Sunday, September 23, 2007

Since when did Jesus.......

Since when did Jesus become pro-war and pro-American, and an Evangelical Christian (and by extension dismissive of all of the other non-Evangelical peoples of the world)?

If you cite Jesus' teachings on peace (which are multiple in the New Testament), and turning the other cheek, resisting violence, you usually now get a couple of likely responses.

One is that you are somehow espousing "liberal" Christian values (not REAL American Christian values).

Another is that that may have been OK for "the old times" (i.e. first century Palestine) where times weren't as difficult - you know that 9/11 changed "everything".

Still another is that these are "sentimental" thoughts, and are not based in any kind of "reality".

Another along similar lines is that those are only meant as SUGGESTIONS to try to strive for, but being imperfect, sinful people, we are not able to attain that level. So, then we have to try to come up with a workable solution for war (thus coming up with the Just War Theory).

The US war in Iraq, in the opinion of a lot of Christians (including me) does not at all meet even one criteria for the Just War Theory (a. the damage inflicted by the aggressor to the nation or community of nations would be lasting, serious and certain; b. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical and ineffective; c. all serious conditions for success must be present; d. the use of arms must not involve more serious evils and disorders than those to be eliminated - this is an excerpt from Life in Christ, A Catechism for Adult Catholics by Father Gerard Weber and James Killgallon).

And, to apply it to the situation in Iran (and the talk that is happening of an imminent attack), I think is just as problematic.

You get a good idea of Jesus teaching in Luke chapter 9 (51-56 - if it sounds far fetched, and you don't believe it, look it up for yourself) where his disciples James and John are essentially asking Jesus if they can fire bomb a dissident village (sounds familiar doesn't it? You are either with us or against us, we need to use pre-emptive war to do it to them before they can do it to us, etc).

Jesus tells them "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is NOT COME TO DESTROY MEN'S LIVES (emphasis mine), but to save them."

Then, they went to another village. His disciples throughout his life and ministry always bought into the idea of a Messiah of raw power and strength, and they were waiting for Jesus to manifest those characteristics. Further, they wanted him to overthrow the occupying force at that time in their lives (the Romans).

Jesus did not "effect regime change" of the Romans then. Why? Instead, he submitted himself to them, "let" them prosecute him and kill him (all the while saying that if he wanted to, he could have destroyed them).

A lot of folks say, well, this is like World War II in the late 1930's. Saddam, Iran's President, Syria's President, Osama are like Hitler, and need to be stopped so "it" doesn't happen again. The truth of the matter is that all of those guys are like giggling school girls compared to Hitler.

And, for the foreseeable future, they will remain as such.

That is not to say that there are not times when it IS appropriate to protect ourselves. But it seems that in all of these recent wars we have ONLY considered OUR safety, and not the safety or concerns of the rest of the world. That is a result of arrogance and hubris (and an unreasonable amount of fear stoked by a opportunity seeking Administration, and a compliant media (both the main stream media and alternative conservative media - i.e. Fox, Rush, Glenn Beck, Coulter, etc, or what should be referred to as "The Axis of Evil"), and the idea that Americans are somehow "special" (and that specialness means that God loves us more) and every one else is not somehow "special".

If you are a Christian, you either believe God is in charge (and not needing any "help" from us), or you don't (and believe that God needs the "help" from us in the way of military intervention).

May not change any staunch minds, but it is at least something to consider.

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