Note: On July 8, 2017, I posted my article entitled “Trump and Christian History: Western Christian Abuses and Terrorism“. Not long after, I received the profound response from “Harvey S. of Atlanta” that I am posting below.
Among others, Harvey wisely refers to Eli Wiesel in his commentary and I wanted to share some of Wiesel’s quotes that are definitely relative to today’s activism and approach to our political world and/or dilemma.
Quotes from Eli Wiesel
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. (Brainy Quotes)
July 20, 2017
Justice Initiative International
I have re-read your article about your personal experience with Christianity. You are absolutely correct about the disastrous effect Christianity has had on “civilization” these past two thousand years.
Unlike you, I was raised not as a Christian, but as a Jew. I am only one of the many “thems” that the Christian religion has harmed in its history. My religion is in principle a good one, but there is much lacking in its practice. My original problem with my religion was a religious one – the undying faith in a single just, fair and loving but vindictive God. As I grew up, I questioned “His” existence. I left my Orthodox faith early, my Conservative compromise later, and I completely bypassed the Reform faith altogether to become an atheist. The Jewish religion (as Christianity) has the underpinning of doing good to and for our fellow men, but what the hell does God have to do with that? I missed the Jewish traditions which I loved and still do, but couldn’t reconcile my unbelief in God.
Then I had an epiphany. Forced to attend a high holiday service by family, the rabbi pointed up toward Heaven and said, “There is no God up there, God is in your heart!” At last, I could return to the tradition I loved without being a hypocrite! And thus have I led my life all these years. Besides, I couldn’t undo being a Jew even if I wanted to as we have all learned from the Holocaust.
As a scientist, I know the world is much more than 6000 years old. I know the meisa (fable) of the creation is man-made. But it doesn’t matter. I can practice humanism anyway. Being an atheist, I cannot not say with absolute certainty that there is no creator – but I truly believe there is none. The essential part of many atheists’ creed is embodied in perhaps six or seven of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. But atheists cannot be lumped under one umbrella – there are many disparit reasons for their beliefs.
In the history of mankind going back well over 6000 years, the over-reaching continuation throughout recorded time is one of greed and of an us-vs-them paradigm. Since we homo sapiens evolved from hunter-gatherers into agrarian communities, we have always had the haves and the have-nots. We have ours and they want what we have, so we must protect what we have. And while we’re at it, we could use more so we’ll take it anyway.
There are only isolated cases in history that this condition has not been in effect. Go back as far as you wish, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Mongols, the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims and yes, even the Hebrews – have all practiced inhumanity to others. Even Native Americans, Africans and Hindus have done the same, but to a lesser extent.
In the last 2000 years, unspeakable acts were said to have been committed in the name of true religion, but were actually committed in the name of us-vs-them.
The Christians have had the greatest influence in recent millennia, and they are today still the most influential abusers, but they have not been alone.
I erroneously believed that Jews were better citizens than other ethnic groups, but that was because I only associated with those kinds of Jews. Once my eyes were opened, I discovered to my dismay that Jews contributed as much evil as other ethnicities. For every Albert Einstein, Elie Wiesel and Dr. Benjamin Spock, there is a Bernie Madoff, Jack Abramoff and others.
An interesting side remark – I once visited Taos, New Mexico with my wife. The local Taos we met were extremely hostile to us and referred to us as Spaniards, because they equated all white people to the brutal Spaniards of their experience and memory.
So, what are we to do? The election of Donald Trump has reversed whatever social progress has been made in the U.S.A in the last hundred or so years. As immigrants, you and I, the America that we have learned to love, however flawed it always has been, is returning to the hateful days of the past. I cannot say that only Christians are responsible, but we also have abettors from many other religions and interests.
These abettors are greedy homo sapiens with no sense of decency for the rest of us. I actually felt badly for Max Boot the other day – he was so shaken by what his beloved party has become and was in visible despair. Even Jennifer Rubin, who I have always had issues with, sounds quite sensible to me now.
To have Donald Trump as our leader, the epitome of the worst characteristics of decency, as our Nation’s face, makes me ashamed. But he is just the in-your-face problem.
Enablers like the GOP leadership and most of the entire GOP establishment are the real crisis of this country. Will we survive?
May “God”, if he exists, have mercy on our souls.
Harvey S. of Atlanta