Ever since I began to read the Bible, I always had a problem with the violence in the Bible. Whole nations were destroyed, even the babies and the kids and the writers in the bible would say “God told them to do it.” I always had a problem with this, because I don’t believe God would tell someone to destroy a whole nation. It goes against what God stands for. .. unconditional love. God doesn’t like violence. I am reading a book right now that pointed this issue out. The author mentioned that the Israelites were destroyed, whole nations were destroyed, then they would recover and 80 years later, the cycle would start over.
The writers of the Bible had a purpose in telling these stories and pointing out all the violence that went on. First, let’s look at what they meant by God telling them to do it. Back in that time, in that culture, it was so common for the people to give credit to their gods for their victories or their great harvests or blame their gods for poor harvests and famine and the list goes on. They actually believed that their god helped them in their victory. However, the point the writers of the Bible were trying to make with these stories of violence were this. In the words of Rob Bell, “Those stories containing senseless violence point out how senseless violence is.” The writers were writing those stories because they wanted violence to end. To let us know that violence doesn’t solve anything.
So I thought about this and applied it to my current situation. Some might say I am in the heart of gangland in North Carolina. Which, in a way, is true. Over the last couple of weeks, there have been some violence within the “affiliate groups.” All over nothing. It might be because this guy in this group beat up another guy in this group. So the other group has to come and stab that guy and cause a war. It is senseless violence. There is always going to be disagreement. There are always going to be people that make mistakes. There is always going to be anger. Violence is not going to make it disappear. However, if we love, nurture, care of people, help people to grow, talk things out and use various nonviolent methods, we might have a chance to be a more stable and productie society. Lives wouldn’t have to be lost and we could find more ways to live in harmony with people.
This is the message the writers of the Bible are trying to get across by sharing the brutal, barbaric, primitive violent scenes that they chose to share. Not that it is okay to destroy whole nations because we believe Gold told us to. That is not the message. The message is the opposite and God doesn’t want us to act out in violence. Senseless violence is senseless. Period.