God and Jesus, are two of the most misunderstood and widely misquoted of sources. I feel compassion for them. But then again, this is the gift that I believe is the essence of MY God.
It is the poignant gift which Jesus THE MAN, who demonstrated by example, shared and graced all of us with love, generosity, truth, and healing; the four pillars of compassion. So how is it that so many invoke being Christians or servants of the lord when it comes to carrying out violence or brandishing the tools of violence?
Soldiers of Christ. Jihad for Allah. The Chosen People. Such names proclaim the issuer a shield of divine superiority; and hilariously, paradoxically and duplicitously they often make such claims under the name of humility and servility. Utter contempt for others gets dressed in the cloak of piety. Foregoing other comments for the moment, are these qualities the God of these people hold worthwhile or virtuous? If so, we are all in trouble and doom will be a self-fulfilling apocalypse.
Masculine and paternal, the attributes foisted upon God seem to reach the extreme of macho and despotic. A short leap of rationalization lays stepping stones from devotion to a divine power, to supplication to a fearsome but rewarding monarch, arriving at the end of this distorted path to the belief that doing the very things that the commandments decry, if done for the benefit for the Supreme Being; are sanctioned and even sanctified. Men espousing the use of hateful and aggressive tactics, hide under the sheltering wing of their dominating deity. A tautology of logic that succors the willfully ignorant, the personally resentful, and the fearfully led, into compliance and malleability from manipulation.
Is this strength? Is this virtue? Is this piety? Is it? If these qualities, in we humans, is the way that God wants us to relate to one another? Does this resemble anything exemplified by Jesus? Not in any book close to his actual life story that I have ever read!
Does compassion, civility, and patience seem weak or effeminate in the eyes of God? Raised a Catholic, even though these ideas were uttered and not often put into practice, nonetheless it was those virtues that were taught us?
So how is it that so many “good Christians” have seemingly abandoned these virtues in favor of rhetoric that would be more historically ascribed to the Prince of Darkness rather than the Prince of Peace? I believe there are many “answers” that could shed light upon why this wave of intolerance and paranoia sweeps the landscape of peoples minds. But it takes willingness to listen to other points of view. And yet that seems all but impossible because shouting overpowers any of the calm voices proffering reason. Discussion has given way to discord, and is being manipulated into enmity. Then it is but a short leap from enmity to hatred to violence. And from violence to conflagration and then to massacre.
History repeats this pattern. Once again we stand at a crossroad where we choose between the Dominance Model and the Consciousness Model of behavior. What will we choose?
God help us to choose reason, healing, and productive solution! If we go unconscious, act from ancient dictates of dominance and aggression, then what will happen next is most surely determined. With a battle cry of acting in Jesus’s name, imploring God’s justice be swift and merciless, most of these terror fortified souls fail to realize that the sword of wrath has a double edged blade. It cuts both ways. It injures those who wield it as much as those who are stricken by it.
For all those scourged from these thrashings I can only pray: “God help us all.”