Springingtiger's Blog

I Feel Sorry For Isaiah!

Society of St. Francis, Alnmouth

As I was reading the Book of the Prophet Isaiah I couldn’t help but think how disappointed he would be were he to return today to Israel and see that there had been no improvement in the behaviour of her people since he had delivered his message all those centuries ago. What made me even more sorry for him was that unlike then he might have problems finding any neighbouring nation God could use to punish them, because Israel’s neighbours are no better, nor worse than she is. Injustice and violence are endemic throughout the Middle East the only difference between Israel and her neighbours is the religious system they use to justify their savagery.

Faced with the state of the Middle East would Isaiah turn further afield to find the instruments of God’s justice? Perhaps, but who would he find, the USA, Russia, England, Europe, China? Is there one country in the world that has any moral right to condemn another? The state of affairs in the Middle East is as bad and confused as it is, to a great extent because of the imperialist and neo-imperialist aspirations of the nations of the North and West. It is they who planted an artificial state called Israel into an otherwise inhabited land, it is they who have repeatedly forced regime changes from the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, the installation of the House of Saud to rule Arabia, the imposition of the Shah of Iran upon the Iranian people, and the deposition of Sadam Hussain in Iraq and Gadhaffi in Libya. Now the Great Powers are squabbling about whether Asad should continue to rule in Syria. It has nothing whatsoever to with concern for the people of Syria, they are as dispensible to the West as when Churchill proposed curbing their rebelliousness with poison gas bombs. Millions have to die so that Russia, the USA, and England can puff out their chests and strut about on the world stage claiming the right to dictate to other nations how they may live and deploy their own resources.

The Western Powers quite rightly condemn Daesh (ISIL, ISIS, or whatever you want to call them as terrorists). We should remember perhaps that George Washington was a rebel and a terrorist, Menarchem begin was a terrorist, Eamon De Valera was a terrorist, until they became the leaders of their independent countries. English history is just a catalogue of murder, betrayal and theft of land and position by one faction or another. Daesh is at an earlier stage of the process than the rest of us, but unless they are stopped they too will someday become a legitimate government. When we step back and look at Daesh from a distance we can see how brutal and immoral they are. However to someone disgusted by the decadence of contemporary society, particularly when that disgust is fuelled by the resentment of the injustices meted out by western nations on religious and ethnic minorities at home and other religions abroad, Daesh may well be seen as something pure and attractive like Cromwell’s Puritans. When our young people look at the behaviour of their elders and see dishonesty, greed, self serving, oppression and exploitation and then see a faith presented as pure and simple and clean, who can blame them if they join its jihad against the corruption around them? We can tell them what we like, but based on our behaviour why should they believe us? How many honest politicians, bankers, businessmen, lawyers do they see? How much poverty and injustice do they see and yards away the rich who do nothing to alleviate it? Why would they not join a fight that professes to fight for equality and justice? Why should they believe our efforts to dissuade them are not born out of our corruption?

If we want our neighbours in this world to live in peace with us, we need to live in peace with them. If we want people to respect our religions we must make them worthy of respect. I think that to an extent people can show some understanding for the human weaknesses of greed, fear, pride, but what they cannot tolerate is the hypocrisy with which we try and justify the actions to which they lead. The same is true of nations, the Western nations seem oblivious to the resentment provoked by their conduct over centuries and worse, they seem determined to continue in the same vein. They may no longer have as many colonies, but they are content to exploit weaker countries through unequal trade deals. They have imposed upon the world a ‘Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty’ that forbids all but a handful of nations from having nuclear weapons. However if nuclear weapons are a defence against nuclear attack than it is a duty for countries like Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe or any nation at risk of interference from the nuclear powers to develop weapons of mass destruction to deter that intervention. For one country with nuclear weapons, claiming them necessary for defence, to deny that same right to others is hypocrisy. It is not about peace, but about power, the power to bully other nations into submitting to their will.

When it comes to the hypocrisy of nations the biggest offenders and those with the longest history of offence are those of the Jewish and Christian traditions. The prophet Micah said something that should inform the actions of individuals and countries that claim to be Jewish or Christian,

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

As long as our conduct does not match our professed faith we deserve to be treated with contempt and those who believe in God had better believe God is punishing them and mend their ways. As for those of us who do not adhere to the national religion, well God has a long record of collateral damage, sorry about that! Think he’s unfair? Just look at the people who pretend to love him! Perhaps they should remember that Jesus summed up the whole of Jewish Law into two commandments,

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

If people even just got the second one right, we could have peace.


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