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As the bitter harvest of the “Arab Summer” is brought in there are signs that the seeds of a true Arab/Muslim “Spring” may already be sown.
Things are getting… interesting, Virginia; all is not as the talking heads (as opposed to Talking Heads, a Punk group in the 70’s – 80’s of truly original musical genius) would have us believe. It seems that not only have the people of Egypt tossed out the cleric-backed Morsi, they are turning a deaf ear to their imams’ efforts to “twist the population’s religious arm” to support the Muslim Brotherhood’s political influence.
Muslim Brotherhood’s bid to scapegoat Christians failing, say Egyptians
By Lisa Daftari
As their nation descends into violent chaos, Egyptians are increasingly blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, despite attempts by the Islamist group to scapegoat Christians and the military, according to several sources …
“The Muslim Brotherhood has lost all sympathy with their points due to their violence,” said a Long Island, N.Y., Egyptian-American [visiting] in a Cairo suburb…”
The man, a Coptic Christian who asked that his name not be used until he and his family are safely back in the U.S…. arrived in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis last weekend, just days after Muslim Brotherhood supporters began clashing violently with security forces. Since then, nightly curfews, angry mobs and closed roads that cut off supplies to restaurants and groceries have made his homeland unrecognizable… The violence began when, more than a month after the military stripped President Mohammad Morsi of power and took him into custody, authorities cleared camps of protesters in Cairo.
Take note that it was only after a full month, when the camps of core protesters themselves were dispersed, was there any violence from the citizenry; they had rejoiced in the streets, and on TV during that month. This would lead one to believe that the violence is coming from a small (in relation to the population as a whole) core of Brotherhood supporters and will crumble swiftly unless given life-support by massive foreign intervention of some sort; both weapons/cannon-fodder smuggling and ‘sanctuary‘ in some nearby sovereign area come to mind.
That action prompted a violent uprising in which more than 1,000 people have been killed. Morsi, who(m) critics said had put the nation on a path toward Islamist rule, is now facing accusations of conspiring with Hamas to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising and complicity in the killing and torture of protesters outside his Cairo palace in December.
…Christian and Muslim … are solidly behind the military, which has been criticized by the west for its decisive crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
“I am Muslim and I am against terrorism and I support the revolution [which ousted Morsi] and I support all the decisions of the Egyptian army forces,” … “We love Egypt so much and we hope the foreign countries stop misunderstanding about us and the situation now in Egypt.”
The fact is that in Egypt, like in Iran the actual people of Egypt overwhelmingly prefer a more “enlightened” version of Islam despite being dominated, and often hoodwinked, by a “tiny minority of radicals“; I am referring to the Imams not terrorists, who are just the ‘useful idiots‘ the Imams use to steal power.
Even at mosques, the tide seems to be turning against the Muslim Brotherhood, according to one man who spoke from Cairo.
“They gather around mosques, from five to 100 of them, to show they are important and the goal is to go and cut off the roads and rally to get more supporters,” he said.
“Sometimes during Friday prayers, the sheikh wants to push people to support the Muslim Brotherhood, but modern Muslims are dominant and not deceived anymore with fake words that defending the Muslim Brotherhood is defending Islam,” he said.
One former jihadist and Salafist cleric who spoke to Mid-East Christian News said the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to focus anger against the nation’s Christian minority, which did not support Morsi, but was hardly alone in that stance.
“The Brotherhood lost everything, politically and economically,” Osama el-Quossi told MCN. “They lost the citizens’ sympathy, so they used religion to gain support of ordinary people.”
Methinks, Virginia that when yo add in the polls showing the vast lack of support for groups like CAIR and MPAC amongst the deen it looks like the clergy of Islam might be facing a “stockholder” revolt that will replace all the “board-members” with Imams who actually share the same reality that Muslims-as-people live with every day, and enjoy.
In sum; While Pakistan and Afghanistan are cultures long used to ongoing sectarian strife other nations like Turkey, Egypt and most of the more Eastern Muslim countries are seeing mostly problems fomented by power/money from outside their own borders and ethnic/religious groups. I want to make note though that Egypt’s record under Mubarak in its treatment of the Copts (the original Egyptian culture before the forced Arab cultural assimilation introduced by the invasion of Islam).
In fact, it seems that if President Obama had supported the grassroots revolt in Iran a couple years ago, and not thrown his weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood after Mubarak was ousted, we might already have seen a real Arab Spring; I have high hopes for the next 12 months though; the ‘Black Hats‘ (Imams) are starting to realize that the “townsfolk” (deen) all hate them, even if the ‘White Hats‘ (secularists) can be jerks themselves often enough. I can see their point; far preferable is the religious nut who is a total pain in the neck when compared to someone who wants to cut off your head.
To the Muslim world; Good Luck with your Enlightenment and Reformation, I promise you, it will be interesting.
My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:
“Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food
Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument
The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
Public Sector Unions
Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity
Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent
Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race
Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor
Campaign donations by businesses
Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech’
Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs
Letting Lawyers advertise
Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration
Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education
Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)
Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages
Bilingual Education as a policy
Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders
Peer promotion in school
Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?
Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all
Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama
Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom
Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract
Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either
Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury
Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday
The Writer’s Strike
ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease
Poor RIchard Dawkins. All that he did Virginia, was to note, as an interesting statistic, that Trinity College, Cambridge faculty and alumni have more Nobel Prizes than all the world’s Muslims despite many inflated “facts” floated about regarding the awesome contributions to modern society of an apocryphal “golden Age” of Islam; the quality of the Muslim claims are typical of all conservative partisans!
Though the conservatives like to take credit 100 or more years later, it is the liberal thinkers that seek, and bring, the progress; meanwhile the conservative-minded act as a ‘brake’, ideally keeping things from going too far, too fast. However, allowing conservatives too much control has only ever led only to stagnation; letting the Left dominate always to chaos, then tyranny, which eventually becomes itself “conservative” and stagnates – lather, rinse, repeat.
I am sorry Virginia but, I fail to see any ‘good choice‘ there for the majority of us, the moderate minded – the true 99%.
The problem is partisanship. If people of disparate thought let cooperation originally intended to improve opportunity and quality of life for the nation as a whole; individuals, families and up; to do this despite corruption, stupidity and social ills that are apolitical & endemically human turn into a rivalry for control society is at a point when it really doesn’t matter which side “wins” when you look at how much the society inevitably loses.
Reality = “I tend to be conservative in my actions and reactions as a personal policy/character trait
B.S. = “all major political & social issues should be decided by solidly conservative minds”
Here is a hard question Virginia; when does ‘selling‘ cross the line into ‘conning‘, when does a ‘pundit‘ or ‘proponent‘ become a propagandist?
I have always believed that to lie, distort, cast aspersions or avoid full disclosure of questionable sources in order to “win” a debate (or followers) is inherently dishonest, and at least partially, invariably damages the strength of any argument that the ‘less-than-honest‘ pundits put forth.
Any reasonable person can see that when it becomes generally obvious that this kind of dishonest “argument” is acceptable and indispensable to an organization or pundit’s persuasive arsenal the only possible effect on non-committed minds, as well as the ‘opposition‘ is to take away any reason they might have to consider the actual thoughts or ideas lurking behind the libel, hype and spin; the credibility of all of their arguments and positions become suspect.
This piece by Mr. Considine; is he intentionally doing a whitewash or, does he merely accept inaccurate and, or misleading information he has been fed by those who know better but only want to “win“?
Come Virginia, let’s look at it piece by piece; we shall attempt to differentiate the bog, fog and quicksand from what is truly solid ground.
Politicians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences and websites to criticize the term “jihad” as a form of Islamic supremacism, oppression, and violence. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, argue that “jihad” refers to a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Viewing the term “jihad” though these frameworks alone, however, would be playing into the hands of extremists who forego the other elements encompassed by the term “jihad.”
Take note Virginia of the typical partisan technique: lumping all conceivable “opponents” into one conveniently disposable lump. Note also the author’s bearing of false witness as he conflates everyone against the advance of Islamic Supremacism with a tiny minority against those individuals who are labeled as Muslim!
At the very same time Considine comes off as though he is doing a ‘whitewash‘; it is indisputable that the definition he tells us is promoted for “jihad” by “Muslim extremists” is exactly the same as the declared interpretation of the word accepted and defended by all of the Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence; who set doctrine and dogma for the Ummah; Yes, Virginia, both the Sunni and the Shiite Schools.
Not one thing he says in that paragraph is technically untrue but, when you look at what is unsaid, what is distorted or maligned, and the paragraph becomes more an example of artful lying than of an honest attempt at communication.
“But, Wait! There’s MORE!” said the used car salesman…
In Islam, “jihad” has several different components, which include personal struggles, such as the struggle against an addiction; social struggles, such as the struggle to become tolerant of others; and occasionally a military struggle, if and when necessary in self-defense. When asked, “What is the major jihad?” Muhammad replied: “The jihad of the self (struggle against the personal self).” Contrary to the rhetoric and misinformation about “jihad” in anti-Islam networks, Muhammad did not say that the violent struggle was the most important form of “jihad.“
Contrary to its being one of the most quoted “hadith” by Islamist apologists I can’t find it in any orthodox collection of ahadith! The only place it seems to be found is in a book published posthumously but, only in the completely re-edited 2nd edition:
An Exposition on Forty Ahadith Narrated through the Prophet and His Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them
Second Revised Edition
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i
Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
Table of Contents:
About The Author
Childhood And Early Education
The Years Of Spiritual And Intellectual Formation In Qum, 1923 To 1962
The Years Of Struggle And Exile, 1962-1978
The Islamic Revolution, 1978-79
1979-89: First Decade Of The Islamic Republic, Last Decade Of The Imam’s Life
Purpose Of Writing The Book
First Hadith: Jihad of The Self
Second Hadith: Ostentation (RIYA’)
Third Hadith: Self-Conceit (‘Ujb)
Fourth Hadith: Pride (Kibr)
Fifth Hadith: Envy (Hasad)
Sixth Hadith: Love Of The World
Seventh Hadith: Anger (Ghadhab)
Eighth Hadith: Prejudice (‘ASABIYYAH)
Ninth Hadith: Hypocrisy (Nifaq)
Tenth Hadith: Desire And Hope
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-Seeking Nature
Twelfth Hadith: Contemplation (Tafakkur)
Thirteenth Hadith: Trust In God (TAWAKKUL)
Fourteenth Hadith: Fear of God
Fifteenth Hadith: The Believer’s Trials And Tribulations
Sixteenth Hadith: Patience (Sabr)
Seventeenth Hadith: Repentance (TAWBAH)
Eighteenth Hadith: Remembrance Of God
Nineteenth Hadith: Backbiting (Ghibah)
Twentieth Hadith: Pure Intention (Ikhlas)
Twenty-First Hadith: Thankfulness (Shukr)
Twenty-Second Hadith: The Aversion For Death
Twenty-Third Hadith: The Seekers Of Knowledge
Twenty Fourth Hadith: The Classification Of Sciences
Twenty-Fifth Hadith: Satanic Insinuation
Twenty Sixth Hadith: The Pursuit Of Knowledge
Twenty-Seventh Hadith: Prayer And Concentration
Twenty-Eighth Hadith: Meeting God
Twenty-Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel To ‘Ali
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability Of God, The Prophet, And The Imams
Thirty-First Hadith: The Kinds Of Hearts
Thirty-Second Hadith: Conviction In Faith
Thirty-Third Hadith: Wilayah And Works
Thirty-Fourth Hadith: The Station of The Faithful Before God
Thirty-Fifth Hadith: God And Man, Good And Evil
Thirty-Sixth Hadith: The Attributes Of God
Thirty-Seventh Hadith: The Knowledge Of God
Thirty-Eighth Hadith: The Meaning Of God’s Creation Of Adam In His Image
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Good And Evil
Fortieth Hadith: Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid And Some Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid
A Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid
A Hint Concerning Bismillah
A Brief Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of The Noble Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid Until The Words ‘Alimun Bi Dhatis-Sudur
Prayer And Epilogue
The Table of Contents of the posthumous 2nd edition (Even the 1st Edition was published after the death of the author) has a curious addition that is found nowhere in the TOC of the original, or anywhere else it seems; it is also of note that the names of the translators is the same in each edition though the publisher and city in Iran in which it was published changes:
An Exposition on 40 ahadith narrated through the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt by Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i
Qum, The Islamic Republic of Iran
Here is the original Table of Contents:
First Hadith: On the Tradition of the Forty Ahadith
The Second Hadith: On Riya’
Third Hadith: On `Ujb
Fourth Hadith: On Kibr
Fifth Hadith: On Hasad
Sixth Hadith: Love of the World
Seventh Hadith: On Anger (Ghadab)
Eighth Hadith: On `Asabiyyah
Ninth Hadith: On Hypocrisy (Nifaq)
Tenth Hadith: On Desire and Hope
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-seeking Nature
Twelfth Hadith: on Contemplation (Tafakkur)
Twelfth Hadith (Contd. From the Part 12)
Thirteenth Hadith: On Tawakkul
Fourteenth Hadith: On the Fear of God
Fifteenth Hadith: On the Believer’s Trials and Tribulations
Sixteenth Hadith: On Sabr
Seventeenth Hadith: On Tawbah
Eighteenth Hadith: On Remembrance of God
Nineteenth Hadith: On Ghibah
Twentieth Hadith: On Ikhlas
Twenty First Hadith: On Shukr
Twenty Second Hadith: On the Aversion for Death
Twenty Third Hadith: Of the Seekers of Knowledge
Twenty Fourth Hadith: On the Classification of Sciences
Twenty Fifth Hadith: On Waswas
Twenty Sixth Hadith: On the Pursuit of Knowledge
Twenty Seventh Hadith: Prayer and Concentration
Twenty Eighth Hadith: On Liqa’ Allah
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to ‘Ali
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to `Ali
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability of God, the Prophet, and the Imams
Thirty First Hadith: The Kinds of Hearts
Thirty Second Hadith: On Conviction in Faith
Thirty Third Hadith Wilayah and Works
Thirty Fourth Hadith: The Station of the Faithful Before God
Thirty Fifth Hadith: Of God and Man, Good and Evil
Thirty Sixth Hadith: On the Attributes of God
Thirty Seventh Hadith: On the Knowledge of God
Thirty Eighth Hadith: The Meaning of God’s Creation of Adam in His Image
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Of Good and Evil
Fortieth Hadith: On Exegesis of Surat al-Tawhid and Some Verses of Surat al-Hadid
THe first hadith in the 2nd edition is not in Bukhari, it is not in Muslim; it is not in any collection of ahadith that I could find mention of yet appeared in the 2nd edition of a dead man’s book, and is now used constantly to reassure non-Muslims that “holy war” has no part in “mainstream Islam” or was ever a major part of the concept of ‘jihad‘!
Even Google is in on the game…
If you put the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ into the Google Translator you will find that in a large number of languages Google simply spits back the transliteration of جِهَادُ for that language… in other words in English, German, Japanese, Latvian, Russian, Spanish and most of the others ‘jihad’ means ‘jihad’!
Ah, Virginia, that is not the end of the tale; it seems that Google missed a few. Here are the ones I found with translation instead of transliteration:
جِهَادُ = heilige oorlog
Heilige = Sanctified (St.)
Oorlog = War
جِهَادُ = (in Dutch) Holy War but, Google is still determined to keep most other peoples in ignorance; if I translate the Dutch phrase ‘heilige oorlog’ directly to English it declares that it means ‘jihad’!
جِهَادُ = இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர்
இஸ்லாமியர்களின் = of Muslims
புனித = Sanctified (St.)
போர் = war
புனித போர் = Holy War
If you put the whole phrase in then Google says that a translation of the Tamil phrase is… You guessed it…
இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர் = Jihad
جِهَادُ = chiến tranh Hồi giáo and that chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad (in English)!
Word by word translation shows this however…
chiến = wizard
tranh = competition
Hồi giáo translates as Mohamadenism but Hồi translates as steam and giáo as lance; I may be lacking a Phd. in language but, I get something like “supernatural or divine competition of the ‘explosively expanding and dangerous’ ‘spear-people’”, um… Virginia does that sound like it means ‘Holy War’ to you? Certainly I think that a long and historically peaceful relationship between the two groups, Vietnamese and Muslims, is contraindicated when the Vietnamese phrase for Islam translates as ‘steam lance’!
Of course here in politically correct Google-Land if you translate the whole Vietnamese phrase into English, well Google again gives the transliteration of the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ ‘jihad’ instead of any attempt at translation.
chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad
The hype in America and abroad over ”jihad” has brought me to consider the term through a Christian perspective. In this piece I seek to do two things — explore how forms of ”jihad” are present in Christianity and pinpoint different ways of looking at ”jihad” in Christian and Islamic texts. Doing so can help find common characteristics of “jihad” so that Christians and Muslims can build bridges of mutual understanding and tolerance.
The kicker Virginia is that the hadith has been declared unreliable pretty much by all Islamic authorities world-wide!
The entire article is in a similar, “who me, honest?” vein; including the following paragraph containing another hadith confirmed to be not only unreliable, but fabricated (emphasis added):
In the Quran (58:11), God raises in rank “… those who have been given knowledge.” Muhammad also emphasized knowledge in a hadith, or saying of the Prophet, in which he said that “Seeking knowledge is a must for every Muslim, male or female, from cradle to grave in any part of the world.” Muhammad also stated in another hadith that “the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” Christians and Muslims, therefore, share a similar “jihad” in terms of their obligation to seek out knowledge and apply that knowledge in good faith for the betterment of humanity.
Sorry Arianna, your “pundit” pranked you; how much did you pay Craig for a politically correct fantasy pretending it is an informative article?
Virginia, it goes to show that it is best to ferret out the original information first, especially when that information is spread by a partisan in support of a partisan position.
Anyone not familiar with my writing, religion or my politics should read these articles first to avoid getting the wrong idea ab out how the author feels about Iran, Imams and the Iranian-on-the-street that is the REAL “Iran”.
I can’t wait to see the second volume, the one about ‘historical Muhammad’, to be followed no doubt by similar volumes on Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tse, the Rev. Moon and Bob Dobbs!
From the introduction I get the feeling that it should have been called the Charge of the Taqiyya Brigade! But, who is Reza practicing it against? Non-Muslims to confuse and convert, or Traditional Muslims to stay alive long enough to make a real difference; I can’t tell.
The only thing that is obvious is that B.S. plays a big part in this book; the introduction shows clearly both ignorance and dishonesty, while claiming pretensions of being objective analysis!
“… Palestine, the [Roman designation for the vast tract of land encompassing modern day Israel/Palestine as well as large parts of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon].”
Not really. The name was of Egyptian/Judaic extraction [peleshet] and meant ‘rolling’, ‘migratory’ or something close to that; it referred to the, mostly Greek-derived culture that had invaded and conquered the coastal region of what is now Israel and Gaza all the way back in the 12th century BCE! The name was only made official by Rome (explicitly done to attempt to reduce the Jewish peoples’ identification the ‘Nation of Israel’) in 132 CE; also, the name had referred at overlapping times to a number of distinctly separate places in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago.
The area was known, and had been known for centuries as Judea, Samaria and Galilee! It wasn’t until 3 full human lifetimes had passed after Jesus vanished from the world’s stage when a final Jewish rebellion brought turned Roman patience with Jewish Nationalism into Roman vengeance; the designation “Palestine” was chosen by the Romans in much the same spirit that neighboring Native Americans chose to call a particular North American tribe “the Sioux” – It meant “snakes” in the local dialects, and did not refer to wisdom dispensing kind in Greek lore; they picked the biggest boogiemen from Jewish history; the new dirige Provinciae Romanae was to be called after the Philistine invaders who conquered much of the Jewish lands for a time in centuries past.
Of course the pesky locals, probably already a bit peeved at having some invading peoples’ name imposed on them by leather skirt wearing “sore winners” carrying swords and eagles, and not even having an ‘F’ sound in their language just called it Filistin.
Common-sense tells us that anyone, of any religion or race who is descended from people, of any race or religion other than ‘Roman Citizen’ who is/was ‘from’ “Palestine” is no more, or less a “Palestinian” than any of the others who fit that description!
The earliest labeling of the area as “Palaistinē” (Greek – Παλαιστίνη) in the 5th Century BC by Herodotus hardly fails to conflict with the fact that the same century saw the steady return of the Jews from Persia to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of The Temple!!! Can this be any less “indigenously legitimate” a name than when a Spanish-Catholic invader (somewhat resembling in his cultural mindset the Jihadists under the First Caliph) “named” my birthplace and home after a mythical ‘Utopia’ from a contemporary book written within a culture thousands of miles away.*
Only after WW I was “Palestine” made in any way official; by the British who inherited responsibility for making sure the local infrastructure did not collapse when the Turks followed the defeated Germans West leaving their former subjects and brother Muslims in the mandate regions to sink or swim, Insha’Allah.
The newly named ‘Palestinian Mandate’ included Israel and the entire area that was given by the British as a (useless) gift/bribe to the Arabs for their own; we call it Jordan.
Despite some non-Muslim xenophobes trying to make a mountain out of that mole-hill it is irrelevant if the local Arab-culture Muslims cannot even pronounce the Roman-applied name; after all the Muslims are invaders too!
It certainly does make a difference though that that the word Palestine or Filastin appears 0 times in the Koran but, no fewer than 250 times does the Hebrew/Egyptian peleshet appear in the Jewish Tanakh.
Will the rest of your book be so generous to prides and prejudices of the religion you follow in other matters?
* Personally, I think it is cool be born and grow up where ‘our’ name was never a real place with a history, good or evil, until Californians made it real; we show cultural signs of our good fortune as American Californians in escaping much of the burden of guilt from slavery era, the Civil War or for displacing the natives simply because by the mid 1800’s the Spanish had already managed to more-or-less commit “benevolent” genocide by “saving the Natives’ Souls.” [i.e. forcing the natives into from their villages into “Missions” to be prayed over, worked to death and decimated repeatedly by various plagues as the over-crowding, bad sanitation and malnutrition weakened them and the “good Fathers” eliminated ancient cultures from Argentina to Oregon.]
Only after all that was over and done did you find Americans in large numbers braving the immense and dangerous crossing of the deserts and mountains west of the Mississippi into this magical land.
Americans soon outnumbered the Spanish, elbowing aside the Spanish; who were napping while the Indians and peasants worked only a little faster than they starved.
The Spanish, called “Missionaries”, and “Dons” were well dressed and drowsily stylish yet completely merciless against non-Catholics and peasants. These slave-holder/feudal Lords from Spain might just have been exhausted; it is not easy overseeing more than a hundred years of stagnation, native depopulation while regularly putting down revolts by sullen, despised-by-the-Spanish and always-about-to-rebel locals of mixed-blood called campesinos.
An embarrassing loss here, a cannon-shot there and California, now part of the United State of America could finally ‘get out of 2nd gear’! Of course, we STILL can’t won’t ‘Drive 55’!
“the first-century Jewish revolutionary party known as the Zealots, who helped launched a bloody war against Rome”
What prompted the name of your book? WHY do you tar the Christian messiah with the filthy brush of a group he rejected in no uncertain terms when offered the chance by Simon to lead 50,000 fanatical warriors in taking Judea back from Rome? I will NOT put my earnings in your pocket to read the rest but, so far it seems no more than the usual taqiyya and dawa-based “narrative”!
You do know that the ministry of Jesus followed to its extreme the interpretations and philosophy of the Pharisee religious faction (expounded on at length in Jesus’ own lifetime by the beloved rabbi Hillel); the most devout stood aside during the defense of Jerusalem because they believed that a divine punishment had been ordained to the Jewish nation that must be accepted for a renewal of their ancient “covenant” with God? And you call Jesus a follower of the philosophy of Zealotes?
“He was a man of profound contradictions, one day preaching a message of racial exclusion (“I was sent solely to the lost sheep of Israel”; Matthew 15:24), the next, of benevolent universalism (“Go and make disciples of all nations”; Matthew 28:19); sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9), sometimes promoting violence and conflict (“If you do not have a sword, go sell your cloak and buy one”; Luke 22:36)”
Good Lord Man! I left Christianity because of its internal contradictions and such but, your interpretations of these passages are out of context, reinterpreted in your favor, seemingly with overt hostility. The only consistent message I ever found through the fog of two thousand years of political expedience by various sects bear no resemblance to your “interpretation”! This “profound contradiction” is hardly realistic; it is not any kind of objective scholarship I recognize!
Let me break it down for you…
1 what mystery regarding the difference between ‘I’ (me, myself, one person, one lifetime, one ministry, one goal) compared to ‘you’ (his followers, disciples, and later generations, broader goals) carrying his mission from a “saved” Judaism to other peoples is confusing you here? Isn’t’ that EXACTLY the way Mohammed is supposed to have done it; didn’t he only spread Islam to Most of Arabia and leave his followers to carry it to other nations? In English this is usually called hypocrisy.
I would say that you are misrepresenting even the “good” half of your pseudo-paradox regarding Jesus and pacifism!
“sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9)”
In what language does call for unconditional anything, except Love for God? Jesus never advocated, he even refuted, the idea of unconditional non-violence; what mattered was if God was being followed or defied; the invocation and limits of violence were always tightly defined to avoid trespassing against “God’s Will” if their faith “called” them to do violence when required. He whipped the corrupting and religiously illegal money-changers from the forecourts of The Temple but, he most certainly did not storm in with a gang and start lopping off heads! That behavior is reserved for Friday evenings in certain Middle Eastern and South Asian countries!
As one raised in the faith by believers I saw NONE of what you are talking about even though eventually I left the religion for other reasons; in fact, as far as I saw it, read it, was taught it and saw it practiced, most of Jesus’ advice, his ministry and his teachings were aimed at an individual’s relationship with God; he wanted a city of saved souls, not to save the soul of a city, culture, nation or anything of that sort! In fact, he is recorded as advising those inclined to “get involved and save the world” to spend more time ignoring Earthly distractions and favored people, individuals all, living a Godly Life™. He certainly never promoted or promulgated any new societies, governments or states, nor did he promote the making of new laws to “make people be godly”! Do you even remember his treatment of the woman at the well, of the Roman Centurion wanting a sick servant who was absent healed by faith alone, the old non-Jewish woman he favored in ways he never favored any Jew? BZZZT, try again!
You also get it wrong on the “sword verse”, that is defensive based advise because of supposed fore-knowledge, a prediction of an overwhelming and swiftly approaching conflict, not an incitement to start cutting off people’s heads!!! He was even right in is prediction; within a hundred years Jerusalem had been destroyed by war!
“The problem with pinning down the historical Jesus is that, outside of the New Testament, there is almost no trace of the man who would so permanently alter the course of human history. The earliest and most reliable nonbiblical reference to Jesus comes from the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (d. 100 C.E.). In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem.
Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus.”
So? Mohammed has even less! His name was also a title back, it is certainly possible that Mohammed also might have been mentioned a total of zero times in the Qur’an!! Do I think there was one man that we know as Jesus? I don’t know. Given that I am not Christian it has little importance to me. I am also not Muslim so, being able to put his existence in doubt is no more important! His teachings are the parts that mattered, not what fools made them into decades, centuries, millennia later!
I think it seems more likely than otherwise there was a radical Rabbi named Yeshua but, I am not so blind that I failed to have noticed that all four gospels contradict each other; it seems so far that your book is more an of an undercover defense of Islam than any kind of realistic critique regarding the existence or ministry of a man moderns call Jesus of Nazareth!
Oh, you did know, scholar that you are, that many Jews thought, and think that “the Messiah” already came and freed them… from the Persians… long before Jesus was born. Or that there are from three to five different versions of “The Messiah” and may, or may not, manifest combined in one, or more people? You can call yourself a Christian scholar if you must, I would disagree but, you certainly lack much understanding about Judaism of the time or about Judaic theology before the 1st Century.
“Paul may be an excellent source for those interested in the early formation of Christianity, but he is a poor guide for uncovering the historical Jesus.”
Well what do you know! We agree on something!!!! Though I regard Paul more as the heretical Greek hijacker of Christianity than as one of its founders! Of course that doesn’t protect you from the fact that Islam is on even shakier ground; it was a member of a family hostile to Islam from the beginning, a gentle soul… a family that had constantly sought to do to Islam just what Paul did to Christianity; this is the tree that fruited a Caliph. Then he just happened decide to oversee the destruction of all versions of the Qur’an in conflict with his tribe’s version.
And there is worse! If ‘Muhammad’ is being used in the Qur’an as a title, instead of a name, well then Mohammed the man was ignored by the main source book of the religion he is supposed to have founded.
I guess you can write about any religion you like but, it would be nice if you refrained from bearing false witness when doing such a thing!
“Simply put, the gospels tell us about Jesus the Christ, not Jesus the man.”
How can you write that and claim honest scholarship, even noting that there were a lot more than the “Four Gospels ™” which do show Jesus the man; even the Final Four give us glimpses… Just one example here; the Biblical story about the wedding with the water and wine was likely talking about HIS wedding to the third Mary (Did you forget Mary the Hairdresser?) the Magdalene. In the time of the reign of Tiberius it simply was not possible to be a Jewish Rabbi of any sort without being a married man; marriage was considered a religious duty to anyone with pretense to being devout. It would be similar to an openly gay drag queen trying to start up a preaching circuit at Southern Baptist churches in 1972 Alabama; ‘Minister’ is not one of the names they would call him! Nor could Yeshua have been able to be treated as a Rabbi, even a radical one, if unmarried. Only a segment of the Essenes preached celibacy and even they “married”!
“a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine”
That statement is about as bigoted and misleading as if I wrote a book claiming “many Indian leaders were caught up in the turmoil that swept over New Amsterdam in 1374”, but never mention that there was a long established nation of Native Americans called the Iroquois there until about 200 years after that date!
“The plaque the Romans placed above Jesus’ head as he writhed in pain—“King of the Jews”—was called a titulus and, despite common perception, was not meant to be sarcastic. Every criminal who hung on a cross received a plaque declaring the specific crime for which he was being executed.”
Half right! The Romans were not caught up in the Messiah game; I believe the word gravitas would help define the distinction. In the book King Jesus Graves puts forth a very convincing argument that Jesus possibly WAS the actual “King of the Jews” by right of inheritance at the time of his arrest… one telling point is that the Romans would have called him a pretender or usurper of the title, not just declared him King of the Jews as his “crime”; it would be like a court convicting a forger while calling them a “’mint owner’ instead of making the crime as charged “making false coinage’!
“That image alone should cast doubt upon the gospels’ portrayal of Jesus as a man of unconditional peace almost wholly insulated from the political upheavals of his time. “
Where do you GET these interpretations? He is portrayed as being HOUNDED by zealots on all sides who wanted political power even his own disciples constantly earn his rebuke on this matter!!
“The notion that the leader of a popular messianic movement calling for the imposition of the “Kingdom of God”—a term that would have been understood by Jew and gentile alike as implying revolt against Rome—could have remained uninvolved in the revolutionary fervor that had gripped nearly every Jew in Judea is simply ridiculous.”
This is getting boring! What is ridiculous is that you seem to have missed the fact that his popular support drained away, and the mob turned against him when he FAILED to do what you just claimed he DID, namely attempt to “impose” a political kingdom that would free the Jews from Rome! Rather he told them the struggle was useless, Jerusalem was self-doomed and that HIS kingdom would not be “of this world”… or you can go on mixing up the characteristics of five different Messiahs until you have the mixture that fits your prejudices. You already admitted that only ONE gospel was written by anyone that was even alive, let alone a companion of Jesus, son of Mary, when all of this was supposed to have occurred.
“Thus began the long process of transforming Jesus from a revolutionary Jewish nationalist into a peaceful spiritual leader with no interest in any earthly matter. That was a Jesus the Romans could accept, and in fact did accept three centuries later when the Roman emperor Flavius Theodosius (d. 395) made the itinerant Jewish preacher’s movement the official religion of the state, and what we now recognize as orthodox Christianity was born.”
Do you just make it up as you go? Rome was being torn apart by the conflict between a growing Christianity and the established pagan priesthoods; he saw the Christians’ zeal and growth. And he coldly chose the faction he thought would win anyway; the idea was for ROME to win back some stability in a conflict that looked about to tear the Empire to shreds.
It happens. I have dealt as many if not more ‘Evangelistas’ as I call them than you probably have. As for me, I would say that even more often it is the pseudo-devout who do what you seem to be doing; see people not of your own faith (which has an even more fogged origin and a founder virtually invisible for over a hundred years after he is supposed to have lived. Islam is on at least as shakily grounded as Christianity when even Muslims cannot agree on who is and who is not a ‘real’ Muslim even within the Sunni and Shiite sects; all conflicting faith is “the enemy”, is competition.
You can read a million books and collect a hundred degrees I do not seeing you getting over the bar labeled “scholar and historian” until you can see the humble fallibility that ALL humans are subject to; unfortunately you seem to have too little honor to refrain from bearing false witness against those who are not “of the body” if there is some thread of hope you might be “winning” converts by damaging your self-declared enemies’ common bonds with deceit, stratagems and bald-faced lies instead of debating in favor of a theology built from honesty and love. No, I am not saying that Christianity is that theology… True theology is mostly about what happens between ONE person and God; ALL organized religions are, at best, social clubs crossed with support groups; at worst they are the Taliban, the Inquisition, “peaceful Buddhist sects” warring against each other unto extinction… Are those the kind of “godly” compatriots, the brand of co-religionist you seek?
“If we expose the claims of the gospels to the heat of historical analysis, we can purge the scriptures of their literary and theological flourishes and forge a far more accurate picture of the Jesus of history. Indeed, if we commit to placing Jesus firmly within the social, religious, and political context of the era in which he lived—an era marked by the slow burn of a revolt against Rome that would forever transform the faith and practice of Judaism—then, in some ways, his biography writes itself.
The Jesus that is uncovered in the process may not be the Jesus we expect; he certainly will not be the Jesus that most modern Christians would recognize. But in the end, he is the only Jesus that we can access by historical means.
Everything else is a matter of faith.”
And that was only the introduction?
My ideal of government:
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.
Is there anyone who can tell me just which part of modern world civilization is Non-Western?
If it came about in the last 300 years, and general world-wide opinion is that it is “civilized” then it came from the West; deal with it people! IT is not about race or the color of anyone’s skin, it is about CULTURES; some are structured in healthy ways, others , um… are not.
I believe that the source of the West’s almost incomprehensible loss of the will to keep the more unruly cultures on a leash (or at least penned up) is related to the fact that we have won the war, the struggle from animals to civilization; the rest is just tuning and tweaking and finding the best ways to do this civilization game. If the world were ‘civilized’ as a whole there would be no need for war or armies or bombs; but only part of the world is civilized and our own civilized “sensibilities” tell us that it is not “nice” to fail to “be nice” to those unfortunate cultures that still have a lot of growing up to do. And so we allow the idiots to blow themselves and others up, rape, pillage and commit genocide – all in the name of being “civilized”!
How is it a civilized act to allow barbarism to flourish? It isn’t; it will not eve produce stability. Ask the Romans; ask the British.
We in the West walk a fine line; on the one hand we must protect and hold on to our hard-won prize: the dignity and honor of the individual based on their own life instead of their family,tribe, nation or race. On the other hand we must not shy away from swift and effective actions to contain the un-civilized while their cultures slowly grow up in their own time.
I have always felt it was a form of racism to ascribe every problem and ill suffered by the second and third world to the first world; those places all were, in Kipling’s words, “dog’s breakfasts” of cultures to live in long before any ‘white man’ came to interfere with the quaint native ways.
It was Western culture that came, not a color of skin. And everywhere it has gone, the individual has seen the length, prosperity and stability of their lives increase dramatically; at the cost of most of the “old ways”, the majority of which where of questionable psychological value to begin with! Anyone who disagrees about some cultures being more messed up (none are perfect, by a long shot) had better be prepared to come up with a “good” reason why some primitive tribes to this day retain a rite of passage to manhood that includes the child/man performing, willing or not, ritual fellatio on an older man in order to protect the younger one from “the overwhelming power of the female”! I am not sure about you, but I just can’t go along with forced sex with minors in the guise of a religiously vital ritual of passage, and I hold some fairly heretical notions about what a sexually healthy society would look like!
Sex is one of those “tweaks and tunings” I spoke of that Western society needs to work on; oh boy do we need to work on it! But, that hardly means we in the West (the role models of civilization) should be so timid about being settled in our minds on the basics: non-Western ways of treating women as a class, and personally, quite simply suck.
Check out this attempt at a defense of non-Western views toward women.
The whole bazaar mentality of “narrative” is also questionable; it is not who makes the loudest, most emotional yet traditional argument first who wins, it is the guy who goes over and counts the mules teeth and knows the facts.
I close with my update of Kipling; all I did was take one word, and translate from what it meant then to the word we would use to show what Kipling was really saying.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to naught.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
Finally remember that I consider Japanese, South Koreans, and much of India etc., to be “Western” before you light your straw-men.
One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism. This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s). For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.
To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.
Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!
Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.
It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…
The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!
As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.
Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”
Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!
I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.
Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.
Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!
In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.
Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!
The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.
Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears. You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!
If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!