2024.15 : Wailing Wall

Jerusalem Circa Yet Again

In the ordinary moral universe.
The good will do the best they can.
The worst will do the worst they can.
If you want to make good people do wicked things you will need religion.

— Steven Wienberger

If you’re faith is important to you, be sure to read until the end.

Tonight as I write this:

My Persian (a.k.a. Iranian) friends are worried sick for the safety of their loved ones, friends, and themselves.
My Israeli (a.k.a. Jewish) friends are worried sick for the safety of their loved ones, friends, and themselves.
I am worried sick for them all.

And for what reason?! If one says they know, they don’t, nor do I. To say it’s complicated is an understatement. It’s enough know that those who should know better, do, and are in a position to keep the peace, but choose not to for Abrahamic religions’ (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) delusions of grandeur and theocratic conquest in this terrestrial life and the next celestial life.

The late, great Christopher Hitchens succinctly summed it up in his debate with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair:

“Everyone in the civilized world has roughly agreed, including the majority of Arabs and Jews and the international community, that there should be enough room for two states, for two peoples, in the same land. I think we have a rough agreement on that.

Why can’t we get it?
The U.N. can’t get it.
The US can’t get it.
The Quartet can’t get it.
The PLO can’t get it.
The Israeli parliament can’t get it.
Why can’t they get it?

Because the parities of God have a veto on it. And everybody knows that this is true!

Because of the divine promises made about this territory there will never be peace, there will never be compromise. There will instead be misery, shame, and tyranny and people will kill each other’s children for ancient books and caves and relics!”

If you are religious, I believe it’s important to feel discomfort if, and I stress if, your words, actions, or silence unintentionally contributed to giving a permission structure to extremists within your faith or community. To illustrate this point in another context:

‘Until bad cops are as afraid of good cops as we are of bad cops, good cops are associated with guilt, because only good cops have the power to stop the bad ones.’

To those who courageously stand up against extremists, I applaud you and wish you the peace of mind and heart that your privately practiced religious tradition brings.

And now… know the photograph

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