29 July 2006

The stone throwers

By Jacqui McCarney

It is impossible for us to imagine what God, if there is a God, thinks. In the face of such unknowable mystery, humility would seem to be the wisest course to take. Humility is in short supply among those claiming to know God’s mind – the fundamentalists whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim would have us believe that they have a direct line with the Almighty.

The rest of us may feel we know very little about God but I had understood that we had agreed on one thing and that is that 'God is Love'. And it is at this point that I and many others, who have missed the 'born again' express, become enormously confused. Our confusion may simply reveal our ignorance, or our simplicity, but it is always useful to go back to basics - to what we all think before we make the gargantuan leap of trying to understand what God thinks.

There will be many who share my view that a God of Love would not think that killing another human is a good idea, no matter what the excuse is, and, there have of course always been excuses ranging from 'weapons of mass distraction', 'bringing democracy to foreign countries', and the excuse of all excuses, yes, you have heard it many times before the 'War on Terror'.

Knowing the one thing that we are certain about God, that God is love, what can we imagine she thinks of this 'War on Terror'? What does he think when she sees his/her creation – beautiful children, their mothers, fathers being blown apart. Can any rational person to believe that God supports such actions?

If, for the sake of argument, we were to truly believe as many fundamentalists believe that killing innocent civilians is noble, then we have to conclude that our God is not a God of Love but a God of injustice and discrimination. This is where, I believe, so called religious people can appear almost childish. Are we really to believe that God has chosen to favour one group of human beings over another – that like a dysfunctional parent, he has favourites amongst his children?

If he has chosen a group of people to be his chosen people, what does she feel about the rest of us – are we merely excess baggage, inherently inferior, and therefore disposable.

It does seem that many human lives have become disposable – people in the way of a greater plan – a plan that seems to be at present time about a 'new Middle East' in the recent words of Condoleezza Rice. How do these disposable people feel every day when calls for a ceasefire are delayed by these God knowing people – Mr Bush, Mr Blair, Mr Bolton, Mr Olmert?

To kill innocent people in the name of God seems to me to be the worst act of blasphemy. We can not surely commit an act that is inherently evil, to take the sacred life of another human in the name of God? This to me is a contradiction – surely we can only commit acts of love in the name of God and our acts of blind evil can only serve what is opposite to God and that is the Devil, if you believe in the Devil.

I don't believe in the devil. I do believe that the heart of every human being carries the seeds of wickedness and goodness, devil and god, and evolution is about waking up to our personal responsibility for which of these we express in the world.

We have some way to go. Current behavior on the global stage would put our collective evolutionary age at say early childhood. "It's all his fault" maybe a tiresome whine to mothers, but it is deeply depressing to hear world leaders repeat this phase – the only progress being able to express this in more sophisticated language: e.g. "the axis of evil that stretches from Tehran to Damascus", Ehud Olmert speaking of Iran and Syria last week.

Whatever the underlying Geopolitics, this sort of simplistic labeling has an underlying emotional immaturity that is the same as – "I am good, and everybody else is bad".

By the time most children get to ten, especially with sensitive parenting, they begin to acknowledge their responsibility in relationships. Until our world leaders begin to see War as an abysmal failure which starts with the human failing of projecting badness onto 'the other', we will continue throwing stones at one another. Our stones are getting bigger, and are now capable of destroying this earth, that so many of the stone throwers believe was created by God for them.