Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sacrifice anyone...?

Many of my posts have a sarcastic or humorous cant to them. This post will not be one of them. I've been struggling to distill what's been going on in Israel over the past 2 weeks. The bottom line is I can't understand it. The basis for the fight is so alien to my sensibilities that I have come to the conclusion that I will NEVER understand what's going on.

Bear with me here for a little bit of a digression. I have an Ipod and I listen to many 'podcasts' from many different sources. Most are science or naturalist based resources. A couple are political. One of my favorites in the political genre is by a guy out in Oregon, his name is Dan Carlin and I believe I have a link to his site over on my side bar somewhere. His latest commentary as of this writing is called "The Samson Suicide Pact". I listened to it this morning.

You can listen to it yourself or not. Your choice.

The central question of his commentary was this:

"If God asked you to sacrifice your child, would you obey?"

The question is from the Bible. Abraham, considered by the followers of the three monotheistic faiths to be the patriarch of their respective faith, was presented with this very dilemma.

One of my better if not my BEST friend(s) in the blogworld, Deb, and I had a discussion about this very question a while ago. Deb is a deeply faithful and caring woman of whom I have a deep admiration for. We have come to sort of detente' on matters religious. She accepts who I am and I accept who she is. There is a mutual respect if not complete understanding. As a 'Christ-follower' it is Deb's deepest desire that God will reveal Himself to me in some meaningful way that will convince me of his existence and truth.

Deb's answer was a wholehearted and emphatic: YES! I was taken aback by the certainty and confidence of her answer. I couldn't relate to it. The very notion of sacrificing my child is a game-ender for me. Nothing on this earth could compel me to do such a thing. Deb explained it to me as a test of faith. As a Christian you MUST love God above all else and that includes that which you would otherwise lay down your own life for. You must be willing to offer it all up to God at a moments notice. That is REAL religious faith! Deb's faith tells her that God's will and purpose are in her best interest. I will not presume to judge that this makes me some how better or smarter than Deb, she is bound by a covenant she takes very seriously, she submits her will to His. For all I know maybe she's right. But that's not how I am wired...

I have no such faith, I wouldn't do it. I am a person who bases his view of the world on naturalism and reason informed by my understanding of the world I perceive through my own admittedly imperfect senses. But there it is...

I have come to the conclusion that these are the two views of existence. Faith-based and naturalist-based.

My further conclusion is you cannot fence-sit; you are on one side or you are on the other. There are too many people who want to take the what they think is best of each and make some hybrid view. The problem is when both views are distilled down to their cores you find that they are mutually exclusive. Hybrids will be still born. You can't have it both ways.

What does this all have to do with what's going on in Israel?

I agree with Dan Carlin; No sovereign nation should tolerate any other launching attacks on it. Israel has a right and a duty to defend its people. If any nation started shooting missles at Iran or the Saudis they would raise holy hell! So the IDF's retaliation is justified from a state-craft point of view.

The question then becomes for ALL people on either side. Are you willing to sacrifice your children? Your grand children? Your great grand children. Are you willing to sacrifice the future for a strip of land? Is this conviction based upon faith in God?

If any one on either side cannot answer YES to those questions, they need to leave. This is not their fight.

Throughout history people have left many lands they called home some willingly and some not so unwillingly. My own Italian ancestors left their homeland because they wanted a better future for their children. I am sure they left Italy with great reluctance but the love for their children and their concern for the future of the same overrode any loyalty they had for their homeland.

Would commit your children and their future to a fight over a tiny strip of land?

People of faith on both sides of this conflict have been fighting and or spoiling for fight for 2000 plus years. Maybe it's time that those on either side who REALLY don't have a dog in this race to get out of the way and let those that do have at each other...

For my part I am tired of the whole bloody tedious saga!

I will choose to NOT sacrifice my children's future for faith.



Ed said...

I am not sure that faith, at least religious faith, is the most important component of the conflict between Israel and it's Arab neighbors.

Revenge, suspicion and power are the dynamics that continue to fuel this war.

I kill your family than you feel compelled to kill mine, the circle of violence never gets broken.

If two cultures live segregated lives from each other, then neither develops any degree of trust with the other. A negotiated settlement becomes impossible. Who is going to be the first one to drop their guns?

There are enough leaders on both sides whose political power is more dependant on war, than peace, to keep this conflict going.

The political leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the US seem to want peace more than many Palestian and Israeli leaders do.

Creating a Palestinian homeland, were no weapons are allowed, can be the first step to end the war. Which country is going to give up it's land, and who can insure this Homeland is demilitarized, are questions I have no answer for.

"I will choose NOT sacrifice my children's future for faith."

Before I could answer that my first question is what is my faith?

If my faith is in democracy would I give up my children's freedom for their safety? I have no children so I don't know what I would do. My guess is that I might resist the occupation of America by another country even though my resistance will result in the persecution of my family.

I might risk the lives of my children by fighting rather than accepting that they will live out their lives as slaves.

At what point would I risk putting down my gun and hope that my enemy does the same, when this puts the safety of my family in question. I have no good answer.

SirRobert said...

Revenge, suspicion and power are the dynamics that continue to fuel this war.

That may be the reasons that SOME fight today....but what is the spark the started the fire? It has it's origins in the differences in Faith.

A negotiated settlement becomes impossible.

And why is that? For some on both sides, the truly FAITHFUL, there is NO POSSIBILITY of compromise. Those who are willing to compromise don't have true faith in their respective religion, they are fence sitters willing to compromise their beliefs in favor of pragmatism. But to the truly and deeply faithful pragmatism is impossible.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the US seem to want peace more

To borrow from our mutual friend from Gloucester: Then those people are focused on things of this world then on the things of God. Why should they want PEACE in this matter but to encourage trade (things of this world). They aren't really interested in the faith-based claims of each respective side. They are pragmatists. Pragmatists and the truly faithful cannot mix.

I might resist the occupation of America

As would I! But would you...could you ...commit your children to a such a fight? If America were invaded I would indeed resist, but if it became clear to me that the cause was hopeless and my children's future was in danger. My decision would be to get them somewhere where they could and would have a future. I love my country for its ideals. Those ideals are NOT wrapped up in the geographical real estate it currently occupies. The ideals reside in our minds and those are portable. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert! Ok this is one way of getting me over to your blog…. =) I’ve read and thought a tremendous deal about your blog post. And yes, above all it is God first…then everything and everyone else. That can only come from having a relationship with Him and understanding who He truly is….and, yes faith. But it’s always about Him. When my son almost died 8 years ago, I struggled as he lay in the hospital bed with the doctors scratching their heads I was in turmoil. I was alone with him 800 miles away from home in Washington, when an unknown tumor, filled with poison broke and was killing him. The doctors could not figure out what to do once they realized he was not responding to the antibiotics, and it was about the most helpless I felt in my walk. At the time, the kids in my son’s youth group had a saying “Hold onto Christ til your knuckles turn white”, which is what he told me. I realized I was holding onto my son, not the one that could heal my son that tight.

When they wheeled him out of the his room, I went to my knees. I’ve told you the things spiritually that transpired with all of that if you remember, not going into it here. But I have never felt more peace flood my entire being than when I let go, and “layed him on the altar” so to speak. He healed up so fast, the doctors couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t suppose to play football, (the tumor was wrapped around nerves in his leg, some of which had to be cut) and ended up having one of the best seasons ever in his High School years. No, I did not have a knife over his back, but do you also notice the faith of Abraham’s son in that story? Something a lot of people miss. Michael, being over in Iraq, has the exact same attitude. He felt called to go there, and while he will lay his life down for any of his comrades, I know that first and foremost in his mind is that he is laying his life before the Lord. We know, we have an eternity together, this life is just not where it is at. Yes, my Mom’s heart struggles every day, and yes I can’t even comprehend what I would go through if anything would happen to my precious children, but my strength would be drawn from God alone to get me through. I know it’s hard for you to wrap your brain around, and that’s ok. Would I sacrifice my child to God if He asked? Yes, not only that, but they would willingly bow their knee to Him as well.

Now, as far as the war, of course I have to address that biblically….shocker!!! =)

But here is what I believe from scripture. The Islamic would will indeed band together to fight against Israel and the US. Iran and Syria sponser Hezbollah and are behind these terrorist groups. Iran is creating nuclear weapons, and Russia, their long-time ally is reluctant to impose sanctions on them. OK, not read Ezekiel 38-39. There is all kinds of speculation about these events. I do not claim to be any kind of expert, just going with what I have found. It seems that there will be a short period of peace in Israel before the massive war depicted in Ezekiel. I also think this will be a false peace found in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. What I am trying to get across is, to the non-believer, your way of thinking and looking at things is understandable. To a Christ follower, these are very exciting times, and we spend a lot of time praying for Israel. These things have to , and will come to pass, and as bad as it is now, this is nothin’.

I’ll leave you with one more thing about God and Magog in the Ezekiel passage. As far as I understand “Gog” will be the leader of a great army that attacks the land of Israel in the end times. Gog is described as “the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” from the north, “the land of Magog” 38:2-3. Chapters 38-39 is where Ezekiel prophetically describes God attacking Israel with a powerful force. Gog, according to Ezekiel will be defeated by God Himself on the mountains of Israel. It says the slaughter will be so great that it will take 7 months to bury all of the dead. Revelation 20 also mentions Gog and Magog, kind of a restatement of Ezekiel’s. Magog was a grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:2) The descendants of Magog settled to the far north of Israel, Europe maybe? Northern Asia? In Ezekiel 38:15 and 39:3-9 they are described as skilled warriors. Revelations 20:8-9 uses Ezekiel’s prophecy about Magog to portray a final en-times attack on the nation of Israel. A lot of teachers identify God and Magog as Russia and /or China…but it just is not clear in the Word. Guess we’ll wait and see…..but keep your focus on Russia, China and Iran….anyway…that’s it for now, I guess I’ve made up for my absence? LOL

Anonymous said...

I laughed at the title.

Only because I read it like, "Tennis, anyone?"


SirRobert said...

Only because I read it like, "Tennis, anyone?"

That is exactly how I meant it to be taken! ;)