Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Forever and ever

Genocide, human or divine?

The very thought of saying such a thing, of linking the ugly word ‘genocide’ with anything to do with God or religion, seems in very bad taste, to say the least. The phrase appeared in my mind recently, and it will not go away. Perhaps if I talk it to death, it will leave.

It doesn’t help, that there is currently a very bad war going on in the Middle East, a self-declared Islamic caliphate literally making heads roll right and left. Surely, Islam ‘the religion of peace’ cannot be responsible for this merciless carnage. Someone or something has certainly hijacked it, as has often happened before in recent—9/11—and remote—the First Fitna (AD 656)—history.

That’s what political correctness tells us, anyway, even in the face of obvious historical contradictions. One cannot compare the expansion of Christianity with the expansion of Islam without noticing that the former was spread ‘by the blood of the martyrs’ who died for their faith, while the latter was propagated by a different kind of ‘martyr’ with sword in hand, shedding others’ blood.

Well, that’s what we Christians like to emphasize, but we too selectively turn a blind eye to historical facts that don’t support our self-image. We may not call ourselves ‘the religion of peace’ because the contrary evidence is too available with no one capable of restricting access to it, but we still say we follow and believe in ‘the Prince of Peace,’ never mind what we do or don’t do with His teaching.

It seems we all, Christians and Muslims anyway, have inherited a violent streak, even a genocidal one, from the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament, where we find an angry, jealous Deity—thank God there’s only one of Him!—telling His chosen people, the children of Israel, to empty the land He’s promised them of its inhabitants—men, women, and children, kill them all!

We can’t know for sure if these stories are racial myths or if the events they describe really happened in the way they are told. Almost no violent displacement of conquered peoples has been effected by the Jews in recorded history, except in modern times in the case of the state of Israel, and certainly no genocide, though they themselves have been the victims of such. Still, the stories are there.

Whether or not we like to admit it, Christians, whose religion should be the Holy Gospel, have often turned to the Old Testament to justify their treatment of peoples and classes of people that somehow offend them or stand in their way. The forced Christianization of pagans during the reigns of certain Roman emperors, or of Muslims and Jews during the Reconquista, happened in reference to it.

The ‘Manifest Destiny’ myth of the United States, a bold piece of propaganda if there ever was one, covering the genocide perpetrated against the original nations, had as its subconscious justification the ‘promised land’ ideology found in the Old Testament. ‘Men, women, children, kill them all!’ carefully avoided in conscious thought or words, nevertheless put into lethal practice, our heritage.

Now, the Christian Zionist, and some of the Jewish ones as well in the state of Israel, are reliving the past, without letting their consciences have a hearing. It little matters to them that Palestine was inhabited continuously since ancient times by people who were not ‘Jews’ or even ‘Hebrews.’ The Book says that God gave them that land, so it's theirs, forever and ever.

But a lot of things that are supposed to be ‘forever and ever,’ whether a promise allegedly dropped from God's own lips, or a divine law that is supposed to endure ‘forever,’ or a dynasty that is never to die out, and many other things both in the Bible and in people's imaginations, simply aren’t. And some people who seem to know better believe that seat-of-their-pants prophecy-mongers and other such blind guides suffer from a very dangerous delusion, that God is on their side, and that anyone who gets in their way deserves to die if they don't move on out.

Hence, the ‘state’ of Israel, a version of Palestine purged of Palestinians, populated by descendants of a ‘chosen people’ who will not stop until everywhere belongs to them, and perhaps beyond. The ‘Jewish homeland’ where these people would finally be safe from persecution has, ironically, morphed into a microcosm of the Gentile world that they escaped, complete with all the instruments of cruelty, hatred, and oppression that made their lives a fight for survival.

Is it time to wake up yet? Or would you rather snooze and let the alarm of jihad awaken you to a new morning you’d wish had never dawned. People don’t do crazy and violent acts for nothing, but once a form of insanity grips a nation, it soon becomes impossible to remember what sanity ever was, and it can turn the whole world into a charnel-house, forever and ever.

1 comment:

Sasha said...

What do you really think of the story of Jews clearing up the Promised land? If it's true, I can't believe a direction like that came from our God - but then how come that stays part of our Spirit-inspired Scriptures? And if it's only an allegory to the spiritual life, then... Jews did not kill all those people.
But I'm sure it's not black-and-white like that. :)