Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘monotheist religions

Comments and reply on “Islam is one of the heretic Christian-Jewish sects”

When a reader invest time to send an expanded comment, I feel responsible to reply.  In order to follow-up with the discussion, please first read the subject matter on https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/islam-is-one-of-the-%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D-christian-jewish-sects/

One of the comments said:

“Although I do appreciate the anthropology lecture.  It put some details on what I knew generally.  For that I thank you.  However, …
Your last sentence in this Blog article is a cheap shot and shows how you tend to want to compare religions to achieve some kind of supremacy: the true danger of this type of thinking.

At first, you show your interest in exploring historical progression of religions.  But then you turned this into competition.  FYI Christianity is first a religion then it has its own sects just like Islam does too.
Anyway, that shows your ignorance as from the average muslim standpoint, the proper comparison is with Jesus Christ (not another prophet but the beginning of the Christian religion thinking influence).

You would think that with you realizing the importance of the Christian religion in the evolution of Mohammad’s actions into creating Islam, that you would be a constructive person.  Unfortunate really.

All this knowledge and you maintain the poor level of spirit to be constructive.  You should think of how to bring all this knowledge into useful constructive result for muslims to be more tolerant of christians (whatever sect they are from) and talk of christianity as a religion and not an ethnic group, regardless of historical events.

We live in a time when communication is so fast, that we should use this luxury to quash the tendencies of using the difference of religion beliefs for competition purposes.  You can’t judge todays people by the historical events of their ancestors of hundreds and thousands years ago.  This is where things can turn dangerous.

What’s so good about that?  We don’t want that … do we?
I would assume that you are familiar with the evolution of our planet and its creatures and so I ask you, what’s the use of religion in an individual’s life?  I mean why the complication?

When you realize the usefulness of religion, you will start seeing the answer to this question, then you will turn into constructive thinking.” End of quote.

I re-read my article. and the last paragraph, and the last sentence, and the note…and could not find a relationship between the string of comments and the subject matter.  The only correspondence could be the keyword “religion”.  My reply could more accurately be defined as “Comments on comments”.  The comments, although going on tangents, open up serious issues that need to be confronted.

Every religion is inherited from the dogma of previously disseminated religions.  The differences are essentially minor in the fundamental abstract concepts.  The antagonism among religious believers are consequences of the application of the clerics, vested with the power to influence and disseminate the set of moral values that suit the power-to-be.

Almost all religious “messengers” shared common characteristics; First, they were learned people, relative to their period, and assimilated the previous religious dogmas known during their period. Second, they applied kinds of meditation techniques, and experienced periods of asceticism. Third, they had the courage to speak in public places and confront set values predominant at the period.  I guess charisma is a combination of moral characters, level of knowledge, and comfortable inclination toward mass communication.

My post was not an anthropology lecture, and I don’t know how the reader understand the term anthropology. I was suggesting a scientific method for studying the various “monotheist religions”.  How supremacy came to be discovered in my post?

And then the reader writes “ignorance as from the average muslim standpoint”, and I wonder: “why did he have to assume I am a Moslem? Did this guy read the Koran, did he practice Islam, did he assimilate Islam…in order to assign me a poor grade?”  This idiosyncratic tendency is pretty common: When you discuss about a minority religion within a majority religion community, and refrain from belittling the minority religion, then you are judged to be a member of the minority religion.

In any case, I don’t give a hoot about religious belief.  Actually I feel pain when I listen to someone talk on religion for hours on, or proselytizing full-time for his religious sect.  It sends the strong signal that the person is culturally illiterate, trying to convince another individual on abstract matters as originating from “divine” Books…

Suddenly, this reader jumps to “talk of christianity as a religion and not an ethnic group, regardless of historical events…”  This is interesting: First, I didn’t say anything on that issue, but since the comment brought it up I take the plunge.  I hear frequently that we should distinguish among the religion, the dogma, the clerics, and the community of believers…These distinctions are virtual intellectual discussion.  Why?

Religious clerical system forms the largest and deepest educational network in any society, especially among the majority religion.  The seeds of the teaching (philosophy and moral values…) existing in the language, the customs, the tradition, and the value system of the religious dogma and teaching, are predominant and active, regardless of the changes that occur in society.

The kind of philosophies that rely on religion as sources of their framework of thought are not philosophy, but a line of thought which represents the power-to-be ideology and defined culture.

I have to agree that “religion is the opium of the common people” because the religious hierarchy deny the believers rational thinking, and encourage them to vote and think according to the dominant culture, the patriotic values to abide with…

The courageous stands in public places is very contagious. So is cowardness for tackling rational reflections.

Note:  I realized that this article registered 550 hits. I hope people will focus more on how religion was applied and why it was applied, and stop focusing on the abstract notions that are common to all religions.  It is not worth saying “My God will vanquish my enemy” when going to wars for vested material interest.  A minimum of humility and respect for the other opinions and positions are fundamental requirements for any semblance of peace.

Religions being re-defined: Modern trends

In November 2009, I published an essay “Modern Europe re-defines Christianity“.

From the few extensive comments that I received, I decided it is an opportunity to re-edit the essay and include a few other “monotheist” religions or what I call “mono-idolatry” as the trend is in redefining the ancient religious ideology.

A few years ago, the European Parliament was considering attaching a clause in the Constitution that Christianity is the foundation of Europe’s civilization. It didn’t pass.  Europe saved its modern identity as promoter of human rights and human dignity.

How could a religion (one of the many in Europe), one of the various attributes in the vast matrix of a civilization, be the exclusive characteristics of Europe?  Europe is a heterogeneous society of Nordic, Slavic, and Mediterranean climate and cultures and was dominated intermittently by several Empires.

Modern Europe has extended to its citizens a network of basic human rights.  This respect to human dignity was not the case until late in the 20th century:  Respect of man did not evolve historically as a continuum, but in bounds. Retrospective historical studies tend to discover just the illusion of human respect for rights and dignity.

Europeans claiming Christianity to be the foundation for Europe’s new trend for “mercy, forgiveness, and kindness” (trying to attach these attribute to Europeans) forget that for 10 centuries the strongest faith in Europe was based on violence.

For example, the Inquisition that started in Spain and spread to most Europe, the chasing out of the Moslems and Jews from Spain, the Crusading campaigns, the conquest of overseas lands with the benediction of Papal Rome, the division of the conquered lands among the European monarchs by Papal decrees, the religious mass massacres among the Christian sects and factions with Papal consent, the so many wars in Europe where the Catholic Church was an integral party.

And the worst of all, the Dark Age in Europe that lasted from 400 to the 15th century because the central religious power in Rome was apprehensive of rational thinking and forbade the influx of scientific works that might rob it of its temporal power.

There are Europeans claiming that it was Christianity that set the foundation of the individualistic character in Europe, a non-conformist attitude to the collective norms, rituals, and traditions, the will for self-realization rather than clinging to the behavior of rank and file; these chauvinistic Europeans are also relying on entrenched illusions.

The Christian Church was the personification of harassing free thinkers and burning who defied the Christian central dogma for many centuries. Once baptized as a Christian at birth, you had no other alternatives but to obey the Christian laws.  Christianity was the most exclusive religion among all religions:  It coerced colonized people by force into Christianity.

As “Saint” Augustine wrote “It does not matter the faith of a new convert; what counts is what time and rituals will produce in the long run on him and his descendants.

This is exactly the tactics of western globalization that state: “Promote the consumerism of technological gadgets and the world will acquire faith in the superiority of western civilization

It is paganism that disseminated liberal thinking of individuality.

A pagan could worship any other idol in foreign lands (with different name but with the same potency in his mind, like the god of rain…) and he was never persecuted.

A pagan could switch idols that suited his interest of the period, and his community would not persecute him or ex-communicate him on his God’s preferences.

The modern principle of universality (which means that individuals of all genders, races, colors, and origins have the same mental potentials and capabilities as human and that the differences reside in societies) was never a Christian dogma.

Christianity never had this meaning of universality in its dictionary of laws; a slave was a slave by birth and should accept his condition and offers his miseries and plights as sacrifices to God Jesus who suffered for the entire humanity and forgiveness of the “original sin” that never existed.

The discovery by the Europeans of the universality of mankind was due to the de-colonization process, an implicit discourse on the role of society during the 20th century.

How could equality and fraternity have emerged from Christianity in order to claim that Europe’s roots are Christian?

For example, Lactance wrote in 314:

People are born equal. In societies where people are not considered equal justice is not served.  Yes, within the Christian communities there are rich and poor, masters and slaves by the flesh but they are equal in the spirit.”  What a sweet nonsense!  It is plainly a repeat of St. Paul’s ejaculation that added oil to the machinery of the caste system.

The same meaning was offered by Prophet Muhammad: “We are equal in our religious faith…”

For example, the so-called Gregory “the Great” considered charity what was offered to nobles who were reduced to poverty. Why?

Because of the huge suffering the reduced noblemen felt of being considered within the rank of the poor classes.  Thus, the true poor people by birth were so used to their way of life that they didn’t need much charity to survive.

The Western Christian Churches (Catholic and Protestants) supported and maintained the caste system of nobility and the “others” non-noble classes.  The feudal lord had the right to crush his vassals with all the might he possessed as a father had the rights over his kids.

There are many Europeans who claim that it was Christianity that promoted the separation of the spiritual from the temporal power on the basis of Jesus saying “Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God was is due to God”.   This claim is total nonsense.

Most of the wars in Europe were launched by monarchs against the temporal influence of Papal Rome in state matters.  Neither the Catholic Church nor the various Protestant sects relinquished their temporal “rights”.

It does not mean that the previous sentence of Jesus had no influence in the mind of modern Europe; it does not mean also that Christianity willingly relinquished its temporal influence based on that sentence.

Protestantism had this indirect advantage that it weakened the central power of Papal Rome. Consequently, Islam scientific manuscripts were permitted to enter Europe. This new openness to rational discovery was the main catalyst for the Renaissance period and the qualitative jump into modernity.  

The Prophet Mohammad also urged Moslems to acquire knowledge even from China; it worked for 4 centuries; it does not mean that Moslems remembered that encouragement most of the time.

Current Islamic Wahhabi extremist sects have high-jacked the fundamentally rational thinking of early Islam:  Current Islamic salafists are emulating the way the Mogul and central Asia new Moslem converts in the 11th century understood the Coran: Literally, like those Jehovah witness followers… Actually, their traditional and custom belief system is based on the Hadith (what people remembered of the Prophet’s sayings and behaviors…)

The Arab spring uprising is fundamentally directed at the obscurantist Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia monarchy) sect that infused billion in the last 3 decades to redirect Moslem belief according to their own brand of Islam.

There are Europeans, when pressed to give an identity (other than their State), opt for their religious denomination (with utmost reluctance in Europe) and thus, when a European says that he is Christian it is sort of a family name, the latest in heritage, as cathedrals, old churches, and the paintings, sculptures, and music of the Renaissance period.

Christianity cannot be used as identification because it won’t do: most of the US citizens also claim to be Christians, as is the case with Latin Americans.  Does this means that they could also be considered Europeans or of European civilization roots or their civilization emanate from Greece, as Europe would like us to agree on that nonsense?

Modern Europe is democratic, secular, with laws guaranteeing free religious beliefs, free speech, gathering, and opinions, human rights, sexual liberty, welfare states, open borders and travel.  Modern Europe is anathema to the principles and practices of Christian Churches.  Christianity must be glad that the modern European civilization is giving it not just a mere face lift, but a totally different identity.

I received these comments to my essay: “It is a very interesting argument.  I find that much of what is said in the argument cannot be refuted.  I speak as a Christian. However, much of the religious wars fought in Europe were not “religious” in nature at all.”

“Believe it or not, the wars that were launched by bishops and the clergy of the different belligerent forces in Europe were seeking to preserve their tax base.  If the church loses adherents to the faith, that church also lost taxing power.  Therefore, any opposition power that threatened the tax base of the church had to be answered with war.  These wars were over money and power…

“Additionally, I believe in the separation of church and state.  The state has no business in collecting a tax to support a “state sponsored church” or to determine how the governed should worship their creator.  In fact, the clergy has absolutely no business in collecting taxes from the governed people…”

I contend that liberal capitalism is not just a recent concept or phenomena: The base root of liberal capitalism is the creation of monolithic religions, faith in the power of an absolute monarch to be emanating from a most powerful God…that divided mankind into the deserving 10% richest classes and the slave classes to serve the noble classes…

Note 1: This topic was inspired by the last chapter in the French book “When the world became Christian” by late Paul Veyne.

Note 2:  Barely 10 years ago, Europe was the scene of large genocide; not just between “Christians and Moslems” but among Christians of Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox on the basis of “ethnic cleansing” in former Yugoslavia.

Urban Islam and Rural Islam

Western Europe (England, France, and Germany) of the 19th century was hooked to Orientalism: The aristocracies wore turbans and Ottoman attires.  They were carried away with the romantic notion of an Orient (Middle East and Central Asia)  as being the remaining original primitive races and conserving the roots of “spirituality” (sufism).

The Jew Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister, was baptized at the age 12, but never relinquished his Jewishness.  Disraeli was a staunch Orientalist and categorized the Arabs as “Arab-Moses” and “Arab-Muhammad”  on the basis that they are the original races; thus, his classification was based on race.

Implicitly, Disraeli must have considered Arabs as a collection of tribes roaming arid desert lands and conserving their customs and traditions, not altered for centuries, in order to survive the influences of surrounding vast empires such as Persia, Byzantium, Romans, Greeks and so forth.

In the Near East, Antoun Saadeh, founder of the Syria National Socialist Party (SNSP) in 1933, divided Islam in his book as “Islam in its two messages: Islam-Christ and Islam-Muhammad.”  Implicitly, Saadeh classified Islam into two major sects:  Urban Islam (living near urban conglomeration and in fertile agricultural regions) and rural Islam (living in arid desert regions and rugged mountain areas.)

Consequently, Urban Islam or Islam-Christ is a set of sects that exhibit flexibility in changing customs, traditions, and have propensity to compromise and accepting even abstract dogma (constructs) to survive Imperial edicts (Byzantium, Persian and Caliphs…)

People in urban environmental setting are more concerned with commerce, trade, and freedom of opinion. In a sense, urban religious sects have tendency for assimilation into a culture that has demonstrated material supremacy over its surrounding neighboring people.

Rural Islam or Islam-Muhammad is a set of sects that refuse to consider abstract constructs and rely on sets of antique laws that regulate their daily life.  They are either petrified on mountain strongholds or arid desert regions that do not encourage easy communication and travel.  They lack financial means to trade for luxury items that might disturb the social fabric of equality in standard of living and the unity of the tribe.

There is a third class of religious sects than can resolve many difficulties in working out a taxonomy for religious sects.  They are the tribes living close to urban surrounding and fertile zones; they adopt nomadic characteristics, but have acquired flexible line of thinking.

They are the “conveyor belt” or the transmitters of cultural differences between the two major categories of sects.  They are the prime “intelligence gatherer or front-line intelligence agencies” for the powerful neighboring empires; they are the guides in time of wars; they guard the security of caravans crossing regions and extend facilities in water and supplies.

These third class of tribes have the mental agility to manipulating abstract dogma, though they preferred the freedom of keeping away from the lures of urban “decadence“.

It is no enigma why fundamentalist sects of all religions, and particularly the three monotheist religions (that I call “mono-idolatry religions”) move away from urban environment to far away regions, where they can exercise and apply their restrictive laws and not succumb to urban disastrous influences.

That what the Mormons did, the Calvinists, the Huguenot, and the Wahhabi did, and so on.

In the 20th century Europe, there were several kinds of Judaism.  You had the notable, professional urban Jews who were ready to be assimilated within the dominant culture of powerful nations; and you had the Jews of the “shtetl” in poor rural Eastern Europe and within non-advanced cultural regions; and you had the Jews of ghettos or tribes close to urban centers.

Obviously, there were Jewish tribes in harsh mountain regions in the Caucasus and other tribes in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  You had cosmopolitan Jews in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Ottoman cities.

The Jews of the shtetl tended to accept the German ideology of the “volkish” or pure tribal blood with creative minds.  The volkish was a romantic notion that required to be settled on a piece of land for many centuries that conserved the folk spirit of the rural life style.

Thus, the various Zionist factions finally agreed on two fundamental notions:

First, the spirit of Judaism is rooted in the Orient and the Jews have to become the mediators between the Western and eastern civilizations.

The second principle was to finding a land and occupy it in order to satisfying the German per-requisite of the volkish ideology.

As Zionism settled in Palestine, it applied the two worst social and political structures of both civilizations.

First, it applied the apartheid and racist Western European ideology of “Teutonic vital space” (camouflaged under Biblical myths) by the sword and blood of utmost cruelty.

Second, Israel society was transformed into a caste system among its Jewish sects, for example Ashkenazim “European” sects and Sephardi Arab-Jew sects (and more blatantly with Palestinian minorities) in all its administrative and governmental services.  So much for Zionism mediation among civilizations.

Note 1: Antoun Saade proved that Islam-Muhammad was almost identical to Islam-Christ in the first 13 years of its proselytizing in Mecca.  It is after Muhammad settled in Medina (Yathreb) that Islam-Muhammad changed and had to institute laws governing the City -State of Medina.

To Saade, Jesus had no need for religious laws governing people, since Roman civil laws were the laws of the Land and because Jesus was against the 650 laws of the Pharisee sect, shackling people in restrictive daily life behavior and obliterating free reflection and liberty in thinking.

Note 2: The “conveyor belt” tribes close to major urban setting (Damascus, Aleppo…) were mostly of the kind of “heretic” Christian sects that refused central religious power. They had suffered from the frequent changes in religious belief of Byzantium Emperors…

Note 3:  This anecdote is reflective of the sameness in belief system at the beginning of Islam. Prophet Muhammad told his most beloved wife Aicha: “I know when you are happy and when you are angry with me.  When you are happy you say: “God of Muhammad” and when angry you say: “God of Jacob”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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