Today’s Samaritan

Juan Cole, in a recent post, comments that Syrian refugees are modern day Samaritans.

“People forget when discussing the story of the Good Samaritan as told by Jesus that Samaritans belonged to a separate but related religion from Judaism (Samaritanism), so the help the Samaritan offered was being given to a Jewish outsider, not a coreligionist”.

We are all-Jew, Christian, Muslim-members of the Abrahamic tradition. Instead of religion causing division its power should be used to unite us. The conflict and blood shed over differences in doctrine-and political leaders willing to exploit these divisions for their own personal gain-seems to be insanity at its finest. I cannot fathom why, as human beings, we accept our role as pawns in this tragic farce.

Most people on the planet believe in one God, called by many different names, but still, one God. More than four thousand years have passed since Judaism’s foundation, more than two thousand since Christianity’s foundation, and somewhat more than one thousand since the foundation of Islam, yet we are still engaging in demonization, terrorism, warfare, and general incivility towards each other. The sad thing is that we all bleed red and, for the vast majority, our aim in life is to live in peace.

I cannot understand how one man, be it a Hitler, a Stalin, a Pol Pot, a Kim, an Asaad, or any of a number of perpetrators of African genocide, can find a following. Is it in our own human inadequacy that we achieve some kind of wholeness when we affiliate with those who practice terror, torture, and brutalization? Does it make one seem more a man? I can only wonder that God in his heaven is looking down and wondering when we will finally come to our senses. What will it take for hatred to dissipate? For the fever to break? When does humanity say enough to all of this needless suffering and death; enough of the egos of a very small number of men who determine for billions of the rest of us how we will live; enough of living in fear. Remember, we do outnumber them. There is power in our resolution to say a loud resounding, NO, we will not submit.

I am heartened somewhat by the individual response to the refugees plight by the citizens of Germany, Iceland, Sweden and others who seem to be ahead of their leaders in responding to this crisis. They seem to make the human connection to the suffering of their fellow man and opened their doors to the stranger. I believe that the kindness shown to them will never be forgotten. Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. The Syrian refugees of today, and their generations to come, will never forget the kindness shown to them. This is a moment in history when humanity has the opportunity to demonstrate our capacity to love and serve one another-to bind up the wounds of the stranger, feed him, shelter him, and care for him-no matter the cost.

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