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From God’s lips to a child’s ear?

[ by Charles Cameron — religion, Taliban, suicide bombers, child soldiers ]


It’s already a problem that the sacred texts of the world’s religions so frequently include passages that can be used to confer divine sanction on acts of needless, appalling violence – but apparently there’s no depth to which the interpretations offered by religious authorities cannot descend…


Does anyone truly think “all the people around us would die, but we would stay alive” is what God intended to whisper in that nine-year-old child’s ear?

Luke 11.11: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?

2 Responses to “From God’s lips to a child’s ear?”

  1. Matt Says:

    Yeah, I thought this was pretty disgusting as well. 

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    The thing is, a child’s simple piety can believe such things very literally. 
    I’ve been trying to track the Crusades with a special focus on the visit that St. Francis of Assisi paid to the Sultan at Damietta — but there’s also a story that St. Teresa of Avila records in her Life [Peers, p. 35]:

    I had one brother almost of my own age. It was he whom I most loved, though I had a great affection for them all, as had they for me. We used to read the lives of saints together; and, when I read of the martyrdoms suffered by saintly women for God’s sake, I used to think they had purchased the fruition of God very cheaply; and I had a keen desire to die as they had done, not out of any love for God of which I was conscious, but in order to attain as quickly as possible to the fruition of the great blessings which, as I read, were laid up in Heaven. I used to discuss with this brother of mine how we could become martyrs. We agreed to go off to the country of the Moors, begging our bread for the love of God, so that they might behead us there; and, even at so tender an age, I believe the Lord had given us sufficient courage for this, if we could have found a way to do it; but our greatest hindrance seemed to be that we had a father and a mother.

    St Teresa may not have had it in mind to kill the Moors, but her joyful anticipation of a martyr’s death and beheading was, according to Francisco Ribera in his Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, enough to send her and her brother out of the city and

    on over the bridge, until they were met by an uncle who took them back home to their mother, greatly to her relief, for she had been having them searched for everywhere with great anxiety.

    I remember being deeply moved by this story myself when I was a child…

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