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God Wars
A Priest, a Cleric, and an Imam Walk Into a War Zone…

Last month, we watched a Saudi Imam gleefully firing artillery into Yemen. Now, some other religious leaders are getting in on the action. First, we have an Orthodox priest blessing a Russian fighter jet:

And second, we have footage from the Middle East Media Research Institute of a Gaza cleric brandishing a knife from the minbar. The Times of Israel ran a story about the sermon, from which we pull this choice quote: “My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother is the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!”

It easy to laugh off these people as wackos—indeed, that is what many Western observers do. Yet the involvement of religious leaders is a driver of further polarization and a sign of how deeply entrenched today’s global conflicts are. Such events shouldn’t be overlooked.

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  • Jim__L

    Apparently the Orthodox Priest has forgotten the promise that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”

    Are there any similar warnings against violence in the Koran? I’ve never read it.

    • CapitalHawk

      No. The Koran is more along the lines of “those who live by the sword…have satisfied one of the requirements of Islam.”

      • Jim__L

        (Citing chapter and verse would help raise the level of debate here.)

        • CapitalHawk

          Oh, so that’s the way you want to play. Fine.

          Surah 2,190: Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you.

          Surah 2, 191: And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there, but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

          Surah 4, 77: They said: “Our Lord! Why hast Thou ordered us to fight? Wouldst Thou not grant us respite to our natural term of life?” Say: “Short is the enjoyment of this world; The hereafter is the best for those who do right; never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least!”

          Surah 8, 1: They ask thee concerning spoils of war. Say: “Spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger; so fear Allah, and keep straight the relations between yourselves: Obey Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe.”

          And my favorite:

          Surah 2, 216: Fighting is prescribed upon you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.

          • Jim__L

            I’m not playing. Thanks for the quotes, they boost the quality of the comments here.

          • CapitalHawk

            OK, fair enough. I’ve just seen the “citation needed” used in a dismissive way more than once.

  • Andrew Allison

    One of the less attractive features of religion (any religion) is to regard those with other opinions as heretics — witness the recent news of the beating to death of a teenager who wished to leave his church, Buddhist on Muslim violence, or the Crusaders and Spanish Inquisition. The fact that this sort of thing is occurring in the 21st Century is, to coin a phrase, damning.

    • Fred

      True enough, but you must admit, that quality is hardly limited to religion, cf the recent shooting incident in which the shooter targeted religious believers. Political fanatics, many of them officially atheist, in the 20th century killed more people than all the religious persecutions in human history. Fanaticism and killing in the name of a sacred cause, religious or secular, “we will always have with us” as a certain religious figure put it.

      • Andrew Allison

        No argument that the veneer of civilization is skin deep, but surely persecution of “heretics” is in conflict with love thy fellow man (a feature of both the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism as I understand them). I guess what I’m saying is we expect more from the religious — if not, what’s the point?

        • Fred

          Again, true enough. However, along with love thy fellow man is original sin. One reason I’m a Christian is because, as GK Chesterton quipped, original sin is the only religious doctrine that can be empirically verified. No one and no institution, however religious is immune to man’s sinful nature.

  • Jojo Jobxyzone

    opium for the masses
    the one thing Karl Marx did get right

  • Tom

    It should be pointed out here that one of the more awkward things about the Syrian rebels, from the standpoint of their supporters, is their propensity to go Christian-cleaning, which is only second in awkwardness to their propensity to try and exterminate Alawites.

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