Imagine holding views of a particular form of Jesus –
a Jesus that requires you do to violence in order to create conditions necessary to rebuild a temple in Jerusalem,
upon which he is also completely dependent, and without which he cannot act,
yet when completed, he will act,
that is, act with even greater violence to destroy most of humanity,
but not you – you who are first immediately ushered away, raptured into heaven apart from the tumult of utter catastrophe – a catastrophe initiated, completed, and celebrated by a God of vengeance.
Imagine that you believe this violence is necessary and good. A fulfillment, really.
Why not then work to do your part, and initiate the violence you believe is your mandate?
Or applaud politicians who are doing good and necessarily violence in your view? For Jesus’ sake?
And of course, why mourn, raise anger, or advocate for the lives of Palestinians? I mean, aren’t they just going to hell anyway?
This is the theology of Christian Zionism, and it is now impacting U.S. foreign policy in tangible ways. This is the theology — an utter distortion of a peaceful Jesus — that leads to a distortion of the value of particular, Palestinian human lives. It leads to violence, injuries and deaths of Palestinians. And perhaps later, others too.
And in response to this, some just shrug with the assumption that these beloved lives are merely collateral damage in a process to initiate the Second Coming of this version of Jesus.
This is dangerous theology.
This is a dangerous way to view fellow human beings.
This is a dangerous way to enact violence.
And I could say, as I thoroughly believe, that the God of the Bible and the incarnate person of Jesus are all about peace, that the Book of Revelation is about the Roman Empire, and that ultimately, the texts of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament invite participation in the peaceable kingdom and beloved community.
But whether people hold that view, or believe in no God at all, what we have before us are human lives – lives made for value, worth, and flourishing; never slaughtering.
And we must lift up our voices and enact a vision that both upholds their value and initiates peace.