Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Path of Least Resistance

Does the bible have a lot of awful things in it? Sure. But it's worth noting that despite that, there are also many excellent moral examples in the Bible. One lesson is that doing what's right is not always easy.

Being a prophet wasn't easy when the leadership is wicked. The pressure is on to tell the king what he wants to hear and to disregard the king's immorality. Paper over the wickedness of his kingdom.

Ezekiel dealt with such prophets. He writes in chapter 13 verse 14:

The lying prophets have tried to cover up the evil in Jerusalem, but I will tear down the city, all the way to its foundations. And when it collapses, those prophets will be killed, and everyone will know that I have done these things.

At I Kings 22 we read that King Ahab was able to produce 400 prophets that were willing to tell him what he wanted to hear. There was one prophet Ahab didn't want to hear from. That was Micaiah, who Ahab hated. Why? Micaiah never prophesied anything good about him.

But Ahab called him anyway. Micaiah initially sarcastically told Ahab what he wanted to hear, but the King demanded he be truthful. When he then told the truth Ahab rewarded his candor by throwing him in prison.

It's much easier to advocate on behalf of the state. Defying the state can be risky, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer learned.

If you were to re-tell some of these biblical stories, or perhaps re-tell the story of the Nazi's, but instead insert modern people as characters, where do you think someone like Bob Dutko would fit? Bob tells me that he doesn't like to focus on what is bad about America. Pointing out thousands of civilians killed by acts of terrorism perpetuated by the U.S. government is "anti-American" and "trashing the country."

I suppose the same would be true of Elijah. By criticizing Ahab and Jezebel I suppose that would make him an anti-Semite. Bob would have him stay quiet. Focus on the good things they've done.

Yet Bob cheers on Elijah, as do most of the advocates of state violence that you listen to on right wing radio. Perhaps they should pay closer attention to their own bible. They should take another look at the prophets. And when their done maybe they should try and understand Jesus' teachings regarding the hypocrite.

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