Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

If you're flummoxed about how the state of affairs in the Middle East came about, with religious wars threatening to erupt (again) over Israel's very existence, (and with America mired in unwinnable battles in the region costing $300 Million per day), you might step back in time with James Carroll as he explains the big picture, tracing the history of religion and violence, including how it has polarized everyone to take sides.  Carroll's broad thesis is that religion and violence have always been closely tied together, with the implication that faith which rejects the material world encourages an unfortunate interpretation of scriptures.  Columbus carried a Catholic worldview to America, and that worldview all began with the struggle of Israel for survival, and its identification with the most important city in the world:  JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM is read by Mel Foster, but rather than focusing on the city itself the book approaches the subject of religion's focus on violence from all angles in a comprehensive, analytical, and intriguing look at why blood-based sacrifices offered to God create meaning for believers, and how resistance to Roman violence influenced Biblical texts and formulated Jewish attitudes toward the world, (which in turn influences us as well).  A perfect storm continues to brew around the Temple mount in Jerusalem, which is perceived by both Jews and Arabs as ground zero (despite our fixation on the less important one in New York City.)  It is from this point that the world has turned since ancient times, and which also turned more recently to the brink of nuclear holocaust during the Nixon debacle.  Will it happen again, (since Islam also views Jews the way Hitler did), once Iran gets the bomb?  The author expresses a hope that believers of all monotheistic religions view "one God" not as a numeral 1 in opposition to perceived infidels, but as "God is one," meaning "in harmony with" rather than "at war with."  Otherwise, says Carroll, the human race is "doomed."

No comments:

Post a Comment