Current Events and Religion

  • Adam Lee on Israel vs. Hamas, with a series of “yes, but”s, and how religion makes peace impossible;
  • Phil Zuckerman calls for the end of Zionism;
  • With my careful comments about the reasons Americans support Israel;
  • Hemant Mehta on how evangelicals reject climate change;
  • And a visit to a “far-right roadshow,” at which Trump is “God’s anointed one”; these people are part of the same problem as those driving the war in the Middle East.
– – –

Adam Lee presents a good back-and-forth of the talking points surrounding Israel and Hamas and the Palestinians in general.

Adam Lee, OnlySky, 12 Oct 2023: An ouroboros of hate: How religion makes peace impossible

He explores “the endless chain of ‘yes, buts’.” I’ll quote just enough to capture the idea.

Start with the obvious point, emphasized by most world leaders: Hamas’ savage and indiscriminate killings of civilians are a war crime and deserve to be treated as such. …

Yes, but: Israel has forced the Palestinians to live under intolerable conditions. …

Yes, but: Hamas is a violent, autocratic Islamist group that takes Jewish genocide as an explicit goal. …

Yes, but: Israel has its own religious fanatics whose views are no less extreme. They believe Jewish occupation of the entire land is their God-given right, and any non-Jews living there should be ethnically cleansed. …

Yes, but: To a people who’ve survived as much trauma as the Jews, it’s expected they’d long for a homeland of their own. The Jewish people have hung on for centuries, isolated and defenseless, in the midst of often violently hostile societies. …

Yes, but: The land that became Israel wasn’t a blank slate. When the Zionist movement selected it for settlement, there were already people living there. …

Yes, but: The land of Israel is the original and sacred home of the Jewish people. They lived there for untold generations, until they were subjugated and expelled by a cruel empire, condemning them to wander the world for a two-millennium diaspora. …

And so on and so on, forever.

Lee concludes,

[B]oth sides are fueled by sacred values that their faith will never permit them to compromise. Both Israeli settlers and Hamas jihadists believe, in mirror-image fashion, that God is on their side and that it’s God’s will for them to possess this particular stretch of land. So long as these clashing fundamentalisms hold sway, peace is impossible. This so-called holy land may well be the last and the worst outpost of bloodshed on earth.


On a related note, Phil Zuckerman on Zionism.

Phil Zuckerman, Only Sky, 13 May 2022 (reposted on the site’s homepage for relevance, presumably): It is time for the end of Zionism


Living in Israel in my early 20s, raised among Holocaust survivors, the product of Hebrew school, leader of the Jewish Student Union at my University, I had come to fully embrace the logic of Zionism. Thirty years later, it’s clear the ideology has to end

The writer begins:

There was that first day in Jerusalem, sitting on that stone wall in the heart of the Old City, looking down at the alleyway below, and seeing that young Palestinian boy pushing a cart full of freshly baked bread, only to be suddenly ambushed—pelted by rocks from a yelling group of kippa-wearing Jewish kids who taunted and threatened him as he scurried as fast as he could towards his destination, in fear.

There was that massive mob of at least a thousand Jews—many from Brooklyn—gathered in my neighborhood of Rehavia, shouting in unison as loud as they could: “Mavat L’Aravim! Mavat L’Aravim!” (Kill all Arabs! Kill all Arabs!)

And when I asked some of them if they also meant that Arab children should be killed—thinking naïvely that such a question might shame them into recognizing the wickedness of the chant—they menacingly replied, “An Arab child today is a terrorist tomorrow.”

This is where I make some careful comments about Israel and the Jewish and Christian religions in general. It’s become part of American patriotism and politics to support Israel. Why? I’ve gathered it’s because Christians in the US believe in the Bible to the extent that they believe the end of times, the second coming of Jesus and so on, will occur in Israel. They’re all obsessed with fulfillment of prophecy. Whereas…. the Old Testament records the history of God’s chosen people, the Hebrews later the Jews, who felt they had permission from their God to slaughter all other tribes in their way. (History is written by the winners; presumably all those slaughtered tribes felt the same way.) Yes, Jews have suffered persecution. Yet now they feel they have the right to push out the Palestinians from their traditional holy land. Beyond that I will not debate sides; the problem is religious certitude, which will never bring peace to the world. Or understanding.


Evangelicals, predictably, reject climate change.

Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, 12 Oct 2023: When it comes to accepting climate change, white evangelicals lag far behind, subtitled “A new PRRI survey finds that only 8% of white evangelicals believe climate change is a serious problem”

No surprise. I could speculate why, but the answers are easy.

“God intended us to use this planet to fill this planet for the benefit of man. Never was intended to be a permanent planet. It is a disposable planet. Christians ought to know that.”

Lots more quotes and charts. Ending with:

But science-denying white evangelicals, selfish to the core, don’t give a damn about the society they live in because they’ve fallen for the delusion that the afterlife is all that matters, so to hell with everyone in this world. Let it burn. They’re only here to make every problem worse.


The Cult.

LA Times, Sarah D. Wire, 12 Oct 2023: At far-right roadshow, Trump is God’s ‘anointed one,’ QAnon is king, and ‘everything you believe is right’

The two-day church revival held in August just outside Las Vegas featured nearly 70 speakers who preached that vaccines are poisonous and will bring about the end of the world, that a cabal of global leaders is engaged in child sex trafficking and that the 2020 election was stolen.

Through it all was an apocalyptic drumbeat that the country will be destroyed if Trump doesn’t become president again. God wants him to win in 2024, speakers proclaimed to their audience, and as Christians they have been called upon to ensure he does.

“We know the one in charge up above, and I can tell you that I believe that he has his hand now on Donald Trump, that no weapon formed against him shall prosper,” Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, told the crowd. “God is a part of this race. I’m telling you guys this. I feel it deep down inside.”

Lots of fascinating anecdotes and photos in this piece.

These people are the problem, in the same way the zealots in Israel and Palestine are the problem. They are, in some fundamental sense, delusional and divorced from reality.

This entry was posted in Morality, Politics, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.