Israel, Palestinians, and Christians


The comic above has a good point. Currently, there are people being killed in both Israel and the Gaza strip. Both sides have claims that have a certain justification for them. For Israel to exist, one has to say that Israel was justified in forcibly removing Arabs in order to begin a religious state. Since Arab states are religious states, this means that one religion replaced another. Note that neither religions is Christian and that Christians lost out under both regimes. But, as was pointed out on an earlier post, USA Evangelicals tend to support Israel, even against their fellow Christians. In other words, many American Evangelicals argue that, while sad, it is necessary to the fulfillment of Scripture that Israel retake its ancient territories, even at the cost of Christian suffering. Let me just say that I have some severe reservations over that idea.

I will admit that many American Evangelicals get around that difficulty by simply arguing that the Christians present in the Holy Land were not true Christians, but merely nominal Christians. This is based on the perception that Orthodox Christians are not truly Christians. In fact, I think I will make a broader claim. USA Evangelical support for Israel is based on the mistaken idea that any Christian present in the Holy Land is merely a nominal Christian, at least back in 1948 Were American Evangelicals to believe otherwise, they would have a severe contradiction in supporting non-Christian Jews over their Christian brethren.

So, we have a problem. In order to maintain the idea that Our Lord Jesus Christ wishes Israel to be a nation, one must also argue that in order to make an omelet one must break a few eggs. It is much more palatable an argument if one argues that the Christian eggs that are broken are not truly Christian and that God is showing “them” that. However, as an Orthodox Christian, I now take severe exception to that argument. Nevertheless, I could see arguing that God’s end time plan had the side effect of increasing Christian suffering in the Holy Land. But, I cannot see arguing that this is justified by a supposed nominalism of the Christians in the Holy Land, not after they have held on to the faith for well over a millennia.

In fact, if suffering is part and parcel of being a Christian, particularly in the Middle East, then I would expect a parallel suffering by Christians in the USA, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Uganda, etc. But, this is not true. Christians in those countries have an upper hand in their arguments. They may not have all the rights they want, but they are neither being killed nor jailed. What is measurably true is that since the two Gulf Wars the number of Christians in the Middle East has dropped precipitately. The involvement of the USA military and American Evangelicals has not led to a protection of Christians in the Middle East. Rather, the hatred which the USA troops have engendered has resulted in the decrease of Christianity in the Middle East.

In other words, the theology of USA Evangelicals has led to the demise of Middle Eastern Christians.



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