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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hatred Versus Peace

Over the years, I've written much that's touched on the concept of love and yet I've never written much about its opposite: Hatred.

Hatred arrives in many forms, but it's interesting how many religions warn against directing it at others, even in the form of wishing ill on others.

For instance, in King David's Psalm 109:17, David writes "He also loved cursing, so it came to him; And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him."

Many asian religions believe in karma, and so there are variations in exactly what is believed. However, the core of the belief is that when you do evil, it is returned to you.

The Golden Rule is a belief that is widespread throughout many religions. Here are some variations of The Golden Rule*:

1. Christianity: "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matt 7:12 and "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

2. Confucianism: "Tsekung asked, "Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?" Confucius replied, "It is the word shu--reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."
Analects 15:23

3. Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5,1

4. Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you." Mahabharata 5,1517

5. Jainism: "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated." Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

6. Kabbalah: The Kabbalah faith is a Jewish mystic religion not to be confused with historical Judaism. Among other things, it teaches that envious and uncharitable thoughts should never be directed at others, and that they are as injurious as a knife wound. To guard against others' evil thoughts, they wear a red string wrapped around their left wrist 7 times. When it breaks, it's assumed that it broke in the line of duty and it's quickly replaced.

7. Taoism: "Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss." Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

8. Wiccanism: Wiccans have the classic rede "An' it harm none, Do what ye will," which serves as a basic guide to all spells and actions. They believe that any negative spell will eventually rebound upon the spell caster.

And, of course, many more religions teach similar concepts.

Interestingly enough, from the perspective of an atheist, doing good unto others also makes sense. If you believe in evolution, it's easy to see that the survival of the species depends on living as peaceably as possible. I had an ex-fiance who was an atheist that generally held himself to a higher and more peaceful code than most Christians!

Why is that?

There are some Christians in the United States that are very pro-war. It's a difficult topic to debate, because many people are also bent on self-justification since many of their loved ones have served or are serving in the military.

But Christians need to seriously consider what a just and an unjust war is. When is war defensive? When is it wrongfully aggressive?

This is not a politically correct topic in many churches.

I've been in churches where God and The Military are seen as one unit. There are patriotic sermons that indicate that God blesses the military.

In "The Myth of a Christian Nation" by Gregory Boyd, he writes:

"Shortly after the Gulf War in 1992 I happened to visit a July Fourth worship service at a certain megachurch. At center stage in this auditorium stood a large cross next to an equally large American flag.

The congregation sang some praise choruses mixed with such patriotic hymns as "God Bless America." The climax of the service centered on a video of a well-known Christian military general giving a patriotic speech about how God has blessed America and blessed its military troops, as evidenced by the speedy and almost "casualty-free" victory "he gave us" in the Gulf War (Iraqi deaths apparently weren't counted as "casualties" worthy of notice). Triumphant military music played in the background as he spoke.

The video closed with a scene of a sihouette of three crosses on a hill with an American flag waving in the background. Majestic, patriotic music now thundered. Suddenly, four fighter jets appeared on the horizon, flew over the crosses, and then split apart. As they roared over the camera, the words "God Bless America" appeared on the screen in front of the crosses.

The congregation responded with roaring applause, catcalls, and a standing ovation. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes. Indeed, as I remained frozen in my seat, I grew teary-eyed as well - but for entirely different reasons. I was struck and horrified by grief.

Thoughts raced through my mind: How could the cross and the sword have been so thoroughly fused without anyone seeming to notice? How could Jesus' self-sacrificial death be linked with flying killing machines? How could Calvary be associated with bombs and missiles?

...How could the Kingdom of God be reduced to this sort of violent, nationalistic tribalism? Has the church progressed at all since the Crusades?

Indeed, I wondered how this tribalistic, militaristic, religious celebration was any different from the one I had recently witnessed on television carried out by the Taliban Muslims raising their guns as they joyfully praised Allah for the victories they believed "he had given them" in Afghanistan?"

Gregory Boyd brings forth some very important questions that Christians should prayerfully consider. Although it's easy to respond with a knee-jerk reaction, this is something which requires a great deal of thought.

NOTE: There is an Islamic verse that is often mistakenly cited as a 'peace' verse. It reads "Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
HOWEVER: one needs to ascertain what a Muslim considers to be his 'brother'. Do not assume that it's you.

17 comments:

Edge said...

I was going to ask what the Muslims said until I read the footnote. They are filled with hate.

~Jef

The Lazy Iguana said...

Can't you see? The mega churches are all about politics and ONLY about God and Jesus and the Bible as far as they can use those things to support their political views.

In 1992 Bush 1 was losing the election. He had lost most of his popularity. The mega churches were tooting the nationalistic horn in a Nazi like move to bolster support for THEIR GUY. God forbid a Democrat win! Why, fags will be prancing down the isles to get married, and abortion will be MANDATORY!

Where was the "God bless America" speeches after 1992 and before 2001? Gone. Because Clinton was there. So when troops were sent to Somalia, to crush the warlord terrorists and see that the people got the international food aid, mist of which came in bags with the US Flag printed on it so the people KNEW who was giving them the food (want to make friends? FEED PEOPLE! People like food. Food is our best diplomat) - the Republicans and mega churches stopped the nationalistic bullshit and took a "we do not belong there, get everyone home" line. We are not the world's police! And so on.

So according to the mega churches what is a just war? One started by Republicans. Simple as that. Because they know that party is more likely to bow down to them and do what the churches want. Thereby giving the mega pastors political power as well as vast wealth. Which in effect is what a neo-con is! You need BOTH to be one of them. Vast wealth AND political power. Oh yea, you also have to be 100% behind their agenda.

If you do not have all of the three, you are either a patsy or a Democrat. Even if you are independent and have no party affiliation. Heck you may even have conservative views on some issues.

The church has sat back and allowed itself to become a political tool. The message of the church changes depending on who is President. And yes, the mega churches have become the church. Why? Small churches do not have TV studios and satellite networks. Small churches are not taking in tens if not hundreds of millions a year in collections. Small churches have a little itty bitty voice - the mega churches have 10,000 watt amplifiers. And the mega churches use all they have to steal business from smaller churches - for doing so gives them more wealth and political power.

And the small churches do very little. Nobody is telling the mega pastors to sit down and shut up. Except me. I am the only one. And I am not part of any church. Strange how that works out huh?

Have you rented "Jesus Camp" yet? You have to see the part where they worship and pray to / for a life size cardboard cutout of Bush. You have to see it. You will see just how crazy some people are, and how dangerous these crazy people are.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, no - I truly haven't rented Jesus Camp. I need to remember to look for it! I'm not surprised, sadly.

Matthew 7 is a very powerful chapter in the Christian religion, which is often overlooked. For those running and following the megachurches, they need to remember Matt. 7:22-23 in which Jesus says:

Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Scary verses, indeed.

Many of us who attend the small churches are attending them because of all the non-Christian behaviors that are exhibited in the Big Box churches.

One man in particular is helping to head up the Big Box movement, and his name is Rick Warren. If you hear a church talking about Rick Warren, run like the Devil is at your heels.

Jef, yeah. *sigh*

Jungle Mom said...

I do not mean this disrespectfully, but do you not believe there is ever a cause for war? Or do you believe all Christians should be pacifists?
I am just curious.
I do believe the state is given the power of the sword, biblically, to protect it's citizens. I do NOT believe the church is called upon to make war, but that individual Christians have a right as a citizen to partake in military actions.

daveawayfromhome said...

I think Lazy's covered things pretty well, so I'll just toss in a few extras...

Have you seen Matt Tiabbi talk about his experiences at Rev. Hagee's church? Talk about crazy.

Our leadership is always getting onto muslims for not taking the more extreme members of their faith to task for their violence. But do we not have much the same situation here in America with Christians? No, not in terms of violence, but the same extreme my-way-or-the-highway attitude, the same vehemence aimed at all who question them, the same attempts to shove their beliefs down the throat of everyone else through legislating "morality". The difference is one of tactics, not attitude. And while I certainly appreciate not being killed, that's about all I appreciate about it.
And yet, those Big Time Preachers who run these Big Time Churches get plenty of mainstream media time, the ears of our leadership, and far more power than ought to make anyone comfortable in a country supposedly separating the power of church and state.
Who says "boo" to them? Why those damned liberals, of course, but everybody knows that they're all America-hating idiots. Anybody else? Scientists, but they just want to corrupt our youth with their godless "facts", right? Am I missing anyone? Anyone that gets media access, that is?

You might be interested in this guy's graph showing the correlation between IQ and belief in the literalism of the Bible. Very interesting, though sure to have plenty of exceptions and to cause a ruckus.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Jungle Mom, No, that's perfectly OK! I don't mind discussing this in the least. Of course I DO believe there ARE occasions for self-defense.

However, the desire to make war on others is always there. Let's face it: The majority of our nation is NOT a Christian nation. It's a nation of people who follow their desires. Don't believe me? Look at the average TV viewing menu. But even true Christians also suffer from this sometimes. That's why the churches are so rife with corruption when The Church (believers) should have none.

So, we need to check our baser selves at times: Is this war necessary? Is it truly defending ourselves? Is it just? Is it for the purposes that our leaders claim? Will it keep us safe?

I truly think that this current Seven Year War is not a war for our defense. I DO think the Afghanistan war WAS, as we were clearly in there to get Bin Laden and his henchmen, and he was being supported by the leaders there.

Did Iraq support Bin Laden? Yes. Did they have weapons of mass destruction? Maybe. Maybe they're buried out in the desert somewhere. Maybe.

BUT: should we have gone in there?

Well, that's a tougher question. Some people say no, but I say yes. I think given what we knew, it was a good idea initially.

However, we handled the initial foray wrongly, and we have overstayed our welcome.

If the true purpose was to stop terrorism and hunt down Bin Laden, they could've gone in, kicked butt, and left. If more bad guys assume power: Rinse, repeat. Eventually they'd get the message: Play nice with others.

But this long drag on our resources, the continued deaths of our troops, etc., would be fine if it could be justified.

But truthfully: I don't give a rat's butt if the Iraqi people are happier today than they were 8 years ago. They're NOT our people, they do NOT pay taxes, they are of little use to us and they are draining us dry - look at the economy!

Did Saddam Hussein commit horrid atrocities? No doubt he did. But so do tons of nasty military dictators every where else. Look at Burma for instance!

The real question is this: Are we currently The World's Policemen or not?

If we are The World's Policemen and we're bent on setting people free of rotten governments, then it's time to invade Burma, Brazil, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Russia, most of the countries in the middle east, most of Africa...

WHEW! We're gonna be BUSY! I'm just sweating thinking about it.

See what I mean?

So, looking at this objectively, one has to ask: What is the REAL reason we're in Iraq?

I think it's a mix of reasons.

1. Bush doesn't want to look the fool. He wants to make a name for himself in history. He wants people to look back and say that, in hindsight, what he did was great.

They won't.

2. Many people are making their living off The War Machine. Profits are involved.

In Senate testimony on June 13, 2005, we learned that Halliburton (the main company that is contracted out by our government) is overbilling the government for imaginary troops.

Additionally, Halliburton tripled the cost of the main supplies that they needed to provide the meals to the troops although an alternative contractor did NOT. In one example, the local cost of tomatoes per box was $5, but Halliburton was charging the gov't $13 - $15 per box. Bacon was $12 for a 15 pound box, but Halliburton was charging our government $80!

These are just examples of war profiteering that is going on here.

3. No doubt this is a strategic piece of land, and we like our oil. This plays a large factor, as well.

SO: When would I think it's OK to go to war?

I think we need to do a little more sabre rattling in Mexico's direction. They are already warring with us by sending and encouraging illegal aliens - they even have a government pamphlet out on How to Sneak Across the Border. I mean - how obvious is THAT?

OK, OK, just kidding. I DO think we need a wall up there, but that's another topic.

I believe we declare war when it's declared on us AND THEN WE GET OUT. We cannot do 'nation building' every time the bad guys engage us in war. I'm sorry, but we need to think of our OWN nation and our OWN future first.

We have also come to devalue negotiations as being a wimpy solution, when it may be the cheapest solution yet.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daveawayfromhome,

I JUST saw the Matt Tiabbi video about Pastor Hagee (I refuse to call ANYone "reverend" as this title was always traditionally reserved for God only before the Catholic church decided they liked it and now the practice has spread). I LAUGHED MY BUTT OFF! Oh my GOODNESS! I can't BELIEVE anyone is this GULLIBLE! I need to get out more.

Your point about holding more violent-rhetoric Christians accountable is actually a very valid point, indeed. Christians are SUPPOSED to hold EACH OTHER accountable. That means that under the Christian faith, Pastor Hagee would already have been contacted by numerous pastors who are convicted to correct and admonish him.

It's very sad that so many Chrisitans are sitting back, saying "Not MY job", when the Bible clearly says that we are to admonish fellow Christians when they stray from Biblical teaching. I guess I need to be in that grouping, too!

I'll check out the graph. No doubt there's some merit to it. And of course there are exceptions (I'd like to be seen as one!)

BUT: Although I value my intellect (and geniuses run in our family, we have a load of them) I do have to point out that intelligence was NEVER a pre-requisite to belief.

I've often joked that Christians are called sheep in the Bible. Many Christians are followers and just as ignorant as sheep, which is why they're so easily misled by people like John Hagee IF they don't read their Bibles and apply common sense.

However, I know some amazingly brilliant Christians and I know that we do exist.

I, myself, was agnostic for about 10 years. I did a lot of searching during that time. I know what's out there.

One thing that I used to personally mourn is that when we're intelligent it is MUCH harder to have faith because we understand the alternatives, we understand the arguments, and we can see them clearly.

There is no doubt that it is harder for an intelligent person to have faith. However, that doesn't mean that the faith is wrong! And that's ultimately the key here.

It comes down to faith being a very personal choice - others can't believe for us. Others can't choose for us. And ultimately, others can't go to heaven or hell for us. We each die alone, and go on to our just reward... alone. We must make our own decisions and not be pressured by others.

It's not easy to face these things - at least it isn't and wasn't for me.

Jungle Mom said...

Saur, Thank you for your answer.
we actually agree on quite a bit.
I do feel this war is justified, but mishandled. ( I think perhaps Iran would have been the place to start). I think that history shows us this is only a skirmish in a very old war and that Islamists have always pursued conquest unless checked by a stringer force. We can not negotiate with them unless they know our strength and resolve. And now is the time to show strength in order to hold them at bay for a bit. Sadly, Europe used to do this but now has become nearly overrun themselves and it falls on the US.

I also agree that we are quickly becoming a post Christian nation and I detest the big name 'preachers' who tear down the name of our Lord in their own quest for fame and glory.

And DAVE! In happen to have a very high IQ and most of my family does as well. we may approach the Bible differently, but faith of its nature is not dependent upon intelligence, we are told to have the faith of a child.

I do not think the survey results shown are even handled in a scientific manner and is merely one persons attempt to prove his own bias.

Jungle Mom said...

However, in spite of my IQ, I am a very poor typist!:(

Jungle Mom said...

BTW, the one we are awaiting is a grand child coming in for my son's wedding next week!

daveawayfromhome said...

I just tossed that IQ thing in there because I'd read it somewhere. Some of my smartest friends do some of the dumbest stuff. Still, isnt it interesting that al Queda is said to do most of its recruitment among the poor and ignorant. Sound familiar? Another victory of politics over morality.

Neither Iran, nor Iraq, had anything to do with 9-11. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch. If any country that wasnt Afghanistan had anything to do with bin Laden, it was that of the good buddies of our fearless leader, Saudi Arabia.
I didnt have a problem with the invasion of Afghanistan. That's where bin Laden was, they were protecting him, and we responded in an understandable and relatively logical way. Then we listened to a batch of lies and blew it all by going after Saddam. Now you're falling for the propaganda about Iran, also, a nation whose military budget is a bit more than 1% of ours.
Yes, they "hate" us. Given our history there pre-revolution, I cant say as I blame them. Given our current agressive stance towards them while standing in the nation next door, I still cant blame them.
We are active in the middle east for one reason and one reason only: oil. We have no other business there (defense of Israel does not require invasion). Ours is a case of naked aggression for our own personal gain. Years ago, we made the choice to pursue a lifestyle that used enormous amounts of oil, much of it from the middle east. We did this despite the warnings of the oil crisises of 1973 and 1979. We built sprawling cities, drove huge cars, and acted like consumption was our birthright.
The result is what we have today: troops dying far from home, a whirlpool of money being siphoned out of our economy with much of that money going to support those who hate us (presumably for being stupid enough to make them rich), and us paying increasingly more of our shrinking supply of money to support a lifestyle that we should have known 20 years ago was doomed.

Which has little to do with this post, I suppose, except to perhaps point out that the problem is not so much religion as it is the use (or misuse) of religion to justify ones own selfish desires.

What's the line from The Big Chill?

Michael: I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex.
Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing's more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

Jungle Mom said...

I agree about Saudi Arabia, but as I said, this conflict could every well go back a thousand years, long before America, long before oil.

daveawayfromhome said...

Yes, the conflict goes back centuries. This particular chapter was begun with western forays into the region in search of (and desire for the possession of) oil. Without oil, and the vast sums of money that came with it, the Arab world would still be an isolated backwater. Certainly there are not a lot of other resources there, not on the scale of oil, anyway.

Muslims are no more bent on conquest than Christians are. It is their leaders who are bent on conquest, and do so in the name of religion, much as Christian leaders have done in the past (and as pointed out by Saur, do still).

"NOTE: There is an Islamic verse that is often mistakenly cited as a 'peace' verse. It reads "Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
HOWEVER: one needs to ascertain what a Muslim considers to be his 'brother'. Do not assume that it's you."


Do not assume that it is not. The definition of "brother" is an individual decision (though that individual may be swayed by his/her leader), not a group one. Just as "human being" can be, to some people. Or have you perhaps been biased by the African-American use of the word? (this is not an accusation of racism, by the way, just an observation of how the word is often used in America.)

United We Lay said...

If it's okay with you, I'd like to do a post based on this one.

Saur♥Kraut said...

UWL, Go right ahead!

Daveawayfromhome, BUT you forget that I've studied the Islamic faith extensively. To them, their 'brother' is a fellow believer only.

Jungle Mom, right on, and congratulations! :D

Valerie - Still Riding said...

Good Post Saur!

Great minds think alike...

http://amistyview.blogspot.com/2008/05/show-and-tell.html

CrazyCath said...

Excellent post. I agree that a true Christian should not be war mongering and the churches that support politics and war are hypocritical.

I prefer to follow a faith that refuses to take up arms against his fellow man, for we are all brothers (and sisters), sons (and daughters) of God and we have no right to take eachother's lives. I do not believe there is a justification for war in any sense, but that is just mho.

This is a really good post as it has started a dialogue. Understanding should follow, and then may be, peace. God willing and humans desiring.