Today, Jimena and I were at the wedding of good friends from our church, in the mountains close to Nice. On our way back, we took another friend back home to Nice. This friend is studying political science and wants to write a thesis on the privatization of security. That got us to talk about the role of the USA in the world, which jumped to their role in WWII, and soon enough, we came to capitalism, world economy, and the alternative that open-source is to the current economic jungle of liberal capitalism.
What surprised me the most was not her positions, which were very academic, but rather the lack of personal challenge of what was taught to her. I was surprised that someone studying politics and economy might not challenge more what is taught officially. Her conclusion on every subject was that moral values and ethics should not be mixed with politics and economy.
As Christians, we are to be the light of the world, the salt of the Earth, but in order to make a difference, we have to be careful to not build a wall between our moral values, which are guided by our spiritual life, and the way we actually live, think and work. If we are to be the salt of the Earth, the light of the world, it should not be fine for us to leave our moral values at the door when we step into the world. In order to make a difference, we have to be integer, whole. Integrity makes a difference.
Christians in open-source are witnesses of a difference. We stand for values that most of the world don’t share. Our involvement in open-source is driven by the perspective of a different economic order, where sharing knowledge leads to more wealth for everybody.
Let’s step out and stand for our values. There’s two places where we can do that. In open-source, as Christians, and in the body of Christ, as open-sourcers.
In open-source, we should not forget that our identity is to live in Christ. We have been given that new life in Christ, and our moral values today are consequences of this new life in Christ. For many of us, our involvement in open-source is a reflexion of these values, and the compatibility of these values with the open-source system. As Raoul pointed in an earlier post, we are amazed to see how many Christians there actually are in open-source already. Let’s be proud of what drives our lives: our salvation in Jesus Christ, and witness that our values are led by our life in Christ.
In our communities, we can witness of the values we find in open-source and of how they correspond to our moral values as Christians. In my opinion, it is not solely a matter of choosing open-source software over proprietary ones in churches. This is a big part of it, but it goes further, and my talk with this friend tonight was an example of that. Education systems condition us to believe some things about the way the world is going. This friend had lots of arguments to explain why the world is the way it is, why we need patents, why private armies are fine, and so on, and she wouldn’t challenge all this. I think we can witness that there are other ways to do things, in real life. Not filing software patents doesn’t mean not making money. Sharing your knowledge doesn’t make you poorer. And so many things that are not obvious to people today, but that we could witness about to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, to challenge their walk and help them make a difference in this world… that they might be the salt of the Earth, and the light of the world…