The Battle Of Jericho
Illustration by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ( 1794 to 1872 )
The death tolls continue to rise. Day after day, year after year, century after century,
as far back as the beginnings of recorded history, people have been marching across
borders and slaughtering their neighbors. The motivations for these bloody invasions is
most often greed for the neighbor's lands, wealth, and natural resources, often
accelerated by a desire for revenge for past incursions. But the excuses they give for
killing innocent civilians is most often that their supreme deity has told them that these
executions are justifiable, or that this God even ordered them to commit the slaughter.
When Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, in a bloody assault, intending to
absorb that nation into his own, he made sure that the head of the Russian Orthodox
Church would speak out in approval of the invasion. Such complicit approval from the
supposed, high representative of God on earth, is somehow intended to quell any
anxieties, which the faithful followers of the flock may feel about the killings of so many
thousands of their neighbors. Whatever moral authority the head of the church may
have had before his agreement with Putin, he tossed it all out of the window, but in
exchange for his cooperation, he gets to retain his power over the ignorant masses
of the faithful believers.
The story is always the same. The aggressive political leaders acquire the support of
the religious leaders, to help justify their bloody assaults. Religion is always the key to
help justify all manner of death and destruction.
Now that we have the new horrors of the slaughters in Israel and Palestine, I am
reminded of the biblical story of the battle Jericho. That is the tale of how the God
of the Israelites gave them the land of another tribe of people, who happened to have a
different god, and were not particularly interested in moving. As the story goes, Joshua,
the leader of the Israelites, needed the power of God, to help him destroy the great,
walled city called Jericho. So he and the religious faithful, marched around the city walls
for seven days, blowing horns, after-which, God knocked down the walls for them.
That is when the story becomes more telling about religion. Joshua killed every man,
woman and child in the city, along with all of their livestock, because his God told him
to do it!
The story of Jericho is pure fiction, added to the Old Testament by a later writer,
as propaganda to enhance the omnipotent, powerful image of God. Archeologists
have proven that no city of that kind ever existed in that area. The Old Testament
is a collection of historical fiction, written and collected by tribal leaders, intended
to hold the tribe together, and to find some kind of explanation of how we came to
be here, because they did not have the knowledge of science. The trouble comes
now, in the twenty first century, when so many, stupid people insist that every word
of the "Holy Book" is absolute fact, written by the hand of an invisible, supreme
being. The only holey books are the kind which are infested with bookworms.
The books which proclaim themselves to be the Holy word of some-kind of
supreme being are wishful fantasies..
Still, the festering religious divisions in society, continue to create the limited
viewpoints of the people who insist that they have the one true religion, and all
other religions are false, which continues to tare at the hope of any lasting peace
for this weary planet. The wars and the deaths and bloodshed will go on forever,
unless we change.
There is one religious rule which several religions have in similar forms, often
called The Golden Rule. Simply stated, it says "Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you". If everyone on earth practiced that rule, this world would be
a wonderful place to live.
Eugene P. McNerney