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Eye for an Eye

June 20th, 2005

Is it my imagination, or have we adopted the relativist philosophy that says we are good so long as we are not worse than the bad guy?

Take Iraq, as an example. When the fact is brought up that we have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the counter-argument always seems to be that more would have died under Saddam Hussein. When the Abu Ghraib prison torture, abuse, and killings by the U.S. came to light, the argument was that Saddam’s torture, abuse and killings were worse than what we were doing.

This is not exactly a new justification for unacceptable behavior, it seems ingrained in our culture. It’s okay for us to do almost anything, so long as we can point to someone associated with the target of our behavior who did something worse, or who did it first (although with Bush, the bad guy didn’t even have to strike first, we just have to think he will). You hit me, so I hit you back; your violence justifies mine. The death penalty is this principle writ large: we can kill this person because he killed someone else. How very Old Testament.

Which brings up another observation: where are the Christians when it comes to the real world? You hear a lot about Jesus Christ from Christians when it comes to the abstract, to belief and prayer and Who’s Your Savior and all that. Who’s your most respected philosopher? Jesus Christ. Whose teachings do you follow? Jesus Christ. Peaceful teachings, teachings of love and restraint. Jesus is the emblem and icon of the faith, the face for the world to see.

But when it comes to actually applying one’s faith to the real world, suddenly Jesus isn’t around so much and Christians tend to go straight for the Old Testament. Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth, and Smite the Bastards.

Okay, I know this doesn’t describe all Christians, and maybe not even most Christians. If you’re more about forgiveness than vengeance, my apologies and wonderful on ya mate. But from looking at how said application influences our society, it’s certainly the Christians who speak out and do things that affect all of us who seem to fall into this particular category I’m talking about. It’s as if Christianity has a multiple-personality disorder, and when any stress is applied, the God-of-Moses personality suddenly appears. Or even New Testament, but not the parts that came from Jesus Christ.

It just seems to me that if you call yourself a “Christian,” then you should follow what Christ said first and last, especially when it comes to what actions you take in life; everything else in the scripture and dogma should come second, and not at all when it contradicts what Christ said and did, the philosophy and way of living that he personified.

Or do I have it wrong?

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  1. YouKnowWho
    June 20th, 2005 at 14:31 | #1

    I think the reason the usa went into Iraq was a belief that it was easier to fight that difficult war in Iraq, then not to and have Iraq spread wmd/terrorism in the future. Since no one knows the future, this was just a belief. And yes, a belief by a usa leader can have a big effect. And yes, this belief was probably wrong.

    After the invasion, I think the dogma coming out of Iraq and the usa administration is spin to put the situation in as positive a light as possible.

    I don’t think this spin relates to religion. More politics than religion. The republicans want to win future elections.

  2. YouKnowWho
    June 20th, 2005 at 14:33 | #2

    It seems one needs to press POST twice. The 1st time it shows a message about a missing template. Then one can press BACK and then POST again. Perhaps this has to do with Internet Explorer v6 on Windows Xp.

  3. BlogD
    June 20th, 2005 at 14:39 | #3

    As I already told you, I am aware of the bug and I am working on it. As I also mentioned, you can get around that by registering with Typekey. If you like, I can create a Typekey account for you with a throwaway address of my own and then hand over the account and password for you to use. Would you prefer that?

  4. BlogD
    June 20th, 2005 at 14:43 | #4

    YKW: Do you know what Bush said to then-Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas? He said:”God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”And as for spreading terrorism and WMD, I think that argument has been pretty well shot down and torn to pieces.

  5. YouKnowWho
    June 21st, 2005 at 01:27 | #5

    I don’t like logging in, yet will continue to press POST twice, which is ok.

  6. YouKnowWho
    June 21st, 2005 at 01:27 | #6

    I just pressed POST once, and it seemed fine !

  7. BlogD
    June 21st, 2005 at 10:02 | #7

    As I noted elsewhere, the comment-moderation bug is now fixed.

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