When Compromise is Heresy


People are calling for a cease fire in the war between Hamas and Israel. Israel says it won’t stop firing until all of its hostages are released.  Hamas has not offered to release the hostages it recently captured at great expense. It likely sees them as their only hope right now. Neither side seem inclined to compromise. I would love to see a ceasefire. How to get there?  I don’t know.

Here is what I do know. This bloody war is the consequence of turning states over to the extremists as both Gaza and Israel have done. Extremists, particularly when filled with religious zeal, even if they are not particularly religious, inevitably see compromise as heretical. Such groups are extremely unlikely to compromise. When two groups under the dominance or influence of extremists with such religious zeal, the end result is bound to be bloody. Don’t look for quick and easy ceasefires.

The tragedy of the Middle East is that both sides (or should I say all sides?) in this seemingly intractable dispute are chained to murderous theological ideologies that leave no room for compromise or resolution. Each side just wants to bludgeon the other side to death—to oblivion. How can you make a deal with the devil, both sides ask. The answer—of course—is that you can’t. Neither side can make a deal with the devil so they go on pummeling each other to death. That is the inevitable result when both sides have an unshakeable conviction that the other side is the side of the devil. Then your own side becomes the sole bearer of truth and justice for the only rightful god.

We can do better. To do that, murderous ideologies with their murderous certainties,  must be discarded.


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