Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why do religion and hatred go together?

There is no shortage of religious haters in the world. I would be an unbeliever if the Bible didn't tell me to expect this. But run an eye through the prophets, and you'll notice who killed them. Run an eye over the gospels and you'll see who pursued Jesus to death. Notice who stoned the apostles and drove them out of town. You can't see things being just the way God tells you to expect and find that to be a reason not to believe in God. Be mad at God and argue with him about it, like Job or the writers of the Psalms, but you can't disbelieve somebody for telling you the truth and then it turns out that way.

Jew haters will answer that it's the Jews, but in that they're just showing how their hatred makes us stupid. The problem is religious people feeling competition from the truth, Jewish or not, as the past 1800 years have shown.  In fact, if you include the worship of Mammon as a religion - and how can we not? - I'd say that in the Bible all persecution is driven by religious "faith," without exception.  Go look.  Please find me any exceptions to the rule.

This is pretty sobering when I consider that I and others reading all this rather obvious stuff are the religious people in view. These warnings are directed to the reader.

Murderous religious people are generally pursuing redemption through who or what they hate, rather than humbling themselves in repentance, and generally by devoting themselves to some counterfeit salvation. We see this in others easily: Germans whirled away into their devotion to Hitler, or Communists in the 1930s in love with Stalin or, or later with Mao Zedong.

Only it doesn't do us much good to see this folly in other people.  Here the log-in-eye thing kicks in.  Christian Jew haters have blinded themselves by seeing this in Jews so as not to see it in themselves. American messianists, people who like Woodrow Wilson think that America is the savior of the world - he actually uttered this blasphemy in 1919! - worship their favorite empire in the same way, while being experts in seeing this problem in their favorite enemies. Rabbi Michael Lerner, in "Jewish Renewal," points out that American Jewish leaders quite consciously decided to form Jewish identity around the state of Israel, and that's the definition of idolatry, something besides the true God in which we find our identity. It doesn't look pretty when an idol fails you.

Zionism is idolatrous in its foundation anyway: Psalm 90 says that God is the dwelling place of the Jewish people from generation to generation, and Zionism says oh no, the needed dwelling place is a state of our own making. And God is not in the business of blessing an idol.

Actually, the best way to curse something or someone is to worship it, which is why Paul and his companions rushed into the crowd at Lystra and prevented them from offering sacrifice to them. Any reader of the Bible can see that the US and Israel are cursed because people worship them, thus making them into accursed things (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).  If that's not obvious in nations, see what happens to people you know when they're flattered in that way - husbands, for instance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Sunni Muslims say that Shia Muslims are guilty of worshiping saints. Some Protestants accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary the mother or Jesus.
I think that in these cases those Sunnis and those Protestants are unable to differentiate between worship and admiration.
I admire Thomas Paine for the politcal examples that he set.
I admire Buddhism for teaching us that this world is not the ultimate reality with out pointing to a monothesitic source of it all.
I admire James Zwerg for his thoughtful willingness to become a Martyr to fight injustice.
I admire Ehren Watada, Chelsa Manning, Edward Snowden. I do not think that it would be unreasonable for a statue of any of these men to grace a city park.
Yet some would say that is tantamount to making a golden calf in the image of these men.
Prayng to a Saint for guidance would be a no no for many people.
Yet for other people God is a busy deity and he does not need to be troubled by the concern of one person and praying to a saint is like asking the para legal of a presitigous law firm for some help.
It seems to me what one man calls showing respect for another man can call worship. Whether it is respect or worship, if it is for the leadership of the US military it is bad.

7/28/2014 4:08 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

The idolatrous, indeed polytheistic, basis for a lot of this admiration is in fact the conviction that the chief god is inadequate - busy, lacking in the compassion that Mary has, something like that.

That's quite a different thing from admiration, from noting people as examples and learning to follow their example, for instance.

Most of these practices amount to henotheism, the idea that there is a supreme God and a bunch of others that may be worshiped. There is for us one God, the father, and one lord, Jesus Christ, said Paul, but also that there are many gods and many lords is not disputed. But there is only one sovereign God for us, and we ought to pray to him for what we need, while respecting that others have power but not sovereignty.

So we ought to appeal over their heads, while acknowledging that they do have power and should not be subject to railing accusations. Indeed, even Satan himself is one of these. And we are to resist him, not pray to him.

7/28/2014 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although our paths diverge here somewhat, I am not sure as to what the practical difference is in how we live our lives.
Could it mean that I can eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner with out feeling guilty while a follower of the one God puts a limit of one chocolate chip cookie per day, and only if it is made with organic sugar, on his/her diet?
Could it mean that the follower of the one God does not eat pork because the one God says so while I try to cut down on beef because of the negative environmental side effects of raising cattle.
Could a follower of the one God would support a flat income tax while someone like me who recognizes no sentient being as a God supports a progressive income tax?
You have not gotten around to commenting on my politcal platform so it is hard to say what the practical implications are of someone who recognizes one author of the Bible as their God, but not one author of the Quran, and someone who recognizes his understanding of justice as God.
An understanding of justice admitedly influenced somewhat by the Bible.
I did not understand the first sentence of your last paragraph on the second comment. It seems to say that those with human power should not be subject to railing accusations. But that does not sound like something that you would write.

7/29/2014 4:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I get the last sentence now.
I needed some time for it to sink in.
Sorry about that, I do not know how I can recover from that mistake.
There fore I would like not to talk about it anymore.

7/29/2014 5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in a discussion the other day comparing the Bible and the Koran.
Care to comment?

10/08/2014 1:46 PM  

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