Christian Response - Ray Leonard - 25 Sept 01greenspun.com : LUSENET : Experience into Words : One Thread
"Love your enemies." "Turn the other cheek." "Forgive them for they know not what they do." I think immediately of these words when I hear of the "War on Terrorism." When the fight begins, as I presume it will, in Afghanistan, what is the Christian to do? Fight? Call the perpetrators to justice? Forgive and witness to God's mercy? Amnesty International are laying down guidelines for a humane approach to war: "In the event of armed intervention, Amnesty International urged all parties to conduct operations in a manner that upholds at all times the highest standards of human rights and humanitarian law." What is the Christian response here?
-- Anonymous, September 25, 2001
I think the very first response is to ask "what have I done to create this crisis" and " what response do I choose now....."
Do I choose a response that brings me nearer to God or one that separates me further from him? This is just another moment provided to me to define who I really am.
What is providential about this moment is that presents the same choice to each soul on this planet right now.
-- Anonymous, September 29, 2001
Thanks Sean. In a very real sense I still wonder what I could have possibly done to create this "crisis" apart from realizing it as a crisis in my own experience. I am slow to take responsibility for the cause of this crisis because, practically, there are people who took it upon themselves to commit savage acts. I admit that they may have been responding to a more covert savagery perpetrated against them. However, I open up the serious question of how you or I could possibly take responsibility for the creation of this crisis. I think, rather, our responsibility is, now that it has come into our sphere of experience, to respond to it.
-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001
From my experience I believe evil must be confronted; it trives when good people do nothing.How should the present evil be confronted? I dont know; its obvious THe talliban are answerable to no one, God or man,as the saying goes. I do believe Tony Blair is the best leader in the world today.He has the courage of his convictions.For my part I will pray continiously for all concerned. Rita Byrne.
-- Anonymous, October 08, 2001
While I was living in London the IRA did some bombing there. I found myself keeping a low profile. I went out less, avoided strangers and so on because there was anger against the Irish, expressed in small ways at local level. I had an Irish accent. I was afraid and ashamed. My memory of that time prompted me to reach out to the Muslim women I happen to know in Dublin. I haven't seen them since before 11th Sept. So, I rang them to ask how they were and offer them a word of continueing friendship. It is very little in terms of response!! AM
-- Anonymous, October 13, 2001
Thanks for your reply to my reply. My angle with “ what have I done to create this crises” comes from my own consciousness right now that I am leading a very self-focused life. I have an interest in how my fellow humans are getting on, but do I really care. If they have problems there are governments and organisations to provide help. I need’nt be too concerned. I have my own problems to occupy me.
There are many people on this earth living in hell, as a result of poverty and war. The West’s response is I think based primarily on national self interest and less on a genuine will to sort out the issues involved. Aid is given with strings attached. It is easy for suffering people to link the cause of their suffering with the West. That is their belief and belief is the root cause of all problems.
The solution is always to be found at the root cause. The solution lies in what the West must do to have these unfortunate people believe that the West intends to help them end their suffering. That response must therefore be genuine in order to be believed. A new belief/mindset at government level must be adopted.
For example: “ It is in the West’s interest to raise the standard of living of the rest of the world by allocating money and resources to do so. The payback in terms of freeing up resources dedicated to war and destruction, stimulating the world economy, improving the global standard of living, would be justify this action in economic terms. The EU has developed its own economy on the basis of substantial economic transfers to poorer countries in the belief that the EU as a whole will benefit. Let the West apply this model to the global economy”. Now that is a useful belief.
Democratic governments do what people tell them to do if they believe they will not be re-elected. People have power.
I think that I have created this crisis by not caring about suffering people far away form home. Consequences flow just as directly from inaction as they do from action. My inaction may be insignificant on a grand scale but it is said that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in an Amazonian forest can contribute to a hurricane on the Malaysian coastline. Millions of people not caring is immensely significant and this makes each of those people personally responsible. Individuals cannot hide behind group or national inaction. Individuals are ultimately responsible. God is posing a dilemma to mankind. He is providing yet another opportunity for each of us to choose the kind of person we want to become. Our response (or lack of it) will move us closer to or away from spiritual harmony.
What is my best response now? It is a two pronged response. I will support limited retaliation aimed at demonstrating that terrorism is counterproductive and dissuading those who consider resorting to it. I will support the cause of peace and shared prosperity across the globe at the expense of my own standard of living. I wonder if I care enough to take any serious action.
-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001
I know that our responsibilities as Christians are for every human being, especially the widow, the orphan and those afflicted by international politics. I am quite moved by the emotion expressed around the issue of a genuine Christian response to the so-called war against terrorism. But I continually ask myself how much of what we are given is just rhetorical propoganda, designed to placate us and make us feel more comortable. I am struck by the image of the stunt kite. If I am flying it, a small tug on the right handle can make it swerve way to the right and likewise for the left. What small events happen on the ground at the hand of the "agent" have huge meaning for affairs higher up. Likewise with our lives, what real, on the ground lives we live with our neighbours first and what small stands we can take within our capacity has the potential to speak of God's justice throughout the world. So where are the real issues of Christian justice on our doorsteps, before we turn on the telly or radio?
-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001
Am very intirested in the above discussion, so a few thoughts. When fanatics have used any of the worlds religions,the outcome has been awful. If for political reasons God is drawn into political conflict as an ally the results are also awful. One of the big problems with Islam is that in most cases it is not a separate religion from the state, Turkey may be an exception. We all must examine the ambivelance of our own religous traditions. The pope to his credit over recent trips has spent much time apologising for the crimes of our own tradition. Terrorists believe that in carrying out such crimes they are engaged in the battle between good and evil and their fervour is fuled by the belief that no one else cares for the poor but themselves. I feel its important to be aware that we all have the potential within to carry out the most dreadful acts, otherwise its too tempting to point the finger. Somehow we must rekindle the love and copassion that still can be found.
-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001