Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rice in the house of bread

"Being here at the birthplace of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has been a very special and moving experience,"
said Condoleezza Rice the other day in Bethlehem. Beit Lechem or the House of Bread, is of course attributed by most Christians as the place in which Jesus was born, although historians tend to discount the story as a contrivance to make his history seem more in line with the ancient predictions that some young woman would give birth to a male continuation of the line of Ahaz that has been fixed up and resold as a prediction of a soul-saving messiah.

But Condoleezza with all of her academic degrees simply accepts the story about the census and the flight to Egypt even though the census of Quirinius occurred in 6 AD when Herod was 10 years dead and didn't require anyone to return to their birthplace to register. I won't get into all the historical evidence that makes this incredible story incredible, but when Condy says
"It is also, I think, a personal reminder that the prince of peace is still with us"
and calls on Islam, Judaism and Christianity to make religion a "power of healing," I have to wonder about her grasp on reality. Has there ever been a more divisive and violent influence on humankind than the insistence that one myth be taken as axiom and all the other fact and fiction as heresy? How can there be peace when my prince of peace is tougher than your prince of peace?

I could detect no trace of allowance for differences of opinion about what happened or didn't happen in Bethlehem, no hint of respect for the historical record or the myths of others; no phrasing like "here by Christian tradition, Jesus, whom I hold to be God was born" but only this is the way it really is, damn the facts, you heretics and damn your religion.

Is there really any hope for peace, for tolerance, for mutual respect amongst people who confuse belief with entitlement?

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hello Cap'n. Sorry to bother you in a comment like this, but I decided to do some housekeeping on my site, then decided to chuck the whole thing altogether and start over. One of the casualties of the move is my blog, Radloff's Random Thoughts, which I've moved to a new address. You can find it at: if you're so inclined...

Thanks! Oh, and I like the belief vs. entitlement quandry.