Subject: Human Nature & Territorial Claims to God
Is God the God of all of us or just some of us?
I find it troubling that the early writers of the Canon believed that the God of the Universe belonged uniquely to them, a single nation of the Earth (Israel). What did they mean by that, for example, when they wrote: Hear O Israel, our God is one?
The very notion that God belonged to or had an exclusive relationship with a singular nation, in this context, Israel, in deference to all of the other nations of the world at that time - speaks of grandiosity, blasphemy and arrogance. Americans for a long time have believed the same thing, that God is for America, above all other nations (192 at last count) of the world. I wonder, now that The Republic of China is coming on like gangbusters, does it mean that God has abandoned America and instead chosen the ROC to as his favorite son?
What could have been Israel’s motivation for saying or writing such things, could it have had something to do with nationalism, that they were deluded or God forbid- the venal use of propaganda in order to accomplish Israel’s aims.
Israel’s shrewd and strategic policy-ploy was used apparently to convince themselves, their citizenry and other nations and nationalists that they had better not tread on Israel, because even the very God of the Universe was on the side of Israel and would fight for. In other words, all other nations of the world, Israel was saying: you cannot win if you attack us – no matter how big or powerful your nations happens to be.
I also believe that by invoking such terms, Israel was also saying that their foreign policy just like anything else that they did or said was always proper. Why? Because God was and always is with them. Clichés like this often take on a life of their own, particularly when leaders of a nation need to rally the citizenry by justifying a war that they are about to pursue in the name of the Lord.
Just consider the contemporary examples of the ongoing wars between the West and the Middle-East.
Each side continues to invoke the name of the Lord, as one attempt to terrorize or slaughter the other side. Well, can a house be divided against itself stand as some have written? Can a God divide itself against itself? Are we to believe that God is actually for both sides and that God derives some form of perverse pleasure when observing human beings slaughtering each other?
Most militant Muslims will rant: Allah is on our side, when attempting to justify their actions against the west, and the west will say that God is with us.
Would the God that the writers wrote about on the other hand, a just, loving, fair, peaceable God be entertained by watching nations and people slaughtering or wounding each other (as if he were sitting back watching Ohio State and USC going after each other in a football game)?
In most of the writings from various sacred texts, you get the sense that God is supposed to be a God of peace. If the latter is true, then wouldn’t God expect each side to put down their weapons and make peace not war? Augustine wouldn’t likely agree with that notion if he could speak from the grave.
In fact, he could make a case based on, all of the wars that god apparently directly and participated in, just read the Hebrew Scriptures in the Canon.
The very idea that God is the God of a unique people on the Earth that he sides with, suggests an attempts by nationalists in a particular group, state, nation or by enemy combatants to use their deity to further their political ends.
Wouldn’t a sovereign be bigger than that by that I mean, a local religion or regional deity that favors one group of people over another, particularly when either side believes that they are ‘the chosen one or the selected group?
What does this kind of thinking lead to? I will tell you. Consider what is going on today between the United States of America and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. First of all both sides invoke the names of their deities, again to assure their side that the wars that they are engaged in are just and that God he or she is on their side.
Interestingly enough, there is a stalemate, the USA is winning its way, and the other side is winning by fighting the war its way. So whose winning, and which side is gaining any ground? Certainly, neither side is winning, both sides are loosing to wit the people of both nations are loosing. So where is God in this current episode? Sadly,, if either side can ever force the other to submit, they will not only claim victory, but to that they will add that they won because God was with them, no matter how many individuals they terrorized or slaughtered.
Sadly, my own nation America cannot believe that the opposition has the right to fight back, when it is America in fact, that has invaded another nation and is slaughtering their citizens in their own native land. Israel frequently believes and behaves in a similar manner, and like America, the secularist nation of Israel believes that right is on their side.
To be continued …