Critically evaluate Karl Barth’s theology of religion and work

Barth work resulted to great effect on how the society interprets and apply Christian teachings. The unpopular and radical approach of Barthian theological thinking about work and Sabbath earned him great criticisms from the mainstream society but his work remains an important component of the current theological scholars and knowledge about Christianity faith. Barth claims that work or human labor is solely utilitarian intended to keep us alive. In this regard, he emphasizes on the importance of observing Sabbath, in order for man to resist the temptation of worshipping work at the expense of serving God (Hughes, 2007). In Barth ideology of Sabbath, the command to rest does not validate man to work for the remaining days of the week. He argues that Sabbath should take precedence of all other activities that man does for the service of God, so that He can reveal His purpose for him. Therefore, Sabbath day according to Barth (2009) gives the meaning and direction of man’s activities for the rest of his working days in the week. During Sabbath, man should not consider it as leisure or passive time but rather a day to join God in celebrating His Creation (Barth, 2009). Work or active life is not entirely, what God requires from man, but an activity that man does for survival (Barth, 2009). In this case, Barth argues that Jesus Christ called his disciples to abandon their work and follow him in his ministry but not join work. From his arguments, it is not necessary for man to work because it is worldly and cannot lead to salvation. I disagree with Barth’s opinion on work and Sabbath. When God was creating the universe, all Creations were made in six days and on the seventh day, He rested (Alister, 1999). In this case, God did not rest and then proceed to the work of creation. Though man’s activities do not add up to God’s creations, his actions have a profound effect on the entire universe and its inhabitants. God created man to be the master of the universe and its creations, and to fulfill the purpose, man must work not only for his own survival, but for the sake of other creations (Alister, 1999). In poor and underprivileged societies, rest days are liability to such people who struggle hard to afford even a single meal in a day. To such people, taking a break from work in Sabbath amounts to starvation, psychological suffering including anxiety, self-humiliation and depression. Thus, considering economic and social status of people, Barth idea of work and Sabbath is a luxury only the rich can afford. A true Sabbath should result after six days of working earnestly, without deceit or oppression, so that all people regardless of their economic status can fellowship with God and celebrate His Creation. 2. Critically evaluate an issue affecting employers or employees in relation to religious faith and practice Different religions have distinct practices that they instill on their followers and believers. These practices normally dictate their daily activities such as mode of dressing, nutrition, duties and responsibilities, health, ways of praying among other behaviors. Alister ( 1999) noted that strict observation of these practices determine the commitment of the believers and more importantly, their desire to attain the highest form of spiritual purity dictated by the teachings of the respective religious denomination. Many religious teachings from diverse backgrounds contain punitive measures meted on followers who fail to comply with the said practices. The punishments are normally carried out by the leaders and/or, adherents of the particular religious grouping on the errant followers (Alister, 1999).