By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
Since the beginning of human history there has been a constant struggle for the religious control over the minds and souls of mortals. Clashes between human societies throughout history have not settled the score and determined which deity is supreme in heaven. After more than a half century, the Jews and the Muslims are still pitched in battle over how to choose which omnipotent power ought to rule Israel, Jehovah or Allah.
Those students of history familiar with the Old Testament are aware that the ancient Jews were faced with a similar controversy. Then it was the prophets of the Jewish God versus the prophets of Baal. An enterprising prophet, Elijah, the last standing Jewish prophet with a very close relationship with Jehovah, came up with the perfect solution. The principles behind that solution are applicable today in the ongoing strife between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
For those unfamiliar with ancient Jewish history and have never opened the Old Testament of The Bible, let me brief you about what happened centuries ago. Ahab, the king of Israel in those times did not please the God of the Jews because the king allowed the inhabitants of Israel to worship Baalim. The wife of Ahab, Jezebel, had all the prophets of Jews slain except for Obediah and Elijah. Although the two feared for their lives, Elijah came up with a proposal that would convince the devout in Israel which deity they should worship and obey.
He invited them to a feast where two bullocks would be sacrificed. In the morning one cut-up bullock would be laid on an altar and those who worshiped Baal were to pray for their god to light a fire under that altar. Since their prayers weren’t answered, those faithful to Baalim jumped on the altar to destroy it. In the afternoon Elijah rebuilt the broken altar and placed the meat of the second bullock on it. Three times he instructed the people to douse the meat with four barrels of water. Then he prayed asking his deity to light the fire.
The immediate reply from the Lord was impressive: a roaring fire consumed the meat, the altar, and all the water that lay in the trenches underneath it. The people shouted their agreement that the Jewish God was indeed the true God. If you want to know the rest of this glorious triumph of the Jewish faith, you can read about it in the 18th Chapter of the First Book of Kings in The Old Testament. Needless to say, the 450 dissenting prophets of Baal were promptly rounded up and slain without further delay.
A very similar political/religious situation exists in Israel today. Those two devout tribes that worship different deities are feuding over which one should dominate the land renamed Israel by the Jews. It would seem that cooler heads might prevail if some modern leader or respected prophet would celebrate a feast in Jerusalem and invite the faithful of each tribe to the party. The celebrants could choose their favorite protein and have two grills prepared for a magnificent barbeque. Then, members of each tribe could invoke their deity to light the fire without any help from a high tech ignition mechanism. The deity who lights the fire first would be acclaimed the winner of this sacred contest to choose which authority would rule in Israel from that day forward.
The result of Elijah’s daring ploy won the hearts of those who lived in that part of the ancient world. Consequently, the Jewish faith has survived despite many efforts to exterminate it. It would seem fitting to repeat Elijah’s gamble today since no other solution has been acceptable to either tribe. However, it must be admitted beforehand by everyone involved that neither deity is supreme, nor the United Nations, unless an all-consuming fire was immediately forthcoming.
This auspicious moment of truth could have a major impact in settling the controversy that plagues the Middle East and threatens the rest of the world overrun by infidels and pagans. There are three possible outcomes: One, Jehovah would be the first to light the fire. Two, Allah would be the first. And Three, neither deity would be answering the prayers of sinners that day. In order to prevent tampering with the grills, an independent committee of knowledgeable atheists would monitor all preparations.
Hopefully, any theocracy founded on this just solution would be tolerant of those who worshiped lesser deities. This simple approach in settling religious differences would be more peaceful than any I know. Let the deity who truly loves His or Her subjects intervene in their behalf, and once and for all remove violent strife from the Earth. Let the omnipotent resolve their problems in Heaven and send new prophets disguised as humans who will endorse peace and goodwill among the multicolored inhabitants of this environmentally challenged planet.
This proven way of handling the social and religious problems of a polarized political situation may not appease many agnostics, but at least a serious human effort would be made to demonstrate the existence of some almighty divinity! My recommended solution may not be perfect, but it is much better than suffering acts of terrorism, the constant threats of nuclear war, and the daily internecine religious killings of innocent people.
May the most loving and responsive God be declared the winner!