"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Monday, 7 February 2011

We need Compassion and Empathy not War and Violence

King David’s Census of Israel and Judah
The Holy Bible 2 Samuel chapter 24, vv. 1-17

 Whatever your faith or none, this has a message for today!

The reading at our recent mid week Eucharist was this longish passage, and I confess to not really understanding it at all whilst I was reading it to the congregation, so I was determined to look it up when I got home.

We apparently don’t know why the anger of God was aroused in the first place in this story – we are just told it was. God was angry with David. So He asked David to count the people of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. So David sent his army commander Joab to count, and against Joab’s better judgment he took his army captains with him and came back to David to report that “there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.”

Then of course David realised he had not properly understood the situation and felt very guilty for not realising that Israel should not measure its strength in the number of its fighting men, as other countries did, when of course its true strength came from Yahweh. David’s sin was inappropriate pride, and he wished to be punished for this. God offered him a choice: seven years of famine, or three months fleeing from the enemies or three days of plague. David chose the last option that seemed the least of three evils. So God sent a plague that killed seventy thousand men and lasted but three days.

Back here in the twenty first century, we do not learn. We still measure our strength and security in terms of army mass and stockpiles of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, instead of by love to all humanity, and compassion, and empathy, and happiness.
I blogged just a couple of days ago on our irrational behaviour, as part of a series: We develop and stockpile Hi -Tech weapons that are more dangerous than the conflicts they could possibly resolve, at vast investment of money and resources.
What a nonsense this all is. Again I cannot help being drawn to Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Empathic Civilization, reviewed here a couple of days ago. And I have written at length myself on the global need for compassion and empathy in Healing This Wounded Earth: With Compassion, Spirit and the Power of Hope. Is it but a pipe dream that one day we shall have a global and totally empathic civilization? Or will we self-destruct first through using up our finite energy resources helped along by Climate Change and weapons of mass destruction.  
Will entropy or empathy win?

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