It’s hard to kill a human being. That’s why you have to label him as something other than human. Take the word “terrorist” for example. Easy to hate, right? By labeling an entire group of people terrorists, you no longer have to bother with understanding their grievances. They become a lot easier to kill.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Too often, this has been interpreted as throwing down your weapon and offering your chest as a target. Stupid, right? No one in their right mind would do such a thing, which means that Jesus was either stupid or, worse yet, delusional. Or…there could be a deeper, wiser understanding of this principle.
Let’s go with the deeper and wiser.
What does it mean to love your enemy? It means do not dehumanize him. Do not demonize him or in any way disregard his concerns. RESPECT him. You can hate him all you want, but do not for an instant see him as a thing.
As a species, we are still a long way off from beating our swords into plowshares. We are going to fight. The question is whether we are going to fight as animals (and I don’t mean this as disrespect towards animals) or as human beings.
There are three major business enterprises on Earth. They are so huge that all other enterprises fade into insignificance by comparison. These three enterprises are prostitution, drugs, and war. Prostitution manifests at the extreme end as human trafficking, pornography, and the sex trade. Its less obvious forms involve sexualizing everything from cars to clothing. Drugs cover the entire spectrum from narcotics to pharmaceuticals, including such things we don’t usually think of as drugs, such as coffee, tea, cigarettes, and chocolate.
But, of the three, war is by far and away the most profitable. The new Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet has an estimated cost of $223 million. That’s not the cost of the program; that’s the cost of each airplane! Knowing what you know about human nature, what do you suppose the chances are of war going away anytime soon? If you need help answering this question, try to imagine what the profit-margin is on a $223 million airplane. Then multiply that by the thousands of these airplanes that will be sold over the next decade. That kind of money is almost beyond imagination.
In order to sustain this kind of profit center, war has to be sold. And, the first step in selling war is to dehumanize the enemy. They are the other. In reality, they are no such thing. They are human beings just like we are, with the same values, the same concerns, and the same desire to love and be loved.
At the same time, they have the same propensity to see us as the other, to demonize us, so that they too can find it easier to kill. So, we’re gonna fight. The real question is whether we will let fighting destroy our souls. Jesus said not to fear those who can kill our body, but to fear those who have the ability to cast our souls into hell.
Who might that be?
Real power comes with the ability to create the context of a given situation. Create the context, and it doesn’t matter what the issues are. The tide of opinions can vacillate all they want and it won’t change a thing, as long as they vacillate within the context you put in place. Understand the context, and you understand the issues. Create the context, and you can re-create the world into whatever form you want it to take.
Are you a spiritually free person? Let me ask this a different way: are you conscious of the contexts within which you live? If not, you are a puppet— a marionette that dances to the tunes of others. You haven’t yet become a “real boy” or a real girl.
A Course in Miracles says that the purpose of the world is to teach you that it is not real. The “not real” part is the context you have bought into, not the physical world. When you realize that the context through which you perceive the world determines how you will perceive the world, then you are on the path to spiritual freedom. The politics of the world then become your daily lesson in detecting bullshit.
Enemies are a fact of life. There is always going to be someone who wants what you have and is willing to take it by force. So what. That’s not likely to change anytime soon. Don’t let others talk you into dehumanizing him. If you do, you only dehumanize yourself. Jesus knew this. That’s why he said, “Love your enemy.” Ask anyone who has killed another person. They will tell you (if they have a shred of humanity left in them) that it is something you never ever want to do. A part of you dies with them.
Stop using the word “terrorist.” Stop buying war. Stop it.