Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Burning Bodies to Save Souls

Now in all this writing about intentions, I’ve been thinking and talking about ‘good’ intentions, not ‘evil’ ones. A person can have the intention of winning no matter what; Hitler and Stalin come to mind. Yet, ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ the intention setting process is the same. Some people can look at the deaths of millions, the destruction and perversion of dreams and ideals, and calmly accept them as necessary and congruent. The Inquisition burned bodies to save souls. In Viet Nam we burned villages to save villagers. Two examples of an ‘evil’ intention in which means and ends are perfectly congruent – fighting fire with fire we like to say as we “man up.” Jesus said, “the Lord makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.’

But I can’t just leave it that way and I don’t think Jesus wanted to either. We can make better choices. We’ve learned to stop burning bodies to save souls, but we’re still burning villages to save villagers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and soon will be in Yemen or Iran. Maybe we can also learn to have our intention to bring peace, prosperity and democracy to the world more congruent and use peace, prosperity and democracy to build peace, prosperity and democracy, instead of using war. I’ll bet we could, I really think we could.

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