It is perennially interesting to ponder who and what were Nephilim, and how instrumental were they to God’s decision to wipe out humanity once upon a time. He spared only Noah and his family, who alone were still “righteous” and uncorrupted.
The wondering is interesting, but never conclusive, because there are so many opinions, so many schools of thought. I read a three-part novel a while back — one of those endtimes fictions I usually avoid but picked up at the urging of a friend, and though they needed some copy-editing I was surprised to find the books troubling, fascinating and tremendously entertaining. The Nephilim (and Gibborim) came up in the story in a very striking way, via the re-writing of genetic code.
I thought of the Nephilim today while chatting with a friend over the story of the expulsion of Christians from their ancestral homes in Iraq, and the absence of media (or, apparently, governmental) interest. “People hear want they want to hear, and they also don’t like their prejudices or ideas challenged,” my friend said, and he added: “What I am very concerned about right now is politicization in the states about this. The last thing Christians in the Middle East need, especially those victimized by partisan extremism, is to have their cause hijacked for partisan purposes here.”
Too right, of course, but I told my friend I didn’t think it would be possible to shield this one issue from the scourge of ideological alignment, simply because we have reached a point in America where very few are willing to unwind themselves from the idols to which they are clinging. I told him that I, too, was worried about the partisanship and the narrowing of focus which would make it difficult for people to see that it isn’t only the Christians being threatened — that eventually we will see the Shiite Muslims, being brutalized, and yes, Christian and Jews and “incorrect” Muslims in other lands.
In fact, it is already happening. The evil of ISIS is not simply a “Muslim evil” it is bigger than that. It is the same cursed anti-Christ that has raised its head in history before, and been beaten back, only to slither away and arise from a new location. People who want to view this situation narrowly, and use it to affirm their opinions of one group of faith-based people, need to realize that this beast has a ready partner to be found in those who would like nothing better than to stamp out all religion in the name of an ironic and false “tolerance.” If one jackboot is good, two are better — they run faster and farther.
If the thought remains narrow, if the blinders induced by partisan-fervor have their way, no part of this can end well. I frankly have no hope at all that our enthralled populace will be able to escape the ideologies around which they have formed their identities, in order to more clearly recognize this evil. “One of the reasons America is crumbling,” I wrote back, “is because we’ve made idols of our ideologies. We’ve entwined our faith — or lack of it — all about our politics and created a bad hybrid. The country has become overrun with spiritual Nephilim.”
Once I’d written the words, I realized how true they were. Americans have taken their religious beliefs (whether traditional, or secular-humanist, or environmental, or athetistic, it all becomes “religion” because that is what humans do) and have infused the DNA of soul-and-consciouness spiritual beliefs with metamorphic, easily-distorted ideologies, thus corrupting both.
Last night on twitter some mouth at the NYTimes was doing jackboot talk about stamping out the churches b/c they’re so politically incorrect. That’s just the secular sort of spiritual Nephilim; corrupted by correctness. The man suggesting this later tried to clarify his thinking, and wrote that he only meant people should be forced into tolerance by pretty much any means necessary, but “I didn’t say we should ‘off’ them.”
No, of course he didn’t, but if history has taught us nothing else, we know that when you you’re ready to socially ostracize people and prevent them from earning a living, it is only a very small step, then, to “offing” them. When you lose sight of the humanity of “the other” to this extreme, you have already handed yourself over to the corruption. You’ve lost to your idols.
Sadly, the country seems just about at that point. Unless there is a serious, purposeful pulling away from the echo chambers of rampant ideological certitude, on all sides, we are going to crumble as spectacularly as the Twin Towers did, not so long ago.
And it’s going to be an inside job. We’ll have done it to ourselves.
I wrote a book about all of this, by the way.
Patheos is about to make all of her bloggers get offline in order to effect an upgrade. There may be typos in this as I was rushing. In order to prevent my messing anything up because I have come in to moderate comments, I am just going to close them. They will reopen tomorrow at Noon. Thanks for understanding.