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The Bahamas in a changing world

As we continue our approach to 50 years of independence, The Bahamas of today exists in a very different world than 1973. We have come a long way. We have evolved and so has the world. There have been many changes in the world and there have been many changes in The Bahamas. We have a potentially bright future, but how we respond to a changing world will be key to our success or failure.

Let’s take a look at changes and evolutions in the world since 1973. In the early 1970s, we, like many others in the world, were emerging from the vestiges of slavery, colonialism, and physical and ideological oppression. With a strong sense of identity, we demanded freedom, equality, justice and a place on the world stage. We were tentatively welcomed, recognized as free but not on the same level as developed nations. We were marginalized like many other developing nations but given a place in the community of nations through the United Nations (UN).

We saw technology rapidly change and evolve affecting our daily lives in ways never previously imagined. We went from dial phones to touch phones, from typewriters to personal computers, from personal computers to cell phones, from cell phones to smartphones, from international dialing to internet communication, from internet communication to AI (artificial intelligence), from mail order to Amazon, from taxi to Uber, and from hotels to AirBnB.

Socially, we went from equal rights to women’s rights, the sexual revolution, the rise of LGBT rights, changes in social norms, changes in dress and appearance, changes in music from vinyl to cassette to CD to mp3, from video cassette to DVD to mp4, the emergence of rap and hip hop and gang culture. Our children proliferated in education at schools from London to the United States to China and beyond. We saw the emergence of Black Bahamian CEO’s, tycoons and bosses, to athletes and artists emerging on the world stage. We have evolved in a changing world.

Our approach to religion has changed. We have moved from traditional to modern worship including cultural expressions in worship involving dance, drama, praise and worship; teaching with the use of modern technology, YouTube and Facebook streaming. From one-dimensional spiritual leaders to multi-dimensional leaders. We have seen The Bahamas’ name rise in the Christian world through the likes of Myles Munroe and Bishop Neil Ellis. We have seen the rise of non-denominational leaders, new churches, new associations and new leaders.

At 50, what do these changes mean and what lies ahead for us?

We are now living in a world that is more divided than ever. A world that promised peace but is still delivering war. A world where there is more confusion than clarity. A world where global colonial powers no longer conquer and colonize countries and lands physically, but are not actively colonizing ideologically. The former colonizers are telling the former colonies to bow to their ideologies or face economic sanctions and threats. Ideological colonization is not different from physical colonization and the effects can be just as debilitating and humiliating. Some countries in the world are fighting back while others resign to a fate of subservience understanding that they need financial assistance.

Where does and where will The Bahamas stand in the midst of globalization and ideological colonization?

What is our national identity?

What are our values?

Where do we stand in the midst of this confusion?

These are the questions for our current and future leaders. My advice is to stand on the principles that led us to where we are, to never determine our future based upon the ideologies of our former colonizers and new colonizers. We were founded on Christian values and our initial greatness was supported by these values. As these values have eroded, so has our society. We have to ask ourselves and examine our actions to determine what is best for us as a country. Will we fall into the trap of being consumed by things rather than being consumed by life. We do not need things to enjoy life, we need life to enjoy things.

The Bible still says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin (carnality) is a reproach to the people.” Our society is drifting morally in the wrong direction. We are actively pursuing vices rather than virtues but we want positive virtues to persist. In the midst of a changing and confused world, our choice is whether we remain focused on what made us great, whether we preserve our identity or whether we submit to the dictates of the world’s economic and ideological colonizers and become something that we never signed on for when we demanded freedom. Hopefully, we will stand on the righteous agenda and not become the ideological subjugates of confused global powers.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.