Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tribalism is death

Does YHWH consider a person holy because of their blood or because of their actions?
This question, which at first may seem merely rhetorical, is in fact a serious question. It's serious because too many believe they are part of a 'holy race' simply because of their blood, their genetics. Yet when you ask this serious question it should become obvious that YHWH isn't interested in your blood line or genetics, but what you do with it.

Unfortunately, it isn't obvious to everyone and because of this there has developed a twisted sense of tribalism. Twisted because some may have the false idea that they are special and therefore exist outside the normal scope of human condition. In short, they feel they are chosen and therefore-that's enough.

But this notion is absurd and is clearly against scripture. The sages knew this to be true. In Jacob Neusner's book on the theological system of Rabbinic Judaism, he points out (perhaps without meaning to) that there is no God-given oral Torah (if you still believe that the so-called Oral Torah was God-given you really should study Neusner's work), and that as far as the sages were concerned, the conditions for being an Israelite are not bound up in blood but in relation ship to Torah:


Before you think I'm advocating anything akin to replacement theology, let me be clear: I'm not. Replacement theology is abhorrent to me. However, it should be considered: was YHWH simply trying to preserve the bloodline of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or, was He trying to keep the Israelites pure in the sense of their worship and actions? It seems clear that it is the latter which is of most concern. After all, how many times does the LORD instruct the Israelites to steer clear of marrying foreign women so that they don't fall into adopting their practices? How often does He warn them not to leave any of the Molech worshipers in the land because He doesn't want them to be polluted once again by idol worship?

In other words, it's very little to do with trying to preserve 'precious genes' or genealogy. The important thing is preserving YHWH's teachings and the way of living that was instructed. So why is tribalism death? Because it's misguided, leads to absurd violence, to inbreeding that can cause birth defects (some of which was prohibited by Torah anyway-likely for that reason), to a false sense of superiority and self-confidence. But most importantly, because it leads away from the truth which should be a focus on right action and holy living-not tribe and blood lines. 

So don't play at identity politics and tribalism. Don't fight among brothers and sisters. Let's preserve peace among ourselves and be humble. Let's remember to keep His commands.