This post is like a little time capsule. It is something I wrote on this day years ago in another forum. I’m just going to paste it in its entirety so you can get a little glimpse into my mind a decade back. Honestly, I don’t even remember what current event or thought first triggered its writing, but…
Cyrus had two sons. After his death, Cambyses, the older son, became ruler of all Persia. The younger son, Smerdis, was made a governor of Bactria and the Defender of the East. As soon as his rule was secure, Cambyses set out on a campaign to subjugate Egypt who was Persia’s only true rival.
Into the scene steps Darius. Darius is the nephew of Cyrus and he is Cambyses’ right hand man on the Egyptian campaign. The problem is, Darius is also very ambitious. He sends a message to secretly that his older brother had died on campaign and young Smerdis needs to hurry to the capital to secure the throne. Then Darius tells Cambyses that his younger brother has gone to the capital to usurp the throne from his older brother.
Cambyses, with his army, immediately turns around and sets for home. On the journey he has an “accident” where he falls from his horse and lands on his sword. The injury proves to be fatal. One down, one to go.
Darius, along with six other conspirators, on the pretense of bringing news of Cambyses’ death to his brother, left the army behind and made a lightening dash to the capital. Upon arriving at the palace they demanded to immediately be brought into Smerdis’ presence. Since he was a man of dignity and importance, no one thought to question Darius’ right up to the bedroom door. There the seven men “delivered their message” through the bloodying of seven swords.
Now here is the kicker. Although Darius now became the next in line for the throne, nobody would accept a man who committed double regicide as their leader. He needed to use some of the mages of the god Ahura Mazda along with the Zoroastrian priests to help spread the story that Cambyses had actually killed his brother long ago and set up an imposter in his place. This imposter had stepped above himself and made a bid for the throne and that is why Darius had come and killed him. In addition to this, they said that Cambyses’ fall from his horse was actually the god Mazda’s vengeance for his evil deed. Not stopping there, a Zoroastrian priest made the prophesy that Darius was the Hand of Truth and anyone who opposed him was an enemy of god and a servant of the Lie.
Darius had hijacked the truth. With the help of an ambitious and corrupt priesthood he successfully rewrote history and social morality so that whoever dared to oppose him was setting themselves against the anointed of god. By having the priesthood declare him the “Hand of Truth” anyone who opposed him would be, by default, a morally bankrupt enemy of the truth.
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I see today, in our society, a political/religious culture that has pulled the same stunt. They ignore such biblical teachings as love your enemy, pray for those that persecute you, and do good to those that mistreat you. Instead they misuse “an eye for an eye” as a weak justification for the bringing down of two sovereign nations as retaliation for the toppling of two towers. They even ignore the fact that none of the nineteen hijackers were from either of these two countries and Saudi Arabia, the country that was home for fifteen of them is still somehow considered our friend.
The whole point of the Hebrew maxim “an eye for an eye” is to prevent the escalation of force. Just don’t bring that up around the Israeli army as they roll in with their tanks to flatten another Palestinian village. They are to busy abusing “an eye for an eye” to retaliate against another lunatic suicide bomber who snapped when he could no longer deal in a world that has beat him down one too many times. If they really wanted to end terrorism Israel and America should instead invest its efforts in putting an end to the breeding grounds of oppression, injustice, and extreme poverty that our greed is so often one of the root causes of. But this culture that has hijacked the truth doesn’t want to hear that. They have drawn a mythical parallel between the current political nation of Israel and the historical children of Israel, God’s chosen. As a result, even though the nation of Israel continues to defy human rights and the world opinion, breaking more UN sanctions than any other 5 countries combined, this culture still believes they can do no wrong.
This dishonest usurpation of the moral high ground does not just occur overseas. Right here at home the so called “religious right” continues to push for the cutting of necessary and humane social programs so that the rich can continue to get their tax breaks creating an ever wider economic gap. I do not know how they can continue to use this name when scripture makes it clear that true religion is to look after widows and orphans in their distress. They must also ignore Jesus’ instructions to the rich man when he said that if he wanted to inherit eternal life he needs to “liquidate his assets” and give all the proceeds to the poor.
This hypocrisy is evident in many other immoral social and political stands of the so called moral majority. But it’s these two titles: “the moral majority” and “the religious right” that, like Darius’ “Hand of Truth” that I find so annoyingly duplicitous. Does this mean that anybody with the courage and integrity to stand up to them is really a part of an immoral minority? If I am neither “pagan” nor “leftist” (or they might prefer, “wrong”), am I required to tow the party line of these “religious right” hijackers of truth?
It was Darius who was stopped cold by the Greeks and who brought about the beginning of the decline of Persian world dominance. If we allow this culture to continue to have such a strong voice in determining our domestic and world policy, are we headed in the same direction? Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, America has been the preeminent global power, but as we continue to let arrogance, greed, and self-righteousness guide our path, the rest of the world is growing to resent us more and more. It is time to take back what is right and good and true from those who have twisted it for their own unchristian purposes.
Kinda makes you feel like you’re going down a creek with no paddle and the rapids are just around the corner. There’s a lot of countries in that canoe, my own (Canada) included. Just finished The Book of Daniel so I’m previewing the rapids. What could have been.
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Didn’t want to leave this on a negative note. The results of our political endeavours leaves much to be desired BUT that is not the BIG picture. Our God is in us and we serve His purpose and will, not the worlds. Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
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Great post! As for me and other countries, I remind myself that I dont live there, that I dont experience it for myself and that the media sways public opinion which ever way they want it to go. Then I have to factor in the whole I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. The Israeli government isnt necessarily Jewish in faith as far as orthodoxy, I read most are actually atheist but Israel is still a light of Democracy compared to an Islamic Palestinian presence (as far as I know) they dont hang you for being gay. War is bad period. I pray often for peace and Gods truth to prevail. I would help out a Palestian just the same as I would an Israeli … but it is SO confusing! 👍👌✌☝
You write well, and I enjoy most of what you write. It is generally quite logical. Here I have trouble. Where is the parallel between Darius’ hijacking of the truth and our justifications for invading Iraq and Afghanistan? Didn’t we publicly debate what we did in both Iraq and Afghanistan beforehand? Were we wise to invade this countries the way we did? Maybe not, but our leaders did not try to deceive anyone. Did Bush lie about weapons of mass destruction? When Saddam Hussein wanted his neighbors to believe he had them, it would be silly to assert such a thing, and you did not. Instead you switch gears, trying to equate Darius’ deceit with an amorphous political/religious culture that supposedly pulled the same stunt.
So what is problem here? Well, I don’t claim to know your prejudices or even whether you are a pacifist, but I believe you are confusing God with the United States government and with the government of Israel.
Are our leaders scoundrels? I suppose so. When we elect people who promise to give us other people’s money, we are going get scoundrels. Nevertheless, neither the American people or the Israeli happily elect people who lead them into wars. We took Iraq and Afghanistan only after clearly establishing that those nations posed clear and present dangers to our security. Then, naively thinking we could straighten some very screwed up countries without making an extreme effort, we tried to turn both nations into democracies.
Barack Obama abruptly abandoned the nation-building efforts. He also also helped to precipitate the so-called Arab Spring. So whose to blame for the current slaughter in the Middle East. When it is mostly Muslims killing Muslims? As much as I dislike what Obama has done, I must admit the people who live in the Middle East have thousands of years of history. Is what is going now something under the sun? No. Definitely not.
What about Israel? Israel has the capacity to wipe a place like the Gaza Strip off the map. Would it require nukes? No. Firebombing would be more than adequate. We did it during WWII with much less sophisticated munitions. If Israel were as you describe, they were just get it over with and incinerate the place, and there is no doubt they could do so.
Do some Israelis think of the Palestinians as dangerous beasts? Yes. Nevertheless, Israel has negotiated in good faith. Their enemies have not. Unless both sides want peace, there will be war.
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Oh, I don’t fully agree with everything I wrote here myself. Like I said right at the top. This post is a time capsule. I stumbled upon something I wrote a decade back I know it predated my move to Turkey, the Syrian Refugee Crisis, ISIS, and Arab Spring. I am pretty sure it even predated Obama. Time and circumstances, age and experience have definitely changed my opinions. Now that I am far more experienced from the inside on how the Muslim propaganda machine works I am not nearly as hard on Israel (although they are still far from innocent).
That said, I seriously wonder… if the US had not invaded Iraq after 9/11 would ISIS even exist today?
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Well, the answer to your question is: “I don’t know.”
Our invasion of Afghanistan was pretty much unavoidable. That is where the people who destroyed the World Trade Center were hiding out. We gave the Taliban the opportunity to surrender the people we wanted. They would not.
Did we have to invade Iraq? The culprit we wanted to get our hands on was Saddam Hussein. I suspect we could have insisted that the Iraqis cough up Hussein and a few key henchmen, but in fairness to ourselves we gave the Iraq’s plenty of opportunities to avoid being invaded.
Both Afghanistan and Iraq were in the control of dangerous and hostile people. Those people would not leave their neighbors in peace, and they did not leave us in peace. So we went to war.
More difficult than war is winning the peace. We did not win the peace. Was it ever ours to win? We tried to help the Afghans and the Iraqis win the peace. Who failed? Who was most responsible for the failure? The Afghans and the Iraqis or us? Do we do all we should have done? Did they?
I don’t have an answer to those questions either. I just know in hindsight that our efforts at nation-building were 40-year projects, and we gave up. In retrospect, it may have been better to have just targeted Bin-Laden and Hussein until we got them, but who knows how that would have worked out? Me? No.
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Why is it unchristian/immoral to be a rich American? Just because a person is able to succeed in business and become prosperous–and provide jobs for many people by doing that–must he then be expected to give away all he has earned to the poor in order to be considered “good?” Most of these rich men and women actually do donate heavily to charities. They do not spend their weekends counting their gold coins. They are usually still in their offices working to keep the business going.
1) It is not wrong to be rich, it is wrong to be greedy.
2) Actually, rich people donate far, far less proportionately to charities and NPO’s than the poor.
3) I am curious what you think of James 5:1-6
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