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After the Golden Age by Alvin Schwartz
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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 03/10/2003
Volume 2, #69

I really didn't want to write a column today. Too many terrible things are happening right under our noses and very few have realized precisely where the danger is coming from. But I have to say it, now, as clearly as I can. And it's really very simple.

The fundamentalists are at war and the rest of the world is caught in-between!

Hasn't anybody really noticed this? It's not just the fundamentalism of Al Queda, the extreme right wing of Islam with its literalist interpretation of Jihad, Holy War, that makes this international pot boil. There are also the Christian fundamentalists, the ones who are ready to defend Israel by supporting fundamentalists like Ariel Sharon. Why?

Revelation says that after the Last Days, the Jews will be converted and will also enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Think of it, a chance to proselytize all the Jews. Funny, though, that no one can figure exactly how all these fundamentalists are going to add up to 144,000, the number supposed to be saved. Maybe that kind of arithmetic also provides the source for Bush's budgets and economics? In any case, the fact that Bush and the fundamentalist Christians are shaping this thing up, so that it becomes a war of fundamentalisms, there indeed is the great danger. And these people surely don't want to see a more secular Israel take power, and possibly try to cut down on the settlements and make peace with the Arabs. The Jewish religious right firmly proclaims that the Messiah will not return until the Jews are resettled in Judaea and Samaria, that is, in all of Palestine. That's Sharon's position. And the fundamentalist Christians believe that in the last days, all the good Jews will be converted to Christianity, and that's why they're supporting them now!

On the other hand, looking at the whole thing rationally, without this Fundamentalist Christian intervention, of which Bush is the leader and spokesman these days, the first SENSIBLE move should be to settle the Palestine question, now. And you can never do that with Messianic Jews at the helm of Israel. And of course, the Messianic Christians wouldn't want that anyway.

Then, if the secular position, operating on logic and common sense were to be extended, it follows that even as the Palestinian question is being settled, at the very same time, the US should be dealing with North Korea. Because the danger there is immediate and empirical, it's happening now! North Korea's nuclear weapons can be sold to anyone, especially Al Queda, and after that, all that's needed is a suitcase to smuggle it into the US.

But the fundamentalists aren't looking at such realities. They're looking at the old sacred books. It's Jehad against the Last Days. Each supporting the other!

Two fundamentalisms dating from two millenia in the deep dark past are driving the world to a totally unrealistic confrontation. Fundamental Islam, led by Isama Bin Laden, and Fundamental Christianity led by George W Bush, and to hell with the cost in lives and money and civilization and humanity. God, or Allah---that is, the God or Allah of the ancient fundamentalist texts comes first! Meantime, the Spirit languishes. And the words of the Gospel of John are forgotten, when Jesus said to the woman of Samaria: čThe time cometh and is here now, when God shall not be worshipped in this mountain or this place, but in spirit and in truthä, in other words, NOT in the name of a special religion. Have we completely overlooked this? Are we really going to let the old funamentalisms continue? Are we really going to let these maniacs on both sides push us over the brink?

Isn't it all clear enough? First, settle Palestine. That's really very easy. Then the problem of North Korea, the real and immediate problem.

Iraq? What's the problem? The inspectors will keep Iraq quiet for as long as necessary. In the meantime, let's take on our real problems.

Alvin

<< 02/24/2003 | 03/10/2003 | 03/17/2003 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Round Table.

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