God has definitely had his hands full lately. The supreme being, in all of his multiple personalities, has had to deal with some pretty serious role conflicts.
According to a few million devout people, God recently decided that Judeo-Christian influence had gotten a little out of hand on Earth and that several thousand civilians residing in America subsequently needed to die. Shortly thereafter, a couple hundred million righteous people came to the conclusion that God, in fact, loved America and that what he really wanted was the destruction of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.
Now, assuming that it is relatively rare for millions of honest people to simply fabricate God’s agenda, the man upstairs has some seemingly irreconcilable hats to wear.
Fortunately, God has had a lot of practice at this sort of thing. For as long as he has been on the scene, he has been forced to play both sides in conflicts.
When you account for the Jews versus the Christians around A.D. 0, the Christians versus the Muslims about 1000 years later during the crusades and the Muslims versus the Jews more recently, God has a rsum like none other when it comes to handling such sticky situations.
In some conflicts, such as predominantly Christian America versus the atheist Soviet Union, choosing a side was relatively easy, while the Northern Ireland conflict, on the other hand, forced God to get quite nitpicky.
The sad part is that God never seems to have requested this business. Believe it or not, it is hard to find God on the record saying that one society is above another and it is even more difficult to find God advocating murder and war. The overwhelming majority of God’s recorded statements are quite to the contrary, in fact and they include such insights as “Thou shall not kill” and “Love your enemy.”
Recently, theonion.com wrote that God held a press conference at which he said “Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don’t. And to be honest, I’m really getting sick and tired of it.”
If God exists, it seems very unlikely that he does endorsements. Yet human beings are all-too-quick to claim divine support for all sorts of acts and principles.
As there are those who believe that God says to eat pigs, but not cows and those who believe that God says to eat cows but not pigs, there are also those who tragically believe God has chosen the Muslims to conquer America. There are also those who believe God has chosen America to conquer the Muslims.
When such a God is considered the ultimate source of morality, otherwise unconscionable acts can be justified as the will of an infallible deity and ends-justify-the-means arguments prevail.
It is rightly impossible for most Americans to imagine that God was on the hijackers’ side. But it is no more feasible for many in the Middle East to believe that God is on America’s side.
He has been drafted by both teams and, from all visible signs, he has signed with neither. We can pray for our troops and they can pray for their martyrs and everyone can assert divine righteousness for their cause.
But make no mistake ? terrorists flying Boeing 767s into occupied buildings and U.S. warplanes bombing Afghanistan are simply cases of human beings using man-made instruments to kill other human beings.
If one set of actions is more just, it is because of ethical considerations that have nothing to do with who is closer to God. Rushing to claim supernatural support only implies that an act cannot stand as just in the realm of humanity.
Although I assert no special relationship, my guess is that God would be concerned not with the victors, but rather with the victims, whose voices we do not hear.
Perhaps God would be asking the same questions that some of the most secular people are asking today ? When will people stop using his name to justify inhuman acts upon others? When will human beings stop amplifying their differences and start choosing love over hate?
Brach is a senior and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.