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Black Suffering - Term Paper Example

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The idea of a "suffering God" was put forward by some black theologians who coined the term by re-reading the Bible and comparing it against the backdrop of the hardships, oppression and struggles faced by them (Badham, 1998). In order to interpret the biblical significance of 'liberation' and justice; the black theologians referred to the exodus, and the messages of the prophets. The Gospel story of life, death and resurrection of Jesus was used as a biblical foundation to interpret love, suffering, hope, liberation and justice with regard to the struggle for freedom of the blacks. However, it was the actual suffering of the blacks in various countries across the globe that brought to the fore, a drastic change in the interpretations and reflections of Jesus Christ on the cross (West, Glaude, 2003). The issue of black suffering and black theology The African-American Christians have, historically maintained two fundamental tenets – that of God being the most powerful and kind being, and the existence of evil and suffering. These concepts have been popular throughout the history of black religion, i.e. ever since the beginning of black slavery to the creation of black churches, and continues to thrive, even today in the post-liberation, and post-institutionalized world. The black theology is which developed as a result of the civil rights movement, led to the awakening of a new consciousness among the black Christians, whereby a new sense of dignity and social awareness were realized. It is not only concerned with resolving issues related to culture, but also with the harsh realities experienced by the Blacks in America. However, despite the differences, it does not intend to question the idea of God, but instead connect the ideology conveyed by him, that of the existence of evil and suffering (West, Glaude, 2003). The black theologians primarily emphasize the experiences of blacks as a central aspect of their theological norms. It is argued that the theological interpretations must commence with issues faced by the blacks and thus, ascertain the relevance of such issues to the religious teachings. Conventionally, there exists a paradox within black theology, where the black believers never blame the God for the sufferings and hardships suffered by the blacks during their racial oppression. On the contrary, the black churches have always preached a gospel justifying and re-emphasizing the sufferings of the black race and its contribution in building a morally strong and positive character. Also, the black suffering has been linked to various positive traits among the blacks such as the development of a strong moral leadership among blacks; as well as the fostering of religious humility which is the ultimate goal (West, Glaude, 2003). As mentioned in God of the Oppressed: “The cross of Jesus reveals the extent of God's involvement in the suffering of the weak. God is not merely sympathetic with the social pain of the poor but becomes totally identified with them in their agony and pain. The pain of the oppressed is God's pain, for God takes their suffering as God's own, thereby freeing them from its ultimate control of their lives. . . . God in Christ became the Suffering Servant and thus took the humiliation and suffering of the oppressed into God's own history. This divine event that happened on the cross liberated the oppressed to ...Show more
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Black Suffering “We cannot speak of the death of Jesus until we speak of the real death of people” Gustavo Gutierrez Brief Overview The concept of evil and suffering has been probed several times by religious scholars and researchers over the years. However, the issue of suffering among blacks have been largely ignored / avoided for a long period of time, thus completely disregarding the concept…
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