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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Barbarians at the Gates

The powerful Roman Empire had its problems for some years, but finally fell in the 400's (some debate about the exact year) when they failed to recognize the dangers of the barbarians on the edges. We have come to speak of it as the barbarians at the gates.

Our Western Civilization has turned back and defeated various versions of the barbarians at the gates. For example, last century the Nazis were the scourge of decency and almost destroyed our way of life, but we were able to join with others and almost miraculously stop them.

Now we face another wave of this era's barbarians at the gates.Crazed people kill at will all who are not part of them, but also some who are a part of them. They have a frenzy of emotion about a distorted idea of how life is and what the Deity wants.

In the shower, I felt a strong call to write about this situation. I do not wish to delve into the politics of it in my spiritual blog. However, I felt a strong call to discuss it from a spiritual point of view.

Spirituality contains paradox. Maybe the cookie cutter religions bound by the theology of ideologues and not the fresh knowing of the mystics have less or maybe no paradox. However, for those on a deeper path, the paradoxes are obvious.

Let me mention a few. We are here for a limited time and shall die/We are eternal beings created by the Divine. Christ once walked the earth/Christ is with all who are open right now. All things work together for good for those that love the Lord/Bad things happen to very good people. God is everywhere in the vastness of the universes/God is with us in a personal way.We are called to forgive/We live in an unforgiving world.

Eastern religions understand paradox better than we seem to. I remember the striking light that came on when I first heard yin/yang explained.

So, the 10 Commandments say "Thou shall not murder." Jesus taught to love, forgive, turn the other cheek and resist not evil.

It seems to me we have a life and death paradox to deal with. Do we fight, stop, eliminate the crazed barbarians at the gates, or do we let them destroy Western civilization? Do we listen to Ralph Waldo Emerson "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblins of little minds."?

Was it spiritually all right to fight Hitler? Would it have been spiritually all right to have let him create his world wide domination?  Is it spiritually all right to fight those who behead, blow up, destroy and act in frenzied demented ways? Is it spiritually all right to let them take over the world (their stated goal)?

I suppose each must look into their own soul to determine which side of the paradox seems spiritually correct for them. It pains me deeply to think of the great art and music of our civilization blown up, left only in electronic blips for perhaps some future generations to discover. I hurts me to the core to think of freedom to speak, think, write and be, gone for perhaps centuries. It saddens me that so many will die one way or the other - either the standing up to the evil or the letting it take over.

Think this through and perhaps stand up for freedom. It seems to me we must. The other is intolerable.

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