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John Lennon Was Right

“IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE …” By Len Anthony  ||  I recently heard a pastor declare that the United States must support Israel because “the Jews are God’s chosen people.” That is the sum total basis for his position on a tremendously important foreign affairs issue. As a pastor his position…

“IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE …”

len anthonyBy Len Anthony  ||  I recently heard a pastor declare that the United States must support Israel because “the Jews are God’s chosen people.” That is the sum total basis for his position on a tremendously important foreign affairs issue.

As a pastor his position is respected and followed by a huge portion of his congregation without question or reflection. By “support” he meant not only economic but military backing. In other words, go to war over religion.

Imagine the harm caused by such thinking? Imagine how peaceful the world we be if we followed John Lennon’s advice in the song “Imagine” when he asks the listener to:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

People can and should believe whatever they want regarding heavens and hells and gods and saviors in order to bring meaning or peace to their lives.  To bring peace to the world however, everyone needs to respect everyone else’s beliefs, question their own beliefs and recognize that is all they are: beliefs.

Reflect upon the world today, and the reason for the vast majority of the bloodshed.  In the Middle East Shiites are fighting Sunnis. They have been fighting for over 2000 years.

Why are they fighting?  They are fighting over differences in religious beliefs.  There are also battles between Sunni sects and battles between Shiite sects, again over religious beliefs. Jews are fighting the Palestinians, over religious beliefs.  Muslims are fighting Christians, over religious beliefs. While not engaged in physical violence, there are disagreements between Catholics and Protestants, and splits within the various Christian denominations over religious beliefs.

These differences in beliefs result from varied interpretations of verses in the Bible and the Quran, both written thousands of years ago in archaic forms of Arabic, Greek and Hebrew which have been translated in to today’s languages.  Putting aside the discussion of the integrity of any of the interpretations as well as the veracity of either book, none of the interpretations can be demonstrated to be the one and only correct interpretation.

For instance, the Bible would have us believe that a merciful, loving, all powerful and all-knowing God created the universe, all plants, all animals and people.  Regarding people, he began by making a man and a woman.  Since God is all-knowing it seems reasonable to assume God knew the attitudes and character of his creations.  He placed these two people in a paradise type environment telling them they could consume any fruit in the paradise except for the fruit of one tree, the tree of knowledge.  God then either allowed or sent a talking snake to tempt the woman, Eve, to eat the forbidden fruit.  Eve gave into the temptation and subsequently convinced the man, Adam, to do the same. God discovered that Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, and the first sin had been committed, a sin that would then follow all mankind.

Thus, all of the fighting and killing is based upon nothing more than differences in beliefs (none of which can be proved) derived from books written by people who understood little to nothing about the universe, biology, genetics, physics, etc.  Common sense and rational thought must be inserted in to our reasoning and belief systems.  Blind obedience to ancient assertions and pronouncements cause more harm than good.

Importantly, religion is no longer needed to establish the rules of civilized people.  We have governments to pass and enforce laws to maintain order. Ironically, many violations of the criminal laws occur due to religion.  From the Crusades in the 1200s, to the Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1600s, to the killings in Nigeria today, religious differences have caused not prevented lawless behavior.

Finally, it is very curious how all religious combatants appeal to their gods to support them on the battlefield.  Instead, they should consider the last verse of Bob Dylan’s song “With God On Our Side”:

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: After spending thirty years as in-house counsel for a public utility, Len Anthony is now semi-retired living in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Wanna sound off on FITS?  Submit your letter to the editor or opinion column HERE.

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28 comments

Wayne B August 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

A thoughtful and respectful essay. Thank you.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein August 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Admittedly an agnostic….but doesn’t the New Testament kind of nix the whole “Chosen People” schtick?

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Mike at the Beach August 3, 2014 at 7:44 pm

The “red letters” nix a lot of the Old testament shtick in toto, one Bible-thumping preacher notwithstanding…

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Logic need not apply August 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm

You’re too hung up on the the words. You have to argue using emotion to be successful with the general population.

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Robert August 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Good essay Len. Will these are good. Keep it up.

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bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 6:44 am

False! The Israelis have been stealing Palestinian land for the last 60 years. Thanks due mainly to the the Brits, Germans & yours truly ( USA ). It’s an economic proposition, pure & simple. The Palestinian people were not involved in the horrors faced by the Jews in WWII. Yet they have had to pay reparations with their very lives. Please witness the genocide that the criminal Jews is inflicting upon them today. Religion has nothing to do with it, that’s a sham argument.

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CorruptionInColumbia August 4, 2014 at 9:12 am

Don’t the Jews in Israel also provide welfare to them in the form of food and other necessities? Seems I saw an article a few years ago with pictures of Palestinian markets with fresh, attractive, fruits and vegetables offered. As I recall, the article indicated that Israel provided a lot of this produce to the Palestinians.

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bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm

The Palestinians are perfectly capable of providing for themselves and do not need the Israelis’ handouts. And they only do this at times because they hold the Palestinians in an open air prisons, Gaza & the West Bank. Many of these Arabs have the deeds & titles to their property in so-called Israel but have been surreptitiously evicted by their Jewish invaders.

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Bible Thumper August 4, 2014 at 8:45 am

It is very easy to look back in history and only see the negative impact of religion. History tends to dwell on wars and conflicts and not see the slow progress.
##########
“differences in beliefs (none of which can be proven)”
———————-
Much of human progress is based on ideas that can’t be proven.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Putting aside a creator, that statement is ludicrous. We all have different abilities and potential and are not equal. But if you factor in the eternal life, you have a sound basis for the belief that we are. This central belief made possible the development of the modern democracy.

Christianity specifically made possible the development of modern science. History records persecution of scientists for their beliefs, but the preponderance of evidence is of Christians founding universities and sponsoring scientific discoveries and making many discoveries that we benefit from now.
##############
“Shiites are fighting Sunnis. They have been fighting for over 2000 years.”

Shiite, Sunni, Christian and Jewish communities lived in peace for much of their history and only recently have communities that have existed for thousands of years been uprooted and destroyed. It is a complex issue that I can’t fully discuss here, but I will say that these conflicts have as much to do with modern ideas as they do ancient religious beliefs. Otherwise why the rise of conflicts among people’s who have lived in peace for most of the last millennium.

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Norma Scok August 4, 2014 at 9:49 am

So you don’t consider Catholics Christians? Wasn’t it the Catholic church that did much of the science hating persecution?

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Bible Thumper August 4, 2014 at 10:09 am

The people they persecuted were mostly Catholics (yes Christians) themselves. The ideas that the church was defending were pagan not biblical.

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Norma Scok August 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

“Christianity specifically made possible the development of modern science”

Cupernicous, Galileo, Da Vinci (and untold dozens more) would probably argue with you on that one.

Tell me…how old are the dinosaurs and the cave paintings?

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Bible Thumper August 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

Copernicus was deeply religious and had no heretical intent in espousing his heliocentric theory. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html

Sorry, gotta go. I would like to discuss further.

bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Christianity is nothing but a re-packaging of many ancient religions from Egypt to the Near & Middle East.

bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

For thousands of years prior to your contention, Egyptians, Chinese, Summerians, etc. were at the forefront of everything. Those you mention are Johnny-come- latelies.

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Bible Thumper August 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

True but those discoveries led to few technological improvement to the lives of people. Agriculture, irrigation, architecture, dams, plumbing and warfare; little else.

bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

There are many pastors who would sprinkle holy water on nuclear weapons.

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GrandTango August 4, 2014 at 10:23 am

Your ignorance personifies the left.

We don’t support Israel because you hate God. We support Israel because they are the force of peace in a region where evil, hate and murder run rampant, and it will come to us, if it’s not squelched. We support Israel because they are RIGHT, vs people who are wrong, criminally racist, evil and deadly.

And not supporting them will eventually cost American lives and trillions in defense.
The left is expert at using the words of the people they hate, to set up their ignorant arguments. You are Full of $#!t, and represent the stupid and narrow-minded like you.

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bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Israel has many of it’s nuclear weapons targeted on the capitals of Europe, the Middle East & the good ole, USA. Commonly referred to as the Samson Option.

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GrandTango August 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Is that why Obama Crapped his pants when Bibi (verbally) slapped the S#!* out of his Dumb @$$ over the weekend…???

If your Nazi-level conspiracy theory is correct, you are more of a Stupid MotherF*#ker than I thought to hate them. Hamas has Scuds, modified bottle rockets, we shoot down like skeets, yet you jump to, when those evil B@*t@rd$ tell you to. If Israel can actually hurt us, your lord–god Obama sure is a F*#k up to be *#king with them, is he not?

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bobbyfischer August 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Everyone knows that Bibi is a ” notorious liar.” The Jews have every weapon under the sky, nuclear armed subs, ballistic missiles with nuclear and chemical weapons, tanks, F-15 & 16 jets among many other weapon systems. Yet the brave people of Palestine demonstrate daily more bravura & the fighting spirit so common among oppress people. The Jews are cowards who control American politicians like Lindsay Graham with blackmail & financial funding.

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GrandTango August 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

LMAO…Thanks, bobby, I needed a laugh.
PS: I thought you were dead. Or is that just your brain…Hahahahaha…

Norma Scok August 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Why don’t we do the same thing in Africa and South America? Or any where that we feel there is oppression? I guess those places don’t have a huge lobby fighting for their billions each year.

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GrandTango August 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

You may be the MOST IGNORANT Mother-F*#k#r to EVER draw breath. We spend Billions and Billions in Africa and S.A. Always have.

And those hateful F*#kers spit in our face, while Israel is an ally.

You have to a Dumb@$$ MoFo to be a liberal. I swear. Where do they get you Fools from?

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Manray August 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

I think the pastor’s views reflect the deeply-held and ill-considered beliefs of a wide swath of Republicans.

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Holy Shiite August 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Sunnis fighting Shiites for over 2000 years? Their hatred is truly ahead of its time.

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Slartibartfast August 5, 2014 at 1:12 am

And I bet this dude has a theology degree from an accredited and affiliated seminary. Kinda makes ya wonder about religious education these days.. that and kindergartens.

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