I’m a little freaked out with the rhetoric I am hearing from politicians in Israel and here in the United States. I never knew people could get so anxious as to immediately jump to the consideration of force, all over the cost of olive oil!
Actually it is over the potential of Iran having nuclear weapons. I understand some of the arguments that people are making:
They are crazy!
They hate us (both Israel and the US)!
They are crazy!
They still hate us!
They are crazy!
There may be more arguments and perhaps arguments that are a little more nuanced, but these are the ones that I hear the most. It isn’t just the rhetoric of doom that freaks me out but the militaristic tone and the idea that violence is a viable option that scares me. We all know that the possibility of war is in the back of everyone’s minds, but the rhetoric I have heard brings such a possibility to the front. This freaks me out.
This freaks me out for many reasons, the least bit being anti war (yup, I’m a yellow-belly, tree-hugging, sandal-wearing pacifist). One notion that sticks out in my mind is the military response to the potential of creating nuclear weapons. Some are suggesting that we attack Iran because they have the potential to create weapons grade uranium which could lead to the production of uranium weapons. The crime is in the potential of committing a crime. See, it is not good to have potential.
Putting aside that we attacked Iraq for similar reasons (they may have WMDs, so we better hit them before they hit us), this mentality is very dangerous and pessimistic.
I wonder if it is connected in part to the idea of original sin. This is an idea that states people are born sinful and thus should be condemned to hell before they even do anything, because the potential to sin is there and because they are saddled with sin. We need to assume the worst of people because sin will pull them down again and again.
I like to believe that we are born a blank slate, a tabula rasa, and that we have the potential to make right and wrong decisions. Others, the original sin folks, seem to assume that we will always make the wrong decisions.
I’m well aware that such a doctrine is not on the minds of our Israeli counterparts, but I do believe it has become such a part of common Christian thought that it is difficult to imagine someone making the right decision. We are horrible, sinful, dirty, broken, worthless, evil, messy, pathetic creatures and will never get it right. How’s your self-esteem now?
I’m not suggesting that we assume people in Iran, or elsewhere, will always make the “right” decision or that we always give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes trust is broken. What I am suggesting is that we consider our theological anthropology, i.e. our idea of what it means to be human, and consider how such a view effects the way we consider and treat each other.
So to improve your friendships, your work relationships, your marriage, etc., eschew original sin and embrace the goodness in which we are created.