Top subscribe filter_none issues my account search apps login google-plus facebook instagram twitter pinterest youtube lock

No More Warrior Gods

by Rabbi Rami ShapiroMay 18, 2019
Columnists
A war-like angel

bruev/Getty

"If anything we are simply better armed fanatics salivating in anticipation of our God’s call to war against the infidels and their idols. But one fanatic’s idol is another fanatic’s God, and religious war is always percolating beneath the surface of human affairs."

This past Tuesday, May 14th, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, said that in its conflicts with other nations Israel has a secret weapon: God. He is correct: 

“The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14)
“The Lord is a man of war, the Lord is his name” (Exodus 15:3)
“For the Lord your God is the one who fights for you against your enemies” (Deuteronomy 20:4)
“One among you can defeat a thousand, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you" (Joshua 23:10)

The problem with a foreign policy bound to and dependent upon the Israelite God is that it pits the United States against all the other Gods.

Do we really want to go to war against Allah? Do we really want to go to war against Krishna? In their holy scriptures, the Holy Qur’an and the Bhagavad Gita, respectively, Allah and Krishna stand no less undefeated than the Hebrew Lord of the Hebrew Bible.

Are we willing to risk our lives on the assumption that “my God can whip your God”? I suspect Ambassador Friedman is willing to let loose the Gods of war because he doesn’t believe Allah, Krishna, and humanity’s thousands of other deities are real. For the Ambassador and most Americans there is only one God and His Name is El not Allah; Christ not Krishna. But what if he and they are wrong? What if all the Gods of all the tribes are real? What if, as the history of religion suggests, they are more than willing to battle with one another using their devotees as proxies?

What used to be a matter of realpolitik is fast becoming a matter of theopolitik, and the world is about to experience a battle of the Gods unlike any we have seen before. One would hope that after centuries of tribal Gods battling for supremacy at the cost of the lives of millions, we humans would have outgrown our local deities in favor of something more cosmic and inclusive. But most of us haven’t done so at all. If anything we are simply better armed fanatics salivating in anticipation of our God’s call to war against the infidels and their idols. But one fanatic’s idol is another fanatic’s God, and religious war is always percolating beneath the surface of human affairs.

The solution is to outgrow these tribal warrior Gods. Sadly, it is a solution beyond the reach of our still largely tribal minds.

Keep reading: Pacifist in the War Zone


Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

Register now for Rabbi Rami's new online course, The Sacred Art of Forgiveness


This entry is tagged with:
IsraelChristianity

Enlightening, Empowering, Innovative, Inspiring… Don’t Miss a Word!

Become a subscriber, or find us at your local bookstore, newsstand, or grocer.

Find us on instagram @SpiritHealthMag

Instagram @SpiritHealthMag



2019 Spirituality & Health MEDIA, LLC

Give us your opinion and you could win a $150 Visa Gift Card!



What you want and need from Spirituality & Health magazine means everything to us.

Our goal is for Spirituality & Health magazine to be one of your most valuable spiritual resources—one you find both practical and inspirational. Will you consider taking a few minutes to help us do a better job for you?

Your thoughts and opinions will determine how we move forward in the coming year regarding a project we are working on—we genuinely can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you in advance for your time and advice!