Love thy Neighbor: We are all Khaled Said

The 21st century will be a crucial one for the world's religions since, like all institutions, they have to periodically remake themselves to survive. A hundred years from now, churches and the beliefs they espouse will be unrecognizable to us – even more than a congregation of a hundred years ago would wonder if they'd been teleported into a different universe if they found themselves witnessing a televangelist or a service in their local church – if it's still in use.

Christianity can no longer rely on wealth, influence and power to survive until the next century. In many ways, Christians should welcome the challenge but Christianity will require some fairly tectonic changes to survive, since it will have to compete in the arena of ideas in an increasingly secular Western world.

facebook Profile Picture 5: We are all Khaled Said
facebook Profile Picture 5: We are all Khaled Said | Source
Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali, 1951. The image represents Dali's painting of the unusual perspective of St.John's original vision. Religions themselves show shifts in emphasis and perspective as they mature.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali, 1951. The image represents Dali's painting of the unusual perspective of St.John's original vision. Religions themselves show shifts in emphasis and perspective as they mature. | Source
We are all Khaled Said
We are all Khaled Said | Source

Metaphors stand the test of time and good metaphors, like some wines, improve with age. And most aphorisms too withstand time's erosive powers since human nature seems surprisingly constant. After twenty centuries of Christianity, there's little or no evidence that people are any less avaricious, violent or honest as a result! In some respects, it should be more depressing than remarkable that parables like The Good Samaritan are needed as much today as they were when first told.

However, I would argue that Christ's greatest contribution was the idea that was as revolutionary in his time as it is today – I'm talking of the notion of our duty to our neighbors and all of its implications. Again, it's almost Christ-like to stand ideas of The Old Testament on their head. The rather capricious and cruel God of vengeance and wrath would be remade as the God of Love. Again, we are reminded of Platonism with the ideal of love that man can only espouse to reach. It is man's job to do the best he can by attempting to mirror Christ's example of both love and sacrifice.

The break with The Old Testament is made manifest with the replacement of The Ten Commandments. Anticipating modern psychology, instead of giving a list of ten behaviors prohibited by God, Jesus tells us what we should rather than what we shouldn't do. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus's faith in the Golden Rule attests to both a rational mind and the belief that individuals will govern themselves well if they properly regard the other. It is a blindingly different approach to The Old Testament because the emphasis has shifted; the relationship is not about man following God's injunctions – it's about man loving not only God but others too. And the love is defined, clearly defined. It's pretty powerful stuff. And the love we extend to our neighbors is meant to be reflected in our behavior towards them. Behavior rather than words is how we see love manifested. By definition, good Christians are those who try to model their behavior on his example.

Again, Jesus must have had the story of Cain and Abel in mind since he gives an unambiguous answer to Cain's question:

“Am I my brother's keeper?”

“Yes, you are your brother's keeper!”

It seems to be the clear answer not only for Cain but for anyone interested in following Christ. And it's not about what we say or even pray – it's about how we behave towards both man and God. The message has shifted dramatically because now the emphasis is on showing one's love of God by reflecting it in our behavior to others.

As much as some wish to discount evolution, it applies to religions as much as it does to those who write them. And it is clear that Christ's ideas not only presented a leap forward in defining people's relationship with each other as a manifestation of their relationship to God but they pointed a way forward. The idea is most eloquently presented in the Power of Myth – and the conversation is worth repeating:

[Joseph] Campbell: “. . . Schopenhauer declares that in small ways you can see this (altruism) happening every day, all the time, moving life in the world, people doing selfless things to and for each other.

[Bill] Moyers: So when Jesus says, “Love they neighbor as thyself,” he is saying in effect, “Love thy neighbor because he is yourself.” (p. 139)

The suggestion is that religions supply us with the necessary metaphors to see into the very mind of God. When we make sacrifices to help each other, we serve and celebrate God. In much the same way that our need for Thors, Neptunes or Dianas to explain the universe and our place in it, the need for other gods will dissolve in the fullness of time. But whether that story is written or not may well rest on whether we've learned to love all of our brothers and sisters as we should.

We are all Khaled Said
We are all Khaled Said | Source
Wael Ghonim met Khaled Said's mother in Tahrir Square on February 8, 201
Wael Ghonim met Khaled Said's mother in Tahrir Square on February 8, 201 | Source

As I finished this article, I heard the story of Khaled Said, beaten to death by two corrupt policeman to cover up their corruption. He became a symbol for those in Egypt fighting against the repressive regime. A facebook page no better illustrates this article and its sentiments:

We are all Khaled Said

Wael Ghonim met Khaled Said's mother in Tahrir Square on February 8, 2011. Ghonim, is the Google Executive who organized opposition through facebook and emerged as a reluctant and modest hero after 12 days in police custody. He is responsible for creating the facebook page:

We are all Khaled Said.

And Wael Ghonim has been identified by by Ned Parker and Doha Al Zohairyas in the Los Angeles Times as " an impassioned but reluctant symbol of resistance."

The notion that you or I are individuals that are entirely separate from each other and the world becomes an increasingly difficult notion to defend scientifically or, even spiritually, if you like. ``No man is an island``; it is as true literally, as it recognizable as a literary truth; but true heroes live, and all too often die, articulating this idea in their behavior rather than words. We are not separate from the world or each other and we usually come closest to understanding it in metaphor. It is not surprising that John Donne articulated something of this in a meditation, (Meditation XVII), some four hundred years before the same insight is evoked in the beautiful metaphor of the song with the same title:

We are the world.

Yes, indeed:

We all are Khaled Said

Also, equally, the man who helped some of us remember we are all part of the same promontory.

We are all Wael Ghonim

The following is reprinted from his facebook page:

"Khaled Said, 28 years old, was tortured to death by 2 Egyptian Policemen in the street. The incident has woken up Egyptians to work against the systematic torture in Egypt and the 30 years running emergency law. We need international supporters to help us stand against Police brutality in Egypt. We invite you to support our cause. Join our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/elshaheeed.co.uk to see how you can help."

February 11, 2011

Message posted on We are all Khaled Said facebook at just after 1:00 EST:

THANK GOD. THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO DIED FOR US TO LIVE IN FREEDOM. THANKS TO ALL EGYPTIANS WHO SLEPT ROUGH IN TAHRIR, ALEXANDRIA AND EVERYWHERE. THANK YOU ALL ON THIS PAGE FOR YOUR SUPPORT & YOUR AMAZING GREATNESS & HELP. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CALLED HIS LEADER AND HIS REPRESENTATIVE. THANK YOU TUNISIA.
WE ARE ALLL EGYPTIANS. YOU ARE ALL EGYPTIANS. WE ARE ALL KHALED SAID


AFTERWORD


The story of We are all Khaled Said, that gave the notion of Internet Revolution a whole new meaning, didn't end on February 11, 2011. As I write, Gadhafi's brutal and heartless regime seems to be tottering and crumbling in a display of madness that seems a particular preserve of men who have held too much power too long. There have been many Nobel Peace Prize recipients who seemed questionable candidates at the time only to be proved unsuitable when judged from a later perspective. Whatever ones view of Mark Zucherberg, undeniably Facebook and Wael Ghonim and the Egyptian people's inspired use of the new media led to an almost bloodless and peaceful transition of a totalitarian regime; Mark Zuckerberg and Wael Ghonim should be very serious candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize and I make the argument in The Jewel in Mark Zuckerberg's Crown. If Facebook's role is ignored as a main contender, it will be difficult to understand.

Altruism at Fukushima

Exactly a month later, on March 11, 2011 the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Surrounded by anonymity, a couple of hundred men work on the plant to try and ensure that their fellow citizens and others are not exposed to any more radiation than necessary. I have written about them in Fukushima shows Altruism Possible and many of these men can be regarded as exemplifying the notion of willingly sacrificing themselves for the many.

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Comments 9 comments

Tatum_Birch 5 years ago

Excellent and refreshing. Finally, a thinking mind emerges. Thank you. It's so important to also stress how Muslims and Coptics in Egypt generally get along just fine, I know, I lived there for years. We visit eachother's homes and attend eachother's events. As you could clearly see throughout the coverage there was no problem to unite as believers in the creator and band together for the common good of humanity. Here is an article I recently wrote that you might find interesting: The 18 Day Revolution: How Wael Ghoneim Inspired a Nation http://www.xomba.com/18_day_revolution_how_wael_gh...


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

I've read the article you suggested and thought it a wonderfully written account of the revolution. I also read some of your Blog at your website and a Hub too! After reading your work, I am even more pleased with the compliments than usual. (I must admit to that strange human need for a certain amount of affirmation.) Thank you very much. I'll be back to read more of your writing after I've finished the Hub I'm working on.


White Horse 5 years ago

"As I finished this article, I heard the story of Khaled Said, beaten to death by two corrupt policeman to cover up their corruption"

I know this story well.

9:20And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works

9:21Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Loose the four angels

http://hubpages.com/hub/Truth-About-Revelations-Pa...


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

White Horse, my brother, I have just come from reading "Loose the four angels" and I feel both honored and humble that you would mention what you've read here. In many ways I am quite mystified by our strange connection but none-the-less it makes more sense to me than about 95% of my life to this date. I look forward to reading where you next shine your light. I am interested in what you have to say about large multinational corporations. Elsewhere I have suggested that they are driven by greed and are great amoral - what are your thoughts?


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

This reminds me of Steve Chalke's book 'The Lost Message of Jesus' in which he shows Jesus to be a radical and a revolutionary who turns everything upside down.

Your hub's caused me to think about the woman with the issue of blood because women were oppressed in JCs time and she was probably poor so couldn't afford medical help.

Yet Jesus was being asked by a powerful man to help his daughter at the same time that she touched his robe and he immediately gave her his attention. It shows that he had no respect for power or authority and supported the oppressed. I expect that at that time most people would've been too afraid to make a Roman stand and wait while they attended to a mere poor woman!

I'm going to look at the facebook page you mention.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Excellent points aslanlight - many tend to forget just how much a radical Jesus was. His views towards women, the poor and "authority" all clearly indicate that he would still be regarded as a radical in today's world if his views were clearly and fairly articulated. It is a point that cannot be make strongly enough.

Not sure about the facebook page you mention - perhaps another correspondence? It sounds interesting though, perhaps you can let me know the origin of the information?

It is always interesting to hear your thoughtful comments, thanks.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Excellent points aslanlight - many tend to forget just how much a radical Jesus was. His views towards women, the poor and "authority" all clearly indicate that he would still be regarded as a radical in today's world if his views were clearly and fairly articulated. It is a point that cannot be make strongly enough.

Not sure about the facebook page you mention - perhaps another correspondence? It sounds interesting though, perhaps you can let me know the origin of the information?

It is always interesting to hear your thoughtful comments, thanks.


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

'We are all Khaled Said' the link in your article.

Yes he'd give em' what for if he was around in the flesh today!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

aslanlight - I did laugh when I got your last comment - you are right - Yes he'd certainly give em' what for and it is a good thing some continue his work since justice, love and all of what is noble should be common to all religions and in the hearts of all.

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