A young Palestinian boy surveys the homes in Gaza destroyed by Israeli bombings.
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Last week the occupying power of Palestinian East Jerusalem, the Jewish state of Israel, was attempting to remove Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian neighborhood, in order to give the Palestinian homes to Israeli Jews. This is a form of ethnic cleansing, in which one group of people forcibly removes another group of people and replaces them with their own people. Israel has been practicing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians since before the creation of the Jewish state in 1947. The attempted removal of the Palestinian families sparked fighting between Palestinians and Israeli Occupation Forces. This fighting quickly escalated to Palestinians and Jews fighting and rioting at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and in other parts of Jerusalem. It now looks like there is a full-blown religious war, with Palestinians firing rockets from Gaza into Jerusalem and Israel, and the Israeli military bombing Gaza and calling up thousands of Israeli army reservists.
Due to Israel having the most high-tech and powerful military that American tax payers can buy, and due to the Palestinians lacking any significant support, and being crammed into the small geographic area of Gaza, which many people refer to as an open-air prison, there are currently over 80 Palestinians who have been killed, the vast majority of whom are civilians and children. On the Israeli side, seven Israelis have been killed, including one child.
Jews and Gentiles harming and killing each other is a very real problem that needs to be corrected. The first step in correcting a problem is to identify what the problem really is. In the current case of Jews/Israel and Gentiles/Palestinians killing each other, the root cause is very easy to identify. The root cause is "revealed" religion. In this case, the "revealed" religion that is the root cause of the religious violence is Judaism.
Judaism teaches that God gave the real estate between the Euphrates River and the Nile to the ancient Jews, which they were to possess for ever. This eternal real estate gift, allegedly from God, was to be used for the Jews to have their own Jewish nation of Israel, which one day God will set "on high above all nations of the earth" (Deuteronomy 28:1). Of course, God never gave this real estate gift to the Jews. But because Judaism teaches that God did do that, to the millions of religious Jews in the world today, this myth is seen as a reality. Jewish Israeli leaders often use this Hebrew Bible/Old Testament lie to justify Israel stealing land from the Palestinians. It is belief in this biblical lie that causes Israeli PM Netanyahu to claim all of Jerusalem, including Palestinian East Jerusalem, is Israel's eternal capital and that Jerusalem has been Israel's capital for 3,000 years. Other Israeli officials also rely on this lie from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, as was seen when Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, held up a Hebrew Bible while giving a speech at the UN. Danon said, "We do have biblical rights to the land. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Jew - you read the Bible, you read the stories of the Bible - it's all there. This is our deed to the land. That's biblical."
If we used our innate gift from God of reason, even when it involves religions, saying "that's biblical" would be the same as saying "that's nonsense." Unfortunately, not enough people have applied their innate God-given reason to the Bible, so the phrase "that's biblical" carries with it unearned credibility. We need to take the advice of the outstanding Deist Thomas Paine who wrote in The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition,
Nonsense ought to be treated as nonsense, wherever it be found; and had this been done in the rational manner it ought to be done, instead of intimating and mincing the matter, as has been too much the case, the nonsense and false doctrine of the Bible, with all the aid that priestcraft can give, could never have stood their ground against the divine reason that God has given to man.
Albert Einstein gave a warning to his fellow Jews regarding the Jewish state of Israel and its relationship with the Arabs/Palestinians in the Middle East. Einstein wrote,
Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us. (Einstein also signed on to a letter published on December 4, 1948 in the New York Times warning of Israeli leader Menachem Begin's visit to the US and asking US officials not to meet with Begin because Begin was a fascist Jewish terrorist.)
Addressing all people, Einstein warned that if we want to survive in the nuclear age, we need to pull ourselves out of the mindset of ancient thinking and develop a new way of thinking. He stated,
The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them .... We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humankind is to survive.
Deism is by far the very best vehicle humanity has to propel us out of the ancient ignorance and fear-based, and religious violence creating, superstitions of the "revealed" religions, and on towards the creation of a new enlightening and progress-producing world. It's up to us, as Deists, and to all freethinkers, what we DO to see to it that Deism reaches its beautiful and life improving potential.