The ‘Inscrutable Will of God’


‘God’ reels as Jesus retches. Every nail in your cross, every pulsing pain of heart and nerve is shared, without concession. The All-Mighty that you kneel to in worship and praise is no less the Altogether-Defenseless, the Exquisitely-Exposed, in need of your embrace in compassion and succor.

[This is the more insightful mystical take on the Christian Myth, not that of the popular Pastor.]

We need these stories, we nurture these myths. And why shouldn’t we? Suffering and Violence need to be made tolerable.

We Make Hitler a comic figure [as Chaplin did] with a funny mustache. ‘Pol Pot didn’t know’, explains my Cambodian taxi-driver whose family was wiped out, shot between the eyes by teen-age enforcers in the Khmer Rouge Killing-Fields, driving me back from a day spent on the very site.

We try desperately, shamelessly and routinely, to bring such events into the loci of the familiar and less frightening. We do insane stuff to make them sensible.

When the Mongols under Hulagu sacked Baghdad in 1258 C.E. they leveled 2,000 years of history in two weeks. Hospitals and mosques were razed to the ground. Women of the harems, bred in refinement, protected from the gaze of men since birth, were passed around among the wild horsemen.

The Tigris ran red and black, the latter from the ink of the sacked libraries. Islamic Culture, with its pioneering investigations, open inquiry and inspired art was at its peak, here at a center of the civilized world.

The pious needed an explanation. The ‘Inscrutable Will of God’. Arabic scholarly texts of the period, citing a million dead [the same as the population estimate] and groping hopelessly for a phrase, settle for the more mundane: ‘Judgment of God’.

You think confronting Shūnyam for its stark madness, which is the same as confronting your own cherished and fragile notions of human sanity and sense, is more taxing on your imagination?