I decided many years ago I'm not excessively endowed with brainpower. I can't sing or dance, either, unless you want to count my imitation of Peter Boyle's Monster performing "Puttin' on the Ritz" in Young Frankenstein. My lack of genius is why I envy The Brain (of Pinky and the Brain fame). Although, I'm proud to admit, my head, as a child, was shaped like a lightbulb, just like The Brain's.
Being simple-minded, I seek simple rules. After putting in my time in public schools and college, I realized I had mostly been miseducated (except for a few classes, all of which I can count on one hand, excluding my thumb), and decided I had better find some basics. What I found is that the ancient rules, the ones that have been around for thousands of years, are the ones that work the best. The Ten Commandments, for example, are ten, easy-to-remember bits of eternal wisdom.
"Commandments" is an incorrect translation; "Utterances" or "Words" is much more accurate. I prefer "Laws," as in "Natural Laws." If you break them, bad things automatically happen. No cops are needed. The 20th century was a time of worshipping the false idols of Man and State, in violation of the First Law ("have no other gods but the one true God"). It doesn't matter to me if people believe in any sort of God or not; these Ten Laws still exist, and violation of their practical wisdom brings unhappiness, destruction and death. You can say, "As you sow, you reap," or "What goes around, comes around," or karma ("the moral law of cause and effect") or kismet, or the Tao, or whatever name you want to give it. Those laws are part of human nature. Steal, murder, commit adultery, and give false testimony ... and watch what happens to people and society.
And if people can't do it, it's doubly forbidden for governments (which in a sense don't really exist, since they are composed of people). The big difference is that governments try to claim a monopoly on force, which makes them unimaginably destructive. I've read estimates that up to 200 million people died in the 20th century at the hands of various governments. And all because of the violation of "You shall not murder."
Of all the wars the US was involved in in the 20th century, not one was any of our business. WWI was a European war; we should have stayed out of it. Woodrow Wilson (about whom H.L. Mencken wrote, "He thought he was Jesus Christ") got us into it to "make the world safe for democracy." It led directly to WWII. The Communist FDR manipulated the Japanese into attacking us so that Russia would not have to fight a two-front war against the Germans and Japanese. FDR also gave Eastern Europe to the USSR. WWII led to Korea and Vietnam. Panama, Kuwait, and Serbia were also none of our business. Kuwait led to 9/11 and Oklahoma City. Every one of these wars has led to unintended consequences and more war. As will our current war. And before 9/11, the US government was trying to start a war with China (I wonder if the Chinese are stupid enough to attack Taiwan? Or do they want their citizens to be "collateral damage" from having their water and waste treatment facilities war-crimed into oblivion, as we did in Serbia and Iraq?)
Right now there are a number of people who believe the world â€“ as we now know it â€“ might come to an end soon because of the events in the Middle East. They are entitled to their beliefs. I know a woman who believes aliens kidnapped her and took her eggs. She's entitled to her beliefs, too. Unfortunately, a number of these people are â€“ in the name of God â€“ actively working to achieve Armageddon. And they are trying to do it in some truly strange ways.
This raises the question: how can they reconcile "You shall not murder" with their attempts to bring the world to an end? They can't have it both ways. What a Catch-22! If you follow the prohibition against murder, you can't attempt to end the world. But if you don't attempt to end the world ... no Rapture, no Great Tribulation, no Jesus returning to sit on a throne.
Quite a few fundamentalists today unswervingly support Israel, the reason being they believe the restoration of that country in 1948 fulfills the Biblical prophecies in Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation, and in Matthew and Luke. Therefore, Israel must be supported at all costs, so that the End Times may soon come.
This is why I believe we are involved in a religious war, one that King Dubya the Narrow-Headed doesn't really understand. If he did, our policy in the Middle East wouldn't be as it is. This religious war is why there is so much support for Israel among fundamentalists, and such silence on the slaughter over there. (What's that old saying? "Kill them all and let God sort them out"?) To these people, it's all part of God's plan before Jesus returns and gives a whuppin' to the Anti-Christ.
If I was King, I would take all the Christians and Jews who support Israel (and send money there) and deport them all over there. I would do the same with Muslims here who support the Islamic countries. As it stands right now, the US government is involved in 4,000-year-old tribal warfare, and is in fact supporting both sides in the conflict. The right hand knows not what the left hand is doing. When people move here, they are supposed to give up their ancient hatreds. If they don't, we end up being drawn into them. What good can possibly come from that?
One of my friends is half-Polish and half-Russian. I'm Scottish, English, Welsh, Irish, German, and Cherokee. We've decided we should not only hate each other, but also ourselves.
Joel Miller points out there is more evidence in the Bible against this current version of Israel being the Israel of the End Times than there is for it. Modern-day Israel was founded by a bunch of atheists and socialists. Does this sound like it fulfills the Covenant between God and Israel? It might, but I doubt it. If it doesn't, the Final Days are not just around the corner, no matter how much people try to kick-start it.
The Book of Revelation is so vague and symbolic it can be interpreted any way you want to interpret it. There was such bitter fighting over its being in the Bible it was barely included. I've seen people claim it proves flying saucers exist. It would be different if it read, "On 9/11/2001...." On the other hand, "You shall not murder" is so clear no one can argue about it.
There are people in the US and Israel who are on purpose trying to start WWIII in their hopes to bring the world to an end. If their attempts are not a violation of "You shall not murder," then what is? These people are not working for peace, but destruction. They may think they are following God's plan, but are they?
Lest anyone think I'm speaking against Israel, I'm not. But is not working for peace over there better than working for destruction ("Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God")? Arabs and Muslims don't have the ability to start WWIII; they are reduced to flying planes into buildings and using their own kids as bombs. But some Christians can.
As LRC's Gary North as pointed out, there are roughly three main views of Christian eschatology: premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism (these views are too complex to go into here; his article covers them completely).
What is important to remember is some of these groups believe that one-third of the inhabitants of Israel are going to be offed during the End Times. And they believe this is going to happen really soon. So, there are people working to bring this about because of their belief, for an example, in Zechariah 13:8, 9: "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried."
These people have to die in order to fulfill what these groups see as God's plan. To this I can only say, "The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." I have no idea how many people have been killed in the name of God, but I'm sure it's been a lot. And yet, even today, in the 21st century, we still have people doing it. This is a perversion of religion.
I have for years been intrigued by the story of Satan, which I see as the most accurate and perceptive explanation of human evil. I see this evil as comprising three things: the desire to rule (to be God), the desire for attention (to be worshipped), and the desire to destroy.
Since these people are trying to destroy, what does this say about them? Who exactly are they serving, in their desire to destroy the world?