On The Fruits Thou Shalt Know The Tree

EDITORIAL, 29 Dec 2008

#43 | Johan Galtung

We hear about fundamentalist, violent Islam, sadly correct at times. But what is the Christian counter-message? Read Pope Alexander VI, in his Papal Bull Inter Caetera of May 4 1493, celebrating Columbus and his “discoveries”:

  • Wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace–going unclothed and not eating flesh–disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals-;
  • In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things-bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and-bring them to the Catholic faith;
  • We assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever-all rights, jurisdictions, all islands and mainlands, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered-we-appoint-you-lords of them with full and free power and jurisdiction of every kind (italics ours).

Genocide had been authorized. 25 million in South America, 10 million in the North; Hawai’i’s indigenous population down from 800,000 to 8,000. Et Caetera. A father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, authorized genocide of Jews. Love thy neighbor.

Let us have a look at the Ten Commandments for solace, for the type of inspiration that will make us non-fundamentalists:

The First Commandment: Thou shalt not have other gods before me

The Second: Thou shalt not bow down to graven images of idols

The Third: Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain

The Fourth: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

Or: I the Lord thy God am a jealous God who punishes the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate me and let my grace shine for the thousands who love me.

OK, let us assume that is a preparation for a god of love, of peace, a non-fundamentalist god with nobody on the side and certainly nobody above, nor below. Such a god would deserve all of that. So let us read more to learn about love and peace.

He is deeply concerned with our small lives at home:

The Fifth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother

The Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery

OK, love and peace start in the family, with generation and gender. But there must be more to it, and there is, like:

The Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill

The Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not steal

The Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not lie

Not kill? But humanitarian killing abroad for preserving this nation, under God, is not killing. Not steal? But we never steal, the economy does that for us and we have economists to protect us against sinning by eating from the tree of knowledge. Not lie? We never lie. But the truth is for Washington and Washington alone, to reveal it is to take our Lord in vain. No false witness against our neighbor? But we have to watch those who are unfaithful to our Lord Washington!

The Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that belongs to thy neighbor.

To the contrary, you shall rejoice in all your neighbor has amassed through hard work, inspiring you! Spend what you have, buy for your country! True love for thy neighbor is not to help him, but to compete, to beat him so you can be his inspiration, with your house, your cars, your servants, anything yours.

FOR THINE IS THE WORLD WITH YOUR OMNIPOTENCE, OMNISCIENCE, AND OMNIPRESENCE, THE POWER AND THE GLORY, TILL THE END OF HISTORY.

And the Word has been fulfilled and “lo, Washington is with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Once upon a time this religion had the force given it by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:3-12. For many a gentle Christianity still carries that force. But in 5:13 Christ is warning, thou art the salt of the earth but if the salt has lost its force with what shall we then salt? With bombs,straight from the state system, on top of which there is only one God who dwells in Washington. New wine has been poured into old bottles with such labels as “monotheism”, “the only true faith”, “valid at all times at all places”. A Bush in Washington, a Blair in England, a Bondevik in Norway learnt the labels as children. The harsh taste of vinegar does not touch them because their faith died long time ago. But they know God. If somebody is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent he is not like God. He is God.

A child is born in Bethlehem; rejoice, Jerusalem! There is no joy in Jerusalem today. Rejoice in the Oslo process instead. Say, “I believe in the Oslo process even if Oslo does not believe in me”. Oslo believes in those who followed the Bible, drove you out, and are now seated in Washington, to the right of the Lamb.

Hard Christianity: A religion for hypocrites. We cannot build on the “values” in this torrent of self-righteousness. Life is sacred, life is one. God is inside us all, not residing “up there” or “over there”. We can learn from the smallest little speck in the Pacific with some other faith, like “never take what has not voluntarily been offered us”, like opening ourselves to other Truths, like using dialogue to arrive at higher levels. Frozen, steel hard Christianity: Your time is up. And the same applies to you idol in Washington, with your puppet clergy.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 29 Dec 2008.

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