Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Faith

I find myself, this morning, in a state of high dudgeon. Not that this is a new state for me. I have felt this way on numerous occasions in the past 5 years, since the advent of the Bushies. But I am particularly fed up with the religious aspects of this whole mess that we are in today.

Like most of us in this country I was born into, what would technically be called, a "Christian" family. My particular brand of Christianity fell into the Protestant category, the Faith of Our Fathers type...good old Yankee Congregationalism. That is not to say that mine was any better than those who were Methodists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians or any of the myriad sects of Christianity.

Now comes Newsweek with an article about the holy Qu'ran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanemo Bay. Amazing to begin with that they have toilet facilities that would accommodate a book. Must be made by Halliburton?
At any rate, after stirring up a hornet's nest of outrageous proportions, now they say it was all a horrible mistake. Rather like Hearst stirring up the Spanish-American War by falsely reporting what happened with the Battleship "Maine" in Havana Harbor. However, the damage has been done.

What makes the Qu'ran more disposable than the Bible? What makes us feel so superior, or feel that we have a corner on the God market? Because of Jesus? It might surprise many, but the Muslims actually recognize Jesus as a prophet. Do we in turn recognize Muhammed in the same vein? We do not and I can hear many saying, why that borders on blasphemy! Muhammed is a pagan! Not true.

Some background here folks. Muslims and Christians share the same ancestor in Abraham, through Isaac and Ishmael. God promised Ishmael that he would make a great nation out of him. (Genesis 17.15-20) And Judaism, from which both religions have sprung, is simply a new twist on old religious beliefs. You can find different versions of the Creation Story in Genesis and, Genesis in turn, mirrors the creation story found in the sacred Zend-Avesta the holy book of Zoroastarism, which was the most powerful religion along about 1000BCE.
http://www.avesta.org/avesta.html . We also find parallels in Mithraism,
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/mithra.html, Gnosticism http://www.religioustolerance.org/gnostic.htm and Manichaeism http://www2.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/mani.htm. Not surprisingly, there is nothing in Christianity that has not been lifted from another, previous belief.

The early Roman Catholic church found it easier to match Christ's birth to the prevailing Pagan Winter Solstice celebrations, than to try and convert all the pagans in the world. All of our Christmas decorations as well spring from this Pagan celebration. Easter as well, has it's roots in the Pagan celebration of the Vernal Equinox and the goddess Eostre (Easter perhaps?) who, legend has it, was saved by a bird whose wings had frozen. She in turn saved the bird by turning it into a hare. No ordinary hare, but one who could lay eggs!
http://www.equinox-and-solstice.com/html/vernal_equinox.html

If those who wish to believe that they have a corner on God, let me say this. Tolerance is not your forte, so therefore calling yourself a Christian is not playing by the rules. Jesus was a liberal, like it or not, and his best companions were those whom society deemed unworthy. His lessons were ones of love, peace and understanding, acceptance and tolerance. I have seen none of these traits in anyone who has pontificated that they are the chosen and those of us who do not believe as they are Satan's spawn.

Religious faith is a great part of so many lives. But that is what it is, just faith. No one can say for certain that we have "the answer", or for that matter that an answer even exists. We all have faith in one thing or another. Just having faith that you will wake up in the morning, or having faith in the goodness of other human beings, or having faith that the weatherman has really told you the truth and the sun will shine on your wedding day. As you can see we place a lot of faith IN faith.

That may be all the faith that some people need.

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