Friday, August 29, 2008

Reformation or Regeneration

Reformation or Regeneration

People often talk about 'reform.' Yes, individuals, families,
communities and society need to be reformed for people to live in a
better way. From time immemorial, the spirit of reformation has been
in every community and society and it has made considerable progress
in reforming people and values. This has happened in every sphere of
the society—religious, social, cultural, economic, political etc.
However, after a period of reformation, people face the same old
problems, now only taking different forms.

One of the basic reasons for the failure of several reforms could be
that the same old values, which need to be changed, are simply refined
a bit and presented in different forms. For example: discrimination
among people based on caste, race, class, wealth, education etc. has
been reformed outwardly without touching the core issue of
discrimination that is in our nature. In general people don't want to
see everyone as their equal. Because then they too would become one
among them. At least, somebody should be below their rank, so that
their worthiness could be realized and recognized.

Of course all are not going to be equal in every area. Likewise,
those who toiled and came up in life because of their hard work need
to be recognized as the pioneers and leaders in their particular
fields. But instead of their successful position challenging and
motivating others to work hard in their respective fields, it only
creates unhealthy competition, jealously and inferiority complex in
others. Thus, mere reformation of people (here the pioneer and their
followers) alone won't bring the change.

Reformation fails to bring change, because most of the time, the
reformer takes the old value, refines it a bit and presents in a
different form. As people are familiar with the value, after the
initial enthusiasm of new form fades, they go back to the same old
position. What needed is regeneration, which could introduce new
values that could give new vision to change some of the old values.
Change can be brought about only by individuals, families, communities
and societies that welcome the new value which is not in their
worldview. Those who resist such new values--in the name of
protecting and preserving their culture or tradition—will fall short
of true regenerative change. They will end up promoting only
reform—which only changes the form but not the value.

Mathigiri, February 14, 2007

2 comments:

Jon said...

That's totally right! However, the big question is, How do you get a group of people to change their core values? I've been taking a course in cultural anthropology, and a theme that keeps coming up is how people (especially Christians) have attempted to "reform" their groups by changing the way things look... The problem is, others can see that the values have not changed and thus remain uninterested and unaffected.

May I ask, in your book on Hinduism did you write about how your conclusions should affect Christians in India? If not, are you working on anything like that?

Anyway, thank you for your thoughts. I've recently acquired a copy of your book (Living Water) and look forward to reading it.

vnshiju said...

That is a simply beautiful article.

Do we still need reformations?

Do we at least accept it because regenerations and transformations are resource intensive and time consuming?