Jul 26, 2006

Politics of Truth

Sometimes an image is worth a thousand words.

Edit: Being a creature of language, here's something vaguely political. I will try to stay within 1000 words.

Ikew and I once discussed the troubling paradox of me being cool and a Christian. I told him I'm a lame Christian which probably explains why I'm cool, but I'd rather be a lame Christian than a leet atheist. In fact, I'd rather be a lame Buddist, Muslim, Taoist, Hindu etc. than a leet atheist. On second thoughts, if I had to be a Jew, I'd rather be a leet Jew. You have to be a leet Jew, it's part of the self-identification. They are the chosen people, after all.

The first Christians were Jewish, and the relationship between the two religions has always been problematic, starting from the Letter to Romans by the apostle Paul (part of the New Testament for the ignorant;):

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

And of course one of my favorite quotes:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In other words, even the early Church felt the ambiguity of the Jewish roots of their religion, especially when Christ repeatedly emphasized that the Law and the Prophets (Old Testament for the ignorant;) are an integral part of his teaching. I found this enlightening quote in Wikipedia:

...the very presence of the Jewish people in the world, continuing to believe in the faithfulness of God to the original covenant ... puts a great question against Christian belief in a new covenant made through Christ. The presence of this question, often buried deep in the Christian mind, could not fail to cause profound and gnawing anxiety. Anxiety usually leads to hostility.

William Nicholls
Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate

On antisemitism I can't help quoting this, especially moving when said by Al Pacino.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

W. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

(Revenge is a powerful meme in the memetic pool of humanity, but it is a dirty word in politics so I'll leave it out.)

The antithesis of antisemitism, so to speak, is Christian Zionism. This is the political 'arm' of the theological belief that at the end of times before the Second Coming, certain events have to take place. These events are inferred from the Book of Apocalypse (part of the New Testament;), a frightfully complex, symbolic, metaphorical, and poetic work. A number of interpreters have suggested various scenarios, some laughable, others less so. One of the notable 'fulfilled prophecies' we are painfully reminded of in the last 57 years, is the restoration of Israel. USA played an important role in the creation of the state of Israel, one motive being precisely the Christian Zionism. It features prominently in neo-conservative ideology to the present day, although disguised in different wording. The rest is history, as they say. It is being written even now, in Lebanon and Israel.

The sentiments of the Jews about Eretz Yisrael are a different story altogether. After all, their leetness is deeply interwoven with this tiny bit of land. I already understand patriotism, although I don't feel it. Now I'm interested only in the Christian attitude to the issue, and the part of the creed that says: "and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end." I believe in the end of history, as we know it. I however firmly disbelieve in attempts to arrange history to suit someone's political agenda, claiming that this is God's will.

In the words of Jesus: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father.

Finally, I was scolded by some friends for not having an opinion, and this time I am happy to announce I do have an opinion. It coincides with the Catholic view on the topic:D

On July 20, the Holy See Press Office issued a declaration on the Lebanon crisis.

“Facing the aggravation of the situation in the Middle East, the Press Office of the Holy See has been authorized to communicate the following:

  1. The Holy Father is following the fate of all the populations involved with great concern, and has indicated the next Sunday, July 23, as a special day of prayer and penance, inviting pastors and faithful of all the particular churches as well as all believers in the world to implore God for the precious gift of peace.
  2. In particular, the Supreme Pontiff hopes that prayer will be raised to the Lord for an immediate cease-fire between the parties, that humanitarian corridors will immediately be created to bring help to the suffering populations, and that rational and responsible negotiations will begin for bringing an end to the objective situations of injustice which exist in that region, as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI in his Angelus of last Sunday, the 16th of this month.
  3. In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis have the right to live in peace in their state and the Palestinians have the right to have a free and sovereign nation.
  4. In this painful moment, His Holiness addresses an appeal to charitable organizations to help all the populations struck by this bitter conflict."
Hint: Praying can be done anytime, anywhere.


ffox said...

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

мм чудесно! аз имам допълнение от същия източник в същия текст, ама ще си го издиря за проверка и ще го плесна в МАС за чудо, и приказ!

an it ain't flattering as u may have guessed :)

Anonymous said...

Cheers :)



Hazel Baggins said...

@ M.
WOW:) thx. great movie, great actor!