I spent 3 years studying theology in NYC and at Oxford. I had been planning to teach theology — in my family tradition. My studies revealed shocking information about the origins and histories of our three major Western religions which diverted me to teaching philosophy instead.

The ancient view of G-d was that he was quite literally commander-in-chief in fighting wars. If a war was lost, the Hebrew prophets proposed that G-d was punishing his people for their misdeeds.

The most tolerant of the three religions was Islam. The most brutal was Christianity. The Jews were the targets of both with far too many pogroms over the millennia, thanks to the anti-Semitism of St. Paul (See his Letter to the Romans for that attitude as well as murderous anti-gay sentiments).

While all three of the religions had good things to say about the care and treatment of fellow humans, war was very much part of a tribal game — the Crusades and such and the murderous wars both between the religions and within them. Those Christian soldiers particularly always marching off to war. Something very Roman was embedded in the Christian world view which was all too readily unleashed with sometimes the weakest of excuses — the whole colonial expansion of the Europeans round the world with killings freely justified to secure booty.

I was warned off theology by my leading theological teachers such as Reinhold Niebuhr who foresaw the Billy Graham to Sarah Palin evolution at its roots.

It is ironic that right wing Christians are supporting the Israeli ‘recapture’ of Israel in that they believe Jews who do not convert to Christianity when the Christ figure returns will be condemned to hell.

Christianity is a religion of death as well as love of neighbor. Jesus was crucified as a ‘terrorist’ of his own times.

And so it goes.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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