Monthly Archives: November 2015
Sacrifices and other Forms of Religious Violence
I believe they went after Ollie because he shredded paper—destroyed evidence. But they went after me for shredding people. Let me also add for the record that I had more fun doing my shredding than Ollie had doing his. – Richard Marcinko reacting to a statement by Mike Wallace (60 Minutes) who had compared him to Oliver North.1
Short of mass assassination, there is no natural end to the cycle of retaliation. – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.2
In spite of advances in knowledge and culture, humans still exhibit a primitive tendency to violence. We kill each other for causes involving competition, honor, revenge, and devotion; and sometimes for no apparent cause at all. We appear to be the most cruel and also the most benevolent of species; at once selfish and altruistic. Furthermore, violence appears to be so engrained in our world view that it seems normal. In one moment we claim to be victimized and repulsed by it. But a moment later we might be fascinated by it and even find it useful and necessary. Even our views of God reflect our split personality with respect to violence. We believe in a loving God with a sinister dark side. He might just kill you (or worse) if you don’t believe properly.
It felt like a contest between “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and “Love Is All You Need”—except it had very little to do with romance or music. But make no mistake, it was no trivial matter. The very essence and foundation of our faith was at stake. Or so we thought.