim in Singapore or Malaysia or Iran or wherever would receive the same judgement as say a Chinese in Singapore. It’s hardly the case that a Muslim would convert and become a Christian. Indeed, very few Muslims become Christians in Singapore – eventhough a lot have heard of the gospel. The reason is because there is a great cultural constraint on Muslims becoming Christians. Almost all would not dare break from family customs and tradition. Whereas, for a chinese like you and me, it’s much easier to do so. You have much more opportunities to listen to the gospel and you have much fewer restrictions against trusting in Christ. Let’s face it, most Muslims who are living in the world now would never become Christians. Not just most, but an overwhelming majority. Is it any fault of theirs that they were born into a religion and culture where there are so many more barriers on them becoming Christians as compared to the situation most Chinese (in Singapore) or Europeans or Americans are placed in? In fact, if you or I were to be born into a Muslim background, I’m very sure we would still be Muslim. Because of this, I think God will judge them differently.
So my argument overall is that circumstances (where we’re born into, our social background, our talents, what our genes have made us become) play a part in judgement generally and what is considered just. That’s why Rawls believes that it’s only fair that the rich (who have become rich due to favourable circumstances that they did not play a part in creating) give some of their money to help the poor (who are poor due to unfavorable circumstances that they had no part in creating). In the same way, I think God is just and in judgement would recognize that it’s hard for Muslims to become Christians and also recognize that homosexuals were born with such inclinations. Therefore, I think (or at least hope!) God’s judgement will be different for these people.