07 October 2007

Thou Shalt Completely Misinterpret the Old Testament

NY Times article, "Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except in a Popular Video Game at Church ".

First off, when interpreting the thou shalt nots of the Ten Commandments, this always seems to be a popular one with certain folks who dislike certain Christian groups. Matt Richtel uses that line as a cute hook for his article, ignoring that this admonition applies to all the Abrahamic faiths as they all consider Moses a prophet.

That's never stopped Jews, Christians, or Muslims from "killing". Clearly the intent, and the more appropriate translation from the original Hebrew commandment into English should have been "thou shalt not murder with criminal intent". I don't ever recall a pacifist movement within the Jewish faith (before WWI), but I'm not a scholar in that area, so maybe there has been a movement sometimes in the past 3700+ years since the Ten Commandments have been followed that there have been Jews that extended the admonition against taking a life to not only include murder for personal reasons, or wrath, or jealousy, but even in self-defense, or to defend your faith and your country (and in the case of Halo 3, the very existence of the human race). Moses "kills" in the bible, yet God doesn't get down on him, cause clearly the commandment isn't an absolute ban on all taking of life, in all circumstances. When googling "Jewish pacifist" it seems pretty clear that this concept didn't exist until the 20th century.

It's a popular slam against Christians, to call them hypocrites for being pro-defense, but anti-abortion, or pro-death penalty (not to say Catholics are wrong to suggest scripture supports their anti-death penalty stance, but Christians who support the taking of non-innocent criminal life have plenty of scriptural support as well) and this NYT headline is yet another example of this anti-Christian prejudice. Seems if there was ever a "Just Cause" for war, and for killing, the preservation of the entire human race against a horde of space aliens (on a religious crusade of their own) ought to be a cause that God (as interpreted by just about any faith) would be on board with.

Matt Richtel, the San Francisco based tech issues reporter for the NYT, sounds clueless about Halo and Christianity in this article, but that's to be expected. This article is meant to be consumed by liberals so they can feel superior to those hypocritical pastors who push their faith by pimping violent video games. And the article is a broad side at teen boys, who will go any where, and listen to anything to play their violent video games.

(and did I include his homebase of operation as an insult or a statement of fact?)

1 comment:

Pastor_Jeff said...

Good points, all, and I'm with you. A good number of our congregation are veterans or on active duty (a few are overseas right now). I applaud their service. But I am concerned about this statement: "It’s just fun blowing people up."

That's what makes me ambivalent about games like Halo. I know it's just pixels and fantasy. And I appreciate the context of a defensive war against invading aliens.

My perspective is that Christians can legitimately use deadly force in defense of innocent life, but that is done regretfully and with humility. Our motives are never totally pure and our cause is never sinless. Judgment ultimately belongs to God. So we take life when absolutely necessary, with gratitude that God has spared us and our loved ones, but not with joy. And I am concerned about connecting death with pleasure. We shouldn't kill for fun, but only out of necessity.