April 2015 v.p. Israel-Palestine conflict a two World Religion . p4

“Israel-Palestine conflict a two World Religion* problem and a “which God do we serve” confusion” by Frank Cordaro, Viva Pacis, April, 2015 issue p.4

The issue driving the Israel-Palestine conflict will not be resolved with a one- or two-state solution. It is a much larger and deeper issue than the current political conflict. It’s a two world religions issue and both are confused by a “which God to serve?” problem. The world religions are Christianity and Judaism, and they share the most god-awful history ending in WWII.

Today’s Christians and Jews live in an entirely opposite geopolitical space than when they started, yet the confusion with which God to serve is a very old issue, at the heart of each tradition.

Christianity’s and Judaism’s shared history beings with shared origins in the bible. Most people wrongly believe that today’s Judaism is the older of the two faiths. However both traditions are people of the book, the Bible. Both lay claim to the same biblical text, what Christians call the Old Testament. The writing of the text of both traditions, including the New Testament ended by 120 AD. And both claimed to be the rightful heirs of the Abrahamic covenant found in the Old Testament.

Both traditions started at the same time and place in history, in the 1st century, during the Roman occupation of Palestine. And both traditions started competing with each other only after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD. In the aftermath of 70 AD, both traditions had to re-invent themselves without a divine possession of any one land, city, temple or nation.

In 120 A.D. after the last word was written, that made it in the Bible, Judaism was by far the largest and most significant tradition of the two. Estimates of how many diaspora Jews existed in the Roman Empire at the time range from 1 to 10 %. Whatever percentage of the Empire the diaspora Jews were, they were players in the Empire’s political domain. They were enough of a factor that the post Second Temple diaspora Jews from 70 AD on had to continue paying what had been their yearly Temple tax to the Roman Emperor after the Temple was destroyed. Those we call Christians, who wrote the New Testament, were so insignificant in numbers and in influence in 120 A.D. that they had zero play in the Roman Empire.

This all changed by the 300’s with Emperor Constantine. And in this post Constantine era, Christians became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, of Europe and the rest of the world. Politically, economically and socially, Christians started living the exact opposite way of life that Jesus and the early first and second century followers of Jesus lived and proclaimed in the New Testament.

Through the centuries Christians eventually were more likely to be a force behind the crucifers in the world than among the crucified. And by the end of WWII, Christians had become the best killers in the world. We killed each other very well and we kill others event better. This has not changed since WWII.

And the relationship between Christians and Jews from Constantine to the end of WWII in 1945 is nothing but god-awful! In this post Constantine era, Judaism became the lesser of the two sibling world religions and over the centuries Jews became perennial objects of scorn, rejection, persecution and death at the hands of Christians and Christian nations. The worst of this shared history culminated in the Nazi’s killing of 6 million Jews during WWII.

Today in this post WWII era, Christians and Jews live in an entirely different world. These days, it would be difficult to separate the two world religions given our god-awful shared history and the demographic facts in which both U.S. Christians and Jews find themselves.

Today’s demographic facts speak louder than any words. There are 2 billion Christians in the world and 14 million Jews. Eighty percent of all Jews live in the U.S. or Israel. And the population of the U.S. makes up less than 6% of the world’s population. Israel’s population is insignificant percentage-wise, a lot less than 1%.

Given these demographic, the issue driving the Israel-Palestine conflict is really an issue of bad faith practiced by U.S. Christians and Jews alike.

Everybody living in the U.S. today was born into a society and culture of privilege, entitlement and ill-gotten gains won in the victory of WWII, which comes with being an empire. And like all empires, ours is built on lies from a false God who justifies war, killing, oppressions of all kinds and the ill-gotten wealth and power of the few over the many. U.S. Christians and Jews alike suffer the same crises of faith. Both are confused by the question of which God do they really serve—the God driving the U.S. Empire or the God of the Old Testament prophets and the radical Rabbi Jesus, the God of Creation? *

And even though the historical, political and economic settings for both traditions are vastly different than they were in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, both are up against the same challenge of faith, the challenge of giving their allegiance to the God of Creation in resistance to the established God of Empire. In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the latter were the pagan Gods, with their “Son of God” Caesars included, of the Roman Empire. In the 21st century, we have the Christian-Jewish false God that serves the interest of the U.S. Empire.

* There are twelve classical world religions—those religions most often included in history of world religion surveys and studied in world religions classes: Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0113529.html

*See “Come Out, My People!” God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond? by Wes Howard-Brook http://www.goodreads.com/bo…/show/8823549-come-out-my-people

Frank Cordaro
Phil Berrigan CW House
DMCW http://dmcatholicworker.org


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