For society at large, the world is in a mess.
There are so many wars of different types, getting more and more complex:
South Sudan – new groups of armed militia are regularly created, splitting from the main groups, with many thousands killed, and many thousands becoming refugees;
The Yemen – the constant indiscriminate bombing of hospitals, schools as well as the Houthi by the Saudi Arabian coalition, with war crimes being committed by all sides, has lead to half the population starving and there being outbreaks of diphtheria and cholera, killing thousands;
Afghanistan – the constant struggle between the corrupt government and the extreme Taliban and other groups leading to many thousands of deaths, and the continuing problem of the ever increasing growth of poppy seeds for heroin distribution;
The Philippines – the savage fighting between government troops and Muslim guerrillas in the south of the country as well as the brutal drugs war;
Mexico – the constant fighting between the various drug cartels and the failure of the corrupt army and police force in stemming the death toll and the disappearance of many thousands of people;
Democratic Republic of Congo – the draining of earnings from its rich mining resources into the pockets of the ruling family and the violence against women by the many different militia groups;
Central African Republic – the vicious machete killings by the many warring groups, stemming from the misuse of money gained from oil-related industries;
Libya – the division of the country into different areas controlled by different militias, none of whom have overall control and its resources being mis-managed;
Islamic State (Daesh) – seeking to impose a strict interpretation of the Islamic Sharia laws – which involves beheadings and much else in horrific killings.
The list could go on. It seems that the world has gone mad, especially with the increase in the following activities, which make millions:
Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Animal Trafficking, Money Laundering through in particular property, tax avoidance by multi-nationals who drain a country’s resources, etc
Then there is the moral side of things:
The Value of Life is downgraded (abortion, death penalty, euthanasia, poverty, war, climate change)
Sex is abused through pornography, same-sex marriage and internet bullying;
Lack of integrity in all areas of life;
Human Rights abuses, especially in relation to persecution of minorities;
Treatment of animals and the issue of biodiversity breaking down;
Corruption – at all levels of society;
Consumerism and the ‘Me’ mentality – the obsession with buying things and thus overusing the resources of the planet, and causing the huge gap between the poor and the rich.
I would like to suggest that there needs to be a focus on three key areas of life, which have an effect on all other:
Value of Life especially abortion – if we cannot value the life of the unborn baby, then all ages are susceptible to being treated as ‘commodities’ (like in human trafficking) so that people have a cost and if that is too high, then they are ‘disposed of’ (like euthanasia) – wars are often caused through the increasing buying of armaments, desire for power and thus riches – there should be an urgency to encourage the valuing of all life;
Climate Change – if this is not tackled, we will get to the stage where we will have disasters on a more regular basis, even in the West, and resultant loss of life, property and income. It also leads to the loss of many species leading to extinction and loss of food supplies. One particular area of concern is the rising sea levels, which in the short term could make small island states disappear and in the long-term, flood many other land areas;
Tax Havens – if these are abolished, the tax recovery will help in lifting most people out of poverty (through the recovery of ‘hidden’ money that should have gone to respective governments as taxes), and there will be more provision for the infrastructure needed to help people prosper through education, appropriate healthcare and sustainable transport. Through publically identifying the beneficial ownership of all companies, large and small, along with the abolishing of tax havens, will mean better accountability and transparency leading to a fairer business world with integrity and ethics at its heart.
Central to all of the above is the importance of relating to each other on a deep level – real relationships where everyone and the planet is valued and thus money, power and sex do not dominate our lives or our thinking.
Through the networks most people are part of, they should be encouraged to focus our attentions of the above three key areas to find ways to relate to each other, valuing each life as precious, and seeing the land and the oceans as precious gifts to humankind that need to be sensitively managed, then there is no need for tax havens, because everyone will want to be transparent in their financial dealings making sure appropriate taxes are paid to deal with the problems in the world. Or, to see it from another perspective – if tax havens are abolished and action taken against those who abused their responsibilities through criminal and non-criminal activities, this should lead to making good use of the recovery of taxes avoided and thus improving the planet and its people – but deep relationships and the value of life must be at the heart of abolishing tax havens.
For Christians, because all humans are made in the image of God and He is the Creator of the planet to which He gave us to steward, they should be taking the lead on these key issues. There is a partial work in the areas of the value of life and Climate Change, but very little on the abolishing of tax havens. This is not right. We also need to see these three key areas are intrinsically linked. And as part of the process, Christians are called to disciple everyone, bringing people to a faith in Jesus as our Saviour, and helping Christians to develop and practice a biblical worldview, accepting Jesus as their Lord.