The current fight against ISIS (Islamic state in Iraq and Syria) by America and her allies is a continuation of the war that has been going on between Christians and Muslims since the seventh century of our common era. It is a fourteen hundred years old war. The war probably will continue, perhaps in different forms, during the balance of the twenty first century. What we have here is what Samuel Huntington called the clash of civilizations, Christian and Islamic civilizations. Let us, therefore, take some time to understand the issues at stake before we jump into the fray.
Judaism is the religion of the Jews. That religion has three thousand years written history and probably began before its written part begun. Judaism is a monotheistic religion, it believes in one God called Yahweh. Christianity is a sect of Judaism hence it is probably best to use the term Judeo-Christian religion while referring to Christianity.
In 4BC Caesar Augustus required that a census be taken in his Roman Empire. The Christian Bible writes that a man called Joseph and his wife, Mary were on their way to be counted in Augustus’ census when his pregnant wife went into labor and bore a son that they called Immanuel (God is with us). Greeks later renamed him Jesus Christ, the anointed son of God.
It should be noted that the land in which Jesus was born was then ruled by the Romans. Before the Romans the Greeks ruled that land. Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and his army swept through the Middle East and got to India. The Romans eventually displaced the Greeks as the major military power in the Mediterranean region. Educated Jews spoke Greek when Jesus was born, while uneducated ones spoke their native Arabic, aka Aramaic language. Oh, yes, Jews are Arabs! Jews and Arabs are Semitic; they both trace their origin to a fellow called Abraham. Abraham was born in what is today called Iraq, in a town called Ur (a few miles from Bagdad).
The little we know about Jesus is that he grew up a carpenter and later began speaking about God; he spoke with absolute confidence and authority; the man called himself the son of God and said that he came to show his fellow Jews a better way to reach God. At no time did Jesus address his gospel to non-Jews; in fact, he avoided non-Jews; it was Paul who took a gospel originally meant for Jews to non-Jews, the so-called gentiles.
Apparently, the Roman authorities were not too happy with Jesus for claiming to be the messiah of the Jews. Messiah meant that he was here to liberate them from the Romans ruling them. Be that as it may, it was Jesus’ fellow Jews who took umbrage at his claim to be the son of God, and at his disparaging statements about their Mosaic religion; the religious leaders of the Jews took steps to arrest and crucify Jesus. We are told that he was arrested and tried before a Roman governor at Jerusalem, Pontus Pilate and found guilty and crucified. He is said to have died and two days later (Friday to Sunday is two days, not three) resurrected from death.
His apostles impressed by the fact that he resurrected from death boldly preached his message. Later, Paul took that message to the other parts of the Roman Empire, including Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) and Rome Itself. The religion spread like autumn wildfire.
Initially, Romans persecuted those that came to be called Christians. In 315 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. In 325 AD he called a meeting of all the Bishops of the Christian Church in a place called Nicaea and they came up with a common creed and subsequently compiled the various books documenting the life of Jesus into one book, The New Testament. Later, they combined the New Testament with the Jewish Torah to form what is today called the Christian Bible.
The bible was superimposed on all the people in the Roman Empire, which included the Middle East, North Africa and Western Europe. Thus, it came to pass that Europe became Christendom.
What exactly does Christianity teach? It teaches that there is one God. It says that that God created all people. It says that people should love God and their neighbors. It says that there is a man called Jesus who though born as a human being called himself the son of God. Whereas Jesus did not present his self as the only son of God some Christians believe that he is the only son of God (if so who is the father of the rest of mankind?).
Many Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to reach God. If by that they mean love is the only way to reach God they are, of course, correct but if they mean serving the ego of Jesus they are mistaken.
In 450 AD German barbarians sacked the Roman Empire. In the power vacuum that ensued chaos reigned. Somewhere along the line Christians rose to become a power to be reckoned with. The Bishop of Rome managed to convince the other bishops that he is their boss. Rome became the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome the leader of the Church. Europe has been Christian since the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Italian renaissance, religious reformation, French Enlightenment, emergence of science as Europe’s dominant epistemology, industrial revolution, urbanization and other factors have weakened the hold of the Christian Church on Europeans but, by and large, Christianity is still the dominant European religion; other religions such as Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism have made some inroads in Europe but we can safely say that Europe is still a Christian world.
In 570AD a man called Mohammad was born in Mecca, in today’s Saudi Arabia. He was a camel driver working for a rich woman called Khadija. He later married the old woman and had more time to meditate on God. It is said that in 610 AD he began hallucinating, claiming that he heard the voice of the angel Gabriel (do angels exist?) and that the angel told him to establish a new religion to be called Islam, total submission to God (the voice of the angel was probably his own voice telling him what he wanted to hear).
Mohammad claimed that he was the seal of the Prophets; he claimed to be the counselor that Jesus had promised would come to solidify his teaching.
People generally consider those hearing voices of those they cannot see as mad; thus, Mohammad was considered a psychotic and driven out of Mecca; he ran to Medina (his flight is called the Hajira).
While at Medina he formed a militia and used that army to fight his way back and conquered Mecca in 322. In 328 he settled at Mecca. Mohammad launched the first Jihad, using military power to establish his religion.
His friend, Abu Baker compiled the messages his hallucination gave to him into what is now called the Koran. Mohammad died in 632 AD at age 62.
A few years after his death his followers, following his example used the sword to spread his religion. They conquered Jerusalem in 638, Egypt in 641, Spain in 711 and Southern France in 733; they were stopped at Tours by Charles Mattel (the harmer of God), the king of the Franks (Germans).
Islam also spread east and took what is today Iraq, Syria, Persia, Pakistan, India and got to China and south to Indonesia. It swept into Sahel Africa (West African countries at the edge of the Sahara Desert).
Islam spread by violence. In the Koran there are twenty two passages encouraging Muslims to kill non-Muslims and convert the entire world to Islam.
Examples of the injunction in the Koran that Muslims should go and kill people are: Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. - Sura 2:98. On unbelievers is the curse of Allah. - Sura 2:161. Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them(2:191); Make war on the infidels living in your neighboorhood (9:123) ;When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them (9:5); Kill the Jews and the Christians if they do not convert to Islam or refuse to pay Jizya tax (9:29); Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable (3:85) ;The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them (9:30) ;Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam. (5:33); The infidels are unclean; do not let them into a mosque (9:28) ;Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies(22:19); Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them (47:4) ;The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them (8:65) ;Muslims must not take the infidels as friends (3:28) ;Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an (8:12) ;Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels (8:60).
Islam is a religion of violence despite the disingenuous presentation of it as a religion of peace (it acts violently while calling itself peaceful).
Because Islam had taken Jerusalem, a city that Christians considered the birth place of their religion, their holy land, in the eleventh century Pope Urban 11 called on Christian knights to go on a holy war to reclaim Jerusalem from Mohomet’s. A three hundred years war ensued between Muslims and Christians. This war was called the Crusades. The war ended with Muslims retaining Palestine.
It came to pass that Christendom controls Europe (and when Europeans took the Americas, the Americas, and when Europeans took much of tropical Africa, much of tropical Africa) and islamdom controls the Arab world (and marginal parts of Africa and Asia).
There are over 2 billion Christians and over a billion Muslims. There are over 2 billion Buddhists, a billion Hindus and 1 billion persons belonging to other religions and no religion. But Christians and Muslims dominate the religious airwaves, as if they are the only religions in the world!
Christianity and Islam are missionary religions; each believes that it has sole hold on the truth and is motivated to convert the entire world to its dogma.
Christians used to use force to convert people to their dogma but these days do it peacefully. Muslims have never given up on the use of the sword in converting people to their Arab religion.
As we speak, a deluded young man called Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi has declared himself the caliph of Islam (Mohammed’s viceroy) and has embarked on a war to conquer the Middle East and have all the folks there see him as their new caliph; the man wants to form a new caliphate. The man’s long term goal is to convert the entire world to his religion; a religion that he apparently believes is the only way to get to God. He is so convinced of this reality that he is willing to kill whoever does not agree with him. He is a fanatic on a holy war to convert the world to Islam.
The West, of course, does not like what the man is doing. It is only a matter of time before the man’s body is decapitated and thrown into the Arabian Sea (why sea, to prevent Muslims from seeing his burial place as a holy place to go on pilgrimages to). Al Baghdadi will sooner or later meet the fate of the other deluded terrorist who wanted to convert an unwilling world to his religion, Osama bin Laden.
EVALUATION OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
A disinterested evaluation of Christianity and Islam shows that they have a lot in common; both are monotheistic; both posit a person as the person that people must follow to reach their idea of God. These religions are Abrahamic and Semitic religions. Apparently, the Semitic race has a kind of delusion that only they have what it takes to reach their idea of God.
Are these two religions true? Who decides what is the truth, the combating religionists? And who gave them the right to decide what the truth is for the rest of us?
As I see it, it is the individual human being who decides what the truth of God seems to him. As an individual I have the right to decide what the truth is provided that I do not impose my truth on other people.
My perception is that both Christianity and Islam are nonsensical religions. Both posit a father god that is so pathologically narcissistic that he wants all human beings to worship his ego and feels angry if he is not admired and worshiped. He is said to banish those children of his who do not admire his ego to eternal hell fire (can fire burn eternally?).
These two Semitic religions do not make sense yet their adherents apparently want to superimpose them on people to the point of Muslim jihadists beheading those who oppose the madness they call God.
These two religions have done tremendous damage to mankind and ought to be relegated to the place we relegate ancient superstitions, such as Greek and Roman religions; they are superstitions that bedevil mankind.
Science ought to be the new religion of mankind, with the understanding that we do not know what constitutes ultimate truth. We do not know that there is life after we die or that there is such a thing as