Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vision of Humanity

Every year I get an email with the link to the latest version of the Global Peace Index. put together by the Institute for Economics and Peace. It's interesting that the title is Vision of Humanity. We want to believe that to be fully human is to live in some sort of authentic harmony with those of our species, other species, and with the systems of life which allow us to thrive on Planet Earth. Biblically this is known as shalom, God's vision of humanity, which is more than an absence of conflict and war. One source offers this definition:

The noun שלומ (shalom), often translated as “peace,” comes from the verb שלמ (Sh.L.M). The verb shalam means to "restore" in the sense of replacing or providing what is needed in order to make someone or something whole and complete. The noun שלומ (shalom) is one who has, or has been provided, what is needed to be whole and complete.

To calculate how peaceful a country is the GPI looks at 22 different indicators. Each of the different indicators is weighted according to importance and they can be broken down into three broad sections listed below with some examples:
Ongoing domestic and international conflict
  • Number of external and internal conflicts fought
  • Number of deaths from organised conflict
  • Level of organised conflict
Societal safety and security
  • Level of perceived criminality in society
  • Political terror scale
  • Number of homicides per 100,000 people
  • Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people
  • Nuclear and heavy weapons capability
  • Ease of access to small arms and light weapons
  • Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons as recipients (imports) per 100,000 people

Iceland ranks at number one on the list this year, followed by several European nations, while Canada is at number seven. The other two North American nations, the USA, and Mexico, rank at 101 and 138 respectively. Syria is 162 of 162 countries included.

What a reminder, first of all of the blessing which is ours as Canadians. For so many of us this is the accident of birth, and so it is truly unearned. It is also a call to accountability for the well-being of our planet home. We simply can't ignore those nations where peace seems impossible. We must urge our government to act wherever possibly to "wage peace" in our world, and as Christians we are called to "pray without ceasing."


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