Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SHOCKING similarities

DID YOU KNOW that Islam, like Christianity, promises the return of the Messiah? Go HERE for more.

That it, too, preaches Armageddon (the violent end of the world)? Go HERE for more.

And don’t forget: the holy stories of each religion feature the same cast of characters (see my Feb. 9 post “Quiz”):

Elias (Elijah)
Jonah (Jonas)

But don’t take my word for it: Google “Quran” and “Abraham” or “Quran” and “Adam” and see for yourself.

Kiddies, Christianity and Islam are the same primitive, violent, desert “religion” with a few minor tweakings to give each its own flavor.

Ever wonder why almost the entire world, now, practises either Christianity or Islam? It’s because our ancestors were tortured nonstop until they promised to brainwash us, their descendents, into becoming believers.

But remember – I can’t say it often enough – it’s not people who are at fault here. All of us are born lovable. It’s the systems sitting on top of our heads that’s the problem.


lept said...

Even Andrew Sullivan (ugk!) had a useful post on this, quoting as follows from another source:
"The Hidden Imam will eventually leave his Greater Occultation and appear (zuhur) to the world of humanity. This return is the most significant event in the future for the Shi'ite faithful and has thunderous eschatological consequences. This return will occur shortly before the Final Judgement and the end of history. Imam Mahdi will return at the head of the forces of righteousness and do battle with the forces of evil in one, final, apocalyptic battle."
The various apocalyptic visions combined with nuclear weapons make one almost wistful for the clod war...
And yes it is time to look toward alternatives of the more nurturing kind.

Paxton said...

I have 0 grams of knowledge on the Quran, so I'm speaking hesitantly here. 2 things:

--if the people you mentioned actually existed, it is not surprising for multiple books to mention them, just like a lot of history books talk about Napoleon ('course I don't know how closely the stories match up).

--religions can share elements without being the same, and religions can share elements without being equally true. If I had a history book that was perfectly true, and someone "tweaked" it and reprinted it, we would not have two equal history books with different flavors. We would have one real history book and one historical fiction book.

Bear in mind that I am ignorant of Islam. I am not saying that it was devised by tweaking Christianity. I am not saying anything at all about Islam. (except that if it is not Christianity, it is not true). Perhaps some day I will have time to learn about it. I just want you to keep those two points in mind as you think about the relationship between Islam and Christianity.

Anne Johnson said...

If two religions espouse a violent end of the world, do the details really matter? I've never seen a historical novel that says the English won the Revolutionary War.

Athana said...

Yes, Lept, isn't it odd how the cold war seems almost -- well, warm and fuzzy compared to some of the scenarios imaginable today.

Athana said...

Paxton, I think Anne makes a good point. And don't you think it's a bit odd that of all the thousands of religions known to humankind, your religion and Islam share the idea that the world is going to end violently? I haven't done a study on how many religions hold that belief, but I don't think it's very many.

How sad for you that you've chosen to believe in such a religion.

Morgaine said...

Paxton - Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all worship of the God of Abraham, known variously as Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai, Allah and now "God." It's all the same man in the clouds, they're just at different points in the timeline. Jews don't accept that Jesus was the predicted Messiah, but Christians do. Islam sees Mohammed as a successor to Jesus, who came and gave new prophecies, just as Latter Day Saints see the Book of Mormon as a second testament of Jesus.

And let me ask you - other than faith, what leads you to believe in the veracity of Christianity?

contratimes said...

I thank Athana for the links to the Islamic commentaries. They are helpful, and disturbing.

It should be noted that Islam does not believe, like Christianity does, in a return of the Messiah: Islam is awaiting one (perhaps); Christianity awaits the return of the One True Messiah, Jesus the Christ (reduced to a mere prophet by Islam). In other words, only one of these two religions is awaiting a "return."

Now, I don't see how one can compare the Christian vision of the end of time with Islam's, but let's stipulate they are identical. But I would think even the most atheistic person can see that humanity is indeed heading toward a showdown; there is no need suggesting that "God" is willing this sort of thing, since humans seem to be willing it just fine.

But let us ignore religion for a moment and admit that the scenarios the hard sciences offer us regarding the ultimate end of the cosmos are dire and violent ones. Gaia is not going to sustain herself in perpetuity; nor is the cosmos heading towards perfection: it's heading toward dissolution. There is cataclysm or heat-death or the crushing depths of a black hole for us to look forward to.

Hence, worshipping a goddess is no feat of optimism: The cosmos, which has already been defined as being identical with the goddess on this very website, is nothing particularly kind in the long-run. Why would anyone want to partake in a religion that also portends death and destruction in the name of a goddess?

So it seems that Anna has not made a good point at all, and that it is quite sad for anyone to embrace goddess worship as some sort of improvement over nomadic, warrior gods. One religious group suggests that something outside the cosmos -- the Father -- will bring an end to the world; the other suggests that something intrinsic to the cosmos -- the Mother -- will bring the end to all things. The outcomes are still bleak.

It would also be a mistake to suggest that YHWH and Allah are identical. They are not. In fact, there are many scholars who have suggested that Allah is more akin to the Greco-Roman idea of fate (though masculinized): it is fate to which we submit (Islam < to submit). Many have referred to Islam as pure fatalism, where whatever happens proves the veracity of the victors: That violence, if it occurs to successfully dominate others, MUST HAVE BEEN ALLAH's WILL (al-Qadar) since the violence happened. However, only the most peripheral forms of Calvinism believe that the Judeo/Christian God behaves deterministically; orthodox, historic Christianity has always held that God is personal and permissive, granting true free will; God is not an (ultimately) impersonal, determining force.

There are no doctrines of grace, redemption, propitiation, substitution, atonement or forgiveness that compare between Islam and Christianity: Christianity has Islam beat on these things, no problem. Christianity has God hanging on the Cross, submitting to humanity's capital punishment; God takes the blame for the ills of humanity, declaring that it is indeed all His fault; Jesus the Christ stands as transcendence and immanence, a being born of God's word and woman's womb: He is the crossroad and the paradox, the flashpoint between heaven and earth; Jesus Christ as son of Mary (the Second Eve), and yet the Incarnation of Mary's very Father (of all). Perverse? Perhaps. But there is nothing like that in Islam, not even close; nor is there anything remotely like it in any other world religion. For if there is one simple departure point, it is this: All other religions save Judaism and Christianity show the people of the valley climbing some precipice to achieve a great height; Christianity has that Great Height born of a woman, in swaddling clothes, suckling at her redemptive, salvific breast: Christianity is the summit condescending to the valley.

Islam is the Religion of the Perfect Fate, bending humanity to Its/His will; Christianity is the Religion of the Broken God, broken to restore the broken goddess, which is His Beloved, His Bride, His very heart.

Peace and mirth,


If interested, I discuss Allah's will, al-Qadar, in my series which begins here. The context is the War on Terror. My series may come across as pro-bellicosity, but that would be inaccurate.

Athana said...

"Christianity has God hanging on the Cross ... God takes the blame for the ills of humanity, declaring that it is indeed all His fault....
[T]here is nothing like that in Islam ... nor is there anything remotely like it in any other world religion."

contratimes, I hear ya, but I have a few problems with this.

First, you seem to see huge differences between Islam and christianity, but all I can see are the similarities. I've studied world religions, and against that backdrop, islam and christianity are two peas in a pod.

Second, I don't see yhwh being all that humble all of a sudden in the NT. Where does it go into detail about how he suddenly gets humble? Where is it explained why he gets humble, or where, or when?

Third, I think Jesus is just a tack-on. The risen savior is an exceedingly old and widespread pagan belief, played out over and over again in the pagan world before the Hebrews ever saw the light of day.

contratimes said...

I appreciate that you think Jesus is just an addendum. Most people do.

The dissimilarities between Islam and Christianity are vast. The most obvious one is that Christianity believes that Jesus is God Incarnate, which is not possible in Islam (or Judaism), as in the latter God is deemed to be a unity. Christianity, utterly more nuanced than either Judaism or Islam, sees God as Tri-unity, or Trinity. Trinitarianism, in fact, is pretty much deemed blasphemous by Judaism and Islam. But Christians have no problem seeing God in complex simplicity: He can be known as outside space and time, the Father hovering over a mountaintop in glorious Light; the Son in the flesh standing not afar but in space and time next to me, appealing to all my senses fully; and in my very soul, in my heart and mind, as the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is incarnational: it affirms the wondrous beauty and power of the body (it abhors disembodied spirituality), as Christ is raised in real flesh and real blood from the dead as a promise to us.

As for the sacred texts, Christianity has never suggested that the Holy Writings are God's actual words: No one has ever suggested that God dictated either the Old or New Testaments, or that someone channeled God's very words to papyrus. Only Islam says this: Islam believes that Muhammed was God's chosen scribe; that the Koran is the VERY WORDS OF ALLAH, that Allah speaks Arabic. Again, Christianity, knowing that ALL LANGUAGE falls short; that no human language is ever without a loss for words, posits that God's "Word" is revealed through the words of real men and real women (yes, women).

Also, Christianity differs in that it is evangelistic: It shares a gospel, a good news, with the world, ostensibly proclaiming it from the rooftops. Islam does not have this sort of missionary zeal. As a result, Islam, not unjustly, has a reputation for threatening conversion, by forcing it with might and intimidation. There are no passages in the New Testament suggesting warring with one's neighbors; but there are such passages in the Koran, encouraging the faithful to stand against the infidels. Had a Muslim missionary come to your town lately?

And as I said before, there is no elevation of woman, like Christianity's elevation of Mary (the Second Eve), who not only receives the honor of having God submit to her (she is the mother of God), but becomes through her own submission the Mother of All Christians.

You ask where God demonstrates His humility? How about here, in submitting to Mary, a peasant girl, as His mother? How about in His identification with a bloodline of men and women that is filled with rape, theft, murder, intrique, adultery, incest and sundry other sorrows (Jesus was born of the Davidic line, which proves that God is not interested in being born of a morally PURE pedigree)? How about the very death of the incarnate God of the universe on the Cross -- hanging naked, urinating and defecating in His final hours before mocking men and women; bleeding in thirsty isolation, turning the Cosmic Cheek in love? How about that this God loves me, you, George Bush, Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro, Jeffrey Dahlmer, Sheryl Crow, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, and Chubby Checkers? How about that He loves all people, good or bad, violent or passive, if they would but love Him? Is that not humble?

Well, I've tried to answer your questions directly. I don't know if I've succeeded in helping you, but I at least made an effort.

Peace to you,


contratimes said...

Oops. I nearly forgot.

The resurrection story may indeed be old hat. Should we dismiss something because it appears elsewhere, commonly, in many places? Would we not then have to dismiss the stories of goddesses as well, as they are so prevalent?

But the fact is that the Resurrection of the God of the Universe in the Flesh (not just in spirit) is completely unique to Christianity: God as corporeal being (God is the ground of all Being, as His "I AM THAT I AM", YHWH name suggests) is a wondrous and unique revelation, found nowhere else in religious lore. We are talking about the Primary Mover, The Alpha, The Most Moved Mover (as AJ Heschel called God) dying -- in body -- and returning from that abyss -- in body. That is unique.

Peace and mirth!


Athana said...

I'm just going to point to 3 of your points.

First, "Christianity differs in that it is evangelistic: Islam does not have this sort of missionary zeal."

I disagree. Muslims have spread their faith violently across the globe. I just read the other day about Muslims beheading sweet Malaysian girls over some brouhaha; Muslims have forced much of Asia and North Africa to abandon their beautiful religions and adopt the ugliness that is Islam. Christians did the same, all across the globe, to Hawaiians, Native Americans, the Chinese, etc. Violently.

Second, Christianity "affirms the wondrous beauty and power of the body ...."

Au contraire, Christianity abhors the body. Sex is dirty. The body is ugly and must be hidden. Especially the female body. There are 1000 rigid proscriptions around sex. Come on! You know this is so! There have been entire libraries of books written on how much Christianity hates the sweet and lovely human body. And the horror this has heaped on the world.

"There is no elevation of woman like Christianity's elevation of Mary."

contratimes, you are just being plain silly, here. Come on. God detests women, and you know it. Not one woman in the Bible has power to do squat. Mary is a piece of dead wood who sits on a shelf, frozen into place, nice, pretty, and useless. We all know God just threw women a bone when he "let" Mary give birth to someone important (a man). God doesn't even need women to make people! All he needs is a man's rib!

No, don't insult me with stuff about how wonderful life is for women in your all-male religion. Again, there've been tomes written on this topic.

Athana said...

contratimes, I recognize you as a deeply spiritual person, and I would like you to know that I respect and honor you for that. I also think you're just the type of person who could "step outside the box" and consider another path for a moment or two.


contratimes said...

Dear Athana,

There may have been tomes written, as you say, but they are shoddy and foolish ones. Sorry. Christianity does not find sex ugly, nor does it abhor the body. Yes, there have been Christians unduly influenced by neo-pagan, or neo-Platonic ideas: that the body is what corrupts, that materiality is bad. These ideas are rife through the gnostic gospels; they are rife through the heresies which the Church has fought since the beginning. The Orthodix/Catholic Church has been adamant about the glories of the body: there is hardly a more PHYSICAL expression of religion on the planet other than Catholicism. In fact, it is abused by its protestant detracters as being full of idols, carnal, worldly, pagan, Roman, etc.

Christ's incarnation (through a woman) was scandalous not to the Christians, but to Greeks and Judaism, the former because God took on REAL flesh; the latter because it compromised Jewish monotheism.

The oppression of women is not a Christian thing: Women have found tremendous freedoms in the wake of Christian teaching. Islam oppresses women. Hinduism oppresses women, and everyone else. Jesus' acceptance of women is outstanding, and put him at profound risk. Women are central to the Gospel: they are the first to hear of the Incarnation; they are the first to witness the resurrection; they are the first to share that good news. Jesus' acceptance of two foreign women, speaking directly to them and permitting them to speak to him, both actions which were derided by Jewish custom and law; Jesus' acceptance of the honor paid to him by a prostitute while dining in a Pharisee's house; each of these point to the fact that Jesus pointed the Church in the right direction.

Yes, there are Muslim "missionaries," but you've equivocated here: I've not suggested that Islam "evangelizes", which is a distinctly Christian term, via violence. I've suggested that that is NOT evangelism at all; it is abuse and threat. I am all too aware of Islam's "missionary" work; and I've already suggested what it is like: It is nothing like Christian ministry, nothing at all.

Let it be noted that Christianity has a whole dogma built around female ideals: the centrality of the Bride of Christ in human history; the Theotokos (the mother of God); the elevation of the Mother and Child in the final prophetic scenes of history.

That Catholicism does not permit women to be priests is not anti-female, it is entirely pro-female. Priestly duties are for men -- sacramentally -- because such duties are required of men to appease their abject failures as men: Priestly vows and acts, for men, are a sacramental, restorative component of Christian salvation: Men failed even in the Garden of Eden (astute Christian devotés know that Eden is Adam's fault). As a result, men are given a rôle that redeems them as men: it is a rôle that helps restore them. Moreover, please note that even in Eden God promises to Eve that it would be through her that Satan would be defeated: "He will strike your heel, you shall crush his head."

I am not talking about the practical aspects of Christianity. Much of the praxis of the Church has been performed by pagan and neo-pagan converts, all with biases and customs inherited from their families, cultures, and other social ties. Christianity is not rife with the abuse of women; humanity is, and humans become Christians and fail to, or only slowly relinquish their abuses of each other.

When St. Paul said that there is "No male or female ... in Christ," his words were radical to his world; though not as swiftly radical as we might have liked. That being male or female was not required to participate in Christ or salvation history was a new, fresh and dynamic idea.

The Church's insistence on sex within the SACRAMENT of marriage; that sex is only for the JOY of reproduction in the context of marriage; is not a low view of sex or women, it is the highest possible view of both. To view sex as FUN or just about LOVE, or just about FEELING or PLEASURE or ORGASM; to view sex and the body this way is to denigrate sex, to empty it. Women are sexually abused precisely because men and women no longer view the womb the way the Church views it: the womb is a sacred temple, a holy place. It is not a fun room for men; it is not a recreation facility; it is a procreation sanctuary. Both men and women have lied to women, have blinded women, for decades, telling them that their bodies are not holy, but wholly valuable as vessels of self-expression, SELF-fulfillment; in other words, for pleasure. THIS is to reduce sex to its tawdry, dirty, vial levels. Christian theology does not lead to temple prostitution, or any prostitution at all; paganism does. Fertility cults led to the oppression of women: it wasn't temples to Gods but Goddesses where women were enslaved for prostitution in fertile, fecund celebrations. Similarly, anti-fertility cults, the ones that hold sway over women now, oppress women, urging them to be entirely male in their sexuality: having sex like men, without consequence (allegedly), all the while finding fulfillment in "career" or "vocation" (which are jokes), which is a very male thing to do.

Lastly, the history of the Church might be viewed something like an anti-pendulum: the Church swings in an opposite direction when the world goes crazy idolizing the idol of the day. But it is not the Church that is extreme, but the world It resists. Remember: it is the men who have benefited most from the sexual liberation of women: it is the men who are having the fun scoring with women who treat their bodies the way men have hoped they would: like vehicles for pleasure, rather than as vehicles of life. This is what the "Culture of Death" means in current Catholic thought: that women and men use their bodies for essentially nothing that LIVES.

I, too, believe that you are a deep, spiritual person. I thank you for your gracious hospitality here. I know, for instance, that you and I most likely would not agree on the abortion issue. But I have a series at my blog, which is clearly marked in my sidebar, that I believe is a fair, honest and candid examination of abortion, womanhood, and choice. I believe that all that we are discussing here indeed has a lot to do with how we view God or Goddess; but it also has a lot to do with how we view man, woman, child, sex, abortion, choice, love, and equality. You and I are directly connected in the content of our thought: we just process that content differently, using different assumptions and paradigms. Despite these differences, you've been very hospitable. Thanks.

Peace and mirth, Athana!!

Bill Gnade

joe in oklahoma said...

u have just a few things wrong...

the quran tells the faithful muslim to await the return of it DOEs believe in a return...jesus is - in islam - the abused prophet whose work was completed by mohammed

islam is a VERY evangelistic religion....dawa (spreading the faith) is a requirement, not an option.

i would hardly consider the christian shackling of sexuality to be liberating for women or men. in fact, christian, muslim and jewish approaches to sexuality entrench male privilege....

thus a woman is liberated by being married to a man.

tho it's true that compared to islam, in some cultures, becoming christian can be is that the religion or the culture?

yet in divorce law,islam has always guaranteed women certain rights not found among christians until recent times...

your defense of male superiority in terms of priesthood is so typical of christian reasoning, and so embarassing to encounter. nobody really believes that shit....the priest must be a guilt-laden male because women are so joyful and pristine? gimme a break
talk about pedestals! no dignity there.
and of course, mary is model because she is not sexual, she is "pure" and virginal, she is obedient.

o one more thing...the resurrection: paul says the resurrection involved a spiritual body.....mmmm

joe in oklahoma said...

one more comment about excluding women from priesthood.

you say: "Priestly duties are for men -- sacramentally -- because such duties are required of men to appease their abject failures as men: Priestly vows and acts, for men, are a sacramental, restorative component of Christian salvation: Men failed even in the Garden of Eden."

given your logic (one which i NEVER heard in all the 50 years i was in the church, one i never heard in seminary) it follows that sacraments are really only for males, since it is a male failure that has to be redeemed.


contratimes said...

Dear Mr. Joe in Oklahoma,

Did you say, "shit?" Interesting.

Let's see. Where to begin.

I am glad to learn something about Islam: that it is a faith that is shared, in love, through teaching and preaching; through the visitation of teacher and preacher, missionary and saint. I did not know this. Of course, I am referring to "euangelikos", evangelism, the "good news," the Gospel. There is no "Gospel", no evangelicalism, in Islam. THAT is my point.

You know infinitely more than I do about Islam, so I concede that you are right. But I am under the unreasoned impression that Islam might be awaiting the return of Jesus; but Jesus is not coming back to Islam as its rejected or resurrected Messiah. Am I wrong about that? Are you saying that Islam believes Jesus is Islam's savior?

As for resurrection, Paul may indeed speak of a spiritual body, which is not a disembodied one, but an embodied one empowered by the Spirit. Paul knows that Jesus urged His disciples to touch Him. You can't touch a disembodied being.

Now, if you think that my statement regarding the sacrament of the (male) priesthood is typical "Christian reasoning, how is it that you then say you've never heard of it? That is hardly typical. Moreover, it is fallacious of you to think that sacraments are only for men: I did not say that. What I said is that priesthood is reserved for men because there is something in that sacrament that helps redeem men. The sacraments of marriage (and reproduction), baptism, unction, communion, confirmation, etc., are for all people, including women (though men cannot participate in procreation the way Eve can).

I am assuming you are Catholic, since you know so much about sacraments and Mary. Of course, it is not a particularly Catholic view to disdain virginity as some sort of subservience to men (I thought prostitution and promiscuity were signs of women's enslavement to men, or so I've heard). Mary's centrality is entirely misunderstood, and abhorred, by nearly all Protestants. That Mary tells Jesus WHEN His ministry begins; that she knows before He does when His time has come, suggests a greater power than you seem willing to grant. Lastly, it is interesting that the late John Paul II was considering declaring Mary as Co-mediatrix, Co-redemptrix. Protestants have no such tolerance for Mary's alleged greatness.

Peace and mirth,

Bill Gnade

Anonymous said...

you guys bash christianity and you have it all wrong. The Bible flat out states that is God's word 2 Timothy 3:16 says that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, forreproof, for correction, for instruction in righteusness. Tell me that does not flat out say God's Word does not say the Bible is from God. Oh and lets talk about prophecy. All prophecy in the Bible has came true or is yet to come true. Not talking about generalization prophecies but detailed ones that have exact dates and descriptions. The Bible was written in three different languages, and on 3 different continents by 40 different authors from every walk of life. It iwas written over a 1500 year span but yet it all talks about the same thing and it does not contradict itself that is amazing and is uncomparable to any other manuscript known to man. Muhammid was illiterate and so was Joseph Smith but that is besides the point. You mock Jesus and that just makes me mad. My Jesus gave his life you and you sit there with your stupid head knowledge of all this religion but unless you submit the the Holy God Almighty (The Christian God-Allah won't do anything for you) and realize that your sins offend God you are going the pit of Hell. The Bible says Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that you are Lord. You might as well do that now than in Hell. By the way Jesus was no weak little fluff historical character he came to the earth to do business and to whoop our lazy sinful buts in shape. Not that this is any excuss for my rudeness but it just upsets me that people like you deny Christ and will end up in the fiery pits of Hell.

Faith and Love
In Christ