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To Janusz

Reader comment on item: A History of Muslim Terrorism against Jews in the United States
in response to reader comment: Religious wars

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), May 28, 2009 at 14:41

The enlightenment borrowed without attribution the Puritan doctrine of political compact. Compare Locke's _Two Treatises on Government_ with Samuel Rutherford's _Lex Rex_ or Junius' Brutus' _Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos_. And these works (plus a veritable galaxy of 16th and 17th century writings like them) borrowed with open and bald-face attribution to II Samuel 8 and Deuteronomy 17.

No, I am not advocating unfettered killing. God told all Israel on Sinai (yes, this is Holy Writ to Christians, too) that murder is wrong. As for the ban on the Canaanites, this is a warning to all and sundry that just as an individual man can be so wicked that he has no place in society, so, too, a nation may mature in wickedness that it must come under the divine curse,too. Further, it is clear from the blood-curdling passages of Torah and Joshua to which Janusz refers that Israel would not be exempt from the same standard. It is clear from the prophets that as the Israelites adopted the abominations of Canaan and Amalek, God grew displeased with them and decreed their exile to Assyria and Babylon.

Further, the ban on the Canaanites was a one-time deal. As a Christian, I find that the only final command I have on unbelievers is to "make disciples of all nations"--Jesus last words to us at his ascension. I am as free as any unbeliever to condemn crimes that have been committed by my fellow believers, for Paul tells me that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual rather than carnal. I would only ask that my "scientific rationalist" (?) friends would be as quick to admit that maybe their ideas had something to do with the horrors of 20th century totalitarianism. After all, I can't understand how throughout the 1920's and '30's, people could crow about 19th century science sending religious obscurantism packing a generation earlier; and then in the 1940's, find that Europe had suddenly rediscovered piety in order to hold the holocaust. After all, between Luther's _On the Jews and their Lies_ and the Holocaust lies a lot of anti-Jewish fulmination from various folks, including some unkind things from the pen of Voltaire (who also praised the so-called "enlightened despot"), various nationalists, the scientifically-educated Wilhelm Marr, and others. And let's not forget the whole, once-eminently-respectable "science" of eugenics to which numerous liberal Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once subscribed.

Now, Janusz, tell me, if there is no (HaShem) to tell us on Sinai that murder is wrong, who are we to criticize the grandfathers of some of my Taiwan aboriginal students when they felt that a man wasn't a man unles he'd taken an enemy head? If man is just another animal, who are we to say that the Democratic Kampuchea people were wrong to wipe out the 1/3 of their countrymen who were "in the way" of a bright, new, socialist dawn? And, what right would moderns have to criticize the Bonze Age Israelites?

Since the fall of Adam, human nature has always been subject to original sin or the yetzer ha'ra. We are not a pacific species. I fear that if there is no God, Nietzsche and heirs were infinitely wiser than Marx and heir. Yet, since there is a God who has visited and redeemed His people, both of those 19th century worthies are two of the biggest damned (shudder!) fools who ever lived.

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