Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Is religion bunk

We are what our sleep dreams are; (Apr. 15, 2010)

 

Calendar and time going decimal; (Apr. 16, 2010)

 

George Mitchell and I; (Apr. 16, 2010)

 

Downgraded Gypsy (Apr. 17, 2010)

 

Is religion bunk? Case of Byzantium Empire; (Apr. 18, 2010)

 

States Blackmails: Veil versus multinational aids ; (Apr. 19, 2010)

 

Iran and Syria: a difficult 30 years alliance; (Apr. 20, 2010)

Is religion bunk?  Case of Byzantium Empire; (Apr. 18, 2010)

I read a couple of days ago the history of the Byzantium Empire and the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

This historical account of the rise and demise of a “Christian” Empire got me into thinking about this ridiculous infighting based on religious dogma.

I learned that the emperors of the Byzantium Empire were relegated to vassals to the Ottoman Sultans since 1350.  The Byzantine Emperor paid tribute and could be summoned anytime to join the Ottoman Sultan in military campaigns against “Christian” regions and cities.

Many Byzantine Emperors travelled to Europe and extended their stay for years drumming up support for the Empire in the Orient and were turned down for discordance on religious dogmatic positions.

The Catholic Church based in Rome demanded first the unification of the Catholic and Orthodox sects before financial or military support are extended to Constantinople.   For example, the Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople came up with a consensus stating that the two natures of Christ share a common energy. Papal Rome refused this gimmick.

The Orthodox Church offered another alternative “The two natures of Christ share common will” and this proposition didn’t fly well.

The orthodox Church came back with this idea “The Holy Ghost emanates from God through his son Jesus“; Papal Rome insisted that this ghost emanates from the father And the son…

Irrelevant divergences that had nothing to do with religion but political power and dominion.  The two sects agreed on the message of Jesus and that he resurrected; then what is all this fuss about?

Actually, Constantinople was basically reduced to a City State since 1350: the Ottoman Sultans had conquered Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania, and the northern regions of Greece.  Constantinople managed to survive and sustain 4 sieges simply because the Ottoman Sultans had not yet built a naval power to block the maritime entrance in the Golden Horn estuary for supplies.

The wealthy maritime powers of the City Republics of Venice and Genoa were at war most the 14th century: When Venice came to the rescue for a price, Genoa plotted to deprive Venice from any concessions by using and abusing of contending Emperors in Constantinople.

In 1402, Constantinople had an extension on its life because the Mogul Tamerlane (Timor Lank) of Samarkand had defeated the Ottoman army and cut it to pieces.  Otherwise, the Ottoman Sultans could easily conquer most of Europe, including Italy 50 years earlier.

By 1450, Constantinople had barely 50,000 inhabitants and 7,000 valid individuals to defending the city walls extending to 22 kilometers.  The plague had stricken several times and prosperous merchants had immigrated to southern Greece.

Religion is not even an ideology: it just permeates all aspects of life and is a prime factor in political problems.

Political professionals use and abuse of religious inclinations as a cover to mobilize energies for exercising extensive power.

What variants of democratic systems managed to do was to establish institutions and laws that counter, prohibit, and occasionally punish political professionals and civil administrators from using religion for State interests and programs.

Nietzsche wrote: “God is dead but mankind is always locating God’s Shadows in caverns. Mankind has still got to vanquish the Shadows.

Religion potency is that it survives and is implicit in political programs:  religion is used as the omnipresent symbol for any kinds of changes or the continuation of statue quos.

Although science in modern time has somewhat supplanted religious dogmas, even the rational scientists are profoundly contaminated by religion in many aspects of their research.  Faith is still a catalyst to rational understanding and frequently the engine for reasoning.

Scientists thrive to homogenize their theories (as religion does) and impose concepts by consensus until a few bold minds disturb the consensus (paradigm shift).

So far, science has prolonged the period of mankind ignorance because it refuses to be based on relevant cultural meaning:  Science is neutral! Maybe this void of cultural basis in science is mainly the consequences that modern scientists are no “Renaissance Men” and lack essential human knowledge to communicate and interact with common people.

Fact is, most researches are financed by institutions with explicit purposes and implicit ideologies.

Is religion bunk?

Religion impresses kids and the elderly. Kids are ignorant and elderly are eternally scared of the next eternal unknown.

It is better for kids to learn and be instructed on the UN Charter with all its supra-laws corresponding to all kinds of human rights.

As for the elderly, it is good to remind them of the dictum of US diplomats: “When dealing with the US institutions then you better not put all your eggs in one basket”.

I suggest to the elderly and terminally ills not to put all their eggs in a single religious dogma.

Part 1. “The Ideological Analysis of Christianism in reply to  Nietzsche’s position”, by Aida Ghoussoub (April 5, 2009)

 

Note: Aida Ghoussoub wrote this French Doctorate thesis in 1984 at the Sorbonne. I found it well thought out to summarize her thesis and discuss it as an extension to my six articles on Nietzsche’s Philosopher of Life.  The first part is about the author and why she worked on Nietzsche; the second part will deal with the analysis proper.

 

            Aida Ghoussoub was a nun of the Christian Maronite sect before the civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975; she had a bright mind too.  As the war dragged on, her religious institution took side in the conflict and showed its ugly face of intolerance and barbarism.  Aida repudiated her formal oath of blind obedience to the institution in order to follow her conscience and the true message of Jesus.  Aida was studying at the French faculty in Lebanon when the French government decided to temporarily close down the university; she immigrated to Paris and resumed her study in philosophy.

            Initially, the author contemplated a comparative study between Nietzsche’s ascetic ideal and the corresponding Maronite ascetic ideal.  (The Maronite constituted since the 6th century a structured social and religious institution oriented mostly toward ascetic life).  This project was out the window because the author had no access to Maronite manuscripts stored in monasteries during the war.  Christianism is an important topic in the author’s life and she admits that Christianity, even in secular societies, is permanently pervasive at all levels in the social fabrics from government, political decisions, education, and moral values; thus, Christianism is an ideology. Nietzsche has sensed the “bad taste” attitude of the sacerdotal caste to always view any opinion or position as an attack at its theology. It turned out that Nietzsche didn’t directly criticize Christianism from an ideological perspective, a void that the author considered worth investigating.

            But why study Nietzsche?  The author had to read Plato, Descartes, Kant, Hegel and Schopenhauer, but Nietzsche was an aggressive and affirmative philosopher, an active philosopher who wanted to change. He wrote: “A snake has to change its skin to survive.  The same goes to spirits: if free expression of opinions is usurped, then spirits die. Thinking in the active is to think against time, on the time, and in favor of the future time.” It is in the nature of man to be spiritual and to endeavor in the constant process of re-invention of the self.

  

Nietzsche interrogated on the every day realities of existence, and how man struggle with life day in, day out. Nietzsche wrote “Would you like to deal with fundamental problems on the salvation of humanity, God, immortality, and destiny after death? That is fine and dandy, commendable, and merit due reflection. As you are dealing with these abstract notions, I have a few questions to ask: How do you live with your body? What do you drink in the morning? How do you nourish your body? How do you relax? What are you work patterns? Are you aware of the climate that most suits you?  Don’t you think that all these little details turn out to be, in fact, more important to you? Are not these little details more exigent in rigor and of immediate nature than far-fetched concepts?”

            It must have been a lonely, silent, and daunting project for Aida, grappling with conditions of earning a living in Paris and constantly worried about the consequences of the civil war raging in her country.  However, the author took the warning of Nietzsche at heart: “Philosophy demands of its admirer to step aside, take time, learn silence, becoming slow in reading, profoundly, cautiously looking behind, ahead of oneself, with after thoughts, and eyes wide open.  That is why philosophy is more necessary today than at any other periods, because the kinds of work-habit and the frenzy required to finish with a task or a job is totally indecent in its demands”   

            The author was challenged in tackling Nietzsche’s train of thoughts: Nietzsche is the type who meditates, ruminates at great length, continuously transcribes his reflections and intentions, and answers his own and other philosophers’ queries. Nietzsche steps back from polemics and anticipate the future. It is difficult to interpret his mood swings, the situations that drive his aggressiveness and then his conciliating moments.

Note: I published “Is religion bunk? Case of Byzantium Empire” as a continuation of my review of Aida Ghoussoub’s thesis.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,428,912 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 777 other followers

%d bloggers like this: