Mark Twain's "The War Prayer"

Mothers, fathers, spouses, children, family, friends, loved ones pray for a son or daughter going off to war, they wave USA flags, hold parades when they go and when they come home, dead or alive. What good is all that activity? 

It seems to me that a far better act would be to protest wars to your president, senators and representatives, join with others in ending the war and destruction. Learn the history of the conflict and hold those who make decisions to go to war to a higher standard than the stated "to bring democracy to an embattled people".

More often our prayers result in maiming and death of innocent people, "collateral damage", some would state. Ineffective and inefficient prayers only add to the destruction of ways of lives, of water, air, soils, and infrastructures. Prayers maintain and perpetuate the status quo. 

It is because individuals have a constructed god that favors one's point of view, usually a nationalistic perception. One tiny piece of land with the petty name of Gaza is being fought over now because people who are genetically closely related have different versions of god and each pray fervently to their different gods.

If there were a god, the prayer would be to have everyone flourish, crops would grow, food would be available for all, education would flourish as would health care. Water would be available to everyone, and there would be work for all.

Don't expect me to respect a person who has a god to whom he or she prays and then allows corruption, exploitation and manipulation.

Joan Denoo, July 14, 2014

 

Tags: MarkTwain, constructs, family, flourish, friends, god, prayer, war

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It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, for there was no sense in what he said.
-- Mark Twain, "The War Prayer," last line

No sense?  If anything, there was too much sense to it, though the kind that the people praying typically do not care to hear.

I know! That is why I think that some of us can go full throttle against the institution and people who hold such beliefs. I may be wrong. I have been wrong before, big time, and I am used to the blowback. There is something about overcoming fear caused by one threat, to not be afraid of perceived threats. I know, there are lunatics out there who would do me in, and so what. I have lived a tremendous life, have a family with incredible skills, and I would rather go out like a firecracker than a spent dud. 

That's well said, Joan. I was writing to a woman just today about such things, and also added some logic about religion and why I'm now a nonbeliever. Her reply was interesting. She decided we cannot be friends because:
1. I'm a Democrat.
2. We do not have the same beliefs.
Strange that I never told her I was Democrat. She just assumes so because it now appears that Republicans are wanting to dominate religion and politics and treat them both as one. I wanted to let her know that this should not be happening. God did not write your constitution. He did not found your nation, and might does not make right.
In the case of Israel and Palestine it's an ever going chess game about who actually has the land. Israel wants to gobble it all up and the American "christian right" wants to back them all the way. How would the Arabs ever have a nation? They won't. Such idiocy as this is supported by the religious as death tolls rise. This is one of the things that the religous do not care to hear.

Oh Man  Michael....Really?     The Jews  were  kicked out  by the Ottomans   centuries  ago and  they  just  took back  what was once  theirs....The  Palestinians  were  Nomads  without a home  and  could have been absorbed  by  all the neighboring  Arab  countries  but  they  all refused to take them in......At least  the new  Israeli  government  in 1948  let them stay , any other  country  may  have  killed  them all.....  

Pardon me if I don't say "god bless the Jews." Whatever land they had before was one thing, but I believe their religious thinking is going back way before the Ottomans. There were three offshoots of the Abrahamic religion with 2 of them constantly fighting. It's about land, holy places, and their religion. By 1948 the west was brought in on this with christians supporting Israel in some way so as to believe "prophesy." If the Palestianians ever got any land who would give it to them? There's a hint that they might get land and nation status if they are "good boys." That will never happen. Meanwhile, Nuttiyaho pushes on for more land and is likely to be so happy that decieved westerners are sending money for that purpose while declaring that "mideast events show that christ might return any day now." The decieved beleivers actually think they are helping usher in the "end times." In this way you might say that Israel is viewed as so important to modern fundamentalist christian faith.

This entire setup smells. The world sees it in different ways but the reality of it is a push for land backed up by your religious beliefs. BTW, I'm not pro Arab or pro Palestinian. I'm just a man without god calling it as I see it.

Let me put this another way then Michael.....In 1948  the UN  declared Israel a state  and  immediately was attacked  by the  entire  Arab world..Guess who won?  in 1956 Israel was attacked  by Nasser  in Egypt, Israel  was ready to invade  Egypt  proper but  Eisenhower  convinced  Israel  to  stop....In 1967 the big  war started with the Arab world  attacking Israel  and  Israel beat the pants off them again. However  this time  Israel kept  the Sinai, Gaza strip from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan...In a peace deal with Egypt  the Sinai  was returned.....in the 1972 Yom Kippur war when  Israel was attacked  again by surprise....Israel beat the pants  off the Arabs  once again...In 2005   Ariel Sharon  unilaterally withdrew  from Gaza  so the Palestinians  could practice  being  a state and  the Palestinians  blew it big time......The Israelis  even left  behind  infrastructure to aid  them  but  the PROUD Palestinians  destroyed it all  because they wanted  nothing  from the Evil Israelis... I guess my point is  that the land that you say should be given to the  poor  Palestinians , the West Bank, since  Gaza  is  under  their control  thanks  to Sharon, has  been  fought  long and hard by  all the Arabs since 1948....Israel  won this land  fair and square even when  out numbered  20:1.....With  Israel as the conquerer surrounded  by enemies why  should they play nice.....They  have  such  a small buffer zone  as it is.....Unless  you are  Pro Palestinian and hate  the Jews you  should see my  argument  as legitimate .....  

What I see is some supernatural mechanism at work here saying that Israel could have won all the battles blindfolded! Is that a "goddidit" or is it explained a little bit better in Joan's writings?

Michael, I like your term, "smells"! It stinks to high heaven, excuse the pun. The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes so far back into time, it began before writing was invented. How can anyone put a property rights marker on any part of that land and be taken seriously by rational human beings? Clearly, the decimated Jewish communities, scattered all through Europe and gassed during WWII, had not the power or the energy to declare their own space. It took the Allied Forces to meet and create a country to which the remnants of the Jewish people could call home. Financial support from 1945 until today made possible their military might. Now, are we to believe that might makes right? Since when is that a moral justification for deciding who owns the land?

OH! I know, the strongest armies write the histories of the battles. One group of people or town or nation has more strength, wealth, and determination and defeat their neighbors. In reality, who really wins? What constitutes the rights of ownership? Is it where one's ancestors are buried? If that is true, the Native Americans, North and South have the moral right to this land. Obviously, the Spanish, with their guns, steel and germs defeated the mighty Native American tribes throughout the hemisphere.

Let us imagine, just for a moment, that there is no history. A particular human being clears some land near a water source, plants some seeds, raises some livestock, and tends to his or her agricultural affairs with thought and effective action. He or she thrives. Does another person have the right to come in and take the water, pollute the soils, and air, and water, and drive off the farmer?  Where is the justice in this event? Who decides? Who enforces it? 

Germs and steel conquered the Americas. What will be the new means by which one person defeats another? Could it be the use of technology? Are the poor able to get access to technology to the degree that the wealthy have access? Do we claim a level playing field? Especially now, with the growing gap between rich and poor. 

Well Joan  like  I told  Michael.....If the Jews  can not claim the land  as theirs from  Biblical times  then  at least give them credit  for winning  the wars  legitimately fought  every time  over  the years.....Since  Israel  has  made  the only Democratic state in the region  has  cultivated  the land  and  made it prosper  from a desert when  no other  people  have  done  such  a miraculous  feat, I think it is fair to say that Israel  belongs to the Jews, The UN  has  recognized it. and  if the Arabs  want to steal it from the Jews  let them fight  for it  yet again...After all they still outnumber the Israelis by quite  a large  number...My bet is on Israel...

Perhaps you are correct Freethinker31, "then at least give them credit  for winning  the wars  legitimately ..."

The fact that the Jews won the wars seems a bid disingenuous to me. Did the Jews, acting alone, win the wars with a Palestinians? Did the Jews have access to money and machines of war from USA, UK, and other nations in their fight with Palestinians? Did Palestinians have equal access to money and machines of war from the communist block? I don't know.

Did the Jews have more determination than the Palestinians? I don't know the answer to that either, but it is not the issue. Does winning a war decide who is entitled to the spoils of war? That is the value system of the patriarchy. Is that a just way to determine who owns the land?

Pre-patriarchal peoples, during the time when god was a woman, and when matriarchal and matrilineal values determined ownership, there were not fortifications or weapons of war; that came after the overthrow of matrilineal cultures by the patriarchal ones.

For verification of this statement, look to the archeology records of Neolithic periods of human history. Catal Huyuk, Turkey's lower layers of archaeology digs do not reveal fortifications or weapons of war and their burial grounds contained no signs of battle deaths. In Greece pre-patriarchal remnants, there also is no fortification and weapons of war and no evidence of battle deaths. It is relatively easy to see ancient war remnants because of the skeletal remains. Axe wounds include broken skulls, collar bones, limbs, ribs and other bone fragments. Natural deaths do not have those kinds of wounds. A war death can be discerned from an accidental death, such as a fall. It is not difficult for a trained archaeologist to read the bones. 

Marija Gimbutas - Life and Work, The Language of the Goddess

Riane Tennenhaus Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade 

Elinor Gadon, The Once and Future Goddess 

In my opinion, the transition period from matrilineal values to patriarchal values can easily be identified and Abraham provides a marker. We are at the end of the patriarchal value system and there is a good question as to whether life on Earth will end before the establishment of a new value system. 

Riane Eisler writes about this in powerful ways and she has a vision of how to make the next evolutionary change in human history. 

Riane Eisler, Center for Partnership Studies

Thank you so much  for your  reply Joan..You do an excellent  job in expressing  your views...I truly  respect you......I was just  trying  to rationalize why  Israel  deserves to keep this land....Yes  they have  won every war  but one  must  not  forget  that the Holy Land  is  home  to three major  religions....Since  the Jews  had  no homeland before  1948 they had the most to gain....I marvel  at what they  have  accomplished since then...Israel  has a massive GDP  compared to  its  neighbors  who have been in existence  for  so much longer.....The per capita  income in Israel  is  comparable  to  most western  nations.....They also  recognize  that Jerusalem  is important  to the three religions  and  always  keep it open  to pilgrimages  by  them on Holy days....So no one  can  accuse the Israelis of  interfering  with visits  to the Holy Shrines....I hope  my point  is well received....

It is, Freethinker31, but the USA held their hand every step of the way in more ways than one.

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