- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Terrorizing Others In The Name Of God!
God's Chosen People
One idea that has a long history of sparking religious violence and brutality among homo-sapiens is the religious concept and psychology of "God's chosen people".
The Old Testament is replete with stories depicting all the terrible things that "God's Chosen People" are allowed or commanded to do by God with God's blessing.They can commit the most horrendous acts without any guilt, because they're only carrying-out the dictates of their God and therefore these acts aren't bad because they're sanctioned by God.
The moral laws that judge these acts as bad when done by the rest of us don't apply to "God's chosen people". They can rape, pillage, commit genocide, take others land etc., without blame or guilt because God allows them to; because they're his pet people.The only way they can see to get along with others is to convert them to their way of thinking or kill them if they can't. (How many religious wars have been fought by people with this attitude?)
They see themselves as "good" and have a blind eye for anything bad in themselves. They only see the bad in themselves when they've projected it on to those they scapegoat. They have no sympathy for those they scapegoat.They only have sympathy for those they identify with.They depersonalize all others as "infidels, barbarians, heretics" etc. They feel no more qualms about killing these "alien others" than they would about squashing a bug!
Other Chosen People
When the Roman Christians assumed power during the 4th century AD, after the Roman Emperor Constantine made Roman Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.They took the title and status of “God's Chosen People" from the Jews (whom they assumed, somehow no longer deserved it). And over a long period of time committed just as many or more terrible acts as "God's Chosen People" in the Old Testament did, using the same rational to justify their behavior.
When Mohammed came to prominence in the 7th Century AD, he too saw himself as God's (Allah's) "Chosen" Prophet with Islam as God's "Chosen" religion and Muslims as God's "Chosen People”. He and his successors proceeded to make thousands of "infidels" submit to Islam with the sword in the "Name of God" (Allah).
Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, the Pharaohs and Kings and Queens of every culture saw themselves as the "Chosen Ones" of God or the Gods chosen people (take your pick) and gladly soaked the ground with the blood of a multitude of “barbarians" and non-believers as part of their divine appointment.
The former "British Empire" considered themselves to be God's "Chosen People" doing "God's will" by "civilizing" and guilelessly spilling the blood of "primitive peoples" around the globe, because it was their "Manifest Destiny" to do so. And as was done by those who preceded them, all “primitives” they couldn't "Civilize", they exterminated.
The concept of "God's Chosen People" is so divisive, that Christianity has become like a glass broken into a thousand pieces with each piece calling itself the only true piece of glass.
I'm surprised that more Christians aren't fighting one another (as was done during the 4th century AD or as recently as Northern Ireland) instead they just crucify each another with condescending words.
The Separation Of Church And State
One of the reasons why the United States was founded on the separation of church and state was because the "Founding Fathers" were still within living memory of the terrorist activities of the inquisition, instituted by the Roman Catholic Church, (who commanded the powers of the state at that time). They wanted to make sure that situation never arose in America, in their lifetimes or thereafter.
Genocide And The Chosen People
But then, we have the genocidal policies of United States government during the "Indian Wars" of the 1800s and the confiscating of the land and freedoms of American Indians, making them live in the impoverished conditions of the reservations and the killing of those who rebelled against this mistreatment. (Whole tribes were exterminated.) The rationale given to justify these abuses was that, the Indians were "Savages" who didn't deserve the land, because they didn't work or develop it, but only lived off it, like animals. But the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants (God's Chosen People doing God's will) deserved the land because they worked it, developed it and put it to good use.
The general attitude toward Indians was summed up in the words of the "Great Indian fighter" and "Civil war hero", General Phil Sheridan, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian!"
Similar attitudes were used to justify the enslavement of Africans, who were seen as sub-human and inferior, and as being closer to animals than to humans, and therefore not deserving of humane treatment or entitled to the rights guaranteed to its citizens by the United States constitution. But whereas Indians were exterminated in large numbers because they were of no economic value to the policies of the day. The enslaved Africans were of great economic value.The whole economy of the South ran on the backs of African slave labor. Therefore the policy was to keep them enslaved rather than exterminate them.
White Supremacy And The Chosen People
Then there is the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists (This is like saying the same thing twice). Of course they think that the white race is the "chosen" people of god and have a long violent history of terrorizing and murdering blacks and other minorities, as well as those whites, who went against their racist theology.They claim to be true"Christians" and say that the burning of the cross is a Christian ceremony!
Hitler's Chosen People
Hitler with his idea of Aryan supremacy was afflicted with the "Chosen People" complex (mania). Aryans were so "superior" and "pure" they must "cleanse" the Earth of all non-Aryans, to protect themselves from becoming contaminated by them. Hitler saw himself as an instrument of fate (God) restoring the German people to their former position of glory. Nazism was a religious movement centered around Hitler as the “God-Savior” of the German people.
Osama Bin Laden's Chosen People
Osama Bin Laden identifying himself and his followers with "God's Chosen People" wanted to "cleanse" Islam and the world of all "infidels" because only he and his followers are the “Chosen ones of God." They rationalize bombings and other acts of terror as "A Holy War" sanctioned by the Quran and the will of Allah (God)!
Origin Of The Chosen People
Although a lot of the religious violence perpetrated historically has its model in the Old Testament. (At least in the West) The concept of the "God’s Chosen People” or “Person” predates the Old Testament by thousands of years. It runs throughout human history like a violent thread into the dim mists of antiquity and the origins of human motivation. Probably originating in our need to feel special or important (as most of us feel as infants) and culminating in our propensity to organize ourselves into hierarchies, cliques, classes, and the haves and the have-nots. Terrorism and certain religions go together like a hand in a tightly fitted glove.
So the terrorist activities of Bin Laden and others aren't anything new. They just have more "modern" ways of killing their "enemies" than their predecessors in the past did.
Destroying The Concept Of The Chosen People
As long as the concept of "God's Chosen people" isn't attacked and viewed on a global scale as a bad thing.New generations of "God's Chosen People"(kids) will continue to be raised up to commit violent acts against the rest of us under the guise of doing "God's will" for their own misguided selfish gain.Fanatical minds are attracted to this self-serving idea like bees to flowers! It probably allows them to feel important, while simultaneously masking their subconscious feelings of personal impotence.
It doesn’t matter how much "non-chosen people" accomplish in life. They’ll always be viewed as inferior by "Chosen People" (who may be the "scum of the earth) solely because he or she is not part of the "Chosen People's" race, religion or ethnic group. However, the only thing that’s really important, is whether you are a good person or not. Whether you're having a good influence on society or not; Not your race, religion, ethnicity or the achievements of your ancestors. Because to be special in more than just your own mind or in the minds of those who agree with you. You have to achieve something "special", today, for yourself, that benefits mankind today.
Being A Chosen Person May Not Be All Bad!
Thinking that you're "A Chosen or Special person" is not all bad. As long as you're kind, benevolent and wise, like Albert Einstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Buddha, Jesus, Apollonius of Tyana, Mother Theresa and others .And as long as you don't think that your "specialness" gives you the right to trample on the rights of others, as you would protest being done to you, Then thinking that you're a "chosen" person is alright with me.
If being a "Chosen Person" means you'll use your "Chosen" status to make this world a better place for all of us.
I'm all for it!
Who needs it!
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