Snyder, George L Snyder, Lenore Snyder, God, ethics, morals, religion

The Elephant Speaks
One Man’s Elephant book II



            On May 30th, in the year of Our Lord fourteen thirty one, after an extensive trial that documented her entire life, a nineteen-year-old girl by the name of Joan

. . . .

. . . .

. . . . was burned at the stake. . . . .




And, God Speaks to Me:


          “I create you. I create that which you call enemy. I create all things. If I do not desire your existence, it cannot be. If I do not desire the existence of that which you call enemy, it cannot be. If I do not desire the existence of anything, it cannot be. I give you freedom to accept, respect, understand, even love My creation. I give you freedom to reject, hate, harm, even kill My creation. I do not require your action or inaction. I give the freedom to love or hate. I give the freedom to honor or dishonor Me by your relationship to My creation. It is My creation, you, the world, the universe that becomes better or worse due to your choices. You must make your own choices. It may not be easy, but that is the way you move close to Me, or separate yourself from Me. In separating yourself from Me, you condemn yourself.




            It took almost five hundred years for those who convicted her of heresy to decide that she was a saint.


            In defense of the church, 24 years after her death, Pope Callixtus III reopened the case, and in a new finding overturned the original conviction. It’s nice that they undid the conviction. It would have been nice to have undone the burning.


            Your behavior toward God’s creation is behavior toward God. Therefore, if you harm or attempt to harm anyone (or anything) then you are harming or attempting to harm God. If God ceases to desire my existence, I would never have existed. If God ceases to desire your existence, then your existence would never have been.


            Be careful what you do in the name of your god. Perhaps what you believe is God’s will is wrong. Perhaps it is not what God desires. Perhaps even you may decide that what you think is God’s will today is not what you decide is God’s will tomorrow. The church did decide that Joan was not a witch possessed by the devil. It was a little late.


            I do not fear death. I do not fear the disasters of nature, the tornados, the hurricanes, the earthquakes. I do not fear weapons. These things are not in themselves evil or a threat. It is you that is a threat. I only fear what you may do in the name of your god. The killing of even one is no less serious than the destruction of the entire world.


            An injury caused without malice is understandable, even acceptable. There is an apparent randomness to the universe that causes/allows unpredictable (to us) things to occur. We can accept these things by saying that it is God’s will, but I don’t believe it. I believe that God allows. This apparent randomness is there because it is required for us to exist. I believe that God set up this apparent randomness at the beginning of creation. God set up the motion and laws in the beginning. This apparent randomness follows exact laws set up by God at creation. Then God wills us to exist and allows us to do what we wish. It is our free will that causes most of the grief and harm to us and our world.


            I exist because God desires my existence. If God ever did not desire my existence, I would never have existed. In other words, if you choose to end my existence, then you are working against God’s will. If I decide to kill, then I cannot say that my action is God’s will. It is my will not God’s. If God does not desire your existence, then you would never have existed. If you think otherwise, then your faith is not in an infinite God, but in some petty, weak, incompetent god.




            Now, let’s look at Joan. She was a warrior in the fifteenth century. This was not the place of a woman, let alone a girl. Perhaps this action can be considered an act that a witch might do. Perhaps it is an act that no one should do. After all, war is an evil act of our society. So even though you may not agree with me, I shall condemn all participants of war, including Joan, (including me) for the actions of war. Then, we can proceed to the actions of her accusers. The killing of even one is no less serious than the destruction of the entire world.


            She was captured by the English. They were, of course, the enemy. The priests that conducted the trial were English. Joan was a prisoner. It could be considered barbarian to kill her. It also was barbarian to kill a woman. It is a shame she was alive. If she had been killed in battle, then the problem would have been dealt with. Somebody would have discovered that one of the bodies is a woman. Actually she was captured through a series of events that might be considered treachery on the part of her own leaders.


            Now on the part of the English, I guess we have to get God on our side. Lets find out if she is a heretic or a witch. If so, then we can burn her at the stake. That makes it God’s will.


            Now, what is your view of the elephant?


            Who do you hate? Who do you think should be killed? Do you believe it is God’s will for them to die? Remember if God wants them dead, they would be dead. If God does not will them to exist, they would never have existed. Done! They would never have existed!


            Remember; your god is not strong enough or powerful enough to kill them himself. Your god does not span time and see all things throughout all of the universe throughout all time. My God has also given me a command to love all creation. To approach all with understanding and compassion. I know that is very difficult. That is one of my failings. Sometimes I too wish to destroy that which God has created. Sometimes I too neglect to care for and protect the universe and its occupants. Sometimes I am just indifferent to what should be or should not be done by me.


Hate corrodes the container that carries it.


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