The Influence of The Jewish Festival of Sukkoth on the Passion Narrative: Part III

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 16 February 2005 0 Comments
Please login with your account to read this essay.


Why did you defend the invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S.? Is revenge a justifiable motive for war? A million or so innocents were killed or driven from their homes. What, pray tell, was accomplished to advance the spirit of Christ?


If the purpose of the Afghanistan invasion was to break up the terrorist training centers that were responsible for the 9/11 attacks then I regard that as an appropriate response. I do not see it as revenge. I see it as trying to defend yourself against a further attack. I'm not sure that it advanced the "Spirit of Christ" at all but neither did being the recipient of the 9/11 attacks.

Of course innocents were killed and driven from their homes but not anything approaching your figure of "a million or so." Critics must stick to the facts even if their criticism arises from religious passion and sources. However, whether it was "a million or so" or just a single victim is relatively unimportant for it is wrong in either case.

We do not live in a perfect world. Injustice abounds. The strong violate the weak every day. The voice of Christ needs to raise consciousness on issues like this constantly. I see the human race ever fighting the battle for survival. We have been hard wired to do this since emerging out of the tooth and claw struggle of our evolutionary history. The only way this will cease is for us to evolve into something we are not yet. I believe that is what Christianity at its deepest core is all about. This means that some day we will learn that one does not fight terrorism by fighting or killing terrorists but by addressing the human despair that breeds terrorism. Ultimately, that means evolving beyond tribal thinking, beyond prejudices and beyond the religious systems that encourage both tribalism and prejudice. That is how we advance the Spirit of Christ. It is not easy being human. Unless we evolve to a new understanding of our common humanity, I do not believe that human life will continue. It is a scary time. I urge you not to fight the tribal battle but to concentrate on building the new humanity.

-- John Shelby Spong




Leave a Reply