What to wear? I could think of no guidelines on what we were wearing this season to a party forced on you to celebrate an unwanted engagement that might turn into a violent confrontation with a vengeful maniac. Clearly brown shoes were out, but beyond that nothing really seemed de rigueur.
Morality, then, is not a set of arbitrary regulations dictated by a vengeful deity and written down in a book; nor is it the custom of a particular culture or tribe. It is a consequence of the interchangeability of perspectives and the opportunity the world provides for positive-sum games.
The slow-rising central horror of "Watergate" is not that it might grind down to the reluctant impeachment of a vengeful thug of a president whose entire political career has been a monument to the same kind of cheap shots and treachery he finally got nailed for, but that we might somehow fail to learn something from it.
Hunter S. Thompson
Worthless are those who injure others vengefully, while those who stoically endure are like stored gold. The gratification of the vengeful lasts only for a day, but the glory of the forbearing lasts until the end of time. Though unjustly aggrieved, it is best to suffer the suffering and refrain from unrighteous retaliation.
In The Lost Message of Jesus I claim that penal substitution is tantamount to 'child abuse - a vengeful Father punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed.' Though the sheer bluntness of this imagery (not original to me of course) might shock some, in truth, it is only a stark 'unmasking' of the violent, pre-Christian thinking behind such a theology.
The child--a skilled actor with a hundred masks: a different one for his mother, father, grandmother or grandfather, for a stern or lenient teacher, for the cook or maid, for his own friends, for the rich and poor. Naive and cunning, humble and haughty, gentle and vengeful, well behaved and willful, he disguises himself so well that he can lead us by the nose.
Human relationships didn't work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death--in a cesspool.
He pulled away the glove, and at the first glimpse of her fragile, white hand, all thoughts of negotiation fled. "I don't see how matters could become worse," he muttered. "I am already besotted with a needle-tongued, conceited, provoking ape leader of a lady." Her head jerked up. "Besotted? You're nothing like it. Vengeful is more like it. Spiteful.
He pulled away the glove, and at the first glimpse of her fragile, white hand, all thoughts of negotiation fled. "I don't see how matters could become worse, " he muttered. "I am already besotted with a needle-tongued, conceited, provoking ape leader of a lady." Her head jerked up. "Besotted? You're nothing like it. Vengeful is more like it. Spiteful.
The more passive one's life in the field, the greater the need to reverse the situation when one returns home, which is why the arcane and authoratative character of academic writing may be seen, to some extent, as a vengeful reaction to the inertia, uneventfulness, and waiting one had to endure as a guest at someone else's banquet. A way of redressing an existental imbalance, as it were reclaiming authorial will by superimposing one's own meaning on theirs...
Even at this stage, my preparations were like strapping on a parachute in an airplane that was about to crash; the whole time I was preparing to hurl myself out the door, I clung to the hope that something would happen at the last minute to forestall that terrible necessity I felt-not hostility, as psychiatric texts would say, or vengeful rage, or a desire for attention. This was done in secret, out of a need to alleviate pain which was as implacable as thirst.
American fighters of the Pacific War were not heroes. The desperation of island combat included exchanged barbarities of which no one would willingly speak for a generation. On the American side, there were foul racism, vengeful refusals to take prisoners, a generalized brutality that extended to a savage air war.
He wondered if today was that day, if he'd wake up different, wake up someone else who remembered him fondly. A new Doctor. He wondered if he'd approve. Would he be more gentle? That might not be so bad. More vengeful? He hoped not. Maybe he'd be a girl. That was distantly possible. Never been a girl. The Corsair had been a girl for a while. New perspective. Confuse people. Keep life interesting.
But there was a monster lurking in the deepest, blackest corners of his soul. An angry, slathering, vengeful beast, who had a mouth full of butcher knives and a tongue that dripped acid. A monster who ached for freedom. A monster that longed to flay the very soul from his victims, that monster was called the Darkrider.
Michael B. Patterson
God did not give Joseph any special information about how to get from being the son of a nomad in Palestine to being Pharaoh's right hand man in Egypt. What He did give Joseph were eleven jealous brothers, the attention of a very loose and vengeful woman, the ability to do the service of interpreting dreams and managing other people's affairs and the grace to do that faithfully wherever he was.
The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster cruel vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging three headed beast like god one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes fools and hypocrites.
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, 'I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, violent one, the other wolf is the loving compassionate one.' The grandson asked him, 'Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?' The grandfather answered, 'The one I feed.'
The source of most human violence and suffering has been a hidden children's holocaust throughout history, whereby billions of innocent human beings have been routinely murdered, bound, starved, raped, mutilated, battered, and tortured by their parents and other caregivers, so that they grow up as emotionally crippled adults and become vengeful time bombs who periodically restage their early traumas in sacrificial rites called wars.
You believed you could transcend the body as you aged, she tells herself. You believed you could rise above it, to a serene, nonphysical realm. But it's only through ecstasy you can do that, and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wings, no flight. Without that ecstasy you can only be dragged further down by the body, into its machinery. Its rusting, creaking, vengeful, brute machinery.
If you want to be with somebody who gets you, you prefer collusion to desire, safety to excitement (sometimes good things to prefer but not always the things most wanted). The wish to be understood may be our most vengeful demand, may be the way we hang on, as adults, to the grudge against our mothers; the way we never let our mothers of the hook for their not meeting our every need. Wanting to be understood, as adults, can be, among many other things our most violent form of nostalgia.
These minor, natural flaws did not explain why hers was but the deceptive beauty of the poisoned apple. It was not merely that she was shallow, a creature of simple malice: within her tiny skull a storm raged, hectic, vicious and vengeful. The depths of her character were murky and she herself, had she made the attempt, would struggle to rationalise her behaviour. In morals she was well-versed, for they had been imparted to her through fables as a young child, yet she could find no trace of villainy in her own actions. In her skewed world-view she was set apart.
The lily I condemned for thy hand, And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair: The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, One blushing shame, another white despair; A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath; But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth A vengeful canker eat him up to death. More flowers I noted, yet I none could see But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.
It was not for me, after these last seventy-two hours, to reject as too outlandish the possibility that the situation for him here had driven George crazy. Yet I did reject it. It was just too insipid a conclusion. Not everybody was cray. Resolute is not crazy. Deluded is not crazy. To be thwarted, vengeful, terrified, treacherous-this is not to be crazy. Not even fanatically held illusions are crazy, and deceit certainly isn't crazy-deceit, deviousness, cunning, cynicism, all of that is far from crazy... and there, that, deceit, there was the key to my confusion. Of course!
Read it with sorrow and you will feel hate. Read it with anger and you will feel vengeful. Read it with paranoia and you will feel confusion. Read it with empathy and you will feel compassion. Read it with love and you will feel flattery. Read it with hope and you will feel positive. Read it with humor and you will feel joy. Read it with God and you will feel the truth. Read it without bias and you will feel peace. Don't read it at all and you will not feel a thing.
Shannon L. Alder
The Revelations is an amazing, rich material that is full of stories about angels and angels being sent down to Earth to wipe out a third of the population. There are angels that come down and wipe out a third of the population and then another angel will come down and wipe out a third of all the animals living in the sea and another angel will come down and wipe out all the vegetation on the land. They are some vengeful individules, in Revelations, the angels. There is a lot of destructive capacity in an angel's being.
Different states of consciousness project different images of God-loving or vengeful or jealous, energetic or terrifying, and different images of God affect the nature and quality of our response to God... The image or idea of God as wrathful and jealous will have a different effect than the image or the idea of God as loving. Similarly, whether God is regarded as male or female will have a significant impact on the culture. (29)
As our planet takes action to cast out its manmade poisons and heal its man-caused wounds, many human inhabitants will no doubt give way to fear. Many will cling to seemingly powerful we're-God's-chosen-people religions, hoping that by so doing they will be saved from the wrath of a Vengeful God (not recognizing that the approaching "vengeance" will in reality be man's own actions coming back at him - and not recognizing that the Infinite Universal Power is far more than the narrow-minded gatekeeper of an exclusive Spiritual Country Club).
Obsession. It starts with a spark. A flicker. At the strike of a match. Lying dormant in most of us, obsession feasts on the fumes, breathes in the smoky scent, curing around and in on itself. Building. We pet it, nurse it into existence. It is ours. All ours. A coveted perfection. And when it refuses to be ignored, it rages. It roars to life. A building inferno. Consuming. We are but pawns to its deceptive power. Though we attempt to guide it, caress it tenderly into a loving beauty, it can not be controlled. It's a haunted, vengeful lover. Like a wildfire devouring life within it's path, we can only follow it's carnal trail.
Science discovered long ago that carbon is a source of life. The ashes of my faith have prepared the ground for the planting of seeds that have produced new forms of truth, morality and meaning on my own terms, not according to the dogma laid down by religious ruffians or a vengeful God. If, as believers claim, the word "gospel" means good news, then the good news for me is that there is no gospel, other than what I can define for myself, by observation and conscience. As a journalist and free-thinking human being, I have come not to favor and fear religion, but to face and fight it as an impediment to civilized advancement.
my father, [was] a mid-level phonecompany manager who treated my mother at best like an incompetent employee. At worst? He never beat her, but his pure, inarticulate fury would fill the house for days, weeks, at a time, making the air humid, hard to breathe, my father stalking around with his lower jaw jutting out, giving him the look of a wounded, vengeful boxer, grinding his teeth so loud you could hear it across the room... I'm sure he told himself: 'I never hit her'. I'm sure because of this technicality he never saw himself as an abuser. But he turned our family life into an endless road trip with bad directions and a rage-clenched driver, a vacation that never got a chance to be fun.
Anger is a consuming thing, a burning takeover. It sets up shop in your heart and head and murders anything else attempting to makes it way in. Life becomes obsessed with it, clouded with it, engrossed in it. You justify feeling with delusions that you're owed retribution. You condone thoughts and vengeful acts, feeding yourself with the idea that it's warranted. But that nourishment comes at a price. It costs you pieces of your soul, your love, your worth. You disregard your beliefs, your conscience. You adopt apathy like it's salvation because you know in your heart of hearts that you would deteriorate into nothing without it. Because you don't want to let it go. It makes you feel powerful, that anger. It makes you feel important. So you will let it eat you alive, consume every part of you until all that's left is hollow revenge.
You can tell a lot about a country by its prisons. In hippy-dippy Socialist Sweden, rapists and murders (all three of them) while away their days making arts and crafts in what are essentially taxpayer-funded mental health clinics. The Swedes' theory seems to be that a) anyone who commits such a crime must be crazy and b) with enough art therapy, the individual in question will soon become just another law-abiding, nude-sunbathing pot-smoker. In America, we think people in prison are either the victims of some terrible government conspiracy, the victims of 'society'-whatever that means-or heinous evildoers. And if they are heinous enough, we fry them with electricity, unless of course they find Jesus first. The Swedes, in a nutshell, are tolerant and forgiving, verging on the naive; Americans are religious and vengeful, suspicious of their government, and suckers for tear-jerking tales of redemption.
This brings us to the crux moment in the supposed 'Show Trial' melodrama. Employing the confusing and confused testimony of Jude Wanniski (who he also describes as a political nut-case, if not a nut-case flat-out, and to whom he introduced me in the first place) Blumenthal suggests that I concerted my testimony in advance with the House Republicans, notably James Rogan and Lindsey Graham. Feebly bridging the gap between sheer conjecture and outright conspiracy, Rogan is quoted as saying: 'Hitchens may well have called Lindsey..' I did not in fact do any such thing. Why should my denial be believed? It's not as if I care. I probably should have colluded with them, if my intention was to land a blow on Clinton (which it was) let alone to plant a Judas kiss on Blumenthal (which it was not). But every other fragment of Blumenthal's evidence and description shows-even boasts-that Congressman Graham was essentially punching air until the last day of the trial. That could not possibly have been true, especially in his cross-examination of Blumenthal, if he knew he had an ace in his vest-pocket all along. Only a tendency to paranoia or to all-explaining theories could suggest the contrary. I'd even be able to claim for myself, I hope, that if I'd truly wanted to gouge a deep or vengeful wound I could or would have made a better job of it.
There was a warrior once who fought Against man's subtlest, mightiest foe, And more than valiant deeds he wrought T' effect th' enslaver's overthrow. But ah! how dread was his campaign, Forc'd in the wilderness to stray, Lone, hungry, stung with grief and pain, And thus sustain the arduous fray. Prompt at each call from place to place, 'Mid sin's dark shade and sorrow's flow, He sped to save man's erring race, And bear for him the vengeful blow. But when his soldiers saw the strife, When imminent the danger grew, Though 'twas for them he pledg'd his life, Like dastards from the field they flew. Wearied, forsaken, still he strove, And gain'd the glorious victory; Yet such achievements few could move, To hail his triumpn 'beath the sky. Dying he conquer'd; yet at last No human honours grac'd his bier; No trumpet wail'd its mournful blast, No muffl'd drum made music drear. But when he dy'd the rocks were rent, The sun his radiant beams withheld, All nature shudder'd at th' event, And horror every bosom swell'd. E'en Death, fell Death! could not detain Him, who for man his life had given, He burst the ineffectual chain, And soar'd his advocate to heaven.
The universality of reason is a momentous realization, because it defines a place for morality. If I appeal to you do do something that affects me-to get off my foot, or not to stab me for the fun of it, or to save my child from drowning-then I can't do it in a way that privileges my interests of yours if I want you to take me seriously (say, by retaining my right to stand on your foot, or to stab you, or to let your children drown). I have to state my case in a way that would force me to treat you in kind. I can't act as if my interests are special just because I'm me and you're not, any more than I can persuade you that the spot I am standing on is a special place in the universe just because I happen to be standing on it. You and I ought to reach this moral understanding not just so we can have a logically consistent conversation but because mutual unselfishness is the only way we can simultaneously pursue our interests. You and I are both better off if we share our surpluses, rescue each other's children when they get into trouble, and refrain from knifing each other than we would be if we hoarded our surpluses while they rotted, let each other's children drown, and feuded incessantly. Granted, I might be a bit better off if I acted selfishly at your expense and you played the sucker, but the same is true for you with me, so if each of us tried for these advantages, we'd both end up worse off. Any neutral observer, and you and I if we could talk it over rationally, would have to conclude that the state we should aim for is the one where we both are unselfish. Morality, then, is not a set of arbitrary regulations dictated by a vengeful deity and written down in a book; nor is it the custom of a particular culture or tribe. It is a consequence of the interchangeability of perspectives and the opportunity the world provides for positive-sum games.
The God to whom I was introduced as a child was basically a Jewish one: male, fatherly, Anglo-European, bearded, angrily loving, judgmental, righteously indignant, mand frighteningly powerful, not to mention present everywhere and all-knowing. In trying to make sense of this God, man has continued to manufacture and manipulate images of this perceived deity. The images have changed over the centuries, based on the mood of the times. During kind times when harvests were abundant and peace reigned (admittedly rare in the ancient world), God was benevolent. When plpague and famine killed millions, God was portrayed as enraged and vengeful. To this day, this emotionally infantile God remains in power, a fear-based aberration produced by fevered imaginations, promoted by those who understand how such a deity can be used to gain and consolidate power over believers, and protected by flocks of billions who refuse to question their damning God for fear of their own damnation - or out of an even greater immediate terror of social and cultural isolation. But I argue that it is PRECISELY this image of God - an infantile, simplistic, ridiculous notion of the sublime power that underlies the world - that is destroying civil religion, fueling the rage of the "angry atheist" movement, and pitting science against the spiritual at a time when we should be using every tool within reach to discover what it means to be human - and divinely human at that.
Carlton D. Pearson