In comprehending the theological understanding of reality, one of those truths that I have learned, that has inspired my approach to social issues is the understanding that peace can be realised in a polarised world if there is respect for distinctions of persons, unity in being, and equality before the eyes of God.
This approach is relevant in our country since the first principle of the Rukun Negara is the belief in God.
If one speaks about distinctions of persons, one accepts the reality that people’s beliefs and consciousness are varied and plural, while the unity of being is a metaphysical reality that we are one in humanity even though distinct, and equality before God means everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and inclusivity takes precedence over exclusivity.
Understanding wisdom at this level has become imperative in our national and global consciousness, which is deeply divided by ideological inclinations, an ethnic and religious identity that is exclusive, socioeconomic disparities that have created a gigantic gap between the rich and the poor, and the most obvious reluctance of the secular world to being open to the reality of transcended truth.
In Malaysia today, society is sucked into a polarising perspective of identity politics that determines the survival of the political elites.
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Unless there is respect for the distinctiveness of persons or respect for plurality, where truth can be paradoxically seen in the opposites, identity and ideological politics will hold sway, which could lead the nation to a destructive part in the long run.
For example, if there is empathy between communities of different ethnic and religious backgrounds on the existential fears, insecurities and aspirations of the other, and at the same time, coming together in opposing the ills of corruption and injustice in the country, Malaysia could move progressively to the realm of truth in politics.
If people of different cultures and backgrounds show unity in coming together to abhor corruption and injustice, that would be a great milestone in breaking away from a polarised situation.
In the same way at the global level, if the West, Russia and China could see the good in the opposite ideological frameworks of each other which has benefited the people while respecting the unity of being and equality in the eyes of God – without being condescending and projecting self-righteousness on human rights issues – if they are willing to empathise with the fears and insecurities of the other, if they can learn from each other’s traditions what is good, beautiful and true, it is possible to minimise geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea. The current Ukrainian war could even have been prevented.
Therefore, let’s build a society that respects people’s distinctiveness, the unity of being, and the equality of all in the eyes of God in our local, national and global vision of the world. – Malaysiakini