Thursday, August 18, 2005

Killing in the name of God.

Warning! Lefty theological rant ahead!!

David Prager has a very interesting article in the L.A. Times regarding the relativism of various sins. His contention, which I tend to agree with, is that not all sins are equally aggregious in the eyes of God. Also according to Mr. Prager the greatest sin is to break the 7th commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: This is the only commandment that specifies the transgressor will not be held guiltless. Mr. Prager holds, correctly in my opinion, that it is hard to imagine that a person would be forgiven for murder but not taking Gods name in vain. The literal Hebrew gives the reason for this dichotomy. Rather than the usual understanding that merely saying the name "God" in an unholy context is breaking the commandment, the literal Hebrew reads: "Do not carry God's name in vain". Under this new meaning an action in the name of God, that is bad, is the sin.

Mr. Prager holds that in this light the actions of fundamentalist Muslims in killing in the name of God is a moral stain on all religions. I agree wholeheartedly. I wonder however, in this regard, what distinguishes the Islamic suicide bomber from the president who invokes a higher power as justification to lie us into a needless war? What of the Bushovick preacher casting this war in religious terms as good v.s. (islam is) evil? Do you suppose the thousands of dead as a direct result of this travesty in Iraq wrought by George were justifiably killed with some sort of approval from God? That is simply preposterous to me. Yet it is Bushes contention he was guided from on high prior to launching this disaster.

Folks, dont get me wrong. I believe the war on terror is an absolute necessity and must be won. I do believe the west is right on this. The war in Afghanistan is as just a war as I can imagine and should be seen through. It is precisely because of this belief that I am so IRKED by this presidents conduct regarding Iraq.

Also we cannot pretend to understand God. The comparison here would be an ant on an airport tarmac trying to understand the workings of a 747. To the ant it is very large and thundrously noisy and if not handled with care can snuff its life in an instant. But the ants understanding is necessarily limited by its ability to percieve its immediate surroundings with a brain smaller than a grain of sand. So who knows... when all is said and done I'm sure we'll be quite surprised in many ways on how God has percieved our workings. But I believe trying to carry forth in the name of God will more often than not lead to tragedy due to our innate failings as human beings. Whether we do so in the name of fundamentalist Islam or fundamentalist Christianity, we do so to the harm of ourselves.

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