The Nobel Peace Laureate for his faith in God
Theology professor Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) was awarded the 1984 Nobel Prize “for his struggle against racial discrimination in South Africa”. In 1954, Desmond Tutu graduated from the University of Johannesburg. In 1961 he was ordained as an Anglican priest, and from 1962 to 1966 he studied theology at King’s College, London. In 1978, Desmond Tutu was elected General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. In 1986, he became an archbishop.
- In his Nobel Lecture (December 11, 1984, “Les Prix Nobel 1984”), Desmond Tutu said: “When will we finally understand that every human being is infinitely valuable because he is made in the image and likeness of God? When will we finally understand that it is blasphemy to treat our fellow man with contempt? We all need to realize that when we put others down, we are actually the ones being put down. God calls us to be His helpers so that we can expand His Kingdom of peace, justice, kindness, compassion, love, sharing, laughter, joy and reconciliation so that all the kingdoms of this world will merge into one kingdom – The kingdom of our God and of His Son Christ, Who will rule forever. Amen.” (TUTU 1985, 246).
- To the question “If there is a God, why is there so much evil, hatred and suffering in our world?” Desmond Tutu answers: “We must realize that we are absolutely free precisely because God does not interfere in our world. God has given us an amazing gift – the ability to make free choices. God deals with us as our parents would. All too often parents see that their beloved child will make some wrong choice. In such cases, a good parent reconciles and allows his child to freely make his choice, because only in this way will the child gain personal experience and maturity. It is not true that God is inactive. On the contrary, God respects us too much and therefore tells us: “If you want to be persons and not robots, then you will have to accept your freedom and make responsible decisions. Proof that your freedom is absolute is the fact that I allow you even to reject Me and choose evil.” We must accept the consequences of our free choices. God has not yet abandoned us. Through the death of Jesus Christ, God proved that he loves us all and that he will not forsake us.” (TUTU 1995).
- “The God I serve is a strange God. He is omnipotent and almighty, but at the same time he is limited. It is an incredible paradox: on the one hand, He is a God of justice and longs for justice in our world, but on the other hand, He deeply respects our freedom, and therefore He does not want to interfere in our world – he does not want to cast lightning and fire to slay all earthly tyrants. God does not want to force His will; He expects us to express our will ourselves. God has a dream. God dreams of a different world in which all people will love each other sincerely, like the members of a close-knit family. God asks us: “Will you help me make my dream come true?” I long for a world where there is much more love and compassion, where people are more important than things. Will you help me make this dream come true? I can’t rely on anyone else but you.'” (TUTU 1998).
- “The God whom I serve has revealed himself to people through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the window into the character of God. He is a life-affirming God who opposes everything that undermines virtue.” (TUTU 1995).
- On September 11, 2002, in his sermon at the Washington Cathedral, Desmond Tutu said: “Dear friends, in many ways we are all too vulnerable and fragile. Vulnerability is an essential characteristic of every created being. Only God is absolutely invulnerable. The Bible contains majestic descriptions of how God holds back the waters of the abyss that try to flood everything, and how God holds back the desert that tries to swallow up the fertile land. You and I continue to exist only because God restrains the forces of evil. According to the Bible, we humans are something very precious and fragile that God holds and protects in His hands. We continue to exist only because God continually breathes His Spirit into all of us and thus sustains our humanity. Otherwise, we would decay into the oblivion of the nothingness from which the voice of God once plucked us.” (TUTU 2002).
- “The forces of darkness and destruction have done the greatest evil; they destroyed the very Lord of life – Jesus. But this death was not an end, but a beginning. It started a glorious life – the resurrected life. It was the death of death itself, because Jesus Christ will live forever.” (DESMOND TUTU, “The Rainbow People of God”, New York, Image Books, 1996, 18).
- Desmond Tutu’s favorite prayer is the prayer of Saint Francis:
“Lord, help me to spread Your peace –
and where there is hate, may I bring love,
and where there is offense, may I bear the spirit of forgiveness,
and where there is disunity, may I bring peace,
and where there is deception, that I may bear the truth,
and where there is doubt, may I bring faith,
and where there is despair, may I bring hope,
and where there is darkness, may I bring light,
and where there is sadness, may I bring joy.
Lord, help me
to comfort instead of expecting comfort,
to understand instead of expecting to understand
to love instead of expecting love.
Because only when we forget ourselves do we find ourselves,
only when we forgive are we forgiven
and only when we die are we born to Eternal Life. Amen.”
(DESMOND TUTU, “The Rainbow People of God”, New York, Image Books, 1996, 13).
From the anthology “50 Nobel laureates and other great scientists for their faith in God”