Whatever that was, it was not an Israeli missile,” I muttered while watching the Gaza hospital explosion news reports.
How do you know?” Mr. Jenkins asked.
Obliviously lost in thought, Mr. Jenkins tugged at my sleeve, “Oh, sorry,” I responded. “How can I help, Mr. Jenkins?
How do you know?
Know what?
Clearing his throat, he repeated, “How do you know the Israelis didn’t fire that missile?
Oh, sorry, sir. I know because the hospital is still standing.

I briefly explained that nearly all missiles Israel’s military uses are precision-guided or laser-guided. The missiles are programmed with coordinates confirmed by two other analysts before launch. If an Israeli rocket hit that hospital, the building would have collapsed. When Hamas fires a missile, they say, “Allah be with you,” and hope it lands somewhere close. When an Israeli rocket launches, the missile is programmed to hit “8004 West Nowhere Street.”

All these missiles are just another tool in the war of hatred. And to be honest, I struggle with the depth of God’s love when all nations do is lob missiles back and forth. I’ll admit that the God I believe in is not the God we get in these moments. A very personal piece of me wants a very loving God. I also know it’s ridiculous at another level to believe in God because if that God exists, we’ve kicked His ass out the door of our life long ago. In the end, the best that nations are doing is hateing each other and finding better ways to destroy one another.

Several days ago, another patient asked, “Where was God?” She was looking for what we all are looking for: to find some way for the God we love not to allow terrorists to blow us apart. We’re all looking for that. Unfortunately, Hamas terrorists launching all those missiles toward Israel thought God was intervening. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. The Israelites firing missiles in return also believe God is intervening. It’s so strange to understand how people can use such hope to justify that which is both nurturing and horrific.

During the past few days, I have kept reflecting. Why do a lot of really educated folks hate the Jews? Or, why does Hamas hate the Jews? Why did Hitler hate the Jews? And why do we hate? I cannot answer it. But all I know is the evidence of baked-in hatred: the overwhelming destruction and disregard for the value of life. Yet here I am. I repeatedly find myself in someplace where there’s too much death and silence — and that’s evil. We have to be willing to call it out. What happened to Israel was terrorism. And what do you say about what has happened to the Palestinians? Unnecessary bloodshed and bigotry. Bigotry, racism, and criminality have occurred in undeserved proportions. The relentless periods of death are not God’s desire.

On September 11, 2001, religion drove those planes into those buildings. That isn’t very pleasant, but that’s what happened. There’s a vibrant tradition that followers used to justify what they did. Likewise, religion and hatred drove Hamas terrorists to kill innocent children and bystanders. The terrorists who went into Israel on October 7 and murdered over 1,000 people didn’t do it on a whim. They had deeply connected to a worthless faith, a religious tradition that pushed them there. The violence associated with God (or a ‘faith’) is genuine. And the worst thing we can do is make excuses where none of us admit the blood on our hands.

MSNBC, CNN, and BBC continuously replay the terrorist acts. I’ve watched countless rockets fly to and fro. I thought to myself, this is what hell looks like. Hatred led to death, which was followed by more hate. And it was overwhelming. People were chaotically trying to put some order into the disorder, which seemed like a feeble attempt. I became convinced of my flaws as I looked deeper into the abyss. I had always paid lip service to it, but now I knew it was undeniable and indisputable: we are all one. It doesn’t matter what our race, creed, gender, or background happens to be. We’re all one. We live together; ultimately, we all die together.

We have to stop the hatred.