The arrest, harassment, inhumane treatment and finally death in custody of Father Stan Swamy in India on July 5, 2021, reveal some important consequences of our faith. Among them, there is the apparent helplessness and total vulnerability of a believer in the face of certain operatives in the state machine and of those forces for whom fairness, justice, peace, and ultimately any noble principle of civil morality are meaningless.
In such circumstances, a believer, whose faith life is based on justice, peace, fraternity, freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation, and who tries to live in a manner consistent with what he or she professes, ends up becoming an easy target for fanatics and fundamentalist forces that aim to destroy every trace of diversity and dissent in order to impose on the nation an ideological tyranny that homogenizes culture, religion, language and government.
In this article we will try to reflect on the “vulnerable” dimensions of faith in the contemporary conflictual context. Obviously, it is not always easy to distinguish between genuine faith and fundamentalist fanaticism, the latter being either sadistic and violent, or masochistic and non-violent. Therefore, our reflections will go beyond this specific issue. We will also explain the ways a believer’s vulnerability can come to be seen as his or her true strength.