Monday, December 17, 2012

Every act of violence

The long procession of Newtown funerals began today.

Every act of violence indicates a failure of some kind. Doesn't matter if it is a criminal act, the act of a senseless madman, self-defense, a state execution, a revolution, or a war.  We compound the failure by refusing to acknowledge it is a failure.

Any Christian who invokes God in the name of violence worships "The Great Deluder,' as theologian Walter Wink names this false deity.

First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
 Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
 Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
 Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
 To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96) 

But it is equally mistaken to write, as one person did, that the "God of love" "does not allow violence."   God surely does allow violence as an expression of free will. The violence is perpetrated by us, not by God. God is not punishing anyone. We punish ourselves. In Dante's Inferno, the damned are not forcibly driven to the banks of the River Acheron, but drawn to it by their own perverse natures, a profound psychological insight for its time. Such is the attraction of violence, especially redemptive violence; the false idea that violence redeems & heals. Most Christians  never question the concept of redemptive violence, taken from the inaccurate history in  the Old Testament, a common misinterpretation of the Crucifixion, & long human experience of an unwillingness to see what occurs when one rejects it.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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