Systemic sin

I saw two Facebook posts by Michael Haykin that seemed worth sharing.

The first was this:

Growing up as an Irish Roman Catholic with a Muslim surname in Waspish England in the 1960s gave me a distinct sense of being an outsider. My pitch black hair and brown eyes marked me as a foreigner in that world and I endured well into my teens deeply offensive racist slurs. Its initial impact was the formation of a desire to fit in and please those who held cultural hegemony. Christ has freed me from all of that, but the impact remains in terms of my personality. Then my study as an historian of the formation of the English identity in the 17th and 18th centuries in terms of being Protestant (especially Anglican) has helped me understand why as an Irish Catholic I did not belong and was regarded as being lower on the scale of civilized humanity. Then when I became by conviction a Baptist the study of the marginalization of the English Baptists in the 18th century has also helped enormously in understanding why hegemonic groups create insiders and outsiders. And this hegemonic exclusivity and racism is systemic. It becomes part and parcel of the air a culture breathes and the way it does business. All of this to say: I am totally baffled by the denial of systemic sin that needs to be dealt with. Simply read the OT prophets!

The second was this:

I have been asked to elaborate on systemic sin and what it entails. In this context this is not easy because of the huge amount of detail and nuance. Systemic sin are those broadly based patterns of sin that become part of the structures of a culture that are often unseen and very difficult to deal with. The one that most people are thinking of in recent days is racism and that is the one I touched upon in my recent post.

But there are others even more hidden. Example: most of use banks and deposit our money there. This is part of the capitalist system. But do we know the details of what our banks are doing with that money? What they are investing in? I not suggesting we withdraw our money by any means but we are involved to some degree in the corporate sins of our culture. We do need to pay attention in so far as it is possible to what the banks we use are doing with their investments. Capitalism and equally socialism are sinful systems because they involve sinful human beings.

Do we buy clothing from firms that utilize sweat shops and all but brutalize the workers? What about the treatment of farm animals? Should that not concern us? Eating meat is obviously allowed but the way some animals meant for human consumption are treated is downright sinful.

The list of corporate sin seems endless and as beneficiaries of the west in which these things take place we are to some degree implicated. So we need to ask for forgiveness of sins of which we may not be aware.

Most importantly, this is why we need a Saviour to cleanse us from sin that we are involved in unknowingly.