Saturday, February 12, 2011

The more it changes, the more it's the same

Ynet, the online English-language version of the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth, reports today on the impossible situation of civics teachers in Israel because of the rising racism of their students, to the point that it's difficult to argue in class against openly genocidal sentiments.

The comments mostly blame the victims, and in my experience so-called Christians in the US condone this neo-Nazi racism in Israel using the same pretext, the supposed wickedness of the victims. These people claim that the Bible is the word of God and authoritative in their lives, but somehow they never get around to explaining how hatred and murderous sentiments against people are justified even if those are evil-doers. Like the Pharisees and the scribes, they hold to the doctrine that you should hate your enemy, and yet they amazingly call Jesus "Lord, Lord!" while explicitly blowing Jesus off.

When we find out that finding reasons to hate people doesn't justify us in hating them, that hatred no longer seems so desirable. It's an arresting thought that much of our hatred is motivated by a quest to justify ourselves. We really need to stop and think about that. It's hard to find a limit to how stupid we can be.

If that's you, baby, Malachi's advice is sound: "Consider your ways." As Paul put it, "Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith," because if you don't believe what Jesus says, then you are by definition an unbeliever, and in calling yourself a Christian you are taking the name of the Lord in vain. Will doing that really justify you?


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