There are times when I do wish the Bible contained much longer explanations. Reading in Genesis 4, I find God laid out no requirements for offerings to Him. The first mention is Cain’s bringing of the fruit of the ground as an offering to God, and Abel brought firstlings of his flock.
Not until Hebrews are we given clues as to why God had respect for Abel, but not for Cain.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4 KJV)
By faith Abel proved he was righteous. That was the conclusion given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Cain lacked the faith of his brother, and became so angered that he rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
So, the first murder had its in religious intolerance. That same reasoning continues today.
Yesterday I posted a link on Facebook to the MSNBC article telling of the Taliban slaughtering ten on a medical mission in Afghanistan. There is greater detail in an AP report of these men and women who sought to serve. Their crime according to the Taliban, besides “spying for the Americans”, was ‘preaching Christianity.”
That last accusation is not allowed in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the list goes on. Yet mosques were built in America as early as 1915. One will soon be built in the non-existent shadow of the missing World Trade Center buildings. As religious tolerance is offered, it is expected in return.
Religious animosity is not confined to the continually squabbling children of Abraham. Those who call themselves sons of God through the blood of Jesus Christ have slaughtered each other for centuries. Though often not with religious calls to arms, there remain pockets such as Ireland where brotherhood in Christ ends as the story of Cain and Abel.
Another thought that comes to mind is that of a friend who recently decried the use of military responses, requesting the acknowledgement of civilian loss in every war. Under discussion was World War II, ostensibly fought by the United States to defend itself from being overrun, as were European and Asian countries. My friend says I was wrong to think so, and so were/are our servicemen who signed up to defend. He stated strongly that the US should have then, and now, relied on passivity, as Christ taught.
Christ mentioned wars but once. Written of in three of the gospels, relating:
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6 KJV)
James taught of the source of war.
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:1-2 KJV)
There are battles to come. John’s Revelation tells of the last one. Until that time, nation will continue to rise up against nation, brother against brother. Until all can truly follow that second and great commandment:
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:39 KJV)