Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 28 October 2019

Christian ethics and modern challenges to religions in South Sudan

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By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi

Several years ago, our Christian Ethics lecturer, a Ugandan Rev. Brother at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa taught us that there are four fundamental moral principles in Christian Ethics:

1- Do good and avoid evil

2- Obey your conscience

3- Do to others what you want to be done to you

4- Love God and neighbour

On what is considered a sin in Christian Ethics in this ever-changing times, he told us that if you knowingly buy a good from a company that exploits children or a company that uses human trafficking as a source of their workforce, you are committing sin.

Now I’m just wondering, in this fast-moving world with all the modernization and technology, what is Christianity and other Religions saying regarding, for example:

Ø Those who knowingly stream or download videos online illegally.

Ø Those who knowingly distribute articles illegally through email or social media.

Ø Those who knowingly spread "fake news".

Ø And many others

More importantly, in this era of social media where a large number resides, what are Religions, especially or Religious leaders in South Sudan, doing in reaching out with their messages (teachings)?

A few months ago, the newly enthroned Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit stated the importance of training pastors on social media, saying it will help the church to meet society’s needs.

He went further to say that the church would be on the forefront in fighting against the vices in society, adding that the church must remain accountable in all her endeavours to encourage others to be accountable as well.

A few months ago also the 1st Catholic Social Media Summit, attended by 400 people from various cities in The Philippines, urged Filipinos to spread the Gospel with the power of social media.

There are several examples from different Countries from several religions and denominations I can give.

But my question is, what South Sudanese Religious leaders are doing in reaching out the many South Sudanese on social media?

It is encouraging to see a few South Sudanese Religious leaders are on social media (Facebook and Twitter), teaching the public. But more is needed if we are to win over the challenges facing us as a people.

There are several Bishops, Sheikhs, Priests, Pastors, and many other Religious leaders who are not on social media (Facebook and Twitter) despite several of their counterparts and superiors in other Countries including Pope Francis are available on social media teaching and spreading their messages.

How are we going to confront the challenges of today if only a few Religious leaders are online or are posting messages/ teachings?

There is an active page called Atheists Republic and it is actively spreading their messages against Religions, Holy Books and the existence of God. There are also several YouTube users posting videos with conspiracy theories and distorting what has been written in Holy Books. I have seen about three of my South Sudanese friends on Facebook believing in their teachings and sharing them on their pages.

Yes, it is their freedom to do so but what shall we have in South Sudan in a few years if some or most of the inaccurate messages about certain Religions are not countered?

If our Religious leaders do not join social media or join and remain inactive or give inconsistent messages, where are we going to leave those who are unable to distinguish between what is right and propaganda against specific religions?

This moment calls for more action. I hope our Religious leaders take note and advise their subordinates accordingly.

Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, a South Sudanese journalist is a former Editor-in-Chief of Radio Bakhita and Managing Editor of Juba Monitor Newspaper living in exile. He previously worked for, among other media houses, The Citizen Newspaper and freelance for The Nation Mirror Newspaper both of which have been shut down by the National Security Service. He has a background in law. He can be reached via rogeryoron@gmail.com or his twitter handle @RogerYoronModi



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