Friday, November 30, 2012

Apparently Pacifism isn't Evil?!

Nothing really happens much at the beginning of the chapter. Pete shows up, the others debate whether it's safe to accept Carl (they do decide to accept him), and they unload stuff from the truck.

In Israel, Sam tells Judd that he wants to go see his father and Lionel has a talk with Judd about the stunt he pulled with Deputy Woodruff. Apparently he objects to it, which kind of confuses me. I'm wondering though if it's primarily because in that situation, Judd actually did something as opposed to nothing and remember doing nothing is the primary function of RTCs in the Ellanjay universe.

“It seemed like you enjoyed sending that locust after him back at Jamal’s apartment. Am I reading it wrong?”
Judd looked away. “I was on the phone when that guy killed Taylor and Hasina. And then he lied—”
“I’m just as ticked off about what he did as you,” Lionel interrupted. “Woodruff is a GC scumbag. But you looked like you were doing more than saving Jamal and his family. It looked like you were trying to get even.”

Now I'm really confused. After all, isn't the whole point of this series is bad things happen to heathens who dared to mock God's Own Prophet non-RTCs while RTCs just chuckle about it? Lionel's newfound concern for his fellow man is kind of confusing.

Judd shook his head. “I haven’t told anybody this, but I’ve thought about it a lot. When I heard what Woodruff did, I made a promise to Taylor and Hasina. If I ever had the chance, I’d try to get that guy back. It wasn’t until I heard Woodruff’s voice without seeing his face that it all came together.”
Lionel ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t believe this.”
“Maybe I’m wrong for thinking this way,” Judd said, “but maybe I’m right. A lot of believers might be spared if he’s taken out.”
“And what about the ‘vengeance is mine says the Lord’ stuff? Don’t you see? This is the same thing you stopped Taylor Graham from doing when he wanted to shoot Nicolae at the stadium. You’re going to get yourself and a lot of other believers in trouble if you try to kill him. And you’re going to have to answer to God.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ever heard of ‘Thou shalt not kill’? I think it’s still in effect.”

So apparently RTCs are pacifists. That's something new given Ellanjay's suspicions of pacifists. After all, haven't they continually demonstrated that pacifism is code for "secretly wants to rule over humanity with an iron fist?" Also, don't the Tribbles eventually form a militia of their own? So if they really take such a stringent interpretation of "Thou Shalt Not Kill," it's news to me. I could also mention that the people who share Ellanjay's politics are usually enthusiastically pro-war and pro-death penalty, but I don't know if I want this to turn into a nasty debate in the comments section, though given that I just brought it up, it will.

My theory: Lionel feels emasculated because Judd actually did something and is trying to cut him down to size.

They find out that the Deputy and Daddy Goldberg have been taken to a hospital and then it cuts back to the American YTF.

Vicki decides to give the newly minted RTCs an overview of the Christian faith and I'm sure this overview, which is being given by a teenage girl, I'm sure it'll be a thorough lesson and not just a nitpicking of a few selected verses. Anyway, Vicki starts with Genesis and the garden and does the whole fall-of-man spiel and according to the book, talks about "Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, and many of the prophets." That's all that's said so we don't know if Vicki brought up the part of the bible where Noah is passed out naked and drunk in the vineyard or David commits adultery with Bathsheba (Ellanjay probably think that David's adultery is her fault, the nasty little whore), but before long, Vicki is preaching on Isaiah. Isaiah is one of my favorite prophets and oh, how it pains me to see his words being used to prop up Ellanjay's horrible theology.

She pointed out Isaiah 9: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David.”
“Do you know who that’s talking about?” Vicki said.
“It sounds like a baby,” Carl said, “but then it sounds like God.”

I can't be the only one hearing Handel as that verse is read, can I? Also how does that sound like an illegitimate child born to a impoverished Palestinian Jew and her carpenter husband? I like those verses but they really don't line up with what we know about Jesus's birth. Jesus was born into poverty and filth, not glory.

And of course, Vicki reads from Isaiah 53, which aunursa calls "That one chapter the Jews can't figure out" in a previous comment as a way of mocking how Ellanjay apparently believe that Jews don't have their own teachings and writings to debate; they just spend all their time denying that Jesus is the messiah. I won't try to argue the Jewish view of this chapter; being a gentile, I'm not well-versed in Jewish teachings and don't wanna unintentionally insult Jewish readers. I'll just say that Isaiah 53 does better describe Jesus's ignoble death, which makes it easy to see why Jewish Christians might have, when writing the gospels, conflated his death with that chapter.

Remember, Jesus's followers had experienced their equivalent of 9/11; the man they'd given up everything to follow had died a criminal's death on the cross. Is it not possible that they dug deep into the teachings they'd been raised in, in order to find proof that in their eyes, Jesus had overcome death?

She showed Carl verses that clearly taught about the nature of God. He was one spirit, but three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She pointed out the depths of God’s mercy and love for people, but also that God was holy and required perfection.

Nice oxymoron. It says she should Carl verses that clearly taught about the nature of God, then she brings up the trinity, aka that doctrine which has stymied just about everyone who has tried to explain it.

Eventually the discussion ends and the chapter ends with Pete asking Vicki if she'd be willing to go south with him.

Though I did only one chapter, I think I'll leave you for this week.


Firedrake said...

One approach I've heard is that RTCs shouldn't try to get revenge because God will do it for them, har har. But mostly they seem to end up being just as petty as everybody else.

No, you are not the only person hearing Handel. Mmmmmmm.

THE Magpie said...

I like "The Messiah" and not just for the awesome music. The back story is also wonderful--by which I mean, why Handel wrote the piece.

I wish that people in general weren't petty. But then, I can be pretty much a stinker myself. It is really easy to hate people--and judge them harshly. Easier than getting to know them and find out what makes them tick. I don't think Ellenjay are interested in getting to know people that well.

aunursa said...

Isaiah 53 (which actually includes the last 3 verses of Isaiah 52): Many years ago I took a class at a Reform synagogue about Jews during the time of Jesus. During one session we looked at a few of the passages that Christians consider messianic, including Isaiah 53. The rabbi and my classmates, most who might not have read the passage before, agreed: Some verses sounded as if they could be describing the life and death of Jesus as described in the Gospels. And other verses sounded as if they are incongruous with the life of Jesus.

Apocalypse Review said...

I always sort of tilt my head and go "bzuh?" when I see that "God is not one but three" verse.