I really enjoy all of the bantering about of explanations of the modern conflict over the Gaza Strip. While thousands are losing their lives and immense devastation occurs to communities, many supposed experts try to show how the "sides" want different things. One of the latest posits that the nation of Israel just wants peace, while the Arab nations want death. It was all so dramatic and convincing, unless one knows the history of the conflict. I am no expert, but it is much simpler than anyone wishes to admit.
But first, what is my background that pertains to this discussion? Seminary was the start of my curiosity into the origin of the nations in the Middle East. I have always been a Bible student, but I finally found that that was not enough. I had to become exposed to many alternate viewpoints to get the whole story.
It seems that few people realize that this conflict does not begin in 1948. Nor does it commence in the 1920s and the British Mandate. It doesn't begin in 1492 or 1697. It's not even related to the beginning of the Islamic movement in the 7th century, or the 6 centuries in between. All of these things are a part of the story, but none of them explain how the Jews became the sworn enemies of the rest of the "Arab" world. It is even more important to understand the difference between the Jews and Israel.
So we first must go back a few thousand years to see where these people originated. The Bible gives us a clue, by narrating that Abraham (originally Abram when Jehovah spoke to him) was told to leave his homeland of Chaldea (modern day Iraq) to settle in the area known then as Canaan. There was no nation that comprised that area, just small cities and nomads. Abraham was, himself, a nomad at this point, and his only claim to the region was the "promise" of his God. It became the destiny of his progeny to take control of this land.
The Bible continues a story of division and conquest that may or may not follow actual events faithfully. There are no other historical records that show any people maintaining any level of control over the region, except for Egypt, and later the Assyrians and Babylonians, and then the Romans under the Caesars. Since Abraham was of Babylonian origin, it would appear that there is some connection to his story. Whether he was real or not, it would have been convenient to invent him.
You can follow this quasi-history in the Bible down through the generations: Isaac, Jacob, the 12 sons/tribes, captivity in Egypt, miraculous rescue by Moses, the wilderness, Joshua leading the people back into the promised land... The sad truth is that there is no ethnic people, distinct from the Arabs around them, to which the nation of Israel can point as ancestors. What started as twelve loosely related tribes, evolved into two separate nations, but never one united people.
At best, the people known as Jews are just Hebrews (outsiders) as much Arab as their neighbors. Their family tree is littered with intermarriages that make it impossible to distinguish between one nation and another. The Palestinians are equally untraceable. They are not a distinct people from the rest of the Arab world. The so-called family trees in the Bible are no more historical than the rest of the tales interwoven throughout its pages.
It is important for us to understand that the current conflict is simply an argument over land rights, and that is merely an excuse to be at war. While the international community has spent decades trying to impose restrictions on land and borders, no one truly has a pure motive in the debate.
But there is an underlying theme that gets lost in the hoopla; and it isn't about persecution... per se. It is religion. Remember why Abraham went to Canaan in the first place, and then you will see the path that this conflict takes. It is the oldest tale in time. "Our God has given us..." has led us to the modern drama. The problem is that so few recognize that this is the problem. Have you heard anyone mention that the Jewish (the religion) scriptures declare just as boldly as the Muslims the destruction of their enemies?
Yes, to be Jewish is a declaration of religious devotion, not nationality. Israel is a "Democratic and JEWISH State". There are those within her borders that wish to solidify the JEWISHNESS of the state to prepare for the Messianic portion of her promises from Jehovah. Interestingly enough, many Arabs claim descent from Abraham through his other son Ishmael. There are countless other branches of the family that I will not explore here.
It is also interesting to note here that Israeli law is comprised of three parts: English Common Law, Civil Law, and Jewish Law. In essence, at any time, her laws can default to the most barbaric system of law known to man: Moses' Law in the Bible. It is equally uncivilized as Sharia Law of the Muslim faith.
The fact that, as admitted by the Biblical authors themselves, the Jewish people have never actually submitted to their own alleged law is testament to the fact that a society based on it could ever survive long. Even when they begged God to forgive them for their disobedience and promised to follow his laws, they quickly deferred to the lifestyle of a near neighbor. This supposed law of God could no more control the land and people than the civil law of the Democracy. That such diametrically opposed systems of law can coexist is insane!
Israel's determination to bomb and kill any and all people and structures in Gaza, or any other targeted, enemy nation, is equally a testament to her stubborn and willful disdain for peace and cooperation. Actions do speak louder than words. But Israel's history, as recorded in the Bible, is even worse. One Bible author proclaims: "Happy shall he be that dashes thy little ones against the stones."
Don't believe the lies; Israel is more the peace-lover than Hamas. And Israel is as willing to exploit the favor of her benefactors, such as the United States, to accomplish her goal. The solution for the situation is as simple as the problem; let Israel fight her own war.
If it were true that she is destined by Jehovah to be victorious over her enemies, than the live of American soldiers are not worth the sacrifice. But there is a deeper reason for our involvement: favor. The Bible promises that those who help Israel will be blessed. And there is the further promise (threat) that those who oppose her or refuse to help will suffer destruction. I believe that America's Christian roots affect the decision making process regarding making and helping allies. Our government actually believes that helping Israel will guarantee our prosperity and perpetuity.
All of this makes it unbelievable that the American government has assisted the enemies of Israel as often as Israel herself. If the Bible was true and if Jehovah God was in the blessing and cursing business, playing both sides of the fence would be a fool's errand.
All the way around, religious thought has blinded the minds of the world in this little drama in this little region of the world. None of what is going on makes any reasonable sense. We are embroiled in a conflict that has been raging for over 4,000 years, and will continue just as long until the means of that war are removed. While the superstition of these religions teaches that we must compete for supremacy, Deism, specifically the use of our God-given reason, allows us to see the problem and its simple solution.
Deism is not a religion, nor is it a political vision. In a way, it is the absence of what clouds the judgement of leaders around the globe. Deism focuses on mutual benefit and the good in the soul of man. Our interest should be in the advancement of all beings on this planet. Nations are social constructs that pit us against each other instead of encouraging the peace and love that religions supposedly embrace. Not so with Deism. But we are still human with all of the uncertainty and internal conflict that clouds our decisions.
The Bible teaches that my neighbor is not just the guy next door, or the one who shares my exact beliefs. No, my neighbor is the stranger in need, the man or woman in trouble, the suffering sinner or saint. God wants me to reach out to all with a helping hand.
The answer for this conflict is the same as any- like the noisy neighbor or coworker struggling under a load; we need fewer bombs and more food and clothes. We need understanding and compassion. Will we solve all of our problems this way? Probably not. But is it worth dying for another senseless border war? Hasn't religion caused enough death in this world? The change will come as each one of us makes the shift.
Choose reason over religion and tell your friends to do the same. Demand that your representatives choose life over death, food over bombs, peace over conflict. Bring back common sense to our nation and the world. Start a revolution of ideas. It starts with one.