By James Miller, October 20, 2023
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For thousands of years, if you believe in time, every effort spent in the search for peace seems to have led to the opposite. Perhaps it’s time to realize the answer lies is the effortless choice to be at peace. – James Miller
In his article, Hamas is pure evil, and our minds can’t fully comprehend their horror, the writer, Moshe Taragin, is an ordained (smicha) rabbi at Yeshivat Har Etzion/Gush and a hesder yeshiva. Wikipedia says “Hesder is an Israeli yeshiva program that combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the Israeli Defense Forces, usually within a Religious Zionist framework.” Taragin has a BA in computer science from Yeshiva University, as well as a masters degree in English literature from the City University of New York.
Taragin is well educated in the religious concept of dualism that pervades many of the world’s great religions. Dualism is the belief in good and evil and, once this view is accepted, the conclusions that follow from it seem logical and rational. Dualism also allows you to posit that there are things, primarily other people, that are no longer, or perhaps never were, connected with you. The problem for Taragin is that these assumptions are false.
Taragin begins his article by stating, “God gifted us with imagination. It allows us to reach beyond reality and envision possibility.” I believe he might have been better to write “envision impossibility” because, to my mind, there is nothing real outside of reality. We do, however, have the capacity to imagine the impossible and, I would argue, this world is an example of such an imagining.
Taragin is immediately making assumptions, not only about how “reality” operates but implicitly implying he “knows” what is real. This is an assumption that takes him beyond chutzpah and heads him towards hubris. Like many religious leaders Taragin assumes his understanding allows him to speak for God. To do so, he should be absolutely certain that what is being said reflects and mirrors the essential, eternal, infinite, unchanging Love of God.
Taragin asks, “What could be gained by murdering octogenarians or by burning babies?” and then answers his question, “Nothing was gained. Only hatred. Simple unbridled hatred.” I’m not precisely sure what Taragin means here. Is he implying the acts of “bestiality” of which he speaks gives him and the “victims” of these atrocities the right to hate Hamas? If so, I’d like to point him to the teachings of a famous Jew, Jesus, who in his Sermon on the Mount, taught forgiveness beginning in Matthew 5:44:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
There might be a temptation to not fully appreciate the profoundly inclusive expression of unconditional love in these two verses. “That ye may be children of your Father which is in Heaven” places everyone in Heaven, acknowledging the collective Oneness that is the “Son of God”. God’s love falls upon all through the analogy of the sun and rain, which pour down, regardless of what the person in the sun or rain is doing. The rain or sun can’t judge they simply fall and truly, it is the same with love. Love can no more judge than can the rain or sun.
So, if I may, I’ll take just a moment to resolve 2,000 years of contradiction within the Semitic religions, because despite what Jesus said, people misunderstand. Love and judgement cannot be reconciled because they are not connected. Love is real. Judgement, fear, anger and sin are illusions and reality does not require or contain them as opposites. In short, we don’t live in a world of good and evil, of dualities and opposites, but in a world that is comprised of and exists in a Love without opposite.
The reference to the Sermon on the Mount is taken from my article, Assholes – Another Theory, which debunks Harvard educated philosophy professor Aaron James’ contention that there are two distinct groups of people in this world, assholes and non-assholes. This divisive, divisional separation between “us and them” is found everywhere in blacks and whites, communists and capitalists, Muslims and Jews, and for Taragin, the pure evil and, well we’re really not quite sure how Targin self identifies in this conversation. Is it pure goodness? Pure love? Pure judgement? Whatever it is he occupies the higher ground, it seems. Taragin takes himself down James’ line of thinking, which is one of judgement and self-righteous hatred for those he shares no connection, no oneness with, no humanity with, when he states:
“For numerous reasons it is difficult for us, as moral beings, to comprehend such pure and revolting evil. Firstly, as Jews, we harbor a positive outlook of humanity, coupled with a deep belief in the dignity of man. Man is the masterpiece of God’s creation, gifted with nobility, virtue, and free will. Denying man’s inner nobility is tantamount to denying God’s creation.
However, the gift of free will also unlocks man’s potential for evil. Just as free will empowers us to greatness, it also enables us to commit unspeakable horrors.
The two ideas are not contradictory.
Our belief in the majesty of Man doesn’t contradict the belief that pure evil exists. Man is capable of acting with such depravity that he abdicates his right to inhabit God’s Earth.”
So judges Taragin on God’s behalf, but despite his use of the Flood and Sodom as examples of God’s justifiable wrath, I argue the two ideas are contradictory on the surface and in the essence. I maintain the “masterpiece of God’s creation” cannot ever be “pure evil” or evil to any degree. We, as God’s creation, remain the perfectly sinless beings of pure light and love that He made us. If Taragin is the devout Jew he says he is, he shouldn’t “harbor a positive outlook on humanity” but rather shout it to the rooftops and on to Heaven!
To believe otherwise is to mistake illusions for reality, the ephemeral for the real. It is this belief that allows us to see others as not ourselves and to believe we are not attacking ourselves when we attack others. Jesus and many other religions teach of our perfect union and perfection that mirrors God’s. And, logically, so it should be, for how can God create anything imperfect?
Jesus also spoke of judgement in Matthew 7:
 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
There are three books that I recommend to Rabbi Taragin: A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Journey Beyond Words (JBY) and The Other Voice (TOV). They fully support the arguments I’ve been making and, I believe, with careful study, the scriptures he values support them, too.
ACIM Chapter 14: Teaching for Truth teaches of God’s love for his sinless Son in Section III paragraph 15:
- Seek not to appraise the worth of God’s Son whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. ²And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. ³The Holy Spirit teaches only that the “sin” of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt. ⁴What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. ⁵Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity. ⁶Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. ⁷Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. ⁸For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever. (ACIM, T-14.III.15:1-8)
In Chapter 27, The Healing of the Dream it speaks to the ineffectiveness of war and the need for forgiveness.
- The holy instant [now] is the miracle’s abiding place. ²From there, each one is born into this world as witness to a state of mind that has transcended conflict, and has reached to peace. ³It carries comfort from the place of peace into the battleground, and demonstrates that war has no effects. ⁴For all the hurt that war has sought to bring, the broken bodies and the shattered limbs, the screaming dying and the silent dead, are gently lifted up and comforted.
- There is no sadness where a miracle has come to heal. ²And nothing more than just one instant of your love without attack is necessary that all this occur. ³In that one instant you are healed, and in that single instant is all healing done. ⁴What stands apart from you, when you accept the blessing that the holy instant brings? ⁵Be not afraid of blessing, for the One Who blesses you loves all the world, and leaves nothing within the world that could be feared. ⁶But if you shrink from blessing, will the world indeed seem fearful, for you have withheld its peace and comfort, leaving it to die.
- Would not a world so bitterly bereft be looked on as a condemnation by the one who could have saved it, but stepped back because he was afraid of being healed? ²The eyes of all the dying bring reproach, and suffering whispers, “What is there to fear?” ³Consider well its question. ⁴It is asked of you on your behalf. ⁵A dying world asks only that you rest an instant from attack upon yourself, that it be healed.
The Torah states:
“It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.”
The real question to ask is, “What does saving a life in this context really mean?” I believe it’s far more than saving someone physically and really means the “spiritual salvation” that comes from releasing someone from the belief that they can be innocent while others can be “pure evil”. This is the ultimate separation.
8. The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. ²But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. ³How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go! ⁴It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. ⁵Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. ⁶Yet they but follow. ⁷And it is their cause that follows nothing and is but a jest. (ACIM, T-27.VIII.8:1-7)
13. How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! ²When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. ³Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. ⁴This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. ⁵And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you. ⁶Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. ⁷The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other; that they both be true. ⁸This is the only secret yet to learn. ⁹And it will be no secret you are healed. (ACIM, T-27.VIII.13:1-9)
This leads to realizing, to experiencing the lifesaving, life enriching truth about ourselves, Our Self.
8. The Holy Spirit’s function is to take the broken picture of the Son of God and put the pieces into place again. ²This holy picture, healed entirely, does He hold out to every separate piece that thinks it is a picture in itself. ³To each He offers his Identity, which the whole picture represents, instead of just a little, broken bit that he insisted was himself. ⁴And when he sees this picture he will recognize himself. ⁵If you share not your brother’s evil dream, this is the picture that the miracle will place within the little gap, left clean of all the seeds of sickness and of sin. ⁶And here the Father will receive His Son, because His Son was gracious to himself.
9. I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. ²Your Holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. ³And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. ⁴How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! ⁵The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. ⁶For the whole is in each one. ⁷And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part.
The theme of separation is found in many religions, especially the Semitic ones. That separation is resolved in the union, not only of God and His Creation, but in the experience of the mind of the observer and what is observed. Consider how this passage from Love 1 in Journey Beyond Words proclaims this ultimate truth and mirrors the Sermon on the Mount’s call to see no separation between sinner and saint:
Realize that all of Creation, every aspect, whether it be what you call physical, or what you call spiritual, is the same, and is a dance. It is a dance of Oneness. It is a dance of all aspects of Creation, the part of the Self you are calling you, the part of yourself you are calling the animals, the part of yourself you are calling the stars, and the part of your Self you are calling the other humans.
And for them, the others, whom you imagine to be separate from yourself, it is the same. For they are your Self. And it is all a magnificent dance, a magnificent symphony of cooperation and sharing, and Oneness. For without the full cooperation (Note even the word “cooperation” implies separation) of all other aspects of the universe, you could not experience it as you do.
Insofar as you believe that any of it does something different from that which you have desired, what you experience cannot be real love. That belief is the primary source of all this illusion. That belief is the only source of your tears, your pain, your sickness, your grief, your worry, your anger and your doubt.
Then, for you, love shall become the knowing that you have long since BECOME, that you long since ARE, everything you see.
Imagine something which you do not like. Then realize it is only an aspect of your Self. Realize also that there is no goodness, nor badness, in you. That aspect which you perceive to be something you do not like is but an aspect of your Self needing an experience, within the realm of your freedom and your joy.
As you accept that aspect of your Self you do not like, allowing it its freedom and joy, and likewise accept, in its freedom and joy, the aspect of your Self which you call yourself, you shall realize that the two are one and the same.
Then how can you hate? How can you be angry? How can you not forgive? Recall, forgiveness is the purpose of this Course. And your forgiveness is the realization that YOU ARE YOUR WORLD. You cannot label anything as bad, or as good, that you simply cannot judge at all.
For if you label one thing as bad, and another as good, then what you have done is split your Self. And how can you live, if you have been split asunder by your own imaginings? When you talk about anger, or fear, or hatred, that is, indeed, what you are doing. You are trying to imagine that somehow you have been able to rend asunder that which is One, that which is you…
…So realize that God, in loving you, has become you. You are nothing more than the expansion of God. And then your love and your forgiveness shall become the same. For they are your awareness that your entire world is but the expansion of your Self, which is really the expansion of God.