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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Thumpers & the Holy Land
crosses and zion
Many people, unaffiliated with churches, love Jesus Christ with all their heart. For intruders to play upon this sacred bond by means of appearing unexpectedly at the front door is counter productive. What God Himself has won, zealots have no right to take credit for. Was there ever a time and place, maybe long ago, when a man or woman toting a bible was fully acceptable? Nothing up the sleeve? Well then, that was then. Today, strangers, point blank, are difficult to trust. It matters not how they are dressed and what quotes fly off their tongues. And usually evangelicals mean business. But in the service of whose or what power and glory? Generally speaking, the proselytizer is smart and well-read, but what of it? There oughta be a law. And then there is the counter trend. There are religions that require a genealogist bribe. Instead of expanding their flocks, they keep them neat and trim, rather than fruitful and multiplied. What exactly are all these religious organizations up to?
Believers could go underground. That is at least a viable alternative. One's religion is nobody's concern. One could feign whatever faith is most able to short-circuit an interminable conversation about who is what. Otherwise, a computer-driven Middle Ages could get under way. Interestingly, UFO-ridden New Mexico is, in addition to the Land of Enchantment, a second home to Catholic converts, once Jewish, who have preserved their unique identity. Their blend, called crypto-Judaism, is derived in large part from the Spanish Inquisition. Far from a problem, the cryptic has internalized a solution: outwardly Catholic, inwardly Jewish (and probably, on occasion, the reverse). Over time, los Judios, Christianized but apart, learned how to give a priest the slip or sneak away from mass. Churches, too, continue to struggle with Jewish conversion. It is not the same. Christianity is a great thing; its various structures and infrastructures, however, are not always supportive. To the lukewarm, trading the indifference of God for the indifference of Christ is unrewarding -- if that is the entire transaction. It would never work anyways. Surely, converts of whatever stamp also undergo inner struggles that linger.
A man or woman's true convictions are not necessarily for public consumption. How he or she deals with the larger questions is also personal. Today, the unconverted Jew is still an equal in terms of religious establishments. And prayers for a sturdy berth in the New World Order could well be answered. A Solomonic temple gleams just beyond the horizon. Few obstacles stand in the way except nerve. The clock is ticking and to rebuild and reclaim will take guts. When the time comes, peace talks will be of no avail. Expulsion will be more the order of business. And it will happen. Israel has not yet secured Jerusalem. It holds this city in common with a number of special interests, all patting one another on the back. If the present generation of sabras balks, then the next will have the courage to act. Or the next. Sooner or later, the explosive matter is going to surface. In Israel, only one way of life appears compatible with itself -- not so very different from anywhere else. In its service, to bomb Iran or raid the Gaza Strip is, comparatively, fiddlesticks.
Zion's more capable enemies, in addition to offended Muslims (who dread the loss of their Jerusalem mosque), have no doubt not gone away. One assumes that they are quietly waiting and watching. They seldom move a muscle. Is this really the end of anti-Semitic power? Of Aryan resistance? Very acquiescent of late. All the same, the Jewish-American community maintains a high and healthy level of paranoia. Maybe later, old guard anti-Semites will re-organize. It seems logical, if amateurishly prophetic, to predict that more religion-based conflict will breed a bevy of alliances and misalliances. Safer habors will be sought as well as more aggressive entities. Today, overconfidence is the norm. It has its justification, too, having come about by means of lobbies, leverages, laws, liaisons, and influence. A single result, Iron Dome, is now well entrenched. Moments of truth fast approach. And how was this state of preparedness accomplished? With Old and New Testament wisdom, possibly, but mainly commonsensical social science and applied science. Not door-to-door thumpers.
Is war inevitable? Alas, there is no peaceful solution. The point, therefore, is to contain the fighting, not spread it. So, what is to be? Outside the walls, there are millions of anti-Israelis who might actually invade unarmed, Ghandi-style. They are already suicidal, right? And then how would it look if Israel, in self-defense, individually shot them? Up to how many would sustain the right image? This is purely hypothetical, but perception is always problematic. TV audiences are severe judges. Another case scenario is sabotage. Holy shrines are vulnerable. Lives are intertwined with them. What if they were all reduced to rubble? What then? And why would anyone do such a thing? Who knows? Things regularly get blown up. There is no getting round it. Over there, trouble is an export, along with oil and oranges.
Or how about this possibility? Suppose Israel were to bomb the daylights out of everybody within range? Not just Iran. Pieces of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt would then serve as acquired territory for new, imported patriots. Israel could enlarge itself, become bigger and better, while its excitable neighbors held their rallies at greater distances. Or how about annihilating the entire Muslim population, paving the way to a terror-free world with still only one democracy in the overheated region? To be honest, it is frustrating. What is the ordinary citizen to think or feel? After all this time, the holy land is still a quagmire. Citizens of the world, having nothing to do with anything Middle Eastern, are at grave risk. More Oslo Accords are unlikely to change the delicate imbalances that obtain. All pray for peace, religious or secular, but not without a wry sense of humor. Thumpers can thump away. In terms of real progress, the bible is not irrelevant, just ineffective. It is the Word of God, sure, but what of it?
An opposing opinion
An opposing opinion from the religious sector in Israel, having something to do with the subject matter of this hub, can be found in Pravda's December 26th edition. An article by Lilian Milena, entitled Jews who struggle for a free Palestine, presents the point of view of some Orthodox Jews against Zionism, the militant idealism that currently dominates. Although these dissenters practice Judaism, they are often called anti-Semitic. True enough, they infuriate Israelis by advocating the State's demise. They might sound completely crazy, but there exists a legitimate argument, if deep in the minority, that asserts how before the partitioning of Palestine, greater understanding and peacefulness was more the reality.
The fact that Pravda has taken an interest in the situation is a reminder that this crusade, if that is partly what it is, is far from over. Russia, too, is involved in the entire region that includes and surrounds Israel. Without going any further, up to speed on all this or not, one can well appreciate how complicated and lethal this geopolitical hotspot is. One can also understand Pravda's skepticism. It no doubt upholds the instrumental role communists played in the outcome of WWII, which enabled the 1948 UN decision that brought about a new and more enlightened post-war world. Strange bedfellows, admittedly, and definitely no thumping here.