Friday, July 29, 2005

Darby's Delusion

I find it so frustrating that the discussion about the Israel/Palestine conflict is so fraught with words that explode the dialog on contact. Why is it that for any other ethnic group, the Progressives can call a bully a bully without being accused of anti-(insert ethnic tag here). But when talking about Israel, we have to tip-toe around the truth and still we get accused of anti-Semitism for casting any aspersions on the blatantly abusive behaviors of certain individuals and the blatantly counter-productive policies of the Israeli government?

I know there are a lot of tangled threads in this intricate web, a long history fraught with misunderstandings and outright betrayal on all sides. And I say 'all sides' because it is at least three. The three Peoples of the Book. But the thread I am most concerned with here is the thread that I've had the most personal experience with. I used to be an avid weaver with this thread and now I wish to do what I can to unweave it, tear it out and hopefully wipe the cobwebs from the eyes of some who still hope to weave the tapestry of a future based on the doctrines of the Fundamentalist Dispensational Pre-Millennium Theology. One of the most insidious of their beliefs is that all attempts to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians are doomed to failure because the prophecies say so and since this is so, any attempt to try anyway is working in opposition to God's Will.

I reject this proposition because when Jesus said 'blessed are the peacemakers' he did not exclude the land of Israel from the jurisdiction of those peacemakers. He did not give them permission to give up just because multiple attempts fail. He did not say that when efforts at peacemaking fail then it is ok to put our faith in the bullets, bombs and barbed-wire of the bullies instead. Nor would he have upheld peacemaking as a standard to aim for while putting a hold on any peacemaking in the land of Israel because God had marked them for perpetual conflict until some fore-ordained day, millennia in the future. If he had he would not be the Prince of Peace nor would he be my Lord.

If I have not been clear about this before, if I have tended to beat around the bush because I fear giving offence, I must be clear now. I believe that the Dispensational Theology is one of the most evil philosophies ever invented by men. It has NOTHING to do with the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount or Galatians' Fruits of the Spirit and thus NOTHING to do with God, Jesus or the Gospel. Thus I want nothing further to do with any of it or any of its modern day propagandists. It was the fantasy of a pathologically hate filled and paranoid man named Darby less than two hundred years ago and has been the source of a mental virus spawning hate and fear and apathy ever since. Jesus said, 'by their fruits you shall know them' and thus I know this ideology to be evil.

Jesus is not a respecter of persons. He said it would be better for a man to have a millstone hung on his neck and be dropped into the lake than for him to harm a little child! It would not be ok with him to see one child treated with dignity and respect while another child is treated with contempt and discarded like garbage only because he was born to a different mother with a different ancestor. If I thought this was the Way of Jesus He would not be my Way.
To see that fence going up, cutting across ancient orchards and fields and grazing lands, across highways giving access to markets and thus cutting the people off from their sources of livelihood, the children off from their education--all of the sustenance of the land and the community--creating a de facto ghetto and enforced poverty and idleness; cutting through villages, dividing brother from brother, grandparent from grandchild, cousin from cousin, best friend from best friend...

All of which breeds resentment, anger and despair--the roots of revenge.....

To see all of this and to know as well that it is being made possible by encouragement and funding from our government and even so called 'Christian' organizations is almost too much to bear. Because this makes the only hope of a solution part of the source of the evil itself as two of the three strands in the braid conspire to sabotage any efforts at reconciliation. It gives God, Jesus and the Gospel a bad name among the nations. And if this were God's will and not just a misuse of His name and word--blasphemy in its truest sense--then He would deserve that bad reputation.

When a Christian is encouraged to look at a situation so full of misery, pain, and despair--all deliberately inflicted by one upon another, in the name of their god--and then be comfortable with saying 'Oh well, it is just prophecy being fulfilled.' and further that 'There is nothing we can or should do except maybe give one side the upper hand so as to hasten the Day of the Lord....' If that is not the very definition of evil the concept has no meaning. If such an attitude were condoned by Christ, I would have no confidence in Him. Nor should I.

It took me ten years to extricate my mind from inside that world view and now I am filled with disgust whenever I am brought back in contact with it. For the longest time it spoiled my ability to enjoy reading the scriptures because every verse had been infused with Darby's Delusion. I expect this will shock and disconcert those of you reading this who espouse this view, those who have glommed onto the Tim LaHaye books, those who favor the Schofield Bible. From personal experience I know it is difficult to discard Darby's Loony Lenses when you have been seeing and interpreting all of life through them for decades. But you needn't worry that I don't 'get' the Dispensationalist interpretation. I very much do 'get' it. But I have emphatically rejected it. If I had not it would have destroyed my hope as it destroys the viability of the Gospel, negates the compassion of Jesus and makes a mockery of the Goodness of God. There is no Love in it.

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