Thursday, May 1, 2008

968 civilians dead in Iraq this month

This is a story I just decided to read today. I went to BBC news and just picked one of the many stories about tragedy. I was thinking about what it would be like to live in Iraq right now. I'm not writing this to say 'The US are murderers' or anything like that. I don't think it helps to blame anyone really. But it just made me think about life and theology as everything seems to.

I can't even imagine the panic and fear and bitterness that would occur in my country if near 1000 civilians were killed within 1 month. I think it's just awful. I see stories like this every day but somehow it doesn't affect me. I've become completely desensitized to all of it. If one of my parents died, my whole life would change till the day I died, everything would be different. I'm sure that 1 of those thousand people was a mother, a father, a child.

So much for moral evolution - as the humanists call it. So much for utopia. With all of recorded history mankind has not learned any lessons from war except how to kill more efficiently. I think of all those funerals, all that pain, all the distress and instability. I wonder what God thinks about it all. I honestly don't know. If anyone was desensitized to it, it'd be Him, he's watched it for alot longer than I have. What has the church done I wonder. I heard that the Iraqi Orthodox Church has suffered to the point of near non-existance, as attacks come to Christians for perceived ties between Christianity and the West. I don't think either side has really shown moral fervor.

It's strange for me to think about the story in Genesis 4 of Cain murdering Abel. How God says that the bloodstained ground cries out to Him. I wonder if it still does. Sometimes all there seems to be in the empirical data of the universe is apathy. However sometimes it feels like the darkness of life may indeed serve as a dark sky in which Good shines like stars which appear every once in a while. Hmm. I guess if the universe is created by a good God, the question is why is there evil? The real question to me is, if there was no creator or absolute moral value, why would we care? Why would it pain us so much.

I wish I could go to one of the funerals of the 968 dead. Maybe it would make it feel more real to me. Maybe if all of us lived in that kind of community and shared humanity, we would stop killing people. The crazy thing is, it would make sense if there wasn't enough to go around, then murder would be obvious. But why? according to my grade 12 education we have 30% surplus in life sustaining necessities. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Because they're real people. They aren't infidels, they are beings made in the image of God. Hmm. I don't understand alot of things. Life is so short.

St. James writes in chapter 4 verses 14-15 "you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’"

I think maybe we just lie to ourselves in thinking that because we are North Americans we are somehow invincible, we can fight anything, nothing can touch us as long as we have money, in God we trust it says on the american dollar. Strangely enough in life it seems that money is alot easier to trust in.

Something else I mark as strange is that the Epistle of St. James is all about living right. About the importance of a living faith. So my interpretation today is that he is saying to live right, faith working in love, but that ya life is fragile. Life is just a mist. But inspite of all that, have faith in God, and trust in his providence. In Ecclesiastes the author comes to the same conclusion:

"Fear God, and keep his commandments...For God wil bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" 12:13-14

He starts off by saying that the earthly pursuit of pleasure is meaningless, He says "Nihil Sub Sola Novum" - Nothing is new under the sun. People just live and they die and it seems so meaningless. YET - this is the part where the conclusions differ between the Scriptures and ours, the modern world sees this and says 'eat drink and be merry' (ironically another bible verse) and the Scriptures say 'Fear God', Trust in his providence.

I guess the thing is that maybe somehow it is God's will that those 968 people died, many never acheiving their dreams, or getting to see the Carribean or driving a car even. But the point is that life viewed from our perspective seems meaningless, but our only hope is in believing God.

"the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster...but they are at peace. For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself" Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-5

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