One of the less great "thus sayeth the Lord" moments in the Bible was the imposition of the very well know principle of "an eye for an eye and and a tooth for a tooth." I understand that an apologist can say it just means that people should be paid restitution for losses, but in practice, Governments and many chosen people, practice the literal translation.
I assume that also went on to mean to those who know the deeper meanings of such things that it could also mean, "a leg for a leg", "a spine for a spine," and "a skull for a skull." While God claimed the exclusive right to vengeance in the Old Testament (Psalms 94:1 O Lord, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth." and in the New Testament, (Romans 12:19 "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord,) the Israelites pretty much did the work for Him, and many Christians who evolved to make up the Church of history did a darn nice job of inflicting God's wrath upon both the believer who believed the wrong thing and unbeliever who needed to be pursuaded.
As a child, when hearing this all in Sunday School, I had a picture of all the people in the Old Testament running around blind and toothless and it explained why Jesus may have had so many blind people to heal in the New. I don't recall Jesus restoring any teeth however.
Later I began to think that vengeance was one thing reserved only for God, but retaliation must be somewhat of a more subtle human endeavor. You know, a way around the problem of not being allowed to inflict vengeance per se. But then I find that Jesus nixed the idea of retalaliation with his own example in 1 Peter 2:23. "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. "
But then I got to thinking about the entire theme of the Book of Revelation, where Jesus, well the Cosmic Jesus at least, wreaks vengeance, revenge and retaliation big time upon the entire planet for not going with the program. The Jesus of the Gospels might be the distant cousin of the Jesus of Revelation, but I don't think the Jesus of the Gospels could actually be the Jesus of Revelation, at least not without a change of brain chemistry and his Meyers-Briggs Personality Profile. So then I got to thinking that it's not that you can't retaliate or get vengeance, but you have to wait until you have tried everything else before scraping your enemies off the face of the earth.
But then I learned from President Bush and my government that trying everything only took a few weeks at most, and never worked so you had to bomb the sh-- out of people quickly and with shock and awe. Yeah, that works and in a very short time people are apologizing for 911 and wondering what were they thinking?
I did read an interesting study once by a psychologist who felt Jesus could have written Revelation (the intro does say it is His revelation) in his later years when delusions and schizophrenia would have been at it's worst. I was taught he channeled it through John which is how we got it. The fact that it said 2000 years ago that it was the story of things which "must shortly come to pass" kinda bothers me because that's not my personal idea of "shortly." Maybe someone missed their cue.
But then I wonder if that's not what's happening to our leaders today. It would explain a lot. I wonder if they might be thinking of writing their own Revelation and pouring out all their own vials and plagues along with the blowing of assorted trumpets. Kinda worries me. I have noticed the President and friends tend to surround themselves with those who read the Book of Revelation like a newspaper and see themselves in some of the leading roles.
At any rate, let's get back to this idea about vengeance, no matter who it belongs to, retaliation and revenge. As far as I can tell it does not seem to promote anything but vengeance, retaliation and revenge, which seems counterproductive.
I've been to the Middle East where every stone upon the ground has been thrown at sometime, by someone, at someone for some reason and often. The Middle East is the Land of Handy Stones or perhaps we should say the Land of "Oh Yeah? Yeah!, Oh Yeah? Yeah! I know you are but what am I, Oh Yeah? Yeah? Make me! Take that! Doh!" It's all nuts. Kinda like growing up in the 50's picturing the launch of one missle that lead to two back that lead to twenty that led to a hundred that led to hell. I still vote Rodney King of "Can't we all just get along" fame be head of the UN or at least advise the next President. This one would just say "No".
Speaking of the current powers that be, its disturbing just how difficult if not impossibe it is for anyone to get to talk with this guy when sabre's are a rattlin' and agendas are a formin'. Seems the converstaion goes something like this.
The Threatened: "Can we talk?"
The Decider: "No"
The Threatened "Would you like to debate it?"
The Decider "No"
The Threatened "Would you like to come look?"
The Decider "No"
The Threatened "Could we have lunch?"
The Decider "No"
The Threatened "May I send you some Pistachio nuts?"
The Decider "No"
The Threatened "Would you like to kill me, my family, lots of children, women, men and our younger generation and take all our resources under your supervision?"
The Decider "Now your talkin, get on the floor!"
I don't know where religion came up with the idea that vengeance, retaliation and revenge was a great characteristic for a Deity and one that was so well advised to follow. In practical fact, few really practice the religion of their guru. They find ways around it so they can manipulate the results and take the short cuts they wish for personal gain, power and prestige, and yet retain a form of the religion that they must appease to get selected or elected in the first place. Smoke and mirrors, masks and make-up...it's what most "World Leaders" and human beings who profess to know and need to propel them to places of authority and power use against aveage humans.
No one seems to notice that when Moses is said to have come down the mountain with the Big Ten, one of which said, "Thou shalt not kill," and before reading them to the troops, got annoyed at the people for wondering where he had been, and had "every man slay his neighbor and in that day about 3000 perished," and then went back to explaining the wonderful new Law of God he had been given by the Deity Himself!
It's almost as bad as Cain worrying about "every man who finds me shall slay me," when God booted him out of the Garden, but never stopped to think that there were only four people on earth at the time and he had just killed one of them." Actually it was the writer of the story who had a brain fart. But in the Bible and in the Middle East and now in America, it's really all about vengeance, retaliation and revenge.
The fact is that it does not work and no one is ever satisfied that enough is enough. Who gives up their last son and says they no longer wish to take another man's son to pay him back? Who then says "I will if you will," and they will! Who loses a tooth and does not wish to retaliate by punching out all the teeth of the attacker? Who gets their eye poked and doesn't wish to totally blind the poker? Well we did have the example of a Pope who forgave the man who shot him in a very dramatic scene in the man's cell. But remember, the Pope is a Professional forgiver! It's not like he can demand to go in and shoot the man twice for him shooting him once! No one, and certainly no one in this administration, has the insight or foresight to try a new way that excludes the idea of being the bully and getting even. Of course a more pure motive and heart would go a long way too.
What a different world it might be today if men had no agendas and that when 9-11 came calling we had an enlightened leader who was not connected like a mass of worms in a can to other plans and masters. The buck might stop with someone, somewhere, but vengeance, retaliation and revenge seems to be what humans demand and we get over and over what we see today... blood, anquish, hatred, car bombs, depleted uranium by the ton, birth defects, cancers and terrorism we never would have had if there was a genuine leader in place in all these countries, ours included. As long as "God told me attack Sadaam and I did," is the mentality, (how scary is this?) and my YHVH can woop your Allah is the stupidity that rules in the minds of world leadership, we're in for hell on earth...again and again and again, worldcrap without end.
I know I'd feel a lot better if our current President conferred with the Dali Lama more frequently instead of the Boys of Revelation and those of Evangelical Zionist Christianity gone nuts. But then I'd be afraid this President would think it funny and welcome him by saying "Well Hello Dali!...hehe," and not understand a word much less a concept he endeavored to explain about the futility of vengeance, retaliation and revenge propelled by religion out of control. I'd be afraid he'd embarass me again.
I know...I'm too idealisitc and don't understand a thing about how people end up where they do in places of power and what's really going on. Ok, well maybe I am not letting on to as much as I do know. But it's past time... way past time, to replace a Deity and His chosen religio-political minions who believe vengeance, retaliation and revenge are the fruits of their Holy Spirit that will bring their idea of the Kingdom of God for us all to regret.