Thursday, December 4, 2008

Killing in God's Name: Get in Line

Why do we kill in the name of God?

I suppose we have done enough study of history to know how it works, the politics, the mechanics and logistics of killing in the name of God. But the deeper question as to why we do it always remains unanswered. This is, I believe, because we suffer from a heavy dose of blame and denial. “You people did this!” “No, it can’t possible be,” we say and think. “These attackers don’t really represent ____________ (fill in the blank with the name of any religion).”

When the attackers flew planes into the World Trade Center, they were praying. They believed they were doing God’s work. And our well meaning cries of support for our Muslim brothers and sisters, who would never think of doing such a thing, are not so much cries of support as they are a kind of denial. We have isolated the enemy and he is not I. Well, if there is anything that should tie us together it is our belief in God. When one acts in the name of God, we all do. It does not matter which religion; It does not matter if the act is good or bad, we are all involved.

Now it seems that the attacks in Mumbai have similar origins as our 9/11. And the blaming and denials are beginning. Yet we cannot deny a world where we produce people so sure that they know what God wants that they would kill, literally or emotionally, in His name.

Just fill in the name of the religion and the name of the crime; the sentence would be the same. If one kills in the name of God, we all have, and we have to figure out how to stop doing that. We are all people and we are all in this together, so we all need to take responsibility.

I pray to God that I see, especially during Advent, in my own life, how I am intolerant of others. I firmly believe that a world can be changed by attitudes and those attitudes start at home. I further pray that a deeper understanding and Love for my fellow men and women replaces this exposed intolerance.

Maybe that’s a start. Or maybe I’m just a crackpot.


Rev. Sonja said...

One of my favorite quotes is in the Anne Lamott book "Bird by Bird." It says essentially that we will know we have successfully created God in our own image when God hates everyone we do. We forget, as we dare speak for God, that we are created and are to be working toward that image of God that is in us all. My personal take on the 3rd Commandment is that we take the name of God in vain when we try to speak for God against another. Prayers go to all those who have been killed, wounded, harmed in any way by those who dare presume to speak for God against another.

Don said...


Intolerance to the point of fanaticism: what types of human society's create that?

I think isolated ones do. Even our own. Here's a post my daughter, an almost 30 year old, who is part of a younger generation that is asking themselves some good questions.

Check it out...

Family and Village post

Peter said...

Thanks for the tip on Family and Village, Don. I stopped over.

joanna said...

Imagine finding my dad - and you here!

Your thoughts provoke my thoughts... It troubles me, the killing in God's name that does seem to crop up in every religion. I never thought about it quite like you, that in many ways our own intolerances at home are not that different from the larger ones. While the killing is incredibly disturbing, there is something incredibly hopeful about the fact that we can do just a little bit about it in our own spheres of influence. Hmmm...