Friday, February 12, 2016

Fleeing War; Bringing War

I read this prayer last night:
            Look with compassion on victims of hatred and war,
            Lord, grant them heavenly peace.
And my mind went to all those fleeing the wars in the Middle East.  “We’ve had enough of war; we want peace,” they are quoted as saying.  And so I prayed that they might be granted the peace they sought.  But then I thought of those we’ve read of who travel to spread the war; they hide among the refugees. 
And then I thought further of those immigrants who celebrated News Year’s Eve, the headlines said, by raping women in countless European cities.  And I realized that there were many who fled war (from the Middle East) THAT BROUGHT war (to Europe), deliberately or not.  They fled someone who wanted to change their culture, but they fled to another land --- where THEY wanted to change the culture.  And I suspect many were not even aware of what they were doing:  fleeing one war to wage another.  They fled to Europe wanting peace, as they know peace, and they are willing to act (even if in ignorance) to get it.
How many of us are like that, thinking that “of course our ways are better ways, and others must change to accommodate them”?  How often do we assume our ways are the right ways?  How often do we accuse others of wrong ways, when they are not our ways?  Does that make us bad?  And if that type of thinking is “wrong thinking”, is the opposite any better?
The problem as I see it is twofold:  When people of different ways are forced together, neither wants to change, but both want the other to change.  And that’s where laws come in.  Within a country, within a culture, people define acceptable behavior in laws.  Now I don’t like some European laws --- I wouldn’t want to pay their taxes for instance, and I don’t like some Communist government or Sharia government laws either --- I want my religious freedom.  But if I move to those countries, I really should expect to live under those laws; it is not reasonable to think otherwise.  It is not reasonable.  The problem is that we can think we ARE being reasonable, from our point of view, in part because we don’t at all understand their point of view, their culture.
It seems to me that today in the United States there are many who, in the name of tolerance or diversity, are willing to accept enclaves of Communist law or Sharia law refugees, or offshoots of either or other cultural mores.  Some of those encouraging emigration with diversity would encourage people to come to this country and not change their language or their ways to ours.  And I fear the spreading of these attitudes in our country will result in our dropping of the word “United” from our name, for ultimately we will not be unlike the Roman Empire, which tried to peaceably govern many differing cultures, with a live and let live attitude.  And it died, for you cannot create a unity out of disunity.  Nor can you create a unity where every single person thinks “my way” is the right way, and you must agree --- an attitude growing on our college campuses.
When it came on the scene, Christianity was a radically different religion, which preached love, and yes, it preached tolerance, to love everyone.  I am afraid that many preaching similar messages today, along with diversity messages, forget another thing that went hand-in-hand with that Christian preaching:  a willingness to die, rather than change, to love no matter what the cost.  As we’ve seen in Europe, others are willing to bring war to our shores to keep their way; are we willing to die?
And we must not forget that there is a difference between our willing to die versus our wanting death, or deliberately taking or accepting actions to bring our death.  Deliberately taking actions which will end our life is called suicide, a Christian sin.  I think many have forgotten this also.  Christianity preached love and acceptance, but not acceptance to the point of it being suicide to accommodate the other’s ways. 
It seems to me that that is the path many would put our country on, a path to cultural suicide.  And they think “my way is the right way, and you must agree.”

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