Ending Violence In The Holy Land = Anti Semitism?

There’s been some allusions and not so subtle hints from some of my Christian friends that by virtue of our vocal support for the end of the current violence in the Gaza strip as well as advocacy for peace in the Middle East, we have somehow:

  1. Been subsumed by the mainstream anti-semitism of Malaysian society, or
  2. We stand in danger of opposing God’s will, or
  3. All of the above (plus a few more)

My question would be .. at least to allegation #1 ..

How then do we start engaging and challenging some of the anti-semitic stereotypes if we choose to continue hiding in our ghettoes and pretending that people are not dying needlessly in the region?

For allegation #2, let’s have a conversation on the theology underlying that allegation one of these days. I believe I can speak about it with some experience .. considering I was once in that camp too. For the time being, maybe this discourse might be helpful.

My attention was recently brought to these 2 documents from Churches for Middle East Peace. I was surprised that I have unconsciously adopted these as my guiding principles in regards to this crisis even without knowing about them:

How To Get Your Message Heard

  • Present your hope for a positive future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Avoid references to historical occurrences in the Middle East as much as possible.
  • Present data from reliable, mainstream sources.
  • Express the importance of your religious faith, but don’t be excessive in your use of religion or self-righteous
  • Recognize that there is pain for both Palestinians (separation barrier, settlements, housing demolitions, land confiscation, checkpoints) and Israelis (suicide bombings, shellings, countries and groups seeking their destruction)
  • Avoid analogies, especially with South Africa’s history of apartheid and Bantustans

There are, of course, more. You can read about it here and here. More resources for Christians and churches to think about can be found here as well.

7 Replies to “Ending Violence In The Holy Land = Anti Semitism?”

  1. Item 2 is fascinating,

    By supporting the call for the end of violence in the Gaza, one is opposing God’s will?

    How? Pray tell.

  2. An example of this line of understanding can perhaps be seen from the comment thread here:

    http://sivinkit.net/archives/5020#comments

    It is heavily influenced by one interpretation of Dispensationalist theology and is probably rooted in a reaction against the abuses of Replacement theology which had resulted in the Church’s conviction of Jews for deicide, participation in pogroms, et al. Unfortunately the reaction resulted, in some cases, with an opposite but equally bigoted perspective.

    This perspective was generally quite prevalent in Evangelical “end-times” literature available in Malaysia over the 80s and 90s. It has only been in this decade that more alternative perspectives have resurfaced. So we have a unique situation where despite such interpretations not being the official understanding or stand of the respective denominations, many laypeople remained exclusively influenced by it, even by some who do not even know the technical term for such teachings.

  3. Isn’t this a clear indication that it is hazardous to take every Biblical statement literally and that the real meaning of each statement should be understood in the context of its placement?

  4. Unfortunately I have been made aware that a lot of clergy are not very well prepared to deal with this challenge. Eschatology isn’t really top priority in a seminary syllabus.

  5. All the more reason why each person reading the Bible should be guided not to take literal meanings for what they read. Dependence on the clergy for “correct understanding” places an unnecessary and hazardous intermediary between a believer and God.

    Such intermediaries are what gave rise to the Inquisition during the middle ages of Christianity. Such intermediaries are causing the radical nature of what is erroneously labeled fundamental Islam.

    God wants us to reach Him. God wants us to understand Him. He will not make it difficult for us. Therefore His message is a simple one – “Love thy neighbour as thou wouldst love me”.

    Anything that contradicts this simple message cannot be from God.

  6. Singam said:

    “Love thy neighbour as thou wouldst love me”.

    Anything that contradicts this simple message cannot be from God.

    I have to say a big Amen to that.

  7. Hey if people want to take the Bible’s accounts of ancient history as applying to the modern situation…My Bible study group is currently going over Ezekiel, and something that’s rather striking in the current political situation is that a couple of the things that God punished ancient Israel for were a) having arrogant and corrupt leaders and b) hurting/killing innocent people.

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