"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9So says Jesus in the cherished Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the peacemakers" - a lovely sentiment that the conscientious among us can see must be true. In this spirit, our leaders have devised a noble reward - the Nobel Peace Prize, ironically created by a man made rich through producing explosives.
In the same manner, despite this scripture by its founder, Christianity's most pious proponents have frequently been anything but peaceful, evidenced by the past 2,000 years of making war on unbelievers. Instead, these fervent believers have apparently been following this blatantly contradictory statement of Jesus's:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34Indeed, anyone who has tangled with fundamentalists and fanatic Christians can attest that there is something inherent in this ideology that makes people distinctly unpleasant or, rather, vicious.
Over the years that I have had a presence on the internet, because I dare to critique the obvious flaws in religion, and dare to suggest that the Emperor may be naked - to wit, that the story of Jesus Christ is patently unbelievable and that he is more likely than not a mythical, not historical, character - I have been assailed with such tremendous ferocity that it can be truthfully stated that few fervent Christians consider peacemakers to be blessed. If the purported founder of Christianity is correct in that assessment - as would be sensible for any civilized person - then these Christians have been behaving in a most unblessed manner. But, the opposite of blessed includes "cursed," "damned" and "unholy." Thus, it could be said that, according to Jesus Christ, those who are not peacemakers are unholy.
One of my biggest beefs about Christianity and religion in general is precisely that, by dictating that they and they alone are "gospel truth," these ideologies create an unpleasant, bigoted, prejudiced and rotten mentality that spews forth at everyone around. The most fervent upholders of this mentality are in a league of their own when it comes to arrogance, egotism, conceit and nastiness. They sincerely believe that they are the representatives of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or whatever megalomaniacal entity they can muster, while everyone else is unworthy and less than.
Among the insults that have been tossed my way - of which many others no doubt have also been on the receiving end - are the following:
- I am being duped and/or led by the Devil/Satan.
- I am Satan's mouthpiece.
- I am evil.
- I am very bad.
- I am a sinner.
- I am ignorant.
- I am a stupid, limited human who cannot understand the magnitude and ways of God.
In my individual case, the vitriol includes that I am a "bully" and a "coward." Never mind that I am jousting with the cosmos's biggest bully and bogeyman, i.e., God/Jesus, who is designed to scare the bejesus out of ya and who will throw you into eternal hellfire for not falling down on your knees to worship Him! I am also a "fraud" and a "liar," as well as numerous other epithets clearly designed to punish me for daring to declare the emperor's obvious nakedness.
Ah yes, blessed are the peacemakers. I can see their heavenly rooms with a view being reserved right now...
To understand this behavior, it is necessary to look at the remarks of conservative Christian commentator Chuck Smith, who makes the following statements regarding Matthew 5:9:
"Peace is more than a passive existence; it's a very positive state of good. A peacemaker is more than one who stops quarrels; he brings good into other people's lives. A peacemaker might become involved in great conflicts As long as the forces of evil prevail, there is no way to have peace except by destroying them. Peacemakers deal with the corrupted issues so that there can be a true state of peace. Jesus was fighting against the corrupted religious system and for peace between man and God (John 2:14-16; Matthew 23:27). Real peace can never be found in a compromise with evil. There can never be a peaceful coexistence with sin (1 Corinthians 5:7; Isaiah 57:20, 48:22). Peacemakers bring others to God."Herein lies the rub, which may explain a few things: Pathologically self-righteous fundamentalists justify their evidently gleeful and sadistic contempt for and mistreatment of other human beings by claiming that in order to have peace, we must make war on the unbelievers. In other words, no matter what you do - whether breaking bread with your neighbor or chopping his head off - so long as you believe, you are doing "good."
And they claim atheists have no moral compass!
Such a polemical definition of what is a peacemaker will not suffice to pacify all parties, so perhaps we should stick to the simple dictionary definition:
And what is "peace?"
Amen, Hallelujah, and Praise the Lord.
My sincerest wish for all people on Earth is that they may be able to attain to such a wondrous state of being.