April 19, 2022- Over the past few years, a philosophy has re-emerged, whereby individuals who are somewhat versed in philosophy and theology have revived the concept of Holy War. Originally this was mentioned in the Quran, as a personal struggle to overcome the desires of the flesh and the ego. It is my understanding that this does not mean a war against other people, per se.
There is, however, an appeal to the ego that brings about the very war against others that the Holy Scriptures disavow. We see this most recently in the call for Holy War against Ukraine, by one Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, known more formally as Patirarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. Mr. Gundyayev has a history of active service in Russian intelligence, going back to the KGB, so it is no great surprise that he would take a nationalist stance.
Therein lies the stumbling block, of a good many, if not most, members of the clergy, in any given Faith of long standing. A human being cannot entirely overcome personality, political leanings, emotional baggage or even prejudices. Most clergy are decent people, with a sincere desire to serve. As one moves up in a hierarchy, however, the temptation, the urge, to assume one knows the Mind of God must surely rise along with that advancement. Only the very strongest can resist this urge, to a degree.
Baha’u’llah tells us that: “O Seekers for the Kingdom of God! Man all over the world is seeking for God. All that exists is God; but the Reality of Divinity is holy above all understanding.” God, in toto, is unknowable, so for Vladimir Gundyayev, even in his official capacity as Head of a Church, to claim to know that God wants Russia to win its war, seems to me to be erroneous. It is equally ludicrous for any given creature to claim to know the Will of God, on any matter. All we ever have are relative snippets of guidance.
We are told that playing with fire is dangerous. Playing God is just plain lethal. I hope and pray that Mr. Gundyayev, and all who follow him, have a good, old-fashioned epiphany, very soon.
Anyone can take any text and alter it – bend it to their needs and use it to justify their actions. The fact that sacred texts are the major target is dismaying!
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It is also sacrilege.
You should check out this book https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/war-and-religion-jolyon-mitchell/1137648215?ean=9780198803218 It’s called, “War and Religion.” In some cultures war is a duty.
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That is so true. These are mostly tribal societies, but they have certainly included our own, on more occasions than many Americans like to acknowledge.