Scepticism causes poverty in Third World countries. Most of the underdeveloped nations cannot be divorced from scepticism about the Bible and Christianity. They prefer remaining in primitive conditions, rather than adopt new ideas. The only way to handle scepticism is critical analysis.
Humanity is divided into two categories; those taking critical analysis on issues and those susceptible to scepticism about issues. Critical analysis implies being sure of what one believes in. Scepticism implies denouncing whatever is new, even without reason. A sceptical person is suspicious of any progress, rather than embracing factually analysed results. Failure to differentiate between analytical assessment and scepticism causes lack of progress in most societies.
For instance, bullet trains and spaghetti road dreams evoked commotion, among the sceptical ones in Zimbabwe. Nelson Chamisa has attracted scornful derision, simply for airing his dream about bullet trains in Zimbabwe. It is not clear whether Chamisa’s opponents feel angry out of jealousy, or that they oppose Chamisa’s utterances as being political gimmicks?
On the surface, it appears as if such people cannot accommodate anything with potential to prejudice their political prowess? To them, anything new is intimidating, regardless of potential benefits. This is what describes scepticism. The person thinks in terms of current conditions, rather than examining what is new, according to its potential benefit to the majority.
It was scepticism that caused Jesus to be rejected, yet being the Messiah of the Jewish community. Also, Galileo was incarcerated in house arrest, for the rest of his life, by the Roman Catholic authorities. His sin was that of bringing something unidentifiable with the common beliefs. Scepticism is the only instigator of hatred against the men who bring progressive and valuable information.
I suppose the list of negative results, caused by sceptics cannot be easily exhausted. The history of humanity is subjected with listings of scornful derisions against those who made progressive discoveries. I wonder what the sceptics against the Right brothers, would say if resurrected today, to observe what has become of aircraft engineering?
In all spheres of life, the greatest impediment to development is scepticism. In Christianity scepticism causes misunderstanding of what faith is all about? Most Christians assume that faith means blindly doing things without reasons for believing. But, the faith implied by Jesus, insisted on certainty. When committing oneself to doing anything without any shadow of doubt, one exercises true faith. See [Believing in Jesus is different from having faith in Jesus].
Jesus stated that if one had faith, as little as mustard seed one could move mountains: “…..For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you’” (Matthew 17:20) (ESV).
Scepticism does not affect those seeking to be certain of what is considered necessary to believe. Such people apply every effort to check on the veracity of whatever is to be believed. The person defends whatever is believed—based on conclusions that what is believed would be factual.
The difference between scepticism and critical analysis of information is that the later avoids denouncing information without evaluation. Anything is denounced on the basis of qualitative truth. This is unlike scepticism which is somewhere in between truth and error. A truthful person examines everything, seeking to determine between truth and error and discarding error, accordingly.
A sceptical person maintains the fear of the unknown—seeking to preserve the status quo—even without good reason for doing so. Scepticism is actually the enemy of change. All change is viewed as potentially bringing discomfort. Change is assumed as dangerous—based on distrust—even against testimonies about the workability of what one is sceptical about. See [The enemies of change are the proud people].
A truthful person scientifically checks everything to see what is workable and what is not. The person examines all things considered worth examining. The person is willing to adopt anything, based on quantifiable value—derived from good examination. Whatever is less valuable—regardless of how long it has been held—is discarded without delay. One is attached to ideas, based on value, rather than being attached to ideas, based on tradition.
The only test of workability is maximum benefit to the maximum number of people. If what I do benefits just me and my family, it cannot stand—when compared with the benefit that extends to others in the environment. The maximum benefit caters for the entire humanity including other living species.
This portrays the significance of the gospel message of Jesus. The death of Jesus followed the pattern of applying goodness to the maximum number of humanity. Jesus discarded irrationality—as associated with just protecting his own welfare and kinsmen. The welfare of the entire humanity had to be catered for, including His erstwhile enemies.
Jesus was not overtaking by the problem of scepticism, because Jesus was rational. The workability of His decision to die on the cross was based on consideration of benefit to the greatest number of humanity. Imagine what this implies, if humanity adopted this mind-set—seeking to benefit the maximum number of people, than just self?
Decisions have to be made on day-to-day basis. Value ought to be measured according to numerical comparisons, on potential beneficiaries of such activities. The answer distinguishes between sceptical or critically analytical people. A critical person weighs in favour of benefiting the majority. A sceptical person does the opposite—judging according to self-benefit.
This is why sceptical people oppose developmental programs. For instance, if a manager is sceptical, he/she would not entertain new ideas—expanding the organization’s productivity. Progressive ideas, are considered threatening.
The threat would not be against the company’s welfare, but limited to the manager of that organization. The cause of stunted organizations is scepticism, more than any other consideration. There is no reasoning in scepticism, except thinking about personal welfare—as practiced by sceptics.
The phenomenon characterized in lack of development among third-world countries is scepticism. What worsens the plight of those nations is succumbing to civil war. They cannot take critical analysis in decision-making, due to scepticism. They fail to critically ask questions like: Would engaging in armed struggle, benefit many people, or just a few?
The armed struggle—designed to change a wrong system—is the most stupid undertaking, the world has ever known. It probably benefits only those who champion it? The rest are reduced to the most unbearable misery. What prevails in the African continent, is a product of the so-called revolutionary struggles.
In Zimbabwe it is difficult to come out of the effects of more than forty years ago. In our revolutionary struggle—the majority were actually disadvantaged many times more than the war could be credited for bringing independence. It is true that we needed our independence.
But the price of that independence ought not to have been outweighed by the calamitous consequences, as still prevailing. This is when also considering the Gukurahundi atrocities. I would be surprised, if our war veterans—assuming having had genuine cause for engaging in war—are not extremely ashamed?
Close to forty years, having obtained power, the revolutionaries cannot admit defeat—even when facing the unparalleled failure, right before their eyes? The strategies of the revolutionary struggle did not take into consideration, how many people would benefit out of war. This is what causes our war veterans to remain stuck in scepticism against new political players.
As Zimbabwe languishes in current crisis, the political analysts rush into lampooning those in authority—failing to see scepticism, among the populace. The wrong people in authority, are a result of the sceptical majority. For instance, to most people ZANU PF party is still formidable—though having failed dismally in thirty eight years. To them, only ZANU PF is able to produce better ideas.
The people stuck in ZANU PF are sceptical about new political players. Scepticism makes them fail, even to analytically assess new ideas. Please understand those people: they are not mythically bewitched. They are simply sceptical of new ideas, albeit without reason. This could not have been the case if Zimbabwe had attained independence without engaging in war.
The most important question ought to be: How can one deal with those entrapped in scepticism? Ian Smith and his Rhodesia Front were sceptical of black people—assuming blacks to be unreasonable. Of course, such thinking is irrational. But it portrays those embroiled in scepticism—which is also contagious.
The proponents of the revolutionary struggle became confused, as to lose focus on their intended objectives. Was it really necessary to sacrifice children, for the sake of attaining independence? Acquiring independence was extremely necessary. But the question that remains highly debatable is whether it was worthwhile to sacrifice innocent lives to attain that independence?
There is no doubt that the Movement for Democratic Change committed many blunders, in its pursuit of democracy in Zimbabwe. But this is an organization that ought to be credited highly, for remaining resolute in avoiding violence to dislodge the intransigent ZANU PF. This includes remaining peaceful, even after ZANU PF’s refusal to surrender power in 2008.
Morgan Tsvangirai could have been justified to engage in war against ZANU PF, considering what happened in 2008. Millions of lives could have been lost. I give Morgan my thumbs up, for his nobility in avoiding war. Probably, similar credit could apply to Joshua Nkomo in the eighties—though having also been blinded—in his engagement in war with Ian Smith? The atrocities of the armed struggle were not necessary, at all? It was possible to change things without war.
Smith could have been engaged with reason, more than the armed conflict was necessary. Indira Ghandi of India and Martin Luther King Jnr in USA are good examples on none violence campaigns against unreasonable people. The bloodbath in Zimbabwe, could have, therefore, been avoided. There is difference between pursuing none violence to obtain independence and using violence to obtain independence. Non-violence is progressive, while violence is retrogressive.
Possibly, our revolutionary freedom fighters cannot stomach what I have just said? They insist that theirs was a worthwhile cause, to dismantle the intransigent racist Rhodesia Front. It takes analytical thinking to realize that the revolutionary struggle brought an unbalanced independence—as tipping towards insanity. The revolutionary struggle ought not to have been based on blacks fighting against white people. But based on best ideas fighting against worst ideas.
The blacks ought not to have been sceptical about all whites being racists. Likewise, the white people ought not to have carried the scepticism that all blacks were generally unreasonable. The critical analysis would have revealed that there is difference between fighting racism and fighting the so-called racists. Fighting racism, basically, seeks to help the so-called racists to discard racism.
Logic dictates that a racist person does not need to be killed. Nobody was born being racist. That person acquires racism, through inability to analyse—thereby being overtaken by the syndrome of scepticism. A person becomes racist due to scepticism. The racists do not have reasons to be racists, except scepticism against those of different race.
This world becomes better, when all races discard scepticism—critically seeking to benefit the greatest number of humanity. There is no value in scepticism, except unacceptable committal to disadvantage humanity. The purpose of surviving is to add value towards fellow humanity. That requires a deliberate decision to discard scepticism. See [Created to solve, rather than creating problems].
Scepticism has also negatively affected Christianity. How can a person bring anything new, against what was established centuries ago? When trying to show people what could be workable in Christianity, you would be inviting ostracism. This is why there cannot be significant growth in Christianity. Very few people are prepared to follow Jesus, who did not conform to the behavior of humanity—as remaining in His Father’s Will.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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