Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memorial Day Facade

As memorial day approaches, I am reminded of the extreme militant patriotism of a people of predominantly Christian persuasion. Before I continue on that line, however, I would like to stress first and foremost that I am not an anti-war proponent. Of course I do not like wars, but I see them as a necessary evil much like exercise and politeness to fools. This does not mean I approve of all wars we have been in but I can at least appreciate the men and women who have served to protect our rights and freedom. In the end, it only takes one group of militants who would rather kill the infidel than to discuss differences over tea in order to require that we engage in a war to protect ourselves. Of course, many wars are not particularly that simple and many continue for far different reasons, but that is not what I wish to discuss in writing this.

What I find shocking and awing is the number of professed Christians who are pro-war despite its apparent necessity. Many Christians do not merely think of war as a necessary evil, but quite often as a first response to any non-Christian party. My own experiences leads me to believe that the common Christian perspective of international relations begins and ends with, "I say we just nuke 'em!" After all, that is just what Jesus would have done, right? Jesus was a pacifist--a pacifist even to his own death. Jesus was a pacifist even to the point of healing the man whose ear a disciple had cut off as he was intent on arresting Jesus and turning him over to torment and death on a cross. Jesus said that he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword and he overturned death penalties for sins in order to uplift forgiveness instead. Nobody gets more pacifist than Jesus according to what we read of him in the synaptic gospels. The only thing we could possibly take as a call to arms from the mouth of Jesus is when he said to sell your cloak to buy a sword in Luke 22. Of course, he was being entirely metaphoric as is demonstrated in two ways.

The first obvious clue to the metaphoric nature of the sword-purchasing is that the disciples immediately pointed at two swords in response and Jesus said it was enough. It appears rather strange to go from encouraging everyone to buy one at the expense of their own cloaks to suddenly believing two swords would suffice. If the two swords were enough, then clearly Jesus would have realized that they had no need of selling anything to begin with. The second clue that Jesus meant this entirely metaphorically is in the very fact that he told his followers not to attack. Of course, we could also simply note the incongruence of his own words if he did not mean this metaphorically since Jesus always spoke of non-violence, turning the other cheek, and forgiving others. It is harder to take his three years of teaching non-violence to be metaphoric instead of his one obviously metaphoric account here. We can look yet further at his early loyal followers who also were entirely non-violent even to their own horrendous deaths. Clearly, Jesus was a pacifist and his originally followers understood him this way.

Anyone thinking that Jesus could have promoted any kind of military behavior of his followers is simply fooling themselves. It is not in the book that Christians so claim to love. Violence comes only from God directly in the Bible and he pours in on extra thick in the book of Revelation. This extreme violence on God's behalf smiting the infidel so immensely that blood rose up to horses' bridles for some 156 miles is certainly a bit strange given the teachings of Jesus, but hey, who are we to question God, right? Somehow, this kind of grotesque display of power has become the hallmark of many Christians. They look forward to the spilling of the blood of the infidel.

This is nothing new, of course. Christians have always hated rival religions and atheists. Well, only after the initial teachings of Jesus had become corrupt as he prophesied would occur, of course. Since Jesus specifically stated that we ought not call any man teacher or father, this corruption clearly had already occurred as early as 67AD when the second Pope was named. The first is supposedly Peter but I believe he was likely crowned post-mortem. Jesus claimed that we all had the same teacher and father and thus we had no need for such acknowledgements of mere man and thus the papacy is clearly not within the parameters of Jesus' teachings. Jesus recognized that using a man to be the means by which we understood God's will was a very dangerous thing as he later experienced via his own crucifixion and as we soon saw within the Roman Catholic Church. He who controls the will of God controls every believer in said God and holds the power to smite with the threat of Godly retribution for disobedience.

The Roman Catholic Church had a series of some 15 crusades over the course of 567 years starting from 718AD. This is the church that modern day protestants have come out of and decided to mimic while holding to their core doctrines and the same organization that modern day Catholics still represent. Clearly we have not come too far away from the murderous intents of the original faith-corruptors. Christians today have more zeal for our military than most any non-Christian. They are the most war-approving and military condoning over any atheist group I know. All in the name of love, I suppose. You might expect that people would one day realize that the Roman Catholic Church is nothing to mimic in their murderous crusades and extreme torments of the infidels. Instead, they suppose they may have had a few hiccups in the past, but they were probably right all along about the infallibility and authority of the Bible that they compiled and the deity of Jesus himself.

So as we approach this Memorial Day, let us watch as the fundamentalist Christians show over-exuberant support and respect for our troops who lived by the sword and thus died by it according to their pacifist leader and let us ponder how Christians can continue to twist the words so sharply from the one they claim to love, serve, and adore: he who represents love, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. While we are scratching our heads in bewilderment at the fallen state of the once useful teachings of Jesus, let us also remember that indeed we cannot talk our way out of being mauled by a rabid bear and that many people have indeed died in support of our freedoms.

Even if any and all wars had some other underlying purposes, the men and women who gave their lives were likely motivated by the political rhetoric of freedom and peace. I give special respect to those who fought against the power-hungry Christians who held deep beliefs in the righteousness of slavery and fought for the freedoms of all mankind despite color. And while not particularly military, I give thanks to those who stood up against the crazed and blood-thirsty religious majority for the sake of reason and peace and found their livelihoods destroyed for promoting freedom of slaves and advocacy of women. I throw out even more respect for those who have died on the front-lines of today's fight for justice against oppressive rulers and extremist religions.

I give a heart-felt thank you to all who have lost their lives in promotion of peace, love, equality, and freedom for all mankind no matter their race, sex, nationality, religion or location.

Special thanks to Avijit Roy and those murdered at Charlie Hebdo. You gave your lives for a good cause and I hope the world becomes a better place because of it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Challenging thoughts. A lot here. Well written.