Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bible Study - God of Exodus or Spirit Of Life?

"It is genocide without apology. And at the end of this dire prophecy comes the most important sentence of all, the real beginning of what the rest of Exodus will so ferociously and zealously continue: the demarcation of difference, the establishment of a separation between Israel and the other peoples and tribes, the forging of an identity, the birth of a nation, and all the exclusiveness that it will require: 'But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast; that ye may know how the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.'"

Exodus, Francine Prose, in Killing The Buddha edited by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet

Most of the problems in the world today, on the planet Earth, is the claim of exclusiveness by various churches, nations, races, etc. The claim that we are saved but you are condemned is heard around the planet. And the authority for such claims? It's right there in the Bible.

God has favorites. God loves some of His children more than others. Some He will protect and support as long as they obey Him and others He will torment and kill.

Quite a God, huh?

And this is the time of year, with Passover coming, when we are reminded again of such nonsense. The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and by proxy the Middle East and the West, the Muslim and the Christian, could well spell, with the availability of nuclear weapons, the end of human life as we know it.

Do you suppose this is what God had in mind? Did God realize that His playing favorites and making some of His human creatures special that it would create animosity, hatred, conflict, leading to the eliminationist ideology that people not like us deserve to die?

Unitarian Universalists certainly don't believe in such a God and His values. Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person regardless of your tribe, race, nationality, religion. Unitarian Universalists believe in the acceptance of one another and the encouragement in the spiritual growth of that person on whatever path he/she is on. Unitarian Universalists believe in justice, equity, and above all else, compassion in human relations. Unitarian Universalists believe in peace, liberty, and justice for all.

I think it is accurate to say that Unitarian Universalists don't believe in the God of Exodus. The God of Exodus doesn't seem to be a God at all but rather a tribal idol who is worshiped because of the promises which the idol has made for the people's obedience.

Exodus, taken literally, is a very toxic mythic story. It gives one segment of humanity special status to engage in bellicose behavior with other segments of society. We need a story which will help all people work together in collaboration and mutual benefit. The story of Exodus is about oppression and liberation and misses the story about cooperation for mutual benefit.

Somewhere there has to be a better God than the one in Exodus. I am much more comfortable with the Spirit Of Life which Unitarian Universalists have come to know and love.

This is article #9 in a series on Bible Study.

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