So cried Israel’s chief rabbi at the funeral of Toulouse victims
(Actually one of our 2 chief rabbis since the two major divisions of Judaism decided that they need to approach God from two different directions)
Anyway, if God acts true to character, anything is possible. As Richard Dawkins so eloquently describes him (or her):
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. (1)
And we should bear in mind that in this case of the Toulouse massacres, both the perpetrator and the victims prayed to the same God.
Of course the killer did not confine himself only to Jews. The fact that he also murdered three French soldiers, two of whom were Muslim, has been somewhat overshadowed by three of his Jewish victims being children. More horrific = juicier headlines = more viewers or readers. We must also not forget the political dimension. France is in the throes of a presidential election campaign, so it’s important for all candidates to make sure that their reaction to this tragedy can be structured towards securing the greatest number of votes.
Here in Israel, politicians from the Prime Minister down, also have to ensure that their responses match the public mood, and, at the same time, further their personal ambitions as far as possible.
I am not saying that politicians are without compassion for the suffering of the families of the victims. Even most politicians are not that inhumane. But politics is politics, and so I, mustering all the cynicism at my disposal, do not condemn them for doing what politicians do.
But Rabbis, Priests and Imams is another thing altogether. Their combined historical beseeching of their common God to destroy, mutilate, torture or simply make life miserable for great chunks of mankind is not in the same league as politics.
At least secular politicians don’t claim to have the ear of God. On the other hand, those representing religious parties, invoke God’s name at every possible opportunity.
Every tragedy is just another excuse to ask God to punish those responsible. Of course, they always ignore “the elephant in the room.” The overriding, self evident truth that is too inconvenient to utter.
Where was God when these events took place?
Are we supposed to accept that he allowed these things to happen in order to be able to demonstrate his powers of retribution?
The sad reality is that bad things happen to good, or innocent, people. Life is not fair. But it must be lived as it is. Blaming God, cursing God or calling upon God for vengeance is simply pointless.
But then, how would religious leaders justify themselves, and the validity of their existence, unless they could demonstrate their power to invoke the wrath of the almighty.
Perhaps they will point to the fact that God has, indeed spoken. Mohammed Mehra is dead. I suppose they will claim that God guided the hand of the policeman who fired the bullet that ended up in the head of this miserable example of humanity. Mehra reportedly cried “Allahu Akbar” as he met his death.
Are we supposed to believe that this final exclamation will enable God to welcome one of his children into Islamic paradise?
Or should we ponder on whatever happened to:
“Vengeance is mine…. saith the Lord”? (2)
No doubt the Chief Rabbi will claim that he demanded – and God listened!
Andyboy – Telling it as it is
(1)”The God Delusion” page 31
(2) Romans 12:19
- Funerals of Toulouse victims as suspect surrounded by police (thejc.com)