On a recent plane flight I spoke to a woman returning from Israel to the U.S. She was apparently Jewish and casually expressed the thought that it would be good if a certain people were exposed to a nuclear weapon. It reminded me of the rhetoric of many of our politicians; but, coming from someone from a Jewish background, the irony was palpable. She might recall that some years back the Jews were the ones some people thought should be eliminated for the betterment of humanity.
In this oft expressed idea that eliminating some people would leave the world better off, we hear the echo of human history from the earliest stories from the Bible right up until today. Perhaps the first such account is that connected with Noah. God supposedly got so fed up with humanity that he decided to kill everyone but a very few. Mankind was said to have been so corrupted that everything they did and thought was evil. No goodness whatsoever. Hard to imagine things getting worse than that, right? Actually what is hard to imagine is that such a description literally defined a moment in human history, but so goes the story. Well, how did God's effort to make a fresh start turn out.? Was evil eliminated permanently? Did mankind see a marvelous transformation? Apparently not. Noah sinned right out of the box in the world that remained after the big purge. What went wrong in God's do over? He wasn't quire ruthless enough? He left too many frail humans alive? He needed to kill everyone in order to rid the world of wrong doers?
The story of Israel in the Bible is filled with additional suggestions to just kill all the evil people. The destruction of Ai, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jericho come to mind. Wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children was perpetrated purportedly to rid the world of dangerous, evil people. How did that work out? Was the world wondrously better after all the killing was accomplished? If not, why not? Did they miss a few who should have died but didn't? Why would God directed total destruction leave the world essentially unchanged and supposedly awaiting a yet future God ordained total destruction? How many total destructions does it take to meet God's need?
"Just kill them all" is still the battle cry of many who view themselves as God ordained instruments of righteousness. Exactly why that thought in the mind of some is evil while the same thought in others is righteous remains unexplained and unexplainable. Jesus addressed all of this in the Sermon on the Mount, but no one wants to listen. least of all many who claim to be Christians.