History seems to be repeating itself

Friday, May 18, 2007 | 1:11 p.m. CDT; updated 2:35 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

We have access 24/7 to view or read about the terrible situations in Iraq. As one ponders the course of this Middle East conflict for nearly five years, is it possible there are roots that can be traced to biblical times? Although people may disagree on whether the Bible is to be taken literally or metaphorically, most would agree that it is a historical account. Are there then similarities between these two particular ancient “news reports” in the book of Genesis and the news reports today?

It was reported that there was a woman, unable to get pregnant, who told her husband to impregnate her maid so they could have sons through her. The husband did as she asked. Upon becoming pregnant, the maid became arrogant toward the wife — she was the one who would give this man his long-awaited child. It is then reported that she goes on an “ego trip” and lauds it over her mistress. The wife then blamed her husband for this conflict. Caught in the middle, the husband informed his wife she is the one who has the power over her maid. As a result of the wife’s abuse, the pregnant maid ran away. It is then reported that there was a major turn of events in her flight. An “angel” appeared and informed her to go back and obey her mistress; she is pregnant with a son who would be like a wild donkey, and against everyone. Consequently, everyone would be against him. Have these predicted seeds of discord continued to multiply throughout history and even today? Then, why are we there applying application after application of “fertilizer” to further their growth?

There is another “news report” in Genesis regarding the Tower of Babel. The management team of a larger construction company decided to build a great city with a phenomenal tower that would reach to the heavens. Upon completion of this huge project, there would be lasting evidence of their intelligence, their greatness and their power. It is then reported due to their arrogance, “God” stepped in and created confusion in their communication with one another. No longer able to understand each other, this humongous undertaking fell through. As a result, the construction company and crew left to find other employment. Various dictionaries define the word “babel” as “confusion,” “chaos,” vanity.” What main point can be learned from this story? Has our nation’s leadership adopted this same air of arrogance? What basic theme seems to jump to the forefront in these two biblical “news reports”?

Human nature being what it is it would be a known fact procreation would continue. At the same time, there is the complexity of the human mind, and which then contributes to various beliefs and behaviors. Is it not conceivable this is how different concepts of “God” developed into diverse religions and cultures? Would this not add to widely differing interpretations? Down through the ages these dissimilarities have spread throughout the world. Seeds of hostility and intolerance between opposing religious groups will germinate in fertile soil. It then becomes a contest — Who is right? vs. Who is wrong? What about today when self-righteous religious groups flaunt their “all-knowing” views here in our nation? How then does this basic theme, again, if it is a basic theme, tie in with the terrible situations in Iraq?

When the inspectors found no weapons of mass destruction, they warned our leadership not to go into Iraq. Their warning fell on deaf ears. Were there ulterior motives for not heeding this warning? Can one not help but compare again the arrogance of our leadership to management’s “game plan” for the Tower of Babel? Where was “sound reasoning” applied to think our type of government and culture, with its numerous religious denominations, could change a vastly different nation? Would we not resist if the situation were reversed?

Consequently, we all know what has since happened. And now what appears to further be a “Tower of Babel” mindset: It was earlier believed 20,000 more of our young troops could get a job done. Sadly, according to current news reports, this number continues to grow. Our leadership’s determined mindset triggers more serious issues: How many more lives will be lost? How many more will be seriously injured? Will our troops end up fighting this war alone?

We are well aware of the heated divisiveness over Iraq in Washington. Are we not facing a political war on the homefront? What will be the outcome with the growing 2008 election race? What effect will this have on the very foundation of our nation? Who is right? Who is wrong? Who has the solution? Who can be trusted?

What does it profit a man or a nation if they gain the whole world yet lose their own soul? Peace cannot be found with guns. Down through the ages, and even today, great wisdom has been written — peace can only be found deep within the human heart where the miracle of love abides. How does this apply to our leadership and to our nation? The question then remains: Is “peace” an illusion or is it possible? Probable? What do you think?

Delores Hemphill is a Columbia resident.

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