I’ve been arguing on this site that the basic problem with mankind is idolatry – we ascribe ultimate value to things that are not ultimately valuable, when we should be worshipping God alone. The most common idol, I believe, is ourselves. This is what Augustine was referring to in the last post. Pride is the root of most of our problems.
The easiest way to exalting ourselves is to put somebody else beneath us – to humiliate them, make them realize their powerless and meek state before us. This makes us feel strong and powerful and feeds the idolatrous desire. We see this played out in everything from taunting on the playground (or professional football field) to office backbiting and gossip. Sometimes, however, it get taken to a different level.
When the Americans were killed and mutilated in Fallujah with their bodies hung from a bridge, that was a sign of humiliation. The Iraqis were showing the world who was great and powerful and worthy of worship. In the same way American soldiers who forced Iraqis into disgusting acts were doing it for one reason – to humiliate them – to show the Iraqis who was really great and powerful and worthy of worship.
Ans so it will continue. One man’s pride versus another’s. At least until the day when every knee will bow and every tounge confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and He alone is worthy. May that day come quickly.