Many aspects of life are elegantly simple in nature, but made complex by those whose purposes are served by doing so. Usually the motivation of the obscurers has to do with the law and politics for the sake of billable hours, faux posturing, and/or votes. The media, eager to be relevant, eagerly pile on with great pomp and circumstance. |
Before I begin my logical presentation of opinion based on facts as I understand them, let’s agree on the following premises:
First, since the beginning of recorded history, there has NEVER been long-term peace in the land God promised to Abraham. It has been racked with turmoil, civil unrest, and war pretty much from the time Moses sent in the tribe for the purpose of a hostile takeover.
Second, politicians tend to be BS-slingers and self-serving liars. That’s not just the guys on the other side. That means you’re going to have to admit to the faults of you own party or you may as well stop reading right now. What I seek is intellectual honesty, not rationalization because one side or the other must lie for our “own good” or because your pretender is well-intended. For the purpose of this writing I am unconcerned about US domestic issues and politics. The intended focus is Israel and the Arab states that surround her. Therefore, erase from your memory what any candidate says is his/her solution for the Middle East. Recall what happened after the Carter, Begin, and Sadat pact. Sadat was assassinated. All the words, the good intentions, the rhetoric accomplished nothing. Now you may ask, “Wasn’t it noble to try?” I say NO because there can be no solution as you’ll learn at the conclusion of this essay. Further I characterize any such efforts as naïve and totally ignorant of history and religious doctrine. That doesn’t mean politicians will cease blathering since the appearance of “doing the right thing” is how they kowtow to the electorate and media. Bottom line: Because of ancient and sacredly held DOCTRINE, there can never, ever be lasting peace in Abraham’s Promised Land / Canaan / Israel / Palestine. Use your own label for the region. For expediency’s sake, I’ll use Israel, occupier since 1948.
Abraham’s followers spawned in chronological order Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For sure there are differences among the three, and that’s what human beings like to concentrate upon because the human condition is to create chaos and divisiveness out of order and good intentions. I prefer to concentrate upon similarities, and naively hope we can build from that. That said I know there’s about as much chance of success as pushing a rope. I’ll press on anyway.
Abraham said people must follow and obey the one true God; Moses seconded the motion and provided ten rules to help follow God’s will; Jesus said to love God with all one’s heart, mind, strength and soul; and Mohammed said we must surrender completely to God. Israel means to stride with God; and Islam means to surrender to God. So far; so good. Why did we get off track almost right from the get-go? Answer: Because of the command-and-control nature of humans where a group in power seeks to tell everyone else what to do—for their own good, of course. Examples:
Jews and Moslems follow the dietary and circumcision laws of Moses. Christians do not because Paul said it wasn’t necessary because those of THE WAY had circumcision of the heart.
Christians and Moslems believe in the immaculate conception of Jesus. In fact the Qur’an has an entire section entitled Miriam (Mary). Jews believe Jesus was a Rabbi and probably a leader of the Zealots whose purpose was to overthrow Rome. Islam considers Jesus one of the four major messengers of God (with Abraham, Moses, and Mohammed), but commands that ONLY God (Allah) should be worshiped—not His messengers. Jews and Moslems agree that the Christian idea of a trinity is ridiculous. However, Islam also maintains that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, but those stubborn people refused to surrender to God and tried to kill their savior. Note that I wrote TRIED. Islam teaches that Jesus was transformed and taken to Paradise alive, and Judas Iscariot was crucified in Jesus’ place. Jews point to Judas as proof the disciples were a bunch of insurrectionists trying to upset the Pax Romana, and were in fact Zealots. They further note that Iscariot is another name for sicari, a dagger all Zealots carried for the purpose of public assassinations.
You have to admit there is a lot of similarity focused upon an overall purpose of doing God’s will, but just as much disagreement of just how to do that. But let’s step back. Was geopolitics behind religion as a means of obtaining and controlling the Promised Land? Recall the orders of Moses when he sent Joshua and the tribe forward to take Canaan. He said to kill all the sons-a-bitches who resided there including their animals and to burn the cities to the ground. The children of Israel did not follow that order, and spent centuries fighting to establish themselves as a shaky top dog. Politically Canaan was very valuable. All trade from Asia Major, Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, and Rome had to pass through there. The trade routes brought a lot of money into the coffers of whoever controlled the region. Canaan became Israel (aka Judea) and one-by-one was taken over by the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.
Politics has as one goal command-and-control of society. Enter the Pharisees. As a method of setting themselves up as arbitrators of God’s will, they turned Moses’ Ten Commandments into 613 separate mandatory laws. Those that did not follow the 613 to-the-letter were punished severely. Pharisees were the religious police. They wore expensive clothes, ate well, and were among the wealthy. Not too different from the US congressmen and women who aren’t held to the same standard as the rest of us and have an overabundance of perks. Look into any Western society law library and you’ll discover the Pharisees’ 613 have been turned into an untold number.
When Jesus showed up he upset the Pharisees’ apple cart in a big way. The man was very charismatic, being a healer and gifted speaker. Both attributes attracted multitudes to him and many followed his teachings. Imagine what the Pharisees thought when Jesus told the crowds that the Pharisees were a brood of vipers (and that era’s one-percenters); and furthermore, their edicts had nothing to do with surrendering to God. Rome came down hard on the Jewish political/religious bosses when they could not control the people. Jesus and his ragtag group of rowdies were becoming a nightmare for the Jewish establishment.
Anyway, here’s the problem no politician will ever be able to solve because of DOCTRINE, which to believers is inviolate and never, ever subject to negotiation: The Promised Land was promised by God to Abraham and his descendents through Abraham’s seed beginning with his eldest son.
No problem, agree Jews, Christians, and Moslems. The problem is on agreeing who is Abraham’s eldest son. In Torah, Bible, and Qur’an it is mentioned that Abraham’s son, Ishmael, through his wife’s handmaiden, Hagar, was 14 years older than Isaac, son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. The jealous Sarah caused Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael.
The shoot of Abraham’s family tree through Ishmael became Islam, and through Isaac sprang Judaism and Christianity. Jews and Christians maintain Ishmael doesn’t count because he was illegitimate. Baloney, replies Islam; Hagar (Hajar) was the second wife of Abraham (Ibrahim); and an angel said a great nation would proceed from Ishmael who according to the Qur’an, was the son Abraham was told to sacrifice—not Isaac. Hagar is held in such high regard that pilgrims during the Hajj repeat part of her journey. Some believe both Hagar and Ishmael are buried near the Kaaba in Mecca. It doesn’t get much more sacred than that.
And that, my friends, is a huge insolvable problem about to whom the Promised Land is deeded.
I am neither an expert on Middle Eastern history nor religion. However, I am a thinker and a seeker-of-truth. Therefore, if you have facts contrary to those presented here or if you can provide additional knowledge please respond by using the “COMMENTS” section of amazines.com website.
Your working boy,
Gene Myers July 2015
This essay has not been copyrighted.
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