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Friday, October 10, 2003

Nuke 'em for Christ:

Pat Robertson, the same paragon of Christian virtue who has opined in the past that Wiccans like me should be burned alive the way they used to in the good old days, just created an interesting dilemma for me by suggesting that the State Department should be nuked.

As a pagan anarchist, I'm completely uninterested in being considered a paragon of Christian virtue. So I can admit to feeling a sneaking sympathy with Robertson's modest proposal. I mean, it wouldn't just be nuking the government, it would be nuking one of the more repulsive parts of same. The BATF and DEA are certainly a greater threat to liberty and happiness, but watching the Foggy Bottom crowd compete to see who can pander most abjectly to "international opinion" and a succession of enemies from the old Soviet Union to the France of today has been pretty nauseating.

But no. I have my own standards of virtue, and they don't quite stretch to vaporizing Foggy Bottom. Innocents (that is, persons who are not causally implicated in the government's normal practices of coercion and fraud) could be harmed. Cleaning staff, visiting children, that sort of thing. Shocking bad form to whack them, don't you know.

Now. Seriously. I've taken some flak in the past for implying that Christianity is just as vile and violence-prone a religion as Islam. Pat Robertson has made this point for me before and doubtless will again. Because, like Osama bin Laden, he really believes. He pays attention to all the bits of the Bible and doctrine and history that most so-called ‘Christians’ edit out — a maneuver that makes them better human beings, but worse Christians.

Christianity is sold as a "religion of love" but that is just as bogus as calling Islam a "religion of peace". What is far more important and fundamental to both is eschatological dualism, which Islam inherited through Mohammed's roots in Monophysite Christianity. (What? You didn't know that Islam started life as a mildly schismatic Christian sect? Yes, it's true.)

"Eschatological dualism" is fancy theologist-speak for the belief that history consists of a titanic struggle between God and the Devil, which will culminate at the end of time with a great sorting out — godly obedient people to Heaven, sinners to Hell. Eschatological dualism is the root of the "Kill them all, God will know his own" attitude that has always been rather more characteristic of both religions than "peace" or "love". Pat and Osama, brothers under the skin, are squarely in that grand old tradition.

Christianity, fortunately for all of us, has become quite decadent and weak these last 400 years or so — Robertson merely dreams of smiting the Devil's minions with Godly fire, rather than actually incinerating 3000 people on a fine autumn morning. But it may take another 400 before Christianity withers away sufficiently that my descendants need not fear being burned at the stake by a charismatic looney-tune like Robertson. Islam, 600 years younger, will probably remain deadly for rather longer.

posted by Eric at 4:24 PM