February 4, 2012

Reverting to pagan sacrifice...

David Mamet: Israel, Isaac and the Return of Human Sacrifice - WSJ.com:

...What is the essence of the Torah? It is not the Ten Commandments, these were known, and the practice of most aspired to by every civilization. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner teaches they are merely a Calling Card; to wit: "remember me . . . ?"

The essence of the Torah is the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. The God of Hosts spoke to Abraham, as the various desert gods had spoken to the nomads for thousands of years: "If you wish me to relieve your anxiety, give me the most precious thing you have."

So God's call to Abraham was neither unusual nor, perhaps, unexpected. God had told Abraham to leave his people and his home, and go to the place which God would point out to him. And God told Abraham to take his son up the mountain and kill him, as humans had done for tens of thousands of years.

Now, however, for the first time in history, the narrative changed. The sacrifice, Isaac, spoke back. He asked his father, "Where is the Goat we are to sacrifice?" This was the voice of conscience, and Abraham's hand, as it descended with the knife, was stayed. This was the Birth of the West, and the birth of the West's burden, which is conscience.

Previously the anxiety and fear attendant upon all human life was understood as Fear of the Gods, and dealt with by propitiation, which is to say by sacrifice. Now, however, the human burden was not to give The Gods what one imagined, in one's fear, that they might want, but do, in conscience, those things one understood God to require.

In abandonment of the state of Israel, the West reverts to pagan sacrifice, once again, making a burnt offering not of that which one possesses, but of that which is another's. As Realpolitik, the Liberal West's anti-Semitism can be understood as like Chamberlain's offering of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, a sop thrown to terrorism. On the level of conscience, it is a renewal of the debate on human sacrifice....

Good stuff. And it makes sense to call the Akedah "the Birth of the West." But personally I don't think we are dealing with Realpolitik "sops thrown to terrorism." My suspicion is that the "liberal West" is really hardly aware of terrorism, at least consciously. It is unconsciously reacting to symbols, according to how they they affect their inner suffering--which is also unconscious. They have lost God and Truth, and that's a scary place to be. And so they try to kill God.

What symbolizes God? More than anything else, Jews. Anti-Semitism is, I think, more common now that it was in the 1930's. But it is mostly expressed by proxy. The so-called Palestinians are proxy Jew haters and Jew-killers. And the obsession of the liberal West with the Palestinians is utterly bizarre by any rational standard. One small oppressed group gets more attention than all the other oppressions and genocides of the whole planet. A million dead in Rawanda get far less attention than does some diplomatic wrangle about settlers on the West Bank, with no one even injured.

And we pay the Palestinians to hate Jews. They are economically better off than their brethren in Egypt or Syria or Jordan. Because of our 'foreign aid"--The US for instance gives them 600k a year. Of course they will never stop terrorism, it's their livelihood.

My guess is that the supporting of the Palestinians is a way for Western liberals to "kill God." It always makes me think of how the emperor Julian the Apostate undid his Christian Baptism by having himself "baptized" with bull's blood. It was totally illogical, unless you view it on the level of symbols.

I theorize (yes, yes, I know. I'm way out of the mainstream) that the other popular way to "kill God" is through abortion. If true, that might explain why support for abortion is higher among liberal American Jews than any other group. (The stats are stupefying. Something like 80%. And many more abortionists are Jewish than their numbers would indicate. )Why? Maybe because Jews are the ones who can't easily kill God by supporting Palestinians.

Mount of Olives, looking west over Kidron

Posted by John Weidner at February 4, 2012 9:42 PM

What symbolizes God? More than anything else, Jews

May I ask the authority behind this assertion.

Posted by: Gian at February 5, 2012 8:10 PM

My authority is my own reasoning. I'm putting forth a picture of the world that I think tells us more then the conventional views. My picture is a hypothesis.

A blog is a sort of conversation. People who read this one regularly will be aware that I've made his and similar assertions often. The comment box is there so you can contribute, either to agree or disagree, or amplify.

The evidence is all around us that something much stranger than the usual national or religious hatreds is going on with the Jews. There are hardly any Jews in India or Pakistan, but the Mumbai terrorists targeted Jews specifically. Why? Do you have some other answer?

There are lots of anti-semites in Europe who have never met a Jew in their lives. Does that make sense? The people who claim to care about the "Palestinians" said nothing when several hundred-thousand Palestinians were sent into exile in 1992.

Posted by: John Weidner at February 6, 2012 6:11 AM

It is a theological statement and the first question is "In what sense does anything symbolizes God"?

That the Anglo-Jewish project would lead to grave problems was easily predicted by Belloc in 1920 (The Jews).

The why's and wherefore's of the Belfour Declaration one doesn't hear much nowadays.

Posted by: Gian at February 6, 2012 7:34 PM

Theology is the study of God. The statement is about us people, and our psychology, so it is not theology. It is about what symbolizes God to us.

Belloc was imbued with both the best of European Christianity, and the worst. Anti-semitism is the worst. It stems, in its traditional form, from the bad idea endemic to most European nations, that they were the new "Chosen People." The consequence of this was hatred of Jews, who were the real Chosen People, and kept hanging around in an inconvenient way.

The "grave problems" are not the fault of the "the Anglo-Jewish project." The same people would still hate the Jews if they all moved to the South Pole.

Posted by: John Weidner at February 6, 2012 10:03 PM

Have you actually read Belloc's The Jews?
He isn't imbued with any idea of "Chosen People". That idea is more American than European and more Protestant than Catholic. It is certainly inconceivable that an intelligent Catholic would believe it.

As for hating Jews go, before World War, fully half of the business of Baghdad was owned by Jews (i have read). Certainly Muslims restrict the minorities in all kind of ways (but so did Christians, Americans and Hindus, in fact restrictions were universal) but the modern hatred is certainly modern.

My own people were expelled from Muslim Punjab but I realize that the traditional Muslim lands were a hodgepodge of various minorities and Muslim and non-Muslim sects, each enjoying (or suffering) restrictions and privileges.

Posted by: Gian at February 7, 2012 7:24 PM
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