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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The East vs. West

When I say Western religions, I’m referring to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all related and all based around Israel. Judaism was first, about a thousand years BC, then the other two, directly related, a thousand years later. Obviously, the birth of Christ is 1 AD and Islam formed sometime later with Muhammad. The exact dates are not important. I only want you to see they are all coming from the same man, Abraham, all praising the same God, the one who spoke to Abraham, and all developed at relatively the same time in history, considering the Earth’s age.

The Eastern religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Confucism, all stemming from the more primitive religion, Hinduism, the dates are the roughly the same, with Hinduism being the oldest organized religion starting just before Judaism in India. Buddhism was the religion of Buddha, the East’s answer to Christ a few hundred years earlier; it was brought to China from India. The other two also formed around the same time in China. These are the main religions of that entire region. Again, the exact dates are irrelevant.

The main difference is that the Western religions tend to focus on the historical accounts surrounding the philosophies, rather than what was being taught. They personify God; they illustrate Him speaking to the forefathers and interacting with them in a very human way, showing anger and emotion. In Christianity, which recognizes the same God, Jesus’ is at the forefront, a man portrayed as the son of God, further humanizing Him. The problem here is that more focus is placed on his actions, while his actual teaching takes a back seat.

The Eastern religions teach the truth in terms of principles. They also have historical accounts of Buddha and Lao Tse (Taoism founder) and Confucius, but it is the teaching of these men that are stressed. They are not said to have divine power. They are believed to have understood the divine power that is. If I may come back to science for a moment (zealots turn away), it is like believing that Thomas Edison was the Son of electricity and controlled it to this day. Imagine us saying, “Edison! How could you allow this blackout?” It’s ridiculous: isn’t it? That is exactly what we do now!   

Let’s do a quick comparison of the two threesomes, in regard to war. I understand those who teach “World Religion” love to have you study little trivial facts about each one’s practice, but Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all the exact same religion. They are based on the same exact God (regardless of the name; it was the God who first appeared to Abraham, the father of all three), the same teachings, featuring the same exact cast of characters, in the same region, at the same time.

See, God promised Abraham a son, who would be the heir to the promised land of Israel, where the land is fertile (and profitable). However, his wife, Sarah, was told she could not bear children and had agreed, under Mesopotamian law, to allow her handmaiden, Hagar, to bear a son for Abraham, named Ishmael.

Then, later, she did have a son, named Isaac. Well, some tension broke out over this arrangement, as you may imagine, and Ishmael went his separate way. As predicted, both of Abraham’s sons began a line of holy descendants, only Isaac, his son with Sarah, went on to begin Judaism, while Ishmael, also his legal son and first born, started Islam. That story is acknowledged by both scriptures with one problem. Who gets the holy land of Israel? Uh OH! Well, naturally the Jews say that Isaac is his real son, and some even go as far as to say that Ishmael was born to Abraham after Sarah’s death, obviously after Isaac. The Muslims contest that God promised the land to Abraham’s FIRST born, Ishmael.

Millions and millions of people were murdered in the name of this one discrepancy between two sibling religions, starting since 7 AD. It was a dispute over who gets the small piece of Holy Land! So, let’s get this straight. Two religions with the exact same God, same origins, same scriptures for the most part, and basically the same teaching, the Truth, centered around love, peace, and compassion (that’s what I always hear) can not come to an agreement over a verbal contract three thousand years old? 

For all of their love and understanding, they can not shake hands on this one? I’ve heard of being stubborn, but this takes the cake. Even the evil Americans called it quits after a few years of massacre between the North and the South! The problem is that it isn’t about God or Abraham. It is an excuse for war, the ultimate excuse. (God’s word even trumps yellow cake uranium.) Except is is not the word of God. It is a story.

First of all, let me say that the men in these stories apparently lived to be hundreds of years old and have done amazing things, such as part seas and build large ships to carry two of every animal breed across the sea, at God’s request. People often ask, “Why did God do all of those crazy things back then, and today he never shows up?” Well, call me crazy, but I’m not convinced any of this is even factual. I was always of the belief that the average life-expectancy rose as the years go by. (Did we roll the odometer?)
And, Sarah was said to have birthed Isaac at the age of ninety. What sort of fertility drugs was she taking? Many stories in these Western scriptures can be contested with simple facts such as this. The hilarity of many are well-known, and still they are accepted by people out of fear.

Also keep in mind that by the time they are officially scribed and spread throughout the land, they have come across the desk of a king, emperor, or some other very important person, usually with their own agenda. There was no Internet at this time, to say the least. A few letters written by some average Joe in 50 is not making it into a 2010 church without help from the propaganda machine. Ask any author how easy it was to get published back then. Everyone of these “sacred” accounts have been processed through thousands of government administrations before reaching the masses, and even what they originally received is centuries detached from the source. I hope you can understand this. This is the National Enquirer with a political slant to the thousandth power.

Now, let’s get back to the absurdity of the Jewish-Muslim conflict over a piece of holy land. It isn’t over a piece of land, really. Well, it is over land, but it doesn’t matter if it’s holy or not. We perceive the middle East to be a place of great faith, and it is, among the destitute people. But, the people are only being pushed into fighting to the death over land by those in charge. 

Over 1700 conflicts have erupted between the two, at different times, involving different nations, led by different leaders. Whether it is Ottoman Empire securing land against the Byzantines, or modern day Palestine, they have used this revamped story, beginning with a politician/general named Muhammad in the 500's, to rally war movement, over and over again. Do you notice how Western worship seems like a political rally? In the mid-East, they are one in the same.

Who are these leaders? We'll talk more later, but remember that the Devil is always shown to tempt people with power. Well, I’m pretty sure he had some takers along the way. Those who rose to power do so at a price, and I don’t mean some secret contract signing with Al Pacino, but an unconscious loss of morals that comes hand in hand with a thirst for supremacy. 

If I am to believe that these religions are about peace, than surely an agreement might have been reached at some point in 17 centuries. If this is the sort of love taught by these religions, then count me out. I remember the commandments mentioning to love God and love thy neighbor, nothing about slaughtering them for land, in the name of God.

That takes us to the present. Those who are less educated believe that the Jews and Muslims are still fighting over land promised them by God through Abraham and that they are just SERIOUS ABOUT RELIGION. That’s BS. This present conflict between the Jews and Muslims is all about the  Jewish migration into Palestine since the establishment of Israel at the end of WWII. It’s the same old story. 

So, what makes the Christians a part of this? Well, for starters, Jesus was Jewish, and the Jewish holy book is half of the Bible. On top of that, the Christians support the Jews’ claim to Israel, because they believe that it fulfills the scripture necessary for the second coming of Jesus, when everybody gets to fly up to heaven. Plus the Arabs have been the sworn enemy of Christians in the land-race, as symbolized by the change from Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey.

On the other hand, they despise the Jews for condemning Jesus to death, (which is weird because they said it was supposed to happen anyway.) They also feel that anyone who does not accept Jesus as their only way to eternal life is damned to hell forever. The Christians love to punish people for stupid shit!. 

This is the madness that comes from storytelling. Teaching the truth using these methods is exactly like explaining the fundamentals of sex by using the birds and the bees speech. Exactly! Would you feel comfortable having your baby delivered by an OB-GYN who believes that a stork will bring the infant through the window in its beak? Think about that.

At any rate, let me compare the madness of the West with the stoic religions of the East, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucism, who also shared the same region with one another during their development with absolutely no conflict. They do not fight with each other over land or beliefs. They have no quarrel with the religions of the West, except to plead with them to cease the bloodshed. Their teachings are almost identical, with minor differences in practice, like most scientific principles, not tied together by stories, but simply by truth. Think about this! Teachings about the Pacific Ocean by marine biologists do not vary from US to Japan. It’s the same ocean.

In the East, these religions stay out of politics, and in many instances, since they are of no use to power-hungry leaders, they are suppressed by government. There are no accurate records as to how many Buddhists there are, because they do not run their religion like a government or a corporation, such as, let’s say, Catholicism. Secular governments like Communism has sparked in many of these regions, which is a secular form of government. There have been NO holy wars over these three religions, something that certainly can not be said for the others....Why?

Plume often draws comparison to St. Augustine, who once claimed to be certain
he completely understood the concept of time, until somebody asked him.

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Thanks for reading that. Please add some comments, give an opinion, ask questions, disagree. I would love a healthy discussion on this, not to find a winner in this debate, but to find the truth.

- Professor Plume

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