Monday, May 30, 2005

Came across this article, and its sequel, here, today.

This quote (from the first one) made my jaw drop:
[H]e believes spiritual war requires a virile, worldly counterpart. “I teach a strong ideology of the use of power,” he says, “of military might, as a public service.” He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible’s exhortations against sin set for us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because “the Bible’s bloody. There’s a lot about blood.”

Oh, yes. I recall what Jesus had to say about this: "But I say unto you, That ye tolerate not evil: but whosoever shall turn to smite thee on thy right cheek, smite them aforehand."

Of course, on the one hand, he's quite right--the Bible is indeed, very bloody. And I am glad that he has noted this, as I have already taken lengths to point this out to certain people who believe that only Islam is violent. Unfortunately, Pastor Ted seems to have used this to justify his idea that all beliefs counter to his must be stamped out.

And, after reading the second one, I find it amazing how people can (allegedly) listen to Jesus's message and come across with the idea that "tolerance" is a dirty word. The author of the articles notes this:
Truth, [Peter Berger] says, does “not rest in the wisdom of men but the power of God.” Then, in a lisping, limp-wristed imitation of liberals, he mocks, to laughter and applause, those who want to “share” and be sensitive to the needs of others.

He also points out something I certainly would not have noticed, which is partly the reason I say these people have only "allegedly" read the Bible:
MacDonald quotes liberally from the Book of Revelation, the only place in the New Testament where Jesus (arguably) endorses violence and calls for vengeance against nonbelievers. It is, along with the apocalyptic visions of St. Paul, the movement’s go-to text. Rarely mentioned these days is the Jesus of the four Gospels, the Jesus who speaks of the poor and the marginalized, who taught followers to turn the other cheek and love their enemies, the Jesus who rejected the mantle of secular power.

Forgive the lack of segue, but I recall that earlier in the semester, in my Western Religions class, the professor was asking us to read the mind of the author of one of our books (the one on Islam). He was explaining that, according to Islam, all religions are a religion and the religion. And he wrote "To have lived any religion fully is to have lived all religions and there is nothing more pernicious than to create a syncretism from various religions with a claim to universality." She wanted us to guess what he meant by this--and one person hazarded that if somebody were to create an amalgamation of religions, choosing the pieces to go into their own faith, they would only pick pieces that they already agreed with. They wouldn't have any rules that they'd have to conform to, but would just live the same as if they had no religion at all.

This makes sense, but only if you assume that people actually conform themselves to their religion. For the most part, they don't. They use their religion as justification for their preconceived prejudices, paying attention only to what pleases them, and damn whatever context there may be.

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