Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why I Support Isis

Now that I have entered my name on every watch group in the world (by that title to this post) I will quickly give the disclaimer that, of course, I don’t support Isis. Someone recently asked me what would be the group’s proper name in Arabic. My Arabic is rusty these days, so I had to search and work to find the vilest name that I could come up with, in Arabic. It was simply, people whose brains are made of dog shit.

So, I really don’t need to say much to point out how evil and disgusting Isis really is. To be part of that group, you would have to be classified as a sociopath to start with, but that is just the mental health description. The moral explanation is beyond any words that I can conjure up while sitting in this humble coffee shop in the afternoon.

However, I do support Muslim people with my whole heart. Why? Because they are humans, created in God’s image. Because they are created in God’s image, they are deserving of love and respect and that settles it. I feel the same way towards Jews, homosexuals, transgenders, Hindus and any other group that just happens to be human before they became under that secondary label.

I am deeply concerned these days, not about the terrorists coming for us (which has been the same saber rattling within Christendom since Mohammed took Mecca in 630 AD), but about the attitude I am seeing among my Christian friends. Virtually all my evangelical friends are on the same page. I am the misfit or outcast. Their mantra is, “Islam is evil, it is against God . . .  they are all evil and murderous. We must kill them all because we are the shining lights of morality for the world.”

For years, I pondered how on earth could have decent German people allow their country to become so morally corrupt that they could allow Nazism. How could they look the other way when the outcast; Jews, disabled, homosexuals and the like be executed because of their label? I have even met some of these people (I know one now) who lived in Nazi Germany and probably supported their government, at least at the beginning.

I think I now know. It is insidious. It creeps out through the cracks of frustration (over terrorism in the present case) and congeals on this side as camouflaged hate. It is camouflaged by the patriots as standing up for freedom and the American Way (which I think Superman coined). It is veiled by Christians as being on God’s side. But hate is hate. Hate is the fuel of Isis and if we become like them, we are no better than they are.

I think what shocks me the most is that this attitude is one of solidarity among my Christian friends. I am grateful that I go to a church where the dominant attitude is not this way.

How do I explain Isis? Is it a Muslim feature?  I would need a book to explain that clearly but I will just summarize here in closing. If you take a country, say “Zenderland” and subject it to domination by other, far away countries and subject it to injustices (like all countries experience at one time in history or another) you will create a general ill-feeling among the Zenderlanders. As that discontent and anger grows, there will the minority spin-off nut-job groups who allow their anger to go to seed as raw hate. This is human nature. If they want, they can look into their personal philosophies to find the supporting foundation for that anger, to make it metaphysically bigger than themselves. Study the Christian Thirty-Years-War and you will see how we did the same rationalizations, using Christian theology. Yes, there are things within Islam that you can use to support a violent Jihad, even though most Islamic scholars would disagree with that attitude.

This is the mess that we are in. When I even suggest that we, good-ole white skinned, Christian Americans have done injustices to other people groups in our past and we have made some huge political mistakes (like invading Iraq), this really pisses people off. How dare I say that we have anything to do with the horrible evils that we wittiness on TV? My Christian friends get the most pissed at me, and that is where I hear the question, “Why do you support Isis? I thought you were a Christian.”

But is it not a foundational Christian principle, which Jesus himself taught, that we should first look at the log in our own eye?  Of course, what Isis does is pure evil, but does this let us off the hook from taking any moral responsibility?

I am confused. I scratch my head and wonder how could we be so blind. The huge problem of the world is not a shortage of hate and we need to generate more hate to fix it.

(I will double post this here and in my new blog here until people find my new address)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I Have Moved!

I was too busy to maintain one blog, not to mention two. I was required, as a rite of passage for a writer, to have a web page devoted to me as a writer and my book. Now that I have created that space, I will link it here. Once on the front page, you can go under the menu for the blog continuation of this place. So, go here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Did Jesus Die for Homo Naledi?

I ask this question with the deepest possible meaning. No flippant answer would work here . . . but maybe after years and years of contemplation you could just start to scratch the surface.

Background:  I will give a brief description of the Homo Naledi find but encourage you to follow the story in detail here.  In summary, ancient human ancestors are found and reproduced from small fragments of bone that date back well over 1 million years, and sometimes more than 2 million. However last year a team of anthologists and archeologists asked a couple of amateur spelunkers in South Africa to explore a tiny tunnel in the back of a well explored cave.  What they eventually found, through three long small passages was astounding. 

 This will probably be the greatest find ever in the search of ancient human ancestors.  They have only examined about 10% of the remote cave chamber and have found 17-18 individuals, many near complete skeletons. It is hard to think of a metaphor to describe the value of this find.  Maybe like a prospector spending his entire life, with his donkey and gold pan, searching for one nugget and then stumbles into the vault at Fort Knox.

Not only is this a new, yet undiscovered species, it raises many intriguing questions. First, it is not an ape. The hands and feet of Homo Naledi are almost identical to humans.  But it is certainly not human and, we don’t have DNA yet so we are not sure, probably could not have interbred with humans like the Neanderthal did. The most remarkable thing is that the remains of these 2 million old ancestors could not have been piled up in this remote cave chamber by natural means. For example, there could not have been some type of ancient wolf that only ate Homo Naledis and carried their bones to this cave. There have been no other animal bones discovered in the cave.  There could not have been some type of flood that washed the bodies into the cave. There is scant evidence of water being in that part of cave and no other outside debris that you would certainly have with a flood.  There is only one rational answer, this was a ritualistic burial.  There are some death observances in the animal kingdom, such as elephants, dolphins and possible apes, this entombment is unique, prior to this point, to humans.

So how does Homo Naledi fit into the Christian story?  In most evangelical churches, you can’t even begin to have this rational conversation.  I started to discuss something like this in my old evangelical church and one of the elders said to me, “That evolution stuff is just a bunch of crap.  They created the Neanderthal from a pig’s tooth and clay. Carbon dating has been proven wrong.” Of course they don't use carbon dating to date these ancient inorganic fossils.

I knew that I was no longer talking to a friend but to a chick tract or a Ken Ham video. My friend’s mouth was moving but Ken’s words were coming out.

A lot of people prefer not to think about these difficult questions.  I love them because of my natural curiosity.  They certainly don’t make my theology simpler. It would be nice if the Genies story was more clear and detailed and fit perfectly with the fossil record. It is confusing when things like Homo Naledi walk into the scene, like a Macbethian character walking onto a stage where a futuristic sci-fi play is being performed.

There are so many questions to be asked.  My sense that there was a long process, guided by God as a creative process, to form humans.  I think the Homo Naledi creature was a pre-human and innocent form . . . pre-fallen in other words. But then it raises other theological questions. If sin had not entered, why was death everywhere?  After all, the cave is full of death.