The Other I

September 3, 2015

Can barbed wire fences save Christianity?

Filed under: Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 4:05 pm

A woman carrying a child stands outside a train carrying migrants that was stopped in Bicske, Hungary - 3 September 2015

Image from the BBC

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants escaping from war in Syria, Afganistan, and Africa are fleeing to Europe.  It is the biggest refugee influx since the second world war, and European governments are in conflict over how to deal with the increasing crisis.

This morning, Hungarian police put hundreds of migrants, mostly families with children, all of whom believed they were heading for a welcome in Germany, onto a train in Budapest.  Then several miles out of the city, stopped the train and everyone was ordered to disembark.  They were met by armed police who told them that they were being sent to camps where they would be “evaluated.”  If they refused to go, they would be arrested.

Today, the President of the European Union, Donald Tusk responded to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban who is warning that the influx of migrants threatens Europe’s “Christian roots” and should be stopped.  Mr Tusk responded

 “For me Christianity is a duty to our brothers in need.

“For a Christian it shouldn’t matter what race, religion and nationality the person in need represents.”

I agree.  I can’t see that loving each other comes with the limitation of a barbed wire fence.  Yes, I know:  there are Islamists bent on destroying Christianity and European civilization who almost certainly are infiltrating the migrants, posing as refugees.  But is a schreeching YOU CAN’T COME IN! the best solution we can come up with?  My experience is that, in fact, one needn’t be a Christian to find a more loving, creative, and ultimately effective response than that.

Isn’t that the point Jesus was making talking to the woman at the well?


  1. should it be saved or piled onto the scrapheap of failed efforts to achieve inner harmony to rise above our raw instincts – seems to be have animals without the moral trappings have achieved a higher level they kill (some exceptions apply) only for food – survival preservation of the species – no drive by shootings no killing in the name of allah or whatever the particular nomenclature. over the centuries it would seem that we have proved over and over again that religion is a band-aid that does not work. what a sorry lot we are no many gifts and wasted on greed hate fear indolence…….sorry i am not being too christian the pope is coming to nyc this month millions being spent on security would the money be better spent?


    Comment by kateritek — September 4, 2015 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

    • I’ve been thinking about your comment since you posted it. I’ve shared your view about religion for a long time, but now I’m not as sure that I see the whole picture. It seems to me that we as human beings need some kind of narrative about the meaning of our lives that animals with a different kind of intelligence don’t need in quite the same way. In that context, I’ve begun to wonder if religion is not at the root of our problems, but rather a manifestation of the various ways in which over the millenia we have dealt with our needs for security, for belonging, for status, for some kind of certainty, for value, basically, for meaning. When that fundamental need for meaning is threatened, we are capable of lashing out as if our very lives are threatened.

      If that is so, then sometimes religion helps us live deeper, more generous, fulfilled lives. It supports a commitment of love and care for others. In other cases – well, you don’t need a history lesson from me. You know the atrocities which religion has and continues to encourage, even to “sanctify.”


      Comment by theotheri — September 6, 2015 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

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