Problem

Distorted exclusiveness of social groups

Other Names:
Peoples perceiving themselves as specially chosen
Peculiar peoples
Belief in superior destiny
Nature:

Many nations or communities have believed themselves to have a "destiny", a goal set before them by some transhuman being. This belief sets them apart from the rest of the world, reinforces their sense of identity, and helps unite them. It can also induce feelings of superiority and contribute to aggressiveness, racism, nationalism and fanaticism.

Background:

The idea of destiny is contained in the biblical doctrine of God's providence and his sovereign disposal of history. From an early time, the people of Israel were conscious of having a destiny, and it was this consciousness which held them together and gave them their identity. In the New Testament the church appears as the eschatological community and as such is conscious of a destiny.

Old Testament writers believed that the Lord had chosen Israel out of all the peoples of the earth to be His possession. Israel was peculiar only in the sense that it belonged to God as His possession in a way unparalleled by any other nation. But after the return from the Exile the Deuteronomic ideal steadily grew into a fixed idea that the Jewish nation was peculiar in a double sense: God's elect, and a people distinctly marked off and separated from all other peoples by special badges and special tokens of favour. Foremost among these badges was the mark of circumcision, others included the holy sabbath; the sacred temple, with its holy of holies; its divinely ordained priests and the possession of the holy land of Palestine.

The early Christians felt themselves to be a peculiar people. Its members, its saints, are chosen out of the world; they are given special gifts; they alone know the way of life and are saved. As the Roman Catholic church came into being, it put forward the claim that out of all the world it was elected; it alone possessed the means of grace. Each of the pre-reformation sects which showed an anti-ecclesiastical bias took over to itself the claim to be God's own special instrument. With the reformation, the idea of the peculiar people remained a dominate concept. Every Protestant denomination claimed, at least in the beginning, to have possession of a special means of grace and to be in a special way an instrument of God's will. The Society of Friends, the Quakers, believed that they were divinely chosen, inspired, enlightened, equipped, and guided to be the restorers of early Christianity.

Incidence:

Israelis are taught from kindergarten that they belong to the Chosen People, who are Uber Alles.

In modern times German philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries made a great deal of the destiny of the German people.

In the USA, the westward migration was justified by "Manifest Destiny" and recently supposing that God has favoured American and conferred on it the mission of leading the rest of the world to freedom and affluence.

Ideological extremist in South Africa, Israel, and communist nations believe the inevitability of their envisaged future.

Christian Identity adherents in the US believe that God will use his chosen race as his weapons to battle the forces of evil. Christian Identity followers believe they are among those chosen by God to wage this battle during Armageddon and they will be the last line of defense for the white race and Christian America. To prepare for these events, they engage in survivalist and paramilitary training, storing foodstuffs and supplies, and caching weapons and ammunition. They often reside on compounds located in remote areas.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
20.09.2017 – 07:31 CEST