This is a difficult dissertation to write; not in terms of the actual composition, but in how to communicate context. (But isn’t that frequently the problem?) Writers are advised to respect readers, which I always strive to do; and therefore, hope you will receive the meaning in the spirit it is given. My intention is not to deliver a value judgment, disparage any person or group, preach, or persuade you to agree with my point of view; rather a presentation of information and subsequent opinion as I view it from my own humble lens of experience and environment. I leave you to draw your own conclusions. With that in mind… |
For most of mankind’s eons of recorded history, the population of Earth has been two to two-and-a-half billion people. When I entered junior high, world population reached three billion, and today it is estimated to be seven billion going on eight. It’s a small wonder that disease, pestilence, climate conditions, profligate crime, and serial killers have flourished. The planet is being stressed beyond reason. But wait, there’s more…
Contributing to somewhat of a perfect storm, Earth’s human inhabitants have dumbed-down to unprecedented levels. Ignorance abounds, and its cousin, learned-ignorance, has stepped-up to the plate in earnest during my lifetime. Ignorance means lack of knowledge, which can be corrected with education, while learned-ignorance is quite insidious and akin to downright bigotry and stupidity. That is, learning to be ignorant is practiced by reasonable people when being ignorant suits their personal agenda and purpose. Examples: continuing to smoke when one knows the long-term harm; pretending that driving under the influence of marijuana causes no impairment; discrimination based on skin color and/or faith, blindly following a political party or candidate; political correctness when it trumps truth…the list goes on-and-on.
I realize that learned-ignorance has always been a part of the human condition, but at present day it seems to have reached epidemic proportions what with large numbers of the populace letting media “stars”, OP-ED knuckleheads, the Internet, and/or their favorite political affiliate think for them. The so-called information age has permitted the lazy to check their brains at the door. Come on, folks, you were given a bean full of gray matter—use it!
Here’s what got me stoked: Comments over the Internet by whom-I-surmise are PC leftwing apologists opining that Islamic terrorists are neither worse nor more prevalent than Jewish and Christian extremists. Being my own thinker, I beg to differ. First, I must admit that I am neither a theologian nor expert on holy book scriptures, but I do know that one can prove almost anything by use of statistics and/or scripture by spinning context according to one’s agenda. In addition, I have lived in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, and have read Torah, Bible, and Qur’an. Each of these books contains part or most of the other. I suppose since Abraham, who was originally from present day Iraq, is the father of all three faiths that similarities should be of no surprise.
In my lifetime, thousands of international attacks have been reported by so-called extremists of Islam who claim to be following their doctrine as proclaimed by the Prophet Mohammed. When it comes to any religion, doctrine equals dogma equals holy ground, pure-and-simple. Doctrine never, ever changes with the times. It is a touchstone that is inviolate. It DOES NOT evolve. In Torah (first five books of the Christian Old Testament) God tells Moses to march into Canaan (or Palestine or Israel as you prefer) and kill every last man, woman, and child and their livestock as well because the evil Canaanites had not “surrendered to God”. The Israelites did not follow that command. The Qur’an includes all of Torah, and Mohammed was similarly advised to give infidels a chance to convert (i.e., surrender) or receive the sword. Another part of the Qur’an says people-of-the-Book must not be harmed. Those people include Muslims, Christians, and Jews—Allah’s sanctified faiths. Now that’s a paradox, right? My point is that although doctrine is adopted and believed by the faithful, it is “evolving” people who enforce the doctrine (as they perceive it) through the ages. According to statistics from the FBI, since the infamous and cowardly 9/11 Twin Tower strikes in NYC those espousing Islam have perpetrated 26,855 terrorist attacks worldwide including upon their own faithful. During that same time span, zero terrorist attacks have been attributed to Judaism and Christianity. Believe it or not, those are the numbers, which do not include retaliation of Israel and the West for various Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Taliban, ISIS, et. al attacks.
The doctrine of Israel (i.e., stride with God) and Islam (i.e., surrender to God) are in part closely aligned. Both included Mosaic Law—dietary rules, circumcision, eye-for-an-eye, etc. The conflict is that both believe Canaan was deeded to them either through Ishmael (Islam) or Isaac (Israel). There is no amount of statesmanship that can ever resolve that doctrinal difference. No freaking way!
Some people, mainly academic, left-leaning, agnostics claim Christianity is no better. Most point to Timothy McVeigh as proof. Really? ONE person versus those involved with almost 27,000 atrocities??? Get real! I will grant the whiners that many so-called Christians are also “evolved” people (like the KKK) who interpret doctrine/dogma according to their own desires. Christian doctrine is defined only in the New Testament, and may be broken down into two little constituent parts according to Jesus of Nazareth. The Nazarene said Christian spirituality was to 1) love God with all one’s heart, body, mind, and soul; i.e., surrender to God; and 2) love your neighbor as yourself; i.e., be nice to and serve everybody; i.e., serve community before self. I grant that not many people who identify as Christians live the doctrine; however, that does not make the doctrine invalid; and it is totally and completely different than the dogma of Abraham’s other two offshoots. You see the difference?
Christians are taught not to judge, but many are brutally judgmental. My hometown had one Baptist church, which grew to four, not because of membership increases, but because they disagreed and fought about dogma. Love your neighbor? They couldn’t stand each other. Christian doctrine is to be charitable and given your Earthly talents and goods to improve community. Sadly, the US is the biggest group of money-grabbers ever foisted upon mankind. Rich people, especially slutty entertainers and sports figures, no matter how evil and flawed are celebrated. I completely understand the Islamic reference to America as the Great Satan.
I just saw a news clip where a little, pig-tailed Palestinian girl, maybe three, said she would devote her life to killing Jews. Her father said he was very proud because she was following Islamic DOCTRINE. Killing others IS NOT the doctrine of Jews and Christians. Again, see the difference? Another difference is that Muslims and Christians seek converts, but Jews do not since they’re already the “chosen” people. All faiths have bad people, but DOCTRINE sets them apart philosophically.
It is people (as always) and the greedy, me-first, human condition that are the uncontrollable and unsolvable problems. Insha-allah.
By Gene Myers, a simple man who is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.
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