Okay, so lets just get this out there, the article title is just a heinous generalization! Or is it?
For many Christians, the origins of Christianity do not lie within itself. It started somewhere else. In a desert, with nomad-poets, who were initially just another tribe in the ancient Levant area of the world. They started out as polytheists, which simply put, is a belief in many gods. They slowly walked away from polytheism and begin their journey into monotheism, the whole (edited) struggle is documented in the now Jewish Torah (the Christian Old Testament). But, then we have the New Testament, which even if an atheist reads the story, can tell something happened in-between the Old Testament and the New Testament, a massive narrative leap. We get to the book of Matthew and we now enter into a story about an infant-meant-to-be-king – a Jewish liberator (a small detail that should not be forgotten).
The whole set of the four gospels are meant to setup the emergence of a new religion, which at this time, actually wasn’t meant to be a religion at all. Yes, I am saying that the four gospels existed to justify the creation of the Apostle Paul’s religion now known as Christianity (with some help from Constantine). No it does not seem, if Jesus existed, that he meant to create, endorse or propagate a systematic expression of faith. There is no literal proof of this. But, this article isn’t about that history, it’s about a different kind of history.
There are Christians who fight blindly for the historical naturalism of the Bible, meaning that everything we read is true, including the accounts and miracles of Jesus and other important religious figures. If they do, then they also endorse Zionism. Throughout the course of the Old Testament, as the Hebrew clans are slowly moving away from polytheism, they begin to create a paradigm that goes something like this: “God has chosen us, God has chosen this land, everyone else are enemies”. Yes, some of the clans within this particular semitic tribe endorsed the hearty embrace of the outsider, stranger, widow and so on, but not all of them. Hence why we see all over the Torah two different messages about what makes someone ‘other’. But for the most part, Judaism as a religion was beginning to emerge as a kind of fundamentalism that endorsed the eradication of the other for the sake of what can only be now termed as: Nationalism.
We see this all too frequently arise in American ideology, even among non-Christians, mainly due to the fact that a large number of the American forefathers held onto their Judeo-Christian upbringings and these beliefs are within the fabric of American politics. So, it makes sense that if you’re a Christian, that you’re a Zionist because if you take the Bible only as a literal document then you agree with the obscene ideology of the land being united with a deity.
But, it doesn’t justify it. Israel is wrong. How they have treated the Palestinians has nothing to do with the love that any religious leader spoke of. But, choosing sides is so 8th-grade! We have to think better, be better. Yet, Zionism is part of the problem. It’s simple-thinking without justification. Someone doesn’t just own land. There is a power-relationship dynamic happening between the owners, the buyers and the renters. It’s a perpetual slavery. Capital does that to you. We have to be aware of our slavery before we can be free, Christianity (as ideology) keeps everyone a slave.
Now, we fast-forward to today and we see the vulgar acts and violence of the IDF (and by implication, certain areas of the Israeli government) toward the Palestinians, and then we hear that retaliation emerges from Hamas, now, if one takes the Jewish Torah seriously, there is a point where the tri-religious patriarch Abraham sends off his lover Hagar and there is this belief that since then, there would always be an eternal fight between what is now Christianity and Islam. However, I want to debunk that whole theory. All that does is justify the feud, not define it. There is more to the feud between Israel and Palestine than just historicy, geography or religion, although these things are crucial to understanding the current struggles, there is something more fundamentally grotesque that precedes them: Belief. Each one believes they own the land (geographical fundamentalism), and that they own it because they were promised it (metaphysical fundamentalism). We need to deal with the reality that both sides believe they’re right and that’s what’s wrong.
I want to go on the record and say the Hamas leader <a href=”http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Defiant-Haniyeh-vows-to-liberate-Palestine-after-Hamas-commanders-killed-by-Israel-371939″ target=”_hplink”>Ismael Haniyeh</a> is wrong, Palestine will not be liberated by Hamas. Hamas just exacerbates the political and ideological divide. Both sides are reacting to one another, neither side is seeking any better options. Neither is a one-state or two-state solution the answer. We must go beyond the allure of geography as property, or religion as identity-property.
Because over time, what happens, as we see in all of the above…the beliefs start believing for you. You are essentially compelled, some Christians use the same idea found in the term ‘Holy Spirit’ to justify their beliefs. It’s always easier to claim that some Big Other thinks and believes on your behalf then there is no room for personal responsibility. The first step is overcome belief. Then overcome the idea that ideology and geography have to be identity-forming. In some sense, I am endorsing a sort of ideological atheism. We think we own things, but in truth, they own us. We can no longer be naive idealists and think there is a perfect solution here. We also can’t be naive activists and just think we must just react to everything. We need to get all the warring parties in a room to talk.
I’m very frustrated as I write this, because on one hand, its quite simple, but on the other hand, its just not.