Readability

Religious Wars and You

by baldilocks

Jesus answered, My king­dom is not of this world: if my king­dom were of this world, then would my ser­vants fight, that I should not be deliv­ered to the Jews: but now is my king­dom not from hence.baldilocks

–John 18:36 (KJV)

As the birth pangs of the new Caliphate inten­sify, I am mind­ful of the asser­tion of many athe­ists and paci­fists that almost all wars and mas­sacres are reli­gious or sec­tar­ian in origin.

We need not look too far back in his­tory to see some of the truth of this: the Armen­ian Geno­cide, the Iran-​Iraq War, the peren­nial wars between mod­ern Israel and her Arab-​Muslim neigh­bors, and of course the Holocaust.

But then, there are the recent wars and mas­sacres which were not reli­gious, per se: World War I, Japan’s crimes in World War II, Holodomor and Stalin’s other purges, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Rwan­dan geno­cide. (One might label the for­go­ing as tribal wars.)

But, if we go much fur­ther back we can see that the orig­i­nal asser­tion may be valid.

From a Chris­t­ian per­spec­tive, how­ever, I ask this ques­tion: why wouldn’t most wars be reli­gious in nature? Since the suc­cess­ful temp­ta­tion of Adam by the Enemy, that Enemy has been try­ing to con as many of us as pos­si­ble in as many areas as pos­si­ble, the pri­mary one being the nature of God and the nature of our rela­tion­ship with Him.

And, if we human beings are still prone to being conned, it seems to me that the con would be in this man­ner: adapt­ing a reli­gion or world-​view that puts self before any­thing and any­one, includ­ing God. Or, overtly, con­sid­er­ing one­self to be God. I’m not only refer­ring to reli­gions out­side of Judaism and Chris­tian­ity, but sects “within the fold,” such as Lib­er­a­tion The­olo­gies and Pros­per­ity Doc­trines. I–deolo­gies.

Our Enemy got thrown out of Heaven due to his pride and it seems to me that pride is the pri­mary lure he uses to blind us to the true nature of God and, there­fore, blind us to our own sin­ful nature. After all, it’s easy to love our­selves, but it takes a lot more work to “love God and love our neigh­bor as our­selves.

So, when self is pri­mary — when self is wor­shiped–it’s a lot eas­ier to view oth­ers as sec­ondary or of no account what­so­ever. If that’s so, then we might be able to say that all wars are reli­gious in nature, even when one side has an objec­tively right­eous griev­ance. That’s not to say that war is wrong; it is a byprod­uct of this world since the Fall and this world belongs to the Enemy. This means that some indi­vid­ual or group some­where is always on offense in the name of “god” or on defense against the former.

It’s always about God — or about god, depend­ing on which one you’re serving.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.baldilocks

–John 18:36 (KJV)

As the birth pangs of the new Caliphate intensify, I am mindful of the assertion of many atheists and pacifists that almost all wars and massacres are religious or sectarian in origin.

We need not look too far back in history to see  some of the truth of this: the Armenian Genocide, the Iran-Iraq War, the perennial wars between modern Israel and her Arab-Muslim neighbors, and of course the Holocaust.

But then, there are the recent wars and massacres which were not religious, per se: World War I, Japan’s crimes in World War II, Holodomor and Stalin’s other purges, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Rwandan genocide. (One might label the forgoing as tribal wars.)

But, if we go much further back we can see that the original assertion may be valid.

From a Christian perspective, however, I ask this question: why wouldn’t most wars be religious in nature? Since the successful temptation of Adam by the Enemy, that Enemy has been trying to con as many of us as possible in as many areas as possible, the primary one being the nature of God and the nature of our relationship with Him.

And, if we human beings are still prone to being conned, it seems to me that the con would be in this manner: adapting a religion or world-view that puts self before anything and anyone, including God. Or, overtly, considering oneself to be God. I’m not only referring to religions outside of Judaism and Christianity, but sects “within the fold,” such as Liberation Theologies and Prosperity Doctrines. I-deologies.

Our Enemy got thrown out of Heaven due to his pride and it seems to me that pride is the primary lure he uses to blind us to the true nature of God and, therefore, blind us to our own sinful nature. After all, it’s easy to love ourselves, but it takes a lot more work to “love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.

So, when self is primary—when self is worshiped–it’s a lot easier to view others as secondary or of no account whatsoever. If that’s so, then we might be able to say that all wars are religious in nature, even when one side has an objectively righteous grievance. That’s not to say that war is wrong; it is a byproduct of this world since the Fall and this world belongs to the Enemy. This means that some individual or group somewhere is always on offense in the name of “god” or on defense against the former.

It’s always about God—or about god, depending on which one you’re serving.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!