G:AWH Chapter 1
The Ancient World
I think the main idea of this chapter is that the Bible is full of “genocidal situations” that we as a culture kind of glaze over because it’s part of a history of a religion that emphasizes faith, hope, and love. I think that we’re kind of living in this willful ignorance under the impression that these “genocidal situations” (specifically the Destruction of Jericho because that’s what I’m reading about right now)
- didn’t happen at all
- didn’t happen the way that we imagine genocide and war to be
- happened for a good (debatable?) reason (i.e. perpetrators were simply “[implementing] the will of God to commit mass murder”)
That last point, I think, is a biggie. “God said so,” or something along those lines. I’m not going to get too into my incredibly Left Libertarian points of view right now but I will just say that I think there’s a lot of misinterpretation and hypocrisy at play when some people read the bible and I think a lot of Christians need to reevaluate their priorities and pull themselves together. This isn’t to say that all Christians are f**king crazy, but I do think that recently, it’s been an issue.
This brings to mind that story in the bible with Abraham, I think (I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention in Sunday School after I learned to think for myself) (that sounded aggressive but that was not my intention) in which God tells Abraham to kill his son, Isaac. Abraham is conflicted and all, because, you know, killing your children isn’t always the easiest task, but he figures God’s plan is God’s plan so he goes to do it without a whole lot of complaint. Without any complaint, actually, in the NIV translation of the Bible. Anyway, he goes to kill his son and it turns out it was all this big, sick, twisted test pulled by God to see if Abraham would actually do it. “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son,” says an angel of God, and then God actually promises Abraham all these blessings and gifts and land and descendants just because Abraham ‘feared’ God enough to kill his own kid. I guess the whole point of this was just to say that in this story, at least, God seems to have kind of a sick sense of humor.
I meant for this story retelling to be some kind of support for this idea that “God says so” isn’t always the best defense, but it’s not turning out that way. Also, not gonna lie, it’s late and I’m drinking a large latte with six espresso shots so please excuse me if my thoughts are not fully developed.
I’m about to pull a huge quote from G:AWH so bear with me:
“Cultural genocide cuts a deep groove into the patterns of ancient war and conflict. The cities and cultures of Jericho, Troy, and Carthage were looted and burned to the ground. Nothing was to be left behind: no temples, no statues, no signs of past glory. When spared, the women and children were forcibly assimilated into the cultures of the perpetrators. In the rare cases when men and boys survived (I talked briefly about this weird gender inequality in Killing Civilians: Intro-Chapter 1) the onslaught, they were forced to serve in the armies of the victors (damn). It is impossible to know how many cultures and peoples were eliminated through genocide and cultural genocide in the ancient world. But the numbers were surely substantial” (15).
Okay, you can live, but only in a way you’re completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with, with the people that killed your friends, family, and entire way of life. Okay, we’ll spare you, but you have to risk your life to fight for us so that what we did to you doesn’t happen to us. Fine, we won’t kill you, but you might wish you were dead. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.
I forgot to take a picture of my questions before I turned them in on paper and certainly do not remember them so I made some more up so I could post them. Nice.
- Why can’t Christians (or anyone, really, but probably mainly Christians) recognize the destruction of Jericho as genocide?
- Did really no one stop and think “okay, but really, would God encourage or support or allow mass murder in any form? Would God, this all-seeing, accepting, loving being really be okay with all of this killing?” and, if no one stopped to think that, why not? (This question is definitely subjective because clearly I have strong opinions about this so please excuse me)
- This question is also probably way too broad- I think I need to work on that because the broad questions about humanity are hard to answer and a just not great in general but Why aren’t we taught about all of these other massacres and genocides in school? Schools need to teach more material. Education in America, man, let me tell you. I have lots of opinions.