Para mudar é preciso coragem…

Dia desses, por puro acaso, fazendo uma busca no Google, li algumas coisas sobre Eberhard Arnold, um escritor, filósofo e teólogo alemão, contemporâneo de Karl Barth e Martin Buber. Por curiosidade, acabei baixando uma biografia sobre ele.

Descobri que ele havia se transformado, de um defensor entusiasta da Primeira Guerra Mundial e do “espírito alemão”, como se ela fosse uma “cruzada”, uma “guerra santa” contra o império de Mammon, representado então pelo império britânico, num pacifista radical, que dizia que cristãos não deviam servir a exércitos. Abaixo, alguns trechos da sua biografia, onde fica demonstrado qual era o seu pensamento na época em que a Primeira Guerra Mundial começou:

“Eberhard titled his first article after the outbreak of war “God Speaks in Serious Times.” In the opening paragraphs he borrowed a statement from his father: “World history is world judgment.” As a nineteen-year-old Eberhard had rebelled with every sinew of his being against this viewpoint. Now, at thirty-one, he had lost his youthful edge. Had he grown more staid and middle-class? It almost seems so, judging by his explanation of the war to readers of the Evangelical Alliance Magazine: “God wants us to recognize that this war, the most terrible the world has ever known, is a proof of his goodness, patience, and long-suffering.”

A full year into the war he still wrote that the war was “from God,” contending that God was pursuing a “vein of good,” which in this case was “the defense of righteousness by the more righteous of the warring governments.” His theological basis began to take a dubious slant. “Because unrighteousness has gained the upper hand in recent years, we must consider every war as a merciful check against the satanic and anti-Christian powers, and as directed against evil.” Shortly afterwards he wrote on the same theme that “Satan and his spirits must be fought with the weapons of violence and wrath, war and the sword, fire and brimstone.” Through such words as these, Eberhard had fallen back on a Gnostic pattern of thought as a recourse to bolster his war theories: God will win in the final battle, but only by a hair’s breadth. God bears responsibility for the fight, but the devil prescribes the weapons of battle.

This is the essence at the core of his war premise, and it is not without a certain dramatic effect. It does, however, present various drawbacks, the most obvious being that it is simply not Christian. Only drastic distortion can bring it to any biblical foundation. Furthermore, such a statement is incomplete and illogical. Wasn’t it actually the war itself that had unleashed satanic and anti-Christian forces? At the end of the first year of the war, hundreds of thousands had already bled, burned, or suffocated to death in Flanders, in Champagne, in Alsace, and in Galicia. Proofs
of God’s goodness, patience, and long-suffering?…[…]

[…]As a further speculation, is it possible that Eberhard was subconsciously resisting his foreign ancestry? In his writings during the first years of war his harsh, anti- English criticisms are especially disconcerting. He saw “inward powers collapsed and buried in England and America” – not so, of course, in Germany. He discovered “greed and envy” in England – and only there. For him it was “a fact that service of Mammon was the outstanding characteristic of the English mindset – life aimed at advantage and advancement, pleasure and enjoyment.” In a book review he wrote, “The incapacity to rise above pragmatism is typical of the English.” He tore Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke to bits.16 Finally, he rejoiced that the war had at last made possible “a complete release from the superficiality of English hymns.” This was said in reference to favorite revivalist hymns in German translation, hymns such as “What joy it is to be redeemed” and “I know a river whose glorious waters.” He and Emmy had been happy to sing these songs in earlier days, but now Eberhard claimed that they “took away from the clear and certain proclamation of the Lord.” Reading this today it seems almost too farfetched to be taken seriously – and seems all the more ludicrous in light of Eberhard’s English heritage on his father’s side, and his American grandfather.

Depois, parece que ele subitamente acordou, começou a ver os maus frutos que a guerra havia produzido, e quão pouco cristão parecia ser esse uso de violência, armas e força bruta. Mergulhou no Novo Testamento, entrou num período de reflexão profunda, e se deu conta de que estava errado, profundamente errado sobre o que tinha escrito em defesa da guerra. E corajosamente, assumiu o erro, retirando de seus escritos, todas as defesas entusiasmadas daquilo que antes ele imaginava ser uma “guerra santa”, “cruzada contra o mal”. E se transformou num opositor ferrenho dessa mesma guerra que havia defendido. Ele descobriu que a guerra, longe de ser um instrumento de Deus, para levar pessoas ao arrependimento como pensava antes, tinha levado as pessoas à selvageria e degradação ainda maiores. A guerra tinha afastado ainda mais as pessoas de Deus. Descobriu que o nacionalismo (assim como todo tipo de “ismo”) era uma ilusão.

Now Eberhard speaks of “the deceiver of mankind, the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning, who is the original instigator of this war, this dreadful experience of increased sin and increased death.” He has seen his error, and he no longer calls a thing white when it is black. The war cannot be evidence of God’s goodness and patience because God does not want any person to die, but wants rather that each should find repentance and live. “This is the upheaval worked by repentance: this conversion from the spirit of darkness to the spirit of Light, this redemption from all delusions and blindness.” This includes the delusion of nationalism too. It is almost as if Eberhard were preaching to himself: “In cultural and political life as well, this upheaval must find expression as peace, justice, and love.”

Que mudança! E convenhamos, isso se parece bem mais com o que Jesus fez e ensinou. Imagino que deve ter precisado de muita coragem, não só para reconhecer seu erro, mas também para deixar claro, publicamente, que estava errado, mesmo com todas as consequências que isso teve para a sua vida e a vida da sua família, anos mais tarde. Pode-se dizer então, que a guerra pelo menos tinha servido para que os seus olhos fossem abertos, e ele mesmo fosse levado a se arrepender.

Outro que também passou por coisa parecida, foi Dom Óscar Romero, depois que foi nomeado arcebispo de San Salvador, El Salvador, em 1970. Foi escolhido como arcebispo, justamente por seu conservadorismo. Mas a morte de um amigo, também padre, Rutilio Grande, em 12 de março de 1977, assassinado por militares, foi o estopim que o fez acordar para o absurdo, a violência e os crimes que estavam sendo cometidos pelo regime militar em El Salvador. Entendeu que, como pastor, seu papel era defender o povo, de toda aquela violência perpetrada pela ditadura militar, custasse o que custasse. Sua mudança de opinião, custou-lhe a vida. Foi assassinado em 1980, dentro da capela de um hospital.

We will be firm in defending our rights – but with a great love in our hearts, because when we defend ourselves with love we are also seeking sinners’ conversion. That is the Christian’s vengeance.

One of the signs of the present time is the idea of participation, the right that all persons have to participate in the construction of their own common good.

For this reason, one of the most dangerous abuses of the present time is repression, the attitude that says, “Only we can govern, no one else; get rid of them.”

Everyone can contribute much that is good, and in that way trust is achieved. The common good will not be attained by excluding people. We can’t enrich the common good of our country by driving out those we don’t care for. We have to try to bring out all that is good in each person and try to develop an atmosphere of trust, not with physical force, as though dealing with irrational beings, but with a moral force that draws out the good that is in everyone, especially in concerned young people.

Thus, with all contributing their own interior life, their own responsibility, their own way of being, all can build the beautiful structure of the common good, the good that we construct together and that creates conditions of kindness, of trust, of freedom, of peace.

Dom Óscar Romero

Um crente que segue a teologia da prosperidade, lendo a história desses dois homens, dirá talvez: QUE OTÁRIOS!


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