Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vengeful God vs. the Crucified and Risen

This should be enough to indicate that for the Scimitar, appeasing a wrathful god puts their religion at-one with René Girard's "primitive sacred." All conventional religions, from an anthropological point of view, do not share the biblical mandate to "LOVE the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12,28-31). Indeed, conventional religions love their deity rarely at all.

Rather, the rituals, prohibitions, and myths of conventional religions seek to keep their deities at arm's length, or secure in his or her temple, or as far from human contact as possible (hence the awe-full fear of the sacred and profane meeting).

But beginning with the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God of the Jews comes the slow and awakening understanding of a God Who loves first and invites humanity into a community of steadfast love rather than fear and dread.

The New Testament understands that nature of God the Father is fully vindicated in the death of God the Son at the hands of angry men, and His resurrection. If ever there was a clearer way of advertising the true nature of God, I don't know of it - and neither does the Teaching Office of the Catholic Church.

When the Veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom (Lk 23,45), the Christian faith says the power of the old primitive sacred fears and dread of the Sacred meeting of the profane was undone. God had come among us. Died for us. Rose to new Life for us. The bogey man of the gods and goddesses was destroyed. Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection was the true "twilight of the gods." The Sacred had "become flesh" and "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1,14).

"I no longer call you servants," Jesus says, "I call you friends" (Jn 15,14-15). "Glory and trumpets!" as Sam Gamgee would say!

But this fear and dread dies hard where the truth of the Gospel still goes unacknowledged. Or is rejected by a Western culture that should know better.

Will the Scimitar ever pull away from its misunderstanding of God's true nature? I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that it will continue to use any means - any means - to try to appease the angry, vengeful will of Allah. Wouldn't you, if you thought it was God's will?

Will the West regain its whole-hearted belief and Easter hope? Again, I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that the neo-pagan recrudescence will proceed apace; even with its gussied-up, expensive-suited, Ivy League versions, replete with infant sacrifice. Its god is Moloch wearing a Mammon face.

I admire the Scimitar's misunderstanding of God's nature more than the Christ-rejecting neo-paganism of the West. Which, I wonder, will be easier to (re-)evangelize?

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