Monday, June 05, 2006

Ever wonder how things got this bad?


Deuteronomy 20:10-17

20:10 When you come to a city to fight against it, then first proclaim peace toward it.

20:11 If it answers for peace, and opens its gates to you, then all the people found therein shall be your slaves, and they shall serve you.

20:12 If it won’t make peace, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it.

20:13 And when the LORD thy God has delivered it into your hands, you shall kill every male inside with the edge of your sword.

20:14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the fortunes inside, shall you take for yourself; and you shall eat all the good things of your enemy, which the LORD thy God has given you.

20:15 Thus you shall do to every city even faraway which are not among your chosen nations.

20:16 In these cities, which the LORD thy God gives you for an inheritance, you shall leave nothing left alive:

20:17 But you shall utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God has commanded you ....

And that, my friends, is from the Good Book.


Anonymous Nemo said...

Robert: Well, that illustrates *perfectly* the Bush Regime's twisted notions of proper "Christian" conduct in war and empire -- "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that's that!" ==== Of course, for those of us with actual, functioning brain cells, it's simply testament to the fact that the Bible can NOT be taken as the "literal word of God", despite the rabid insistences of obscenely wealthy televagelists and other Xian Right "soothsayers". ==== Of course, that naturally sceptical reaction has *always* been innately sensible. For one thing, "The Bible" isn't a "book" at all, but a very large *compendium* of books, written by various and sundry authors at various times, and *edited* along the way by theological "commitees" which also took as their province the sweeping "authority" to accept some books as "valid" (for a variety of often totally inscrutable reasons) while officially rejecting others as "heresy". ==== "The Bible" is essentially a library. And how many *rational* people would run around blindly insisting that every published word in their local library was guaranteed to be "literally factual"?? ==== It's an excellent passage you've reproduced here -- one that clearly undermines the ludicrous claims of those who would seemingly have much to gain by leading a flock of utterly *uncritical* sheep. === Your own liberating transformation, on the other hand, reminds me of a passage from a much more interesting tome in that "library" -- one which was indisputably written by a man: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." [1 Corinthians 13:11] Congratulations to you, Robert, for having achieved "the next level".

Tue Jun 06, 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Again said...

now you see, Bush doesn't always lie ;-)

he really was ordered by his god - except for 20:14 he obeyed literally!

When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that GOD IS DEAD!" - Thus Spake Zarathustra, Prologue

Tue Jun 06, 06:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Robert: I did a bit of poking around on the Web, due to my recollections about *Islam's* well-codified teachings and prohibitions on war, and accidentally stumbled upon the following outstanding treatise, which -- quite interestingly -- *directly* addresses (and utterly disdains!) the purportedly "divine" instructions asserted in that Deuteronomy tract you published. It's a remarkable piece of writing, and long presages my own conclusions regarding the inherently self-contradictory nature of the Bible if taken as a supposed "coherent whole". Check it out -- Islam professes and adheres to some highly commendable rules regarding war, unlike its predecessor religion, "Christianity", which has seemingly talked out of both sides of its mouth on a fairly regular basis throughout history: Al Islam: Comparative Religious Teachings on WAR AND PEACE (Personally, I find MUCH to admire and emulate in that specified code of conduct and its accompanying worldview. Moreover, it raises in my mind a very troubling question: "Just WHO are the 'savages' in this current, cross-cultural war?")

Tue Jun 06, 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous ML said...

While it's clear from these passages where misguided people go to support their bigoted notions, REAL Christians don't defer to the Old Testament for moral guidance. The whole POINT of Christianity was Jesus' teachings in the New Testament on God's new covenant with man, that God was a God of love instead of a God of vengeance, and to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The New Testament was supposed to render the Old Testament obsolete, except for your literal Christian heretic knuckle draggers.

Of course, it's still fun to quote Leviticus and Deuteronomy to poke jabs at the hypocrisy of the heretical evangelists.

Dredging up such Old Testament bias against homosexuals, shellfish consumption, and abortion is inherently un-Christian. That our self-anointed religious right does so is truly a return to the dark ages.

Tue Jun 06, 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Barnita said...

Wow- this made me check Hinduism on war nd peace. I'm glad I'm a Godless person. I'd rather have reality fuck me up than a fictious doctrine of unclear origins.

The Hitchiker's Guide has better tips about life in general than the bible or koran or gita.

Wed Jun 07, 03:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Y'know, I was going to inject some smart-ass quip like: " 'Do unto others ...' -- Isn't that more properly attributed to Confucious?" (Chronologically, it may well be.) But then I found the following list which, though I can't confirm it to the source level in most cases, I see little reason to doubt: Universality of the Golden Rule . ==== It seems, from that reference, that virtually EVERY religion (including Judaism) formally embraces this principle in its core texts -- most sweepingly Jainism, which specifically takes the precept well beyond the narrow confines of mere intra-species ethics alone. (Islam, it should be noted, officially prohibits the mistreatment of animals, and Native American beliefs also espouse a commendable respect for all life.) ==== Of course, it may well be argued -- and it has been suggested, in that Islamic treatise I presented here -- that all of these "Golden Rule" variants refer to one's everyday, personal interactions, rather than to organized conflict scenarios, namely wars. And the fact remains that *organized* Christian factions have often underwritten and even instigated wars. The Papal States / Holy Roman Empire were also a major political and military power, which initiated, among other things, the Crusades. That "Holy War" frequently yielded astounding atrocities, from the would-be "Christian" forces, that are anything but "Christian" in aspect! Likewise, the modern-day Xian "Right" seems decidedly poised for some major pogroms of its own, quite in contrast to Jesus' generally tolerant teachings. ==== So what am I saying here? Damned if I know! Generally, I agree with ML's take above, in *principle*. And in concordance with that, I would offer the savvy appraisal once offered me: "It's not that Christianity doesn't work; it's that it's never been tried!" But if such is indeed the underlying reality of our own times, then how could any "Christian" reasonably suggest that "God is on our side" in ANY of these current campaigns, all of them highly aggressive and/or oppressive in nature? If anything, I'd have to guess that, since the US government has clearly acted as an outright aggressor -- in both Iraq and Afghanistan (and quite possibly on September 11, 2001, against its *own* people), not to mention its recently resurrected, divisive machinations against gays -- God is decidedly "NOT amused!" Nor is he remotely likely to be "in our camp"! ==== [Of course, as I've pointed out in the past, I'm not a Christian; I'm a Gnostic Heathen who just happens to have strong Christian roots *and* a high regard for many of the inherently sensible teachings of Islam. I believe there are *definitely* "just wars", depending on which side you're on. But the US can't profess such "justification" in ANY of its current aggressions; only its adversaries can!]

Wed Jun 07, 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous ML said...

Re: nemo

As I've studied the core tenets of different religions and Chinese philosophy, indeed, there is a core thread that is the universality of the golden rule.

Wed Jun 07, 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous ML said...

Re: nemo

As I've studied the core tenets of different religions and Chinese philosophy, indeed, there is a common element that is the universality of the golden rule.

Wed Jun 07, 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Barnita: Does the Bhagavad Gita offer specific guidelines for appropriate conduct of (and in) war? I'm curious, since you apparently searched it out already. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church [see "Avoiding War, @2307] does endorse a concept of "just war", but it's apparently just the more or less universally acknowledged political construct of "just war theory" -- which owes a great deal, in my mind, to the codified teachings of Islam. Moreover, the philosopical underpinnings of that determination by the Catholic Church seem entirely derived from a consensus reached in the Second Vatican Council (1965), as published in its resulting "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World", Gaudium et Spes [See especially "The Avoidance of War", c. Item 79.]. Such official edicts are rooted exclusively in the professed hierarchical authority of the Catholic Church to "instruct its followers in matters of faith and morals", rather than in any concrete Biblical reference. (As a would-be "Heretic", I'm more than inclined to evaluate such official determinations on my own, though I do see much of worth in that publication, as well as a few things I would differ with.) ==== ANYWAY, do you have any worthwhile *links* I could pursue, identifying the Gita's particular take on war, if any?

Wed Jun 07, 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Barnita said...

Well- Let me just say this Nemo- India's most loved holy text - The Mahabharata is an ode to war. In it, Lord Krishna convinces Arjuna to go to war because Arjuna gets cold feet when he faces the Kauravas at the battle of Kurukshetra and realises that many of them are his family and friends. He suddenly doesn't want to fight - he doesn't want to kill them. Krishna - who is in the battle as Arjuna's charioteer, tells the warrior that death is merely a way to release the 'aatma' or the spirit from the material world. That Arjuna would be releasing the people he loves and all that jazz.

There are a number of sites about Hinduism but they're more interpretative than anything else and I wouldn't want to pass you on any interpretations. But you might want to read this translation from the Gita.

The Jains are the most peaceful Hindus around. They don't even eat potatoes, garlic, onions or other roots as it involves causing the death of insects in the soil. They wear lil masks around their face to avoid inavertly swollowing any living creatures. I think they really shouldn't be boiling and filtering their drinking water as that kills germs - but hey - no one ever listens to me.

However, Hinduism does have a lot of rules about wars - like you can only kill those in action - like the infantry kills only the infantry and the cavalry kills only the cavalry and so on and so forth.

The scriptures talk about 'just war' the war worth fighting - the war against evil and that too only after other negotiations have failed. But then again, in our world , as we have seen, all war can be justified. War cannot be used for agression or subdueing the masses or for terrorizing them as per the Gita.

I don't know much about the scriptures, I studied them in school but only have very vague recollections of it.

However, there is a recurring theme in the Hindu scriptures - war is often inevitible and sometimes is even glorified- creating entire breeds of warrior clans like the suicidal Rajputs- who believed that death in battle was the honorable thing to do ensuring a place in warrior heaven or something akin to it.

Thats all I can say about the Hindus. They only problem with the hindu belief system is that everything can be justified - post 911- its even more apparanmt. And easy.

I should have payed more attention in school.

Thu Jun 08, 02:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Barnita said...

As for simply killing- this veggie site quotes the scriptures.

There are a lot of vegetarians in India - veggies cos of belief. But that don't stop them from killing people.

Thu Jun 08, 02:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Barnita said...

As for simply killing- this veggie site quotes the scriptures.

There are a lot of vegetarians in India - veggies cos of belief. But that don't stop them from killing people.

Thu Jun 08, 02:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Barinta: Thanks very much! You've really "delivered" with all that. :-)

Fri Jun 09, 05:24:00 AM  

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