Dear Dzhokhar

April 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm (By Tim) (, )

Along with Kevin Cullen’s Boston Globe article I linked in the last post, this, to me, is an important piece. There is anger, but a refusal to hate, a Christian understanding of evil, the possibility of repentance, and what needs to be done, in fact, to keep everyone safe.

Dear Dzhokhar


  1. karen said,

    Thanks for the link, TT.

  2. LouiseM said,

    Both links, as I hadn’t found either on my own, and probably wouldn’t have without your willingness to post them.

  3. mockturtle said,

    I don’t hate him, either. I have no feelings about him at all. But I utterly deplore the cruel and barbaric crime he allegedly committed and which he freely chose to commit. He should be punished to the full extent of the law for this crime because we value life.

  4. realpc said,

    Love and hate are words that mean different things to different people in different contexts. When he says he doesn’t hate the killer, I really don’t know what that means. I think it’s denial. I know that Christians are supposed to love everyone, no matter what they do. But it’s easy to say “I don’t hate anyone.” Much harder to know what it really means and whether it is really true.

  5. karen said,

    I trust his judgement.

    He’s studying in Rome, no? It’s quite a place to be in denial-
    what w/the face of Christ staring at you from numerous corners and niches.
    Of course, conscious and subconscious, etc.

    Yep, i trust his judgement.

  6. LouiseM said,

    Dear Dzhokhar, I still have hope for you.

    This…Hope is not compatible with hatred.

  7. LouiseM said,

    Love and hate are words that mean different things to different people in different contexts.

    I’d be interested to know what you think hatred includes, realpc, as well as what causes you to think denial is involved.

    From the wiki:
    In psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. More recently, the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object.” Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a temporary emotional state.

    In my experience, hatred involves active invalidation of another being’s worth or value. It appears to me to be a choice based on intense feelings of fear and anger fueled by shame and self doubt regarding one’s own value and validity.

    I’m not hearing the author denying or masking hatred He seems instead to be intent on expressing and reconciling his feelings, thoughts and beliefs.

  8. karen said,

    “In my experience, hatred involves active invalidation of another being’s worth or value. It appears to me to be a choice based on intense feelings of fear and anger fueled by shame and self doubt regarding one’s own value and validity. ”

    You mean, like setting bombs off in crowded areas to do the most damage to people who have done absolutely nothing to you in a country that has welcomed you and kept you fed and educated?

  9. LouiseM said,


    From my point of view, hatred involves evil.

    I have tried but I cannot arrive at a world view that does not involve the component of evil, which seems different than darkness. Darkness is the absence of light and knowledge. Evil appears to involve an active desire, beyond anger and fear, to destroy and obliterate the Life and Light in another.

  10. realpc said,

    Our culture is partly based on Christianity, so the ideal of not hating anyone is burned deep into our mythology.

    You can define “hate” all kinds of ways. Our culture has decided it is taboo, you should not feel it.

    I think I would define it as a natural emotion related to anger. We hate something or someone that is trying to destroy us or other members of our social group (tribe). We must feel anger, and hate, if we are going to fight back and defend ourselves.

    Jesus gave us the example of the sacrificial lamb who does not defend itself. Jesus was a mystic and he was not concerned with life on this earth.

    Most of us, however, whether Christian or not, are concerned with life on this earth. Therefore we might think about WWJD, but we won’t actually do it, most of the time.

    Because we live in the strongest military power on earth, we don’t have to think about defending ourselves nearly as much as our ancestors did. We expect to be protected by our police and miltary, and most of the time we are.

    It’s easy for us to get complacent and tell ourselves we never feel hatred. But the emotion is there waiting in case we ever really need it.

    And I do think that most of us feel a lot more hatred (the way I defined it) than we realize consciously. It might only last a moment, maybe in reaction to a cruel remark. We might not be aware we felt it, but I think maybe we did.

  11. realpc said,

    “He’s studying in Rome, no? It’s quite a place to be in denial-
    what w/the face of Christ staring at you from numerous corners and niches”

    Karen, Jesus never lived in Rome. There is no reason to think he cares any more about Rome than any other place.

  12. realpc said,

    And I don’t think you should trust everyone’s judgement who happens to be studying in Rome.

  13. LouiseM said,

    How is hatred different from anger and fear?

  14. LouiseM said,

    Jesus was a mystic and he was not concerned with life on this earth.

    So all those reports about the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, those with leprosy cured, the deaf hearing, the dead raised, and the good news preached to the poor were window dressing to hide his dualistic approach to a Creation he was unconcerned about?

    Jesus, whoever you regard him to be, may not have been overly into saving and preserving his own life, but the numerous stories regarding his relationships with others from prostitutes to pharisees, reveal a person engaged in and concerned about the realities of life on this earth as well as the next.

    His summation of the Law of Moses stands out as one of the finest antidotes to hatred that I know.

  15. realpc said,

    Louise, the Law of Moses is a bad example. The ancient Israelites were not against hating their enemies. If you read it, I am sure you will see what i mean.

    I should not have said Jesus didn’t care about this world because he was a mystic. Lots of mystics care about this world, and other worlds. But Jesus really really focused entirely on the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Jesus concern was with helping people get ready for the next world, so they could be saved and not thrown into hell.

    And speaking of hatred and anger, Jesus obviously felt hatred and intense anger towards the Pharisees for example.

    How do people read the bible and block out so much of it?? That amazes me.

  16. karen said,

    I was speaking of the art found in Rome, the home of the Catholic Church.
    Christ, God– angels and saints… you know?

    “Most of us, however, whether Christian or not, are concerned with life on this earth. Therefore we might think about WWJD, but we won’t actually do it, most of the time.”

    Very true.
    It doesn’t mean it is a good thing, though.

    “And speaking of hatred and anger, Jesus obviously felt hatred and intense anger towards the Pharisees for example.”

    God doesn’t do ~hate~.

  17. mockturtle said,

    He has said, ‘As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’, Romans 9:13. Psalm 5:5: ‘Thou dost hate all who do iniquity.’ Psalm 6:16-19: ‘There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.’

  18. LouiseM said,

    How do people read the bible and block out so much of it?? That amazes me.

    I’m guessing the phenomena might be similar to what happens here, where blocking out, assuming for others, misreading and misinterpreting what has been written seems to be a regular occurrence.

    Louise, the Law of Moses is a bad example. The ancient Israelites were not against hating their enemies. If you read it, I am sure you will see what i mean.

    The Law of Moses was not presented as the example.

    His summation was, given in answer to this:
    Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

    I’m not understanding where your surety that I will see what you mean if I read “it” one more time is coming from.

    I also am having difficulty seeing how the word “obviously” applies to your opinion regarding the possibility of Jesus feeling hatred and intense anger toward the Pharisees.

  19. realpc said,

    “God doesn’t do ~hate~.”

    Karen, I realize that you prefer to see it that way. But if you look at what the Old and New Testaments say, you would see that God and Jesus hate certain things, and certain things make them very angry.

    If you don’t hate anything, you can’t love anything. You can’t have light without dark — it is not possible.

    You can always say that God and Jesus were justified in hating things that are bad. Well ok. It’s still hate.

  20. realpc said,

    And Karen, I do think it’s a good thing that people don’t do what Jesus would do, even if they are devout Christians. I don’t think it would be any good if you let yourself be crucified for no reason. I don’t think your kids or husband would approve of that Jesus-like behavior.

    God gave us life and we owe it to ourselves and everyone who loves us to protect the life we were given.

  21. LouiseM said,

    Other than turn over the tables of the money changers in the temple, I’m unaware of anything Jesus said or did that indicated hatred on his part. In fact his words and those of his beloved disciple voice a different view, one that replaces the Old Testament approach of dualism with a new way seeing, hearing and behaving. The way of Love (Truth and Grace) is the essence of the “good news” Jesus taught, and lived regarding the Kingdom of God, which wasn’t just over in the great beyond, but real and present “among you” whenever Light and/or these so called “fruits” are realized:

    Self Control.

    His life style, teachings, suffering and resurrection following death opened the door for millions of followers to experience and believe in an alternative reality.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ” (words attributed to Jesus)

    Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness…But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (words written by John the Disciple)

    realpc, I am genuinely curious as to why you believe “God gave us life” and what you think his/her/its purpose was in doing so?

  22. mockturtle said,

    In Matthew 8, Jesus told the Pharisees, ‘Ye are of your father, the devil…’ God [in all Three Persons] does hate the devil and his works. So I don’t think it’s quite accurate to assert that God doesn’t hate. He does want us to love our enemies. This does not preclude the state meting out appropriate punishment to lawbreakers: ‘Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.’ 1 Peter 2: 13,14.

  23. LouiseM said,

    To pervert: Alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.

    It’s my understanding Jesus’ main beef with the Pharisees had to do with their willingness and desire to pervert.

    In “The Seven Woes” (Matthew 23) he lists his grievances against them, saying they are full of greed and self-indulgence, and telling them in no uncertain terms that they’ve neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness.

    Anger signals incongruity, so it’s easy for me to imagine the hypocrisy and incongruity he was witnessing in them may have triggered feelings of anger strong enough to prompt him to speak as clearly and sharply as he did. While it’s also possible the twisting and perversion of that which was supposed to promote and insure “justice, mercy and faithfulness” may have evoked feelings of hatred toward the evil behind those actions, I do not hear him expressing hatred toward the Pharisees.

    It looks to me as this circles back to definition, and whether or not hatred is regarded as a feeling or an attitude. It appears to me as if humans have the ability to not only feel the emotions of love and hate , but also to chose a response of love or hatred.

  24. mockturtle said,

    Yes, the problem with the Pharisees was their perversion of God’s laws and their hypocrisy: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
    Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. –Matt. 23:27,28.

    Regarding love and hate, to use the well-worn adage, God hates sin [because He is holy and because sin destroys us] but loves sinners and would have us do likewise.

  25. mockturtle said,

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.

  26. realpc said,

    Jesus’ opinion of the Pharisees was his opinion. I think he hated them. He never said he loved the Pharisees, but just hated their sins.

    There probably were some good Pharisees, but Jesus focused on the negative in his anger towards them.

    You see the same thing today — there are people who hate Republicans, for example, and if a Republican says something that makes sense, those people never notice. They only notice the bad.

    And they feel perfectly justified in hating Republicans (or Democrats, or whatevers), because they see them in an entirely negative light.

    There is plenty of hatred and anger in the Old and New Testaments. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Without hatred and anger, there could be no love or kindness. Everything depends on the existence of its opposite.

    Jesus was trying to help his followers purify their hearts so they could be saved from hell. That makes sense to me. In order to do that, you have to minimize conflict and competition. That is reasonable if you are trying to escape this life.

    If, however, you intend to live in this world for a while, you must accept the reality of conflict and competition.

  27. LouiseM said,

    The irony in your reply, realpc, is the willingness I witness in you to repeatedly paint others with a broad brush, speak for them, negatively categorize them, pervert what was said and through it all appear to feel perfectly justified in doing so.

    There was a Pharisee who approached Jesus with an open heart and mind, willing to do what Jesus honored most: Ask, Seek, and Knock.

    Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favor to Jesus. He appears three times: the first is when he visits Jesus one night to listen to his teachings (John 3:1–21); the second is when he states the law concerning the arrest of Jesus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 7:45–51); and the last follows the Crucifixion, when he assists Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the corpse of Jesus for burial (John 19:39–42).

  28. mockturtle said,

    Realpc’s last post shows a lot of ambiguity. One one hand, thinking that Jesus hated the Pharisees [categorically?] but on the other hand, deploring those who categorically hate others because of their beliefs. Don’t forget the the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee—one who had persecuted Christians, at that!

    My hope in all these discussions we can be free to disagree but still like one another. :-)

  29. LouiseM said,

    If the realpc wants to poke a real head out from behind the foggy curtain of distortion, incongruity and ambiguity, like might be a possibility. If not, appreciation is the best I have to offer.

    Until this post, I hadn’t clarified the difference in my own mind, between hate as an emotion and hatred as a chosen attitude/approach/behavior, so I am grateful for the resolution I received through a process that involved using realpc’s remarks to help sort out my thoughts and response.

    I remain sincerely interested in realpc’s answer to the question asked in #22.

    And yes, I had forgotten about Paul being a Pharisee too! One who fell off his high horse (according to legend) saw the light (according to scripture) and responded by spending the rest of his life preaching the “Good News’ of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen.

    For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

  30. realpc said,

    And by the way I do NOT think we should allow our minds and hearts to be filled with hatred and anger. It only hurts us, the people we hate don’t even know about it.

    But I also think it’s better to acknowledge that hate and anger are natural emotions, and they are part of our self-protective instinct.

    In moderation, every natural emotion is healthy.

    I think I only acknowledged hatred for one person in my whole life, and that was recently. There were probably others I hated unconsciously, but that was before I accepted that hatred is natural and inevitable.

    I am actually having trouble forgiving the one person I hate. Mostly because I know nothing about their motives in having attacked me. If I really understood, maybe I could forgive.

    I know that by dwelling on the hatred and anger, I am being ungrateful to God who helped my deal with all that happened and made everything turn out ok.

    So I am working on forgiveness, although I will not ever forget. Actually, remembering probably helps me be more careful in general.

  31. LouiseM said,

    Discerning trust, based on experience is a good thing. Better than blind trust or no trust at all. I consider, “I trust you to the degree you’ve shown yourself to be trustworthy, plus a little risk” to be a healthy approach.

    From my point of view, the actions of the younger brother in particular, do not appear to involve an in-the-moment natural experience of the emotions of hate and anger as much as they reveal a previously determined attitude and choice. When I see pictures of him standing in the crowd of people he is about to kill and main, he does not appear to me to be a person experiencing intense and overwhelming emotions of hatred and anger, so much as a relatively calm person living out an decision to willfully participate in the intentional act of destroying the lives and limbs of innocent others.

    When I hear the author of the posted article expressing anger, but saying he does not hate the killer, I do not think denial is present or active. I hear him taking his emotions into account and making an active decision to respond in faith, hope and love.

    With regard to Biblical use of the word “hate”:

    “Miseo” is the Greek word which is translated “hate” in St. Luke 14:25-26. It has, seated within its roots in Attic Greek, the fundamental sense of “separation” or “exclusion” of one from another — usually out of a fear of physical or spiritual harm. It doesn’t, therefore, include the “psychological sense” of anger or emotional “againstness” that modern English generally situates in the word “hate,” but rather describes one’s relational orientation towards another. With whom does one associate as opposed to whom one avoids? Informed by the linguistic roots of the word “miseo,” it seems clear that there is no emotional baggage in it, no anger or malicious disregard — as there is in the English word “hate.” Quite the contrary, in THIS context “miseo” has a very clear meaning: it means to separate or remove one’s self from entangling relationships or circumstances which might come between the disciple and the master.”

  32. realpc said,

    Muslim terrorists probably act out of an intellectual belief that America is evil and must be destroyed. That might not be an emotion, mostly just an ideological perspective. But I don’t know, there could be many varieties of Muslim terrorist.

    As for the definition of “hate,” I do think hatred is basically a desire to separate. It is a perfectly normal and natural desire. We prefer some individuals and groups over others — and why shouldn’t we.

    Maybe you love spinach and hate broccoli, so you separate yourself from broccoli. Perfectly understandable, and we have every right to hate certain things.

    So when religious people declare that they do not experience any hate, then I think they are confused.

    We cannot even understand a concept without also having experience with its opposite. You cannot have a concept of love without also understanding hate. There is no concept of black without a concept of white, no left without right, no hot without cold.

    So i find that kind of article to be somehow phony.

    We shouldn’t dwell too much on hatred, or anger or sadness or fear, or any of the painful emotions. But we shouldn’t deny and repress them either. They are telling us something. If you get a bad feeling about someone, maybe that means you should separate yourself from that person.

  33. mockturtle said,

    Christian love goes against what is ‘natural’. Being natural to hate (or to fornicate, for that matter) doesn’t make it righteous is the eyes of God.

  34. mockturtle said,

    in the eyes of God, not ‘in’. ;-)

  35. mockturtle said,

    not ‘is’ that is! :-D

  36. realpc said,

    In my opinion going against what is natural is usually a mistake. It is the most common mistake of our species — denying that we are part of nature, denying that nature is wise, that she is our mother. Primitive people and animals have a much better relationship with nature than we have.

    Christianity as you describe it mockturtle, is one more example of why our civilization is marching to the edge of a cliff.

    Before there was Christianity, people were getting married and having children and loving and hating. They were not so different from us. Christianity didn’t transform people from insensitive barbarians into law-abiding compassionate citizens.

    People in all societies had laws and customs and marriage and families. Christians give themselves way too much credit.

  37. mockturtle said,

    I don’t believe any Christian would give him- or herself any credit at all. The glory is God’s through Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9

  38. LouiseM said,

    You’re right realpc. It isn’t the religion of Christianity that transforms people, changes cultures, and prompts the following prayer:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy.
    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

    It is Something More. Something bigger than Death, bigger than Nature, bigger than any box humans have managed to construct and present as Organized Religion. Whatever this something more is, it appears to honor those who ask, seek, knock, and express a genuine desire to walk in Love and Light even at the cost of their own lives and comforts.

    In my opinion, the most common mistake our species makes is the denial of divine spark within each human born.

    It is this spark the young priest honors with his letter and the expressed hope he holds for Dzhokhar.

    It is this spark the young terrorists sought to extinguish in others with their home made bombs.

  39. karen said,

    I have no doubt that the natural instincts God gave us do(es?) include hate. I wonder if ~obsession~ is a man-made gravitation to make more things about ~us~… ourselves. W/out any thought to how these feelings and actions could affect our souls… if one believes in souls. This may be when the definition changed from being about a physical separation of others to an internalization of hurt feelings and retaliation. I think we were made perfect at one time– w/the gift to choose otherwise. And so it came to pass.

    Please don’t think i think i’m any expert on the Bible- i read, i listen, i forget, i fall asleep… i try.

    “Christianity as you describe it mockturtle, is one more example of why our civilization is marching to the edge of a cliff. ”

    Funny, i see it differently from where i stand. The obliteration of God from our American society is not helping our cause of existence in Grace at all. IMhumbleO, of course. Intolerance of others, disrespectful-ness, no fear of correction when being offensive because it may not register that words, tones or actions are offensive. One may say this has nothing to do w/God, Christianity or the lack thereof- i think it does. When something so central becomes so tabu esp in the public places of our society, cultivation of Grace suffers and stills– and fallow ground is open for- all kinds of grief. The opposite of cultivation is… erosion? Fertility/waste

    I may be wrong, but there seem to have been gods in every society- even if it meant sacrificing virgins to them. It was a higher power that people formed their morals around… yes, this is me guessing:0). What do we have? If God is absent, what do we have? Political correctness? By who’s standards?

    My husband and i became Godparents today- the perfect little girl baptized is our neighbors’ kid’s kid… now a mom! She used to babysit and practically live here in her growing up years and we love her and her new family. We’ve never been Godparents before and the tradition of this Sacrament was pretty awesome to be a part of. Our two younger girls are Godsisters:0) Little Miss Angel never cried once even when doused w/cold water three times upon the head.

  40. karen said,

    “In my opinion, the most common mistake our species makes is the denial of divine spark within each human born. ”

    i would go so far as to say ~w/in each human created~.
    But… that’s just the Right-winged Extremist in me, of course. :0} w/a wink.

  41. realpc said,

    i agree about the divine spark, but I am not a pacifist. I think the young terrorists were trying to do God’s will, according to their warped idea of what God wants. I think the young priest was expressing pacifism, and I don’t really believe that is the message of Christ. Well maybe in a way. But I do not believe pacifism is compatible with the Nature we are living in.

    It is possible to love God without being a pacifist, without pretending to love everyone equally, without pretending you don’t feel the painful emotions of hate and anger.

    It is possible to love God, and still to be engaged in this world of struggle and strife. It is possible to love this world even though it isn’t heaven.

    There is nothing in the Old Testament about longing for heaven. The ancient Israelites rejoiced in this world and this life, while acknowledging its troubles.

    I can sympathize with the Christian concern for the afterlife, and I do believe in the danger of hell. But I cannot agree with a lot of what Christianity has become.

    The only word I can think of for it right now is “wimpism.” Instead of being brave warriors, we are hypocritical wimps. In my opinion.

  42. mockturtle said,

    I am a Christian and certainly NOT a pacifist! Loving my enemies does not preclude my hope to see justice implemented by the state. Part of government’s job is to keep us safe from evildoers. And may God have mercy on their souls. If He sees fit. ;-)

  43. LouiseM said,

    I believe there to be a number of different ways to for humans to “love” God. Doing so with all of one’s heart, soul, strength and mind, however, is no easy task.

    I’m familiar with a pacifist whose life mirrors his love for God and others. I don’t believe him to be “pretending’. I also know warriors, people willing to lay down their lives for others and I don’t believe them to be pretending either. To me, the following directive presented in the OldTestament and repeated in the New provides enough challenge to keep anyone busy for a lifetime trying to figure out what following it personally involves for them:

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

    I give credit to the young priest for attempting to work through his feelings and get a bead on what he thinks and believes the directive to love God and love his neighbor as himself involves for him. I don’t experience him as wimpy, in denial or pretending to love when he does not. I hear him telling his story. Whether or not he is able to follow through and remain true to what he said is up to him. I commend him for the courage to look inside, identify his feelings, clarify his beliefs, commit to Love and speak out. By doing so he offered others an opportunity to weigh and consider his words, and hold him accountable. I consider that to be an act of servanthood and leadership; in other words, ministry.

  44. realpc said,

    I think we all more or less agree, at this point. The young priest was being a young priest, feeling and thinking what he is supposed to feel. I doubt the priests of ancient Israel ever said they felt compassion and pity for their enemies.

    Jesus said “Love your enemies” and “Turn the other cheek.” Those sayings have confused people for thousands of years. They were the basis of modern pacifism, as far as I know.

  45. LouiseM said,

    No, realpc, we don’t ALL more or less agree at this point. I strongly disagree with your wrap up statements. I believe the young priest felt what he felt. I don’t know what “supposed to feel” even means. It sounds like you think he was programmed or brainwashed, unable to feel and think for himself.

    As for doubting “that the priests of ancient Israel EVER said they felt compassion and pity for their enemies”, I’m not in agreement with you here either. I’ve a hard time imagining a human, much less a group comprised of thousands of religious leaders never once saying they felt compassion and pity for their enemies.

    Pacifism has a place and serves a purpose. Several prominent leaders who’ve advocated and used pacifism as a response have had a powerful effect on world history. Whether the young priest who wrote the article would identify himself as a modern pacifist remains to be seen. What he said was,

    I will pray for you.., that you will come to know that peace and love are the only ways in which world will ever be changed.

    I don’t know anything more powerful or dynamic than Love, realpc. No bomb comes close to the power than is unleashed when love is fully present. Love changes lives.

  46. realpc said,

    I don’t have anything against love Louise. You are deliberately twisting what I was trying to communicate.

  47. LouiseM said,

    No, realpc, deliberate twisting on my part was not involved.

    If you want to check your own motives for mistakenly assuming and announcing my intent, be my guest.

    I’m still wondering why you believe “God gave us life” and what you think his/her/its purpose was in doing so?

  48. realpc said,

    I never said or thought or implied in any way that I hate love or that I love hate. I said that you can’t have a concept of love if there is no concept of hate. There can’t be light without darkness, etc. I explained all that carefully.

    You don’t get my way of thinking, maybe because I question the cultural mythologies and I try not to be 100% brainwashed by the culture.

  49. realpc said,

    What do I think God’s purpose was in giving us life!!???? That is a ridiculous question. Anyone who pretends to know that must think they are God.

  50. karen said,

    I will try to answer…
    i do not think i am God- nowhere close…

    God created us out of love- to give us love- that we would love Him back.
    The choice was, is and forever shall be…
    our choice.

  51. LouiseM said,

    This is your statement: God gave us life and we owe it to ourselves and everyone who loves us to protect the life we were given.

    God “giving” us life, denotes purpose. I’m wondering what causes you think God “gave” us life? What about that makes you think we owe anything to anyone, even ourselves?

    If I was intent on protecting the life I was given, I would not have had children.

  52. realpc said,

    You have a really strange way of thinking Louise. I said God gave us life, because that is what I believe, and any religious person believes it. I said we should protect the life God gave us — I NEVER said we should not do anything EXCEPT protect our lives. I NEVER said we should not protect someone else’s life. I NEVER said protecting our lives is our reason for living.

    It is always possible to distort what people say, and that seems to be your goal.

  53. realpc said,

    Karen, that doesn’t sound like enough of a reason to me. Or it sounds like a bunch of words that could mean anything. God is infinitely beyond our little words.

  54. LouiseM said,

    I’m not distorting. I’m asking.

    Why should we protect the life God gave us?

    Where does the concept of “owe” (we owe it to ourselves) come from?

    How do you know God is infinitely beyond our little words?

  55. LouiseM said,

    I like Karen’s answer. It affirms the reason I put my own life at risk to beget and raise children. Love begets and/or invites more love.

  56. mockturtle said,

    ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelations 4:11.

  57. realpc said,

    “How do you know God is infinitely beyond our little words?”

    If you can ask that question, then we are living on two different planets and communication is not possible.

  58. realpc said,

    And for Christ’s sake, haviing children has nothing at all to do with this conversation. Every animal has children, that is how nature works. You don’t have to be a Christian to have children.

    And BY THE WAY, Jesus never had children, at least none that are ever mentioned in the bible. Therefore, having children or not has NOTHING at all to do with this.

  59. karen said,

    “Karen, that doesn’t sound like enough of a reason to me. Or it sounds like a bunch of words that could mean anything. God is infinitely beyond our little words.”

    That’s ok, real. I understand &do agree that God is infinitely MORE than any word(s) could even fathom to whisper- we are too little, too imperfect, too… human. Yet, this entire thread is ~a bunch of words that could mean anything. God IS infinitely beyond “our” little words~.

    That doesn’t stop us from trying. It should never stop us from communicating and striving for the words to touch Him and e/other. “Through Him, w/Him and in Him…”

    God is love…

    Children take a lot out of a parent. I am convinced that’s why our hair greys, thins and falls out!!! Spare me the scientific research- i can have my little dream. Louise was simply saying that to better protect herself and life- it would be easier to focus on just herself rather than share her body, life and love w/offspring. It didn’t have anything to do w/Jesus not having kids. Not as i understood the comment.

    She was sharing:0)

  60. LouiseM said,

    If you can ask that question, then we are living on two different planets and communication is not possible

    As far as I can tell, we’re both living on the same planet and I’m still asking the same question, so something must be off with your premise.

    What’s big and what’s little to God is my next question?

    It sounds to me as if you are using your own cognitive human awareness of large and small to define the size of God. If God is infinitely beyond, then would it not be possible for him to be as easily present in a word as a universe?

    When it comes to catching a glimpse of magnitude and infinite beyondness, the old film from the 70’s, called “Powers of 10” is still fun and awe inspiring to watch.

  61. LouiseM said,

    and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

    I’d forgotten about that verse, mockturtle. The version I use doesn’t put it so beautifully. Reading those words touched my heart and brought back the melody of a praise song with those words that I used to enjoy singing back in the 80’s.

    Pleasure: from plaisir, to please. To please– to give enjoyment, pleasure, or satisfaction to; make glad or contented, To be the will or desire of.

    I like the thought/possibility of that purpose too.

    Since 3rd grade, when Psalm 8 was required memorization in the parochial school I attended, the poet David’s questions have been with me:

    What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

    I’m still searching for and considering the answers.

    At this point, I’m wondering if the awesomeness of God might possibly be more macro and more micro than human imagination can conceive. It seems to me what matters more than size, is awareness, regard and relationship, realized as Karen puts it, “Through, with and in”

    How does all this fit with the post?

    If part of why we believe we were “given” life involves loving and inviting love, or receiving and reflecting light, then the words the young priest wrote as he worked through his emotions in search of a place to stand and respond, affirm a different purpose than that of responding to the natural human feelings of fear and anger with acts of hatred and destruction.

  62. TT Burnett said,

    About 30 comments ago I was going to congratulate everyone for a good discussion. It’s been amplified since then with more about ethics, theology, Biblical exegesis, etymology, idealism, not to mention literary and musical criticism. As the author of this post, I am pleased to stimulate debate.

    Unlike, say, Ann Althouse, I take no pleasure in starting threads that go on about the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything, while trending to the Itchy and Scratchy Show.

    We all know the answer to that question is 42. So, having your answer, I say there’s an end on it.

    My next post will probably be about the Pythagorean concept of an ordered Universe and its relation to 16th century tuning systems. This actually DID promote a pamhpleted Itchy and Scratchy Show 450 years ago, when the music, along with the paper, was better.

  63. mockturtle said,


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