Posted tagged ‘peace’

What Does Peace Mean?

January 9, 2009

All those wringing their hands over the current Palestinian (read Hamas) – Israeli conflict are calling for a cease fire and a road to peace.  What do you think that means to them?

Does it mean that the Israelis should stop shooting and the Hamas faction should stop their rocket firings?  Is that peace?

And in a cease fire period, is it peace where one sides lives prosperously and the other side slowly wastes away in poverty?

Or is peace the situation where the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank become a State (with questionable means to survive) and the Palestinians living in Lebanese refugee camps are not allowed to return to the lands they once occupied because those lands are within Israel’s boarders?

I think that most people who are calling for a cease fire and peace really mean they do not want to see on their televisions or in their newspapers pictures of dead or dying children.  They do not want to see pathetically equipped hospitals unable to provide 21st century care.  They do not want to hear any more of suicide bombers or rocket firing extremists.  They want somehow to put the lid back on the Middle East mess and just have it go away.

I am afraid that this form of peace is not good enough.  It is truly putting a lid on the situation and simultaneously setting the conditions for an even larger conflict the next time.  The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a conflict between these two parties and also a surrogate for other neighboring countries to express their national interests.  Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and even Iraq all have a dog in this fight.  If by magic, there could be an agreement with these countries and the US, the funding that supports the arm purchases could evaporate.  The atmosphere would then be ripe for a full negotiation of all the issues supporting free Israel and free Palestinian states.  

The US is not a neighbor but since it is the largest supporter of Israel and since Israel can not reasonably expected to win over the neighboring states who were all once sworn enemies, the US must step forward and work to gain the cooperation of these neighbors and the commitment of Israel to negotiate fully and fairly. 

Gods’ Vacation Get-Away

December 13, 2008

I have been trying to imagine how the various Gods we read about everyday relax after their busy week.  If the Old Testament is correct, God rests on the 7th day.  We can not be sure which day that is but it probably is not important, other than when all the Gods want to get together.

Recently I am lead to believe they all gathered in Antarctica.  For most of us it is a bit on the cold side but to Gods, it is quite nice and reminds them of the opposite of hell.  Gods like to point out that no one wants to end up in hell.  There were a lot of Gods at this meeting apparently representing all sorts of people and ideas from around the world.  You might say, “a God for every conceivable purpose”.

Leading off their symposium was the Catholic God who informed the group that his main man, Pope Benedict, would be issuing a timely communiqué on stem cells and in vitro fertilization.  Remembering Copernicus, the Pope would speak out against science and what it possibly could do for mankind. There were three Jewish Gods (one from Miami, New York, and Isreal) The Israeli God spoke of the nature of one God and if others did not believe in the Israeli God (and then looked at the Palestinian God), and said those non-believers do not exist. The Sunni God (actually there were 150 of them) but the one representing the al Qaeda fraction spoke out that his holy warriors were killing as many people as they could, and that would benefit others, especially the Catholics who preferred to practice no birth control and still have no consequences.  Another God stepped forward and told of his latest work in Zimbabwe where cholera was replacing simple famine as a population control method.  Another African God who claimed to represent Tutsis stood up and complimented the Hutus’ God on the genocide pay back.  There were also scores of Gods representing Pakistanis and Indians.  One of the Pakistani Gods described the bravery of his followers in the recent attack on innocents in Mumbai.  One of the Indian Gods complimented the efficiency of the attack and promised he would encourage his followers to do something as horrible in return.

The God of American evangelicals performed a song and dance for the group and then said his followers were leaving the political stage so they could devote more time to raising money and building larger and more lavish churches.  There were two Episcopal Gods, one representing those who welcomed gays and lesbians into their churches and even into their ministry, and the other God, who was for excluding them.  He kept looking around and asking if there was a God present who represented just gays and lesbians. 

It was strange to hear about the nature of this gathering where this large collection of all powerful, intersession prone, loving (in their own way) Gods could get along and discuss their subjects actions so purposefully.  It remains a mystery to me why these Gods can get along so well and yet their earthly followers do not. 

I wondered whether the reverse could someday be true.  All those who believed in a God could choose not to act out unspeakable cruelties towards others, and instead use their imagination and envision their God in battle with Gods of other beliefs.   Maybe someone could even make a video game of it.