Are we victims?

Michael Ramsden on how we respond to injustice: as nations, groups, and individuals.

“There’s a very interesting phrase in the Old Testament where it says you’ve turned justice into bitterness. In a more poetical translation it says you’ve turned justice into bitterness, so your righteous acts taste like poisoned fruit. In other words, if your motivation for justice is bitterness, even if you get that which is right, it can taste like poison to everybody else.” 

Michael Ramsden has been thinking about our culture’s struggles with injustice and disagreement a lot lately. In this conversation with Natasha Moore, he talks about what it means to live in a “victim culture” – according to definitions from history and psychology, rather than the opinion pages that rail against “snowflake” millennials! – and our options for responding to past trauma. 

From the Balkans to the Holocaust, Superman movies to very personal stories of trauma and forgiveness, Michael helps us interrogate how we construct our identities, and what kind of society we want to be. 

“The problem is, when we hold onto our bitterness, we end up paying twice for all of the injustice we’ve suffered. We pay once when it happens and then we pay again on every remembrance of it.” 

This is the second part of Natasha’s conversation with Michael Ramsden, International Director of RZIM and one of the founders of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. To hear more about Michael’s personal story, listen to the first part.