Perhaps the article from the Atlantic Wire, Israel Is OK with Hagel as Secretary of Defense, was the last straw. After all, all through the election, Republicans used how Israel views Obama as a campaign ploy to wrestle votes away from Obama. Also, those speaking before the media in America have less freedom to criticize Israel than their Israeli counterparts. And finally, us Christian Fundamentalists are told that we should never criticize Israel or we will merit the judgment of God and the label of anti-Semite. I have had enough with those who tell us that from all of America's foreign policies to every attitude should be judged by the question, "What would Israel say?" This is such a paradoxical situation for the land of the free.
Though what grabs our attention are issues dealing with Israel and a selected use of anti-Semitism, Palestinians are Semites too but nobody ever cries "anti-Semitism" when they are denigrated, the real issues are much broader. The real issues include tribalism and blind obedience to propped up authorities and the ramifications of such not being challenged. One such possible consequence should we continue in our current tribalism addicition is that, in combination with an ever advancing and accessible technology, our very existence is being threatened (see article).
We should note that a Get Out Of Hell Card Free makes the end of human life on earth, as well as massive human suffering, seem trivial to the "real" Christian. And the more we embrace tribalism, such as the tribalism we see by both those who support Palestinian terrorism or carte-blanche use of the Israeli military, the more we embrace moral relativity. Though the word tribalism is a bit archaic, it has us cling to gang warfare in the name of survival.
All of this should make all Christians stop dead in their tracks and reconsider what they are doing when they offer unconditional support for any nation let alone Israel, but it doesn't. We have been conditioned to see tribalism as part of our spiritual heritage. We read of God lending some support for tribalism in the Old Testament and because of that, we assumed that He also supported a similar tribalism as European settlers began to practice ethnic cleansing here in America.
But we should note that nowhere in the New Testament is tribalism spoken of positively. The reasons for the difference from one testament to the other is not important here, but that such a change has taken place is. Whereas in the Old Testament, belonging to God's chosen people was determined by lineage and ceremony, it is decided by faith in the New Testament (Galations 3:6-10). And we should add here that God does not show partiality to those who do either good or bad (Romans 2:11). So with the New Testament, the age of tribalism has been vanquished. To continue to cling to it is to practice an aggrandizement that leads to idolatry.
But, as one believer said to me right before Church one time, our own cultural bias often overrides any objective attempt to understand the Bible. And so tribalism lives, though it does so unrighteously and as an affront to God. Thus to feel confident in a nation's decisions simply because another nation, in this case Israel, condones it leads us to boldly entwine oneself to sin.
But tribalism is not the only problem here, blind submission to authority figures also comes into play. We should note that Christian Fundamentalists are suckers for anyone with authority. We are always told to, almost, unquestionably submit to every authority figure. And what could be a more fitting example of this addiction to submission than to be pleased that one's own sovereign nation's decisions are to be judged by reactions of another nation? Such a devotion to authority reminds us of past Church failings when adherence to authority made it deaf and blind to reason. History tells us how that the overemphasis on authority and the minimizing of reason discredited the Gospel rather than glorified God.
In addition, there is no human authority figure or institution that merits blind obedience. Only God's Word does. And that Word is replete with examples of how human authorities had to be respectfully corrected rather than unconditionally obeyed. To do the latter, just to practice tribalism, is to engage in idolatry. And that is the most basic issue here. Blind obedience to human authorities can lead to a multitude of sins and a plethora of suffering. And such is the case in the world today.
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil -- I Timothy 6:9-10a