From Love to Hate and Back Again: Part 2

FLTHABA: Why the Christian New Testament is More Violent Than the Hebrew Bible. Or is it?
Let’s be honest Christians always take it one step farther than is necessary. In the case of violence and vengeance shall be mine, what the Christians interpret in their approach to the New Testament (over and above what is read in stories of the Hebrew Bible) is really over the top.
Seriously, think about it: while in the Hebrew Bible one reads where people are wishing that God would strike down their enemies and do justice by the unrighteous, the Christian New Testament takes it one step farther and is interpreted by many to wish this judgment of enemy to be an eternal one. I mean really, is this so necessary for those who have hurt you, or simply don’t agree to believe what you believe?
Sure the teachings of Jesus “to love your enemy” are present in a few places in the Scriptures, yet one doesn’t have to travel far from those passages to find great speak about the fires of Ghenna and the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Be not mistaken, I am not one who believes in eternal torment of souls; however, one does have to wonder how the idea ever came into the consciousness of those who hold the Bible as canon that the Hebrew Bible is somehow more violent and more to be discarded than the New Testament of the Christians. Sounds like early gnosticism to me.
At the end of the day, one must genuinely question if by taking the entire canon seriously one can make a journey from love of God, creation, and other through hate towards restoration if the end is that some are to be loved and others are to be tormented. It would have to be that this vision only truly comes full circle, that is- from wholeness through brokenness and back to wholeness, if love is ultimately true and reigns.
But wait, news flash, we’ve never known a world without both love and hate. And might it be that the mythologies of the Bible affirm the idea that these things have always been. You know, that we’ve never known a world without family and enemy, without health and disease, without love and lust, without lovers and killers.
So maybe the narrative is really about something else? Maybe the journey from love to hate and back again isn’t about some future cosmic restoration at all but about local contextual restoration that allows itself to be ordered just long enough for something new to emerge. It grows, it orders, and it heals. And then, as if out of no where (or always out of somewhere), the chaos to re-enters the equation and presses new thinkers and theologians to look for new answers and meanings in the times.
Maybe that is what we really get with the combination of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament: a glimpse into the way that a few of the early communities of faith navigated their worlds and their times while trying their damnedest to figure out what God was up to. And, maybe that’s why in each of the narratives, violence gets it voice. Because when chaos is always coming in and things are always changing, we need some one to blame or something to do, or G-D to be there.
You know, it’s like:

When all you have is taken
and all your hope is gone,
the only thing to hope for,
is justice to be done.
Done to those with power,
done to those that reign,
done to those that are thinking,
life’s lessons are learnt through pain.
Sure G-D is out there watching,
sure G-D controls it all,
but if G-D don’t come quickly,
we’re headed to the mall.
Shopping, shopping, shopping,
spending kills the pain.
Laughing, laughing, Laughing,
markets fall like rain.
Blame it on the terrorist,
or blame it on the Bush,
either way G-D’s coming
get ready, get set, now push.

Isn’t that just perfect?
Yet surely the sum total of our entire religious history and trajectory isn’t just that we learn to make sense of the shit, the world, and God just for today. Right? Or, wait, is that what it is about? Is it really about knowing how to love and hate and love and hate all at the same time? Like, if we can just figure that out, all will be well?
I don’t know, maybe I’m Lost.
JC

2 thoughts on “From Love to Hate and Back Again: Part 2

  1. I think your blog is awesome. I also think it is awesome we both have the same name. You have challenging thoughts and I encourage you to keep stretching your readers. Your love-hate thoughts have surely made me think.

  2. I think that the religious history and trajectory points towards both knowing what it’s about (living life here in this present time) and knowing what is coming (specifically, Christ’s second coming where all will be restored).
    On the subject of hell, I personally believe that it is a place but that the people who go there are not tortured 24/7 like many people believe. Instead, I believe it is a place of eternal shame for those who willingly abandon God and reject His grace.

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