Umm… I’m very sorry to bring this up… but in a nation supposedly founded on Christianity… which is filled with people who identify with being Christian… a rather large number of us in said nation (most of us)… seem to be ignoring Christ’s teachings in their reaction to the reported death of Osama bin Laden.
Just for the record… I’m not an Osama bin Laden fan. I think his previous actions and his overall leadership in utilizing violence were beyond abhorrent. But I don’t see his actions as being powerful enough to make ME change MY actions in trying to take the divine Christ-like path that offers itself up for my choosing everyday.
Just from a Biblical perspective… we shouldn’t even need to bring up the passages regarding Jesus speaking about loving thy neighbor. Those should be a no-brainer for all Christians, right? But to Jesus’ credit… when speaking to his followers, he identified the subjective definition of the word ‘neighbor’ in their minds, and he identified that people could misinterpret it as not ‘your fellow humans’, but to be something defined more like ‘your family, friends, and the people on your street’. Thus, Jesus took it over the top (in Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, and Luke 6:35) and left no question of His meaning, suggesting that just loving thy neighbor was not enough… that you also must Love your enemies also (notice the capital ‘L’ there in the Bible).
There aren’t very many fuzzy definitions of the word enemies. There aren’t very many fuzzy definitions of the word Love either.
Do you think Osama bin Laden and the group of men calling themselves al qaeda qualify as enemies? And so it’s your wise judgement that trumps that of Jesus Christ that says these men are not worthy of Love… why… exactly?
“Well… none of us are without sin. I’m just not as holy or perfect as Jesus,” you say… as you load your magazine with ammunition (or support those who do).
But Jesus didn’t say, “I love my enemies.” He didn’t say it in first-person. He said “But I say to you, Love your enemies.” His proverbial finger was pointing at you there… if you didn’t notice it. Thus… the harsh reality there is that you Love your enemies lest you not be a follower of Jesus. After all… any pagan can lead a life as they see fit, then do some minority of things that Jesus suggested while ignoring the others… and call themselves Christians. Does that make them Christian? Does that make them Christ-like? Does that make them worthy of salvation?
“But what would you have us do,” you ask? “Should we let these terrorists kill us and threaten our very way of life?” Well… I’m not qualified to answer that question from a Christian perspective. I can only tell you what Jesus told us that we all seem to ignore… at the danger of not being Christian: Kill them with kindness.
Of course Jesus didn’t put it this way. He spoke of offering up the other cheek… and not only giving up your tunic but your cloak also… and going two miles for someone that forced you to go one. Then he spouted the golden rule in Luke 6:31. Treat them as you would prefer to be treated. Seems pretty clear to me.
Are we too wise to be Christian about this Osama bin Laden situation? You’d rather feel good about our boys in uniform killing both responsible enemy combatants and also innocent bystanders (they’re just collateral damage, not someone’s family members, right?) because it makes you feel better about yourself as an American… that they didn’t get ‘one-up’ on us? That they didn’t prevail without the strong arm of justice coming down on them? That in the end “we won”… because we made one frail at-the-end-of-his-life guy a martyr… and thus energized a whole new generation of enemy combatants?
Okay… so enough with the Biblical stuff. Let’s get to the real issue here.
This problem goes beyond Biblical proportion. It goes into the human psyche itself, which not only decides religion (i.e. it makes the decision of HOW each of us follow God), but also it decides what situations trump our actually following that religion in certain circumstances.
See… the ego of the mind (episode 0005) includes within its definitions the associations of certain “groups”. I am a “Christian”. I am an “American”. And when an attack comes from another perceived outside group (such as a plane flying into the twin towers), a relative devaluation occurs to our personal group within our minds (episode 0007). This, due to how the equation of emotion works, subsequently causes a negative emotion and a need for vindication within our minds (see episodes 0004 and 0008).
So in short… we feel our very identity is being attacked… even that portion that calls ourselves Christian… and we then must over-ride what that very Christianity tells us to do, and reclaim our status as top dogs. Because our mind forces us to. We must defend the attachment to Christianity itself, rather than defending the lessons and teaching of Christianity by reacting to situations and taking actions from within its Master’s guidelines.
We ignore Christ. And serve ourselves. This is not divinity. It’s hubris. And being happy about bin Laden’s death isn’t Holy. It’s selfish… and by definition… takes us far, far, FAR… from God.
[For reference, these same tendencies of the psyche are the same actuators that cause racism (“I am white”, and the presence of black people threatens me)… it causes genocide (“I am Aryan”, and the impurities of the Jews threatens the purity of our gene pool so they must die)… and it causes terrorism (“I am al qaeda”, the oppressors of America must pay for their insolence in supporting Israel).]
The fact is that when we react positively to the reports of someone’s death… even someone who we see as evil incarnate but whom others do not… we are acting EXACTLY like the enemy. They dance in the streets. We sit at a ballgame and chant “USA, USA, USA”.
Until we get past this point of mindful poisoning… until we get past this point of being run by a flawed system of our minds that is detached from divinity… until we get past the point of serving ourselves to a point where we start to serve others first… the world and the society of man will never heal.
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