Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Protestantism

Islam is one of the “heretic” Christian-Jewish sects,(Feb. 23, 2010)

A challenge to all theologians and social scientists

Before Emperor Constantine, who established Constantinople as Capital for the Roman Empire in the Orient (called Byzantium Empire) around 315 AC, there were hundreds of Christian sects in the Middle East.  Each sect had its dogma and its Bible (there were hundreds of versions).

The belief systems of these Christian sects differed greatly in the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, the status of the Virgin Mary (many would not even mention her name since women were considered impure), the status of Judas Iscariot, the rites, the language, the daily rituals, the status of the Old Testament, the communion of the flesh, the age to baptizing new converts, and to which race to focus on.

Many sects obeyed the laws of the Old Testaments in their integrity and many refused to adopt the Old Testament as part of their belief systems.

The Council of Nicaea (on the shore of Turkey) in 325 made things even worse: Constantine wanted to unify all the Christian sects into a religion of the Empire.  The notion of three Gods into one (Father, son, and Holy Ghost) were forced upon the sects as well as the Sanctity of Mary and many abstract concepts wrapped into the Credo.

Any sect that refused the unified Orthodox dogma, of the Emperor in power  at the time, was labeled “heretic” and was persecuted.  It turned out that, for over 70 years, successive Emperors were in favor of one or another “heretic” belief system, and a few emperor reverted to paganism.

Around the year 400, another Emperor reverted to the Orthodox dogma and the persecutions resumed and even intensified.  The heretic sects fled to beyond the Euphrates River under the dominion of Persia Empire and spread to the Arabic Peninsula and reached India and China.

Prophet Mohammad was from a clan that believed in one of these Christian-Jewish heretic sects that were established in Mecca; the father of Mohammad was a convert and his uncle was the Patriarch of the Christian sect.

In the year 1000, another schism took place between the Bishop of Rome (Catholic) and the Bishop of Constantinople (Orthodox) and another wave of persecution of heretic sects got under way.

The various Protestant “heretic” sects in the 16th century are but the latest in the variety of Christian sects and offshoot of ancient heretic Christian sects.

All that Prophet Muhammad did was to drop the abstract notions in the Orthodox dogma and to adopt the common denominator belief system of the various heretic Christian-Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula, Syria, and Iraq.

Thus, Islam combined the Old Testament integrally and the version of New Testament read by the Jewish-Christians sect, the Ebionites, of Mohammad’s tribe in the Mecca: the Patriarch of this sect was one of Muhammad’s uncles.

The Ebionites sect was fundamentally a Jewish sect that attached the teachings of Jesus (another Prophet) to the Old Testament.  This sect considered St.Paul as a heretic because he opened the religion to the “gentiles”.

Historical facts prove that the early Christians, and particularly the illiterate disciples lead by Jack, the eldest brother of Jesus, who conglomerated in Jerusalem were very conservative Essenism Jews:  Jesus was their Rabbi and they tried to follow his message.

When Peter finally marched out of Jerusalem it was to follow on the trail of Paul in order to dismantling Paul’s Christian communities and converting them to the Jewish laws.  Paul had to tone down his discourse and adopt a few Jewish social laws in order to counter the vehement practical attacks of the “Jerusalem sect of Christians“.

Islam became the unified Christian-Jewish heretic sect opposing the Orthodox Christian Church in Constantinople.  It is no surprise that the heretic Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine rallied and supported Islamic troops  against Byzantium and Persia.

After Constantinople fell in around 1450 to the Ottoman Empire, many of the non-Moslem Christian sects united politically to the Catholic Church in Rome, even though their dogma did not mesh nicely with the Catholic Credo.

Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  I submit a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).

My hypothesis is: The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the Christian-Jewish sects. Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:

First, select all the religious Christian sects till the Council of Nicaea in 325; and then select the Christian sects after Nicaea until the year 400.

Continue the selection process of the sects after the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then go over the Christian sects that were formed between 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, all the way to the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.

Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.

Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period of 13 years in Mecca, before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina (Yathreb) and the establishment of the first City-State of Islam

Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.

Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.

The foundation to my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad.”

The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination.  The book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina.

Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.

It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislation (Chari3a) and Hadith (stories on Muhammad) than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message in Mecca.

I suggest to start with four broad categories: Catholic, Orthodox, Christian-Jews, and Jewish-Christians.  The basic differences are in the adoption of the Old Testament as act of faith and social regulations to follow.

There are Christians who do not adopt the Old Testament in their act of faith neither intrinsically or even using it in preaching and its myths in rhetoric; other use Old Testament as act of faith but do not adopt the Jewish laws for daily rituals; others adopt the Jewish laws either partially or entirely.

For example, Islam and Jehovah Witnesses may be allocated within the Jewish-Christian category because they abide by the nomadic Jewish laws for daily behaviors.

Note:  I find many resemblance between St.Paul and the prophet Muhammad.  Both avatars of God had apparitions and revelations and did what they had to do to spreading the message.  Their message was to be universal:

1. Paul disseminated monotheism to the Mediterranean Sea basin (Roman and Byzantium Empires) and Mohammad spread monotheism to all of Asia (India, China, and Indonesia).

2. Paul’s method took 300 years to grabbing 10% share of the population; Mohammad’s method was more efficient, and rallied millions in just two decades.

The Sacred Practical Necessities; (October 25, 2009)

Cultural transformation is the byproduct of practical necessities: Struggling for life and fearing of death.  For example, by the time mankind got conscious of his ephemeral life (for many millennia, people didn’t get to live beyond the age of 30 at best) and that death is a certainty then, religion (the eminently among the sacred practical necessities) was created to cope with the consequences that resulted from that conscious fear, on the ground that, otherwise, no security or peace of mind could prevail within any organized society.

Religion might not have been invented right after we got conscious of our mortality, but necessarily as modern man realized that he is a special individuality.  Then modern man got wary of producing mass hand tools for the tribe and took special care for individual designs such as specialty carved symbols on the tools, particular color combinations, drawing and painting that reflected feelings and awe toward the environment and the forces of nature.  Painting, sculpting, and drawing symbols were the precursors for inventing a language as a practical necessity, first verbally and then, by written medium.

Death is chaos and life is a struggle to feed on death:  a constant semblance of restructuring spiritual cohesion.   Metaphysic, the precursor to religion, is but this longing to providing continuity between life and death so that our logical mind does not breakdown to smithereens: Sciences and technologies cannot provide definite and exact answers to everything.  Metaphysics must have been substantiated because many people experienced a few supernatural events and realized that what is being physically sensed is not the whole story.

I believe that institutionalized religions grew after verbal communication was feasible by means of languages to harangue communities against the other infidel tribes.  Religion, as a conscious culture, utilized the metaphysical potentials in man to codify its system of beliefs and then codifying a system of daily behavior, rules, and regulations.

Unfortunately, what was necessary at a period was utilized inevitably to dominate other tribes that believed or adopted different totems or sacred rites.  An irreversible trend was set in motion: practical necessities generate cultures with counter productive results (theorized as necessary) to our evolution.  That mental process is the foundation to our spiritual shortcomings to progress ethically and morally.

Religion and sciences have the same roots in the conscious and, though they evolved with different methodologies, they adopted the same procedure for impacting on the mind: They established consensus based on a few premises, struggled hard not change their system of beliefs and then, waited for a paradigm shift to transforming the traditional culture.  The revolution of Luther and Calvin against the concept of Papal infallibility left intact the core obscurantist culture of Catholicism and Christianity which is viewing knowledge with suspicion, and specifically scientific knowledge, as the work of the devil. In fact, Protestantism went as far as considering philosophy as compromising the human mind.

The fundamental revolution came when people realized that if the Pope is fallible then, religion is consequently fallible and the quest for answers to fill the void in knowledge was resurrected with sciences.  Cultural Revolution in Europe was made feasible because of three basic developments: the weakening of the central religious power in Rome, the invention of mass printing, and the focus on local languages such as German, French, and Italian instead of Latin (the language of central power). Hence, this frenzy in Europe of the 16th century Renaissance to translating the Islamic books (then the most advanced in sciences).

Historically, the Arab conquerors of the Near East region (that was part of the Byzantium Empire in Constantinople) relied on scholars in the Near East who wrote in the Greek language to re-translating the Greek classical work into Arabic and Syriac (also called Aramaic, the written language of the Land).  Aramaic was the spoken language of the people and of Jesus. Damascus was selected to be the first Capital of the Arabic Dynasty of the Umayyad and Damascus saved the Greek language from oblivion.

The scholars of the Renaissance in Europe mastered both the Greek and Latin languages and could eventually refer to the original Greek manuscripts.  Thus, the period of the Renaissance in Europe was a revolution against the failure of the Christian religion to satisfying the cultural transformation after the failure of the crusading campaigns to circumvent the essential trade routes (through Egypt) and the affinity of the Arabic/Islamic culture in Spain (from 800 to 1400 AC).

Most paradigm shifts could be classified as cultural transformations but a few could be conceived as cultural evolution; a qualitative jump in our knowledge of nature and man are related to concepts such as using symbols, verbal communications as a language, the written language, the concept that man and earth are not the center of the universe, that time is an intrinsic element of space such that no two events can be said to occur simultaneously, that man is not wholly master of his decisions, and that man is neither the crown of creation nor the peak of evolution.

The Syrian Christ (Book Review, March 12, 2009)

In 1916, Abraham Mertie Rihbany published “The Syrian Christ”; eleven editions have so far been printed.  This manuscript was a compendium of articles submitted to the Atlantic Monthly from 1914 to 1916.  Rihbany wrote: “When I read the Bible, I have the distinct impression that I am reading a fresh letter arriving from my parents and relatives in Lebanon”.

Abraham Rihbany undertook to explain to the western Christians the customs and traditions of the civilization in the Levant (Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) that are almost unchanged since Christ and an exhaustive explanation of the written and verbal style of the Bible.

The target audience is the American Christian (mostly among the Protestant sects) who tends to accept every word in the Bible integrally without much openness, analysis, or comprehension of the customs and traditions of the Levant that are described in the Bible. The purpose is to describe the environment and daily life in which Jesus lived, grew up, roamed, was nurtured, and the language (Aramaic), the maxims, the aphorisms of “The Sacred Land” that Jesus spoke.

It was the author’s premise that assimilating the Syrian customs and traditions allows the western Christians to comprehend the verbal imageries of the Bible and appreciate their real values and how the multitudes of stories start to make sense.

The verbal and written style in the Levant is characterized by direct pronouncements expressing feeling and describing what is seen and heard.  The sentences are not encumbered by prefixes such as “I think”, “I believe”, “I am not sure”, “It is possible”, “There might be other versions”, “I might be wrong”, “It is my opinion”, or what the western writers have adopted from the Greek rational style.

The written style in the Levant sounds of utter confidence, categorical, and conveying the total truth, though it does not mean that the people cannot discriminate or feel the variations and uncertainties.  The writers in the Levant simply feel that all these attachments are redundant since it is a fact of life that nothing is categorical or certain.  Thus, superfluous additions disturb the flow of thoughts and the ideas that need to be conveyed.  Rihbany feels that the western readers of the Bible should tone down their uneasiness with “outrageous” direct pronouncements and sentences in the Bible.

The manuscript is of six chapters in 187 pages.  The first chapter is about Jesus the Syrian man, his birth, the star, obedience to parents, holyday and Eucharist.  The second chapter is on the Levant verbal style, the daily parlance, the curses, love of the enemy, “the untruthful eastern person”, impression when challenged by professionalism, speaking in maxim and aphorism, and swearing. Chapter three is on bread and salt, the sacred food, “our daily bread”, “forcing invitation to eat”, “retarding a leaving guest”, and family reunions.  Chapter four is on boarding and sleeping overnight, the “souk”, the rooftop of the house, the grapevine and garden, and the shepherd.  Chapter five is on the sisters of Marie and Martha, women in the Levant, Saint Paul and women, Jesus and his mother, and “a gentle woman”.  Chapter six is called “here and there” in the Bible.

You will realize that the custom was, especially for widows, to be persistent in their demands, sit by the judge feet and keep urging him until the judge relents and gives in.  The custom was for a traveler to stop at the main Carrefour of a town and wait for the first passerby to invite him to stay the night and be fed; if the wait was prolonged then the town would be blemished of infamy for centuries. The custom was to refrain from sharing “bread and salt” until the conversation settle all the differences and the parties are satisfied that they are friends and loyal.

You will learn that visiting a shrine of a Saint was targeting a specific demand; the mother or the family would sleep overnight and sometimes for many days until the Saint or his “ghost” shows up to deliver the good message. The author explains the external form of patriarchal attitude and the internal customs within a family; the custom of keeping doors open until the time to go to bed.

People in the Levant know the cause and effects of phenomenon but they also believe that if God wishes then the effects will not take place no matter what. This is a far cry of the western mind that insists that God has nothing to do with errors or failures and some other supplementary causes have to be investigated when the appropriate effects do not materialize.

(All these customs and traditions of the Land in the Levant were practiced thousands of years before Judaism came to be.  The Jewish religion adopted the customs of the land and wrote in the same style of imagery, maxims, and aphorism. The original manuscripts describe accurately the culture of the land and in the same style even though a few wrote4 in Greek, the language of the highly literate of the period. The writers of the Bible and the New Testaments were people of the land and spoke in the language of the land. Thus, it would be beneficial to be cognizant of the culture and civilization of the land in order to fully appreciate Christianism and the teaching of Jesus. The Bible is a wonderful source for learning the customs of the Land if read to that purpose)

Note 1: I read the Arabic translation by Ussama Ajaj Al Mohtar ISBN: 9953-417-05-9. When I get hold of the original English version then I might have another go for a thorough detailed review.

Note 2: The author Abraham Metrie Rihbany was born in 1869 in the village of Chouwir in Lebanon, one of 11 kids. He integrated a Protestant school in Souk al Gharb in 1886 and was appointed to teach the elementary classes for 3 years in order to cover the expenses. He immigrated to the USA in 1891 and contributed in editing the first Arab daily in the USA “Kawkab al Shark” (The Eastern Planet). Rihbany ventured into a new job of talking in churches in the evening about the “Sacred Land” for contributions. He was selected to represent the Syrian associations in the USA to the Peace Conference held in Paris in 1919. Abraham Rihbany met with the delegates and King Fayssal for 4 months and published a book on that event “Wise Men from the East and from the West” in 1922.

In 1918, Rihbany published “America Save the Near East” urging the USA to deny France and Britain any mandate status over the States in the Levant and warned on the organized Zionist movement to settling in Palestine.  Rihbany published eight books in total among them “Militant America and Jesus Christ” in 1917 and an autobiography “A Far Journey” in 1913 after he visited Lebanon with his wife in 1898.  Rihbany died in 1944; he was 75 of age.

Note 3:  Tourists to the Levant, visiting the urban centers, might not recognize the basic characteristics shared by the population.  Whatever differences seen by tourists are at best skin deep.  The behaviors of the urban citizens are basically the same as in the villages regardless of the verbal proclamations and intentions expressed to the contrary. , March 12, 2009)

 

 

Islam: the two messages of Jesus and Mohammad (February 3, 2009)

A challenge to all theologians: Islam is one of the Christian sects.

 

 

            Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  This is a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).  My hypothesis is:  The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the Christian sects.  Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:

 

 First, select all the religious Christian sects from the first to the Nicee council in 425; then select the remaining Christian sects after Nicee to the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then the Christian sects that were formed between 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, then all the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

 

Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.

 

Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.

 

Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina or Yathreb

 

Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.

 

Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.

 

The foundation to my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad” The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination; the book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina. 

 

Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, then I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.  It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislations and Hadith than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message.


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