Tag Archives: Christianity

Five reasons Islam can be more dangerous than Christianity

We often hear polytheists attacking Christianity for its past and present wrongs. Although it is entirely in the right to do so, many (if not most) forget of its dangerous counterpart, Islam. Owing to a lack of knowledge on the subject as well as political concerns with prejudice against Muslims, not much is advanced towards understanding Islam as a force fiercely opposed to polytheism and all its ideas. It is unfortunate that Judaism, even as limited as its scope may be, usually takes its place, considering that many believe it to be the first monotheism, something only half-true.* Below are five reasons, gathered from research, why we should fear Islam more than Christianity and oppose it accordingly. Note that this is an attack on Islam, rather than on Muslims; separating between ideology and people is something I have done consistently and will continue to do, seeing that it is fair.

1. The greatest sin in Islam is literally “polytheism”

While in Christianity there is strong opposition to idolatry and ancient ritual in general, there are considerable remnants of polytheism within the structure. The Trinity is clearly an acknowledgement of the plurality of the divine, and in various pantheons we see parallels in the relationship between the father and the son as well as the mother and son. But in Islam, this is entirely stamped out; Allah is purely male and in Mohammed’s Quran, the Trinity is explicitly attacked, as are also Goddesses. Mohammed and his successors falsely claimed that Allah could forgive all sins except polytheism**, and (after the conquest of Mecca) he ended all toleration towards polytheists throughout Arabia by forcing them to convert on pain of death.

2. Islam allows of little cultural and regional integration

Unlike Christianity which spread slowly and communally throughout many parts of the Roman Empire and beyond, Islam developed and matured quickly within one culture at the hands of one man and a few of his successors. If the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, it was only because that was the prevailing language in the Eastern Roman Empire where Christianity arose. But Mohammed hailed the Quran as being written down in Arabic before the creation of the world, and believed he and his culture were selected for the task of spreading the message. Unlike in Christianity, where regional languages and cultures can become incorporated into worship, Islamic liturgy is only conducted in Arabic and only the teachings of Mohamed in the 7th century are believed to be orthodox. It is also an obligation on every Muslim to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime, thereby reinforcing the centrality of Mohammed’s native city and culture. While there are Islamic sects that have long since sprung up regionally, mixing with older rituals, these are often regarded as heretical by the Sunni majority and sometimes dealt with far more harshly than Christianity, as in the case of the Yazidi minority.

3. Islam was hailed by Mohammed as the final truth

Mohammed believed, unlike all other predecessors within his larger monotheistic tradition, that he was the final prophet in a line of divinely inspired men. No other revelation was to succeed him and it was he who was to complete the last step in the monotheistic mission for humankind. This mentality, always adopted by Muslims, makes for a very unyielding and overbearing religion that resists reform or compromise. It may be true that Jesus similarly held himself to be the only true redeemer and intercessor (as well as the son of God), but this is not actually documented by the man himself, nor was there a whole body of scripture (like the Quran) left by Jesus in the form of direct revelation.

4. Islam is very comfortable with war and sometimes encourages it

Having developed in a tribal society within a comparatively harsh environment, it may be that early Muslims needed to fight for survival at first. However, since the Quran is regarded as a holy text for all time, the parts associated with going to war against “disbelievers” have been used over the centuries to justify Islamic imperialism. In fact, one the greatest deeds in Islam is to conduct Jihad, which literally means “struggle” but usually means some form of spreading the religion, which can be done either kindly or forcefully as needed. Death in battle for the sake of Islam is the highest honor a man could have, and a martyr is said to go to paradise immediately without judgment. Taking slaves from war is sanctioned in the Quran and was never forbidden by Mohammed; and while a man may marry four wives, there is no limit on the number of female concubines he may have. In Christianity, none of this is encouraged by the New Testament, and if it is, the part is obscure and rarely mentioned. The whole tradition of conquest in Christendom was rather derived from the practices of the Roman Empire, which (ironically) Christianity had originally spread to stop. It is often overlooked that the Crusades, however misguided and violent, were a set of collective responses to centuries of Islamic raiding in Europe. There is no need to add anything on the subject of modern Islamic terrorism, which is too well known.

5. The gap between the rise of Islam and the first Islamic Empire is slim

It took 300 years for Christianity to become an imperial religion but less than 50 for Islam. Within 120 years of the death of Mohammed, the Islamic empire (otherwise known as the Caliphate) stretched from Persia in the East to Spain & Morocco in the West and in the North from Armenia to Yemen in the South. The large gap between the rise of Christianity and its first empire allows for an argument to be made for the existence of two distinct Christian traditions, a peaceful communal one that resisted injustice and a violent imperial one that furthered old injustices. This is however difficult, if not impossible for Islam. In many ways, the fast spread of the religion by nomadic Arab tribes resembles the rapid conquests of the Mongolian hordes***, except the latter was by far bloodier and therefore less lasting in its continuance.

Conclusion: It is certainly true that Christian imperialism began before Islam even developed, and thus contributed to its inspiration. However, Islam seems to relapse into many ideas and practices of the Old Testament, which originally applied to different circumstances entirely with the pagan Jews. The real danger of Islam therefore is that it mixes its native tribalism with Christian universalism/imperialism, creating a force of a kind that not only weakens but can wipe away cultural diversity as well as almost all traces of polytheism, while seeming more and more convincing as “the final truth” as it spreads. It is as dangerous as the Roman Empire in general and certainly more dangerous as far as cultural and religious toleration in particular (a very important consideration) is concerned. Let us therefore never overlook Islam as a huge rival to our nascent movement, especially in the case of our brothers and sisters who seek to become polytheists free from fear in lands occupied by this infamous religion.

 

___________________

* Monotheism, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this site, was first developed by Akhenaten. The Jews were mostly henotheistic until the Hasmonean Kingdom of the 2nd century BCE, and their monotheism was fueled directly by threats from foreign imperialism.
**Allah was originally one God among many, comparable to the Canaanite El. He had a female consort and children, as in other pantheons. Mohammed however believed that people later attributed these family relations to him out of ignorance of and disobedience to his will.
***Some of the descendants of the Mongols became Muslim, and one ruler in particular among these was as ruthless as his ancestors, namely, Tamerlane.

The Extraordinary Hypocrisy of Monotheistic Leaders

_105475518_mediaitem105475514There was news today that the Catholic Pope Francis met with the Sunni Grand Imam Ahmed of Egypt. The latter called the Christians “our companions” and urged the Muslims of the Middle East to “embrace” Christians in their communities. Then the two leaders proceeded to sign a “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” wherein it is stated that “God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people”. Another passage within the magnificently titled document goes on to state the following: “[Let us] intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline the world is presently experiencing”.

When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but scoff with disgust at the hypocrisy of these leaders who pompously believe themselves to be responsible spiritually for millions of people and who actually believe they are doing great good by this conveying this ludicrous and inane message. Surely it would be far more effective and *honest* for these two leaders, if they truly wish to eradicate the problem, to go straight to the heart of the matter. The Document is absolutely worthless unless it were to state clearly (and “at the earliest opportunity”) that it was an error for people to be misguided all these years into thinking that “God, the Almighty…who does not want His name to be used to terrorize people” would be punishing by *eternal damnation and hellfire* those who don’t wish to follow him or follow those spiritual leaders who claim such a thing, and claim it even against one another. Once this is done, the world will be a far better place, devoid of devilish jihads and crusades. But this is obviously to much to hope for, because the world is infected by the cancerous idea of monotheism and the cancerous ambition of those who can’t be called by any other name except that which also applied to their predecessors and founders: spiritual imperialists.

This ailing world needs more polytheism and more polytheists…

Polemical topics for Polytheists (part 10): Multiculturalism

First view: Multiculturalism is good and consistent with polytheism, because there was plenty of cultural exchange in ancient times

Second view: Multiculturalism is bad and harmful to polytheism, because it is associated with expansive empires that pretend to be inclusive.

Balanced view: We can’t overlook that multiculturalism is both a result of good cultural exchange and harmful imperialism, but this old conflict may need to be understood in a new manner.

At a time when multiculturalism (also called diversity) is praised so often as an essential component of the modern world, or strongly opposed as such, it may be problematic to find a common ground between the two sides. But in the spirit of the previous piece about politics, I will attempt to do so here. The ancients, whose polytheisms we follow, were living through new experiences in what could be called an experiment of the human condition. Their world was growing, their knowledge of foreign things was increasing, but why? Expansive trade was practiced since the Bronze Age among complex urbanized societies, also called civilizations, and this useful activity brought mutual benefits—as did the stories, news and food exchanged during the trade. On the other hand, along with this expansive trade, there was expansive empire: If trade has to do with money, surely it is not difficult to see how money is inherently connected to power, land and resources, i.e. empire. Ancient civilizations gradually grew from regional to imperial, and this was accepted as common and even desirable at that time, because it was associated with survival as well as glory. Yet, after so many centuries, are we still living in this paradoxical manner? The answer is yes. The multiculturalism promoted today can be seen from the global trade that is being carried out, connecting all large urban centers throughout the world. But this is not a complete perspective: What is often overlooked about multiculturalism is that its current form is a product of imperial Westernization and Christianity. At first there was the Catholic Church which promoted a united “Christendom” (the word “Catholic” means “universal”, by the way), but after the rise of Protestantism, Anglo-America now leads the movement. It is no secret that America today, like the Catholic Church and Great Britain formerly, is an expansive empire that seeks domination. It is often wrongly presumed by many that multiculturalism creates an equal field for all to flourish; this is a simplistic mistake because it is not possible for all cultures to be represented fairly in one place at the same time. The emphasis is on the words “in one place at the same time”: Cultures need to be distinct and dominant at their place of origin*. After a certain point, following Anglo-American culture, however tolerant it may pretend to be, is succumbing to cultural imperialism and living in subjugation. One of the eternal advantages of polytheism is that it allows for exchange, but at the same time, requires us to respect foreign cultures as distinct without interference. If each foreign culture has its own God, can we assault their cultural distinction without assaulting their God? I think not. Can all cultures (and by extension Gods) live equally in the same place at the same time? I think not. We are a cooperative species, but also one that engages in conflicts, and our Gods are no different from us in that respect. My reconciliation of cultural exchange and cultural imperialism is already hinted, but for a larger consideration, I would refer my kind readers to part 6 of this series, entitled (significantly) “indigenism”.
__________

*While this is a convenient rule for the Old World, a discussion of the New World is more complex because dominant cultures there had been replaced through colonization. I have already attempted a discussion in part 6 previously.

Good and bad polytheists (part 20): Conclusion

Papyrus scrollAfter presenting various historical characters and stories from a range of almost 4000 years, a conclusion is needed to put an end to the series. After the 13th century, polytheism declined gradually throughout the Old World, surviving only in the Indian and Far East, as well as in other isolated places where some traditions have endured even to this day. At the end of the 15th century, as we know, the New World was linked to the Old, and the indigenous polytheism of those lands began a decline also at the hands of the Christian conquerors, though not without their own instances of bravery. When we polytheists of this day look back, we marvel at the changes that the world has gone through at the hands of mankind, and we forget the many stories and lessons about our ancestors that have long since past. Of the great and known personages that history has left us with, we find that not all of them were exemplary and good; indeed, in some cases, they contributed, by means of their selfish actions (knowingly or unknowingly), to the rise of evils and misfortunes that still plague the world.

The question remains, how exactly can a good polytheist be known then, and distinguished from a bad? Part of this answer is obvious to all, because the good and bad has certain universal standards. Generosity, courage, fidelity, humility, magnanimity, piety, prudence, honesty, justice, etc. are examples of virtues that are known to be good throughout the world and have been held as such throughout history. The other part is more particular to culture and the circumstances of the times. A good polytheist will always endeavor to respect his own culture as well as others, not setting one at the expense of another, and will be active in promoting the good within his community, even if the times tempt him with rewards for a bad and selfish endeavor. And when circumstances or times are otherwise bad and dangerous, he will also attempt to turn them as much as possible to a good direction, for the benefit and protection of his people, yet without excess. In the meantime, he will not forget of the Gods, nor insult them directly. Furthermore, he will not act with the pride of false piety, by pretending to act as if in their company.

The earliest bad polytheist we know of is King Sargon, falsely (like several others) called “the great”. As the founder of the very first empire*, he established the horrible precedent for uncontrolled expansion and conquest, which never since ended. Imperialism is a condition that has always plagued polytheism, and in some respects, it could very well be said that it gave rise to monotheism and atheism, which are imperialisms, only in ideological form. If Abraham flourished at the period the biblical scholars agree upon, i.e. about 1900 BCE, then this was about 5 centuries after Sargon. Likewise, Akhenaten propagated his idea of monotheism during the New Kingdom, a period during which Egypt made foreign conquests and assimilated foreigners. This is also about the same time Moses is said to have lived. The exclusive and hostile monotheism of a sect of the Canaanites (said to be descendants of Abraham and followers of Moses’ commandments), commonly called the Jews, developed in a region and during historical ages that were plagued by continuous imperialism; the Jews were pressed from the east by the Egyptians, from the north by the Hittites, and from the East by the Babylonians and Assyrians. Is it any wonder then that they came to hate foreigners so much and make themselves differ from them in every way? If Judaic monotheism was an evil idea, it arose within an evil environment. The same could be said of the far more dangerous religion of Christianity, which arose during the unprecedented hegemony of the Roman Empire.

If there is any way to sum up this series of good and bad polytheists, it cannot be better done than by means of this theme of imperialism and the resistance to it. Abrahamic monotheism has attributed the source of evil to the pride of the Devil and his defiance of his master, causing an eternal battle in which man must resist evil or be punished by it and for it. Although this is a horribly poisonous view of the world and universe (since it presupposes that Abraham’s people are the only good ones, against the rest of the world), it has its advantages in directing the masses and gaining power. Polytheists must study history and learn from this lesson; it is possible to adjust and apply it in a good way, with a good intention. Imperialism is to us, what the Devil is to Abrahamic monotheists: it is a perfect an embodiment of most of the overgrown evils that have plagued the world. I say overgrown because we polytheists don’t believe in pure dualism or the eternal war between the good and evil. Imperialism is therefore the condition (ideologically and materially) that aggravates, multiplies, and propagates injustice, impiety, slavery, destruction of nature, genocide (cultural and ethnic), high ambition, universal war, and many more. Imperialism is the greatest false promise the world has ever known; it has promised people eternal happiness, protection, glory, and prosperity, but has given them only the shadows and shells of those blessings. After 4500 years since Sargon, with a continual series of empires, this is too evident already to need further explanation. If there is one thing that should be remembered then after this long series, it is the horror of imperialism and the nobility of resisting all its forms. Our present battle against monotheism and atheism verifies that truth beyond any doubt.

 

 

 ____________________

* Although Egypt was said to have been unified many centuries before Sargon (i.e. about 3100 BCE), the circumstances were different, and did not lead to empire. Egypt had already been divided into a Northern and Southern Kingdom, not too different culturally and ethnically (unlike Mesopotamia), which were then united for reasons not precisely known. It can be observed in general that civilizations, which begin independently and accidentally along rivers (a constant source of water and hence food), are prone to growth and conflict, which often leads to centralized systems. There was what could be called temporary “proto-empire” before Sargon in the region of Mesopotamia, where city-states attempted at domination and achieved it temporarily. However, Sargon was the first to celebrate himself as a glorious conqueror who managed (in one lifetime) to conquer 34 city-states and stretch his dominions from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean sea, achieving therefore not only what had never been done before, but also (in his mind) what is worthy of imitation, because he falsely claimed he was inspired by the Goddess Ishtar. By this means, he added a dangerous idea to an existing (and somewhat undesirable) material condition, i.e. the glory of large conquests beyond one’s ethnic and cultural bounds. This is how the entity of empire was created and cemented in history, multiplying in an unbroken succession (see part 1) from 2400 BCE to this very day.

 

Good and bad polytheists (part 14): Roman Emperors

Among the Roman emperors that were polytheists, ruling from 27 BCE until about 325 BCE (with one exception afterwards), the good were few and all the rest were more or less bad. Since it was the ambition of Julius Caesar that had laid a foundation for the empire, after he had waged bloody wars against the Gauls and his adversaries in the Senate, it is no wonder that it should be so difficult to judge the good leaders of such a deformed and ugly entity. The legacy of Alexander, a proud and bad polytheist indeed, had already established a precedent for extreme conquest in Europe, and the Romans took up the task soon after defeating the Carthaginians. The Romans, though generally a religious and traditional people, were corrupted by this lust for growth and wealth, which gradually wore out their original piety; their love for their own ways and Gods often proved at the expense of foreign cultures and Gods. The truth is, the period following Alexander was a time of decline for polytheism in general, or at the very least, a time of failed experiments. Empire was now a common thing in the world, one that seemed more honorable to raise and more secure to keep than any other form of government. Even the best Roman emperors inherited a heavy dilemma that they could not escape from: either to preserve and make the most of what they have, or lose all to ambition and war. The disease of empire was pandemic, although nobody could truly see it, because nobody could comprehend it. However we judge of details, it is necessary to understand that the Roman empire, and certain actions by Roman emperors, gave rise to many evils, including the one which put an end to polytheism altogether, i.e. Christianity.  Below is a list of the most notable emperors with notes on their respective reigns and deeds.

Continue reading