Apr 012007
Authors: Kevin Sesock Oklahoma State University

(U-WIRE) STILLWATER, Okla. – I’m tired of hearing that the Ten Commandments said, “Thou shalt not murder,” instead of “Thou shalt not kill,” as if this somehow grants a convenient excuse for such things as the Iraq war.

There seems to be a bit of contention surrounding the original meaning of how it was written. Both forms seem to be used interchangeably in the original Hebrew director’s cut edition of the commandments.

Apparently I’m not the only one who questions the age-old principle that “religion is a great excuse to blow people up.” A recently released study in the Journal of Psychological Science found that there is such a thing as “God-sanctioned” violence, at least in people’s minds.

Participants at both Brigham Young University and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam were asked if they believed in God and the Bible and shown a story depicting some good, Ol’ Testament down-home violence.

After reading the passages, participants were given the opportunity to face off with one of their peers on a reaction time test, being led to believe that it was part of a different study. The winner, in a particularly enjoyable and yet consequence-free opportunity of smiting, got to blast the loser with a painfully loud, annoying noise (probably country music).

Individuals who expressed a belief in God, or in the case of the Brigham Young study (since 99 percent of individuals at BYU claimed a belief in God), individuals who had read the story directly from the Bible, blasted their compatriots at a higher volume in a rather hilarious example of aural jihad.

It turns out that this type of test, using an extra spicy dose of sonic diarrhea (/ la MTV’s Total Request Live), is actually an accepted form of psychologically determining one’s propensity for violence. So the next time you’re ready to smack somebody around, remember that it would probably be more satisfying to just pipe in some Justin Timberlake or All-American Rejects at 105 decibels and really scar your enemy.

What gets me is that Jesus himself, whom so many Christians claim to want to be like, told everyone to turn their cheeks. In fact, if you’ll recall, Jesus didn’t even practice self-defense when arrested, whipped, chained and eventually nailed to a tree, and yet here we are, mired in a war lead by one of the most openly Christian presidents this nation has ever seen, and yet we can’t even claim self-defense in this war.

I’m wondering if a study like this will convince Dubya that God didn’t actually tell him to invade Iraq, even though he reportedly made that claim to Palestinian politician Nabil Shaath in 2005.

One wonders if ol’ Georgie would wear a “Who Would Jesus Bomb” wristband sent to the White House. In fact, one wonders if anyone would wear them at all.

I guess I wonder just how popular harmony is in these supposed religions of peace.

This is all summed up best by the satirical Onion article from Sept. 26, 2001, where a fictional God held a press conference stating, “There’s no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those two bigots on ‘The 700 Club.'”

He followed up stating, “You people believe in a messiah who says, ‘Turn the other cheek,’ but you’ve been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades.”

Here’s to us as a society embracing peace, regardless of our own or our neighbors’ beliefs, in all but the only two wars that might actually be holy and righteous: that against the tyranny of stupidity and, of course, boy bands.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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