Saturday, July 07, 2012

"the God of Justice seeks to make all right"

One of the links over at Slacktivist today points to an article about prophets, and their habit of abandoning their own comfortable milieu to go harangue the rulers and the priests of the gods of the rulers on behalf of the poor and oppressed. It contains this passage:
Because concerning themselves about such things in any significant manner means to upset the cart. And the cart cannot be upset. The order of things cannot change nor be brought down. They must, at all costs, remain. They do not hear the cry of the slaves, the sick, the outsiders and lepers.

But God and the prophets of God do. They hear, and they cry out to the pharaohs and demand to, "Let my people go!" And when they are not heeded, when Pharaoh and his gods do not relent but harden their hearts, the Almighty Bearer of Justice liberates them by overthrowing the carts, by flinging the chariots and their horses (and their industrial bombers and nuclear weapons) into the sea. It is the prophets' job to declare liberation and seek justice - and not to settle for the way things are. Because the way things are is not right, and the God of Justice seeks to make all right.
Nice words, good words. But.

As I recall that story (Exodus), it's not "Pharaoh and his gods" who "do not relent but harden their hearts", it's GOD - the Almighty Bearer of Justice - who does that.

"And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart" it says over and over, and the motivation isn't exactly noble.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt."
So, whose fault is it that all those plagues visited Egypt, and all those Egyptian babies died? And how exactly is this justice, and how is it "all right"?

Look, I'm all for Christians getting the righteous anger thing and fighting for the poor. Let's just not pretend that this is really a Biblical mission, instead of a human one.

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