Day by Day



18 September 2006

Am I the only one who's crazy...




The Pope, not on my favorite people list (regardless of who is sitting under the miter), makes some intellectual comments about a 14th century exchange between a Christian leader and an Islamic leader. A dialogue which seemed civil enough at the time. As soon as the words leave his mouth, the Islamic "street" erupts into chants of "the Pope must die" and other such nonsense.

Is it my imagination or has all of Islam been taking crazy pills for the past millennia and a half? Since their inception in the seventh century, a once rising Mideast culture has steadily fallen further and further behind. A lot of this is directly due to the restrictive (read oppressive) nature of the dominant religion. If you have the good fortune to tour any of the great national museums of that region of the world, you will note a marked change after the integration of Islam in that region. Styles of dress became more subdued, trade reduced and in general nations once on the upward path atrophied and began to fail.

Clearly, not all of this resulted from some sort of religious funk, climate and other global factors arose to stymie the growth of countries like Persia (Iran). However, in this modern age the fact that one would greet the words of the Pontiff with violence (slaying an Italian nun - for Chrissakes!), is only to further demonstrate just how little understanding the West has for Islam.

Why aren't Muslim folks in the United States flying into apocalyptic rages? They are better off, better integrated and hopefully have enough sense to note when reason leaves the room and zealotry arrives, clothed in fire and blood.

I am not a religious man, unless you count science as my religion. And yet I have enough Biblical knowledge to recall that the New Testament advocates that one should turn the other cheek in the face of criticism or assault. I also recall from the Church of the Playground that "sticks and stones may break my bones but word will never hurt me", is there an equivalent teaching in the Holy Koran? As much as I would like to believe that Islam is at its heart a religion of peace and tolerance, actions by its adherents would indicate otherwise.


15 comments:

sonicfrog said...

We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo headed for WW 3, or 4 if you count the cold war (which I don't).

Citizen Deux said...

Sorry, can't agree - yet.

By the way, it already is WWIV. Check out the list of engagements - The United States, Africa, the UK, Spain, Indonesia, India, Oceania, Belarus...you name it, they're there.

Who is there? The Islamo-Fascist Alliance who would just as soon string you up as look at you.

Scootmaroo said...

Could it be the whole cycle of revenge that has been going on in the middle east on both sides forever? An eye for an eye has been taken so literally there for years that violence is both expected and glorified to the point where they have become almost anhestitized (SP?) to it.....

Citizen Deux said...

I think the problem stems back to the very origins of Islam, when acclimation meant subjugation. There is a great book called Skeletons of the Zahara. It details the plight of an American merchant ship's crew wrecked off the west coast of Africa. Their eventual enslavement at the hands of the natives and ultimate release.

It all took place at the start of the 19th century, but it could have been today.

Citizen Deux said...

By the way, the Cold War was WWIII. SOme of the major engagements included - Korea, Vietnam, Angola, Latin America, Indonesia, and Afghanistan

Messy, destructive and certainly qualifying as a World War.

sonicfrog said...

But we never directly, officialy confronted our true foe face to face in battle. All those conflicts were fought through proxies, and the outcome, if a western civilization loss, was not a world altering consequence that a German victory in either WWI or WWII would have been. Neither side was willing to bring the full combat resources in its arsenal into play to defeat its foe

Citizen Deux said...

But what is the full arsenal? If war is an extension of diplomacy, and it is, then economic and political power must be considered in the quiver of any nation.

We certainly brought financial and political power to bear. We also directly confronted the USSR during the Cuban missile crisis (pretty overt) as well as suffer violations of sovereign waters with submarine and clandestine operations.

Major John said...

There is no value in Islam as great as submission to the will of God, laid out - literally - in the Koran.
Christianity has the stricture that in order to obey God, you must love your neighbor. All that good love the sinner hate the sin stuff.

Islam is an Old School faith that brooks no challenge or dissent (if you think they are bringing the crazy for us - just watch the continuation of the millenia long Shi'ite - Sunni bloodbath).

Islam will: adapt and live with the rest of the world (i.e. have their own version of a Reformation or such); win out (we all perish or convert); or fail (becomes as relevant as Zorastorianism is today, but only after huge amounts of bloodshed).

I, in my own small way, have always tried to help those interested in the first option. I don't like option the third, and number two would see me dead...

Citizen Deux said...

Clearly stated. The disparate nature of Islam places it at a distinct disadvantage. Christianity's centralization in the early 2nd and 3rd centuries allowed for folks (like Martin Luther) to challenge the status quo and force the religion to adapt and grow.

From my perspective, Islam has no such central authority against which to rebel or challenge. They are a little like the Democrats, anyone can have a space - no matter how crazy!

Sorry, couldn't resist that last comment!

Scootmaroo said...

Um. I resemble that remark.

Anyway, was not christianity itself also spread by the sword? Does not the need to spread and dominate one religion over the other incite violene just by its very nature? The Old Testament God is, after all, a vengeful God. And most right wing christians in the US seem to conveiently ignore Christ saying "um, ignore the old testament...I am here to give you a new one", and fall back on the vengence and violence in the old... Let us look at Bloody Mary, the Heugonots, forceful conversion of the indigineous American Peoples....Fred Phelps. Nuff Said. Sadly, the people in power and the republican party have now become dominate by that style of so called "christian." More on my blod to come, after I get through the school meeting hell that has been this week....

Citizen Deux said...

Scoot,

Relativism does not become you. Whatever the failings of Chirtianity, and they are legion, it was more often the missionaries who were put to death, rather than the convertees. Save for Spain's imperial enslavement of Central and parts of South America, the battles in Europe referred to involved internecine warfare among Christian idioms.

Islam has not evolved. It continues not only its internecine slaughter, but its aggressive assault upon non-muslims. And by the way, as much of an ass that Fred Phelps may be - he has not beheaded anyone (that I know of) nor has he driven his SUV through a crowded campus gathering place.

Piet B said...

At some level, though, I think we can see that Islam is prepared through history to react negatively to the papal pronouncements, considering that Christianity's "sword" during the four great Crusades basically laid waste to the Middle East, incidentally bringing back to Europe some number of enslaved "moors". I say this not to give them cover but merely to bring that long papal trail into the discussion -- provocation from Rome has a long, unloving record.

Citizen Deux said...

The legacy of the Crusades is no less impactful than the legacy of the Civil War in the US. It is a hook to hang ones hat upon.

Gordon Marock said...

A Great chat. The bottom line is that every religion is exactly the same, i.e.- a magical being who will save your ass from eternal nothingness if you follow these simple rules. Until a religion can pass the Monty Python test, then all of its adherents should be "closely monitored." For Islam, the Monty Python test is passed when the Life of Brian, Islam version, is aired worldwide and nobody gets their head cut off. On a hunch, I am guessing Islam will not pass that test soon.

Citizen Deux said...

Gordon, right on! Actually the modern equivalent would be the South Park test, which Islam failed and Scientology was a close second. In a recent interview, Matt Stone and Trey Parker indicated that they may cease to run South Park on Comedy Central due to the censorship issues encountered with their Mohammed episode.

Sad really...