Revolution as a Concept

I love the idea of revolution.  I think a lot of people in my age group do.  Just think about it.  The idea of overthrowing the established (not necessarily the establishment) in favor of a new way, a new idea, especially YOUR idea.

I think this is what people who say things like “Down with the establishment!” or “ANARCHY!” (with accompanying “rock on” hand signal) basically think.  These sorts of poeple only want “revolution” because they think it’ll allow them to act as they want to. They can then proceed eat, drink, and be merry as much as they want to.  What these people don’t realize is that they’re welcome to do this already, within reason.  Their reasoning is selfish.

Obviously, this isn’t revolution.   Revolution, in its very nature, is actually quite selfless, to some extent.  The revolutions taking place in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Iran, Jordan, and other countries in the Middle East actually do reflect this, especially through their use of nonviolence.  Though the people themselves are oppressed, and seek to overthrow oppression, they recognize that the troops that aim to stop them are oppressed as well, which is why they don’t fight back.  They make their grievances known, but do so with voice and pen, not with molotov cocktails and rocks, and they want the soliders who aim to silence them to see that they’re fighting for them, too.  It’s no surprise to me that many of the soldiers joined the celebrations in the streets when Mubarak stepped down.  They didn’t want the oppression to continue, but they were chained tighter to it than the citizens who protested.

Revolution always comes with the intention to lift the burden placed upon the proletariat.  That was Lenin’s goal in Russia.  It was the goal of America’s founders.  Same is true with the French Revolution.  Still, the problem with revolution is the vacuum it creates when power is overthrown.  Anyone can find their way in there disguised as someone who claims to identify with the visions of the proletariat and do things his own way (examples, Robespierre and Stalin).  This is where revolution can be just as bad as any war.  While attempting to change things, they actually wind up staying the same, or sometimes worse, and the proletariat finds itself under the heavy hand of oppression once more.

This is where the revolution the Jesus Christ preached was different.  He didn’t call for the overthrowing of government by violence (like his followers wanted) but for  a change in each individual who heard his teaching.  Jesus’ revolution calls everyone under the same yoke, a balanced  yoke that recognizes that everyone is the same human under the same oppression.  Revolutions that treat everyone as equals (and truly so) are the only ones that succeed.  We don’t know yet if Egypt will be successful in its revolution; only time will tell.  One can only hope that equality and compassion will fuel the changes taking place across the Middle East, and that tyranny will not fill the vacuum.

How do you see revolution?  Can revolution without a divine calling ever truly change a society?


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