Monday, March 3, 2008

Post 20. Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism complete one another.

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Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism
complete one another
and should be one,
as verily as
God is Unity and Uniqueness.
( Caveat-: The word "One" understood as numerical unity, although not incorrect, is in practice excessive, unnecessarily restrictive, limiting of the paradoxically, simultaneously simple and complex reality that the omnipotent and free God/Allah/Jehovah is.
So, Hebrews and Mohammedans beware!)
To be brief, as my purpose is to awake awareness and thougt rather than present a complete treatment of this fundamental and critical issue for our present times in which Islam is fatally bent on pursuing anew its illusion and delusion of being the only and true predominating religion in the world, I shall be schematic.
Judaism is the most ancient of the three monotheistic systems of Belief and Faith in the one ( as unity ), unique ( as numerically one as well as all-else-exclusive ) and purely spiritual God. It is characterised by a long process of learning about and discovering the identity and truths about the true and only God.
For example, the insights of the belief in the Resurrection and Judgment of the dead who died in belief, was ignored in its full and clear understanding until the days of David. Punishment and Reward were considered to occur during a believer's lifetime. A confused and uncertain belief was held for a long time, that the reward for faithfulness to God would consist of one's somehow remaining in God's memory( this is also true to-day) and that his descendents would have enjoyed favours from God ( this remains always possible although not necessarily so. It cannot anyway be always used as a criterion to judge about the sanctity of a believer since Creation is after all subjected "until the last day" to the laws of scarcity and necessity).
The insight and belief in Heaven and Hell began much later after David's times and was developed in Christian Theology with the addition of Purgatory.
This was in a way an extremely good trait of Judaism since a gratefully generous, noble and true believer, as for example, in the case of mythical Job, mainly believed in and Loved God simply as the Father, the Creator, without and even in spite of perhaps being troubled by adversity and believing to have been seemingly abandoned by God. Likewise the good son or daughter love their father even when a poor and oppressed one.
One just loved God then out of gratefulness for having been created a human person, irrespective of Punishment or Reward, irrespective of gifts and resources received or acquired during one's lifetime. In fact, this is the virtual pentateuchal scenario which meditative and contemplative christian monastic orders call their members to experience. Of course, to-day both the approaches "from below " and "from above" have become integral to monastic lives, whereas in ancient times the latter approach alone was strived at with sometimes catastrophic results or hipocritical adaptations and
compromises and, in the case of uncompromising, obstinate strivers, failures, a classical case being poor, good Martin Luther, the great reformer of christianity.
This is still to-day, the best, the most noble way of loving, the highest path to God.
However, Judaism like all human collectives, became infiltrated and ceased from learning and evolving in the knowledge of God, and became trapped in a system of all exclusive belief about its own chosenness, its own election as the only people worthy of God's love, its superiority to all other people as the only people chosen by God, establishing Hebrew as the only language fit for worship, making it so complex for the average human memory, as to make it extremely hard for those who were not born in the system to easily and confidently use it, it evolved complex purity laws and rituals in order to keep the priesthood and the leadership jewish, etc. Although much has changed to-day, how many non-jews can hope to master the vast libraries of the Talmud, the Cabala, etc. and to become a Rabbi? Is the Talmud really worthy of such consideration? Is this not a subtle form of idolatry, the idolatry of the human intellect and of the word?
In view of the present scenarios of unending struggles and conflict in Palestine, I would suggest to get rid of all these trappings which are only dividing and not helping people to get together, intermarry and solve problems together.
As Jesus pointed out and Mohammed confirmed, the love of the poor and oppressed is the best way to the Love of God in an approach "from below". Amen!
All the rest can become ( I am not saing that it must necessarily and inevitably be so, only that it may become part of an illusionary and hipocritical approach to God "from above") cosmetics, adornment and hidolatry.
I have chosen the belief of the Resurrection and in Heaven and Hell, which is missing in the Pentateuch, because Mohammed the great arabic Reformer believed in it ( having acquired it from christianity and later-judaism ) and incorrectly criticised the Hebrews for not believing in it ( since his criticism is unfairly based on the Pentateuch alone ). Mohammed is in fact extremely unfair to pentateuchal Judaism which existed until approx. 1300-1000 B.C., which he accuses as late as in 600 A.D. of corruption, neglecting to note that the Arabs had remained politheists and pagan all the time until 600 A.D., therefore always worse than the worse among the Hebrews, and totally ignoring the evolution and learning curve of Judaism between 1300 B.C.and the times of Jesus of Nazareth, and the fact that christianity is actually itself an integral and constitutive part of main-stream-Judaism, however rejected by some fanatical Hebrews ( some of whom might not have been totally unjustified seing the conflicts and struggles among christians and the violence of islamic world conquests [jihads]) who ceased to evolve new religious insights about God, however reforming somehow Judaism. In fact, it is obvious, as I have already made it clear in previous Posts that Mohammed learnt much and imperfectly about religion and theology from jewish and christian missionaries ( some of whom were unorthodox and heretical ) who had been preaching and teaching in Mesopotamia, including the Arabian Peninsula for centuries before Mohanmmed's birth in the sixth century A.D.. Even St.Paul, the greatest of Jesus' Apostles with perhaps the exception of Mary Magdalene ( in accordance to Sir Laurence Gardner), preached for three years after his conversion from Phariseism, in the deserts of Mesopotamia.
It is possible then that Mohammed may not have received a correct and complete picture about Jewish belief in the Resurrection of the dead, asd it evolved after the Maccabean Revolution against Greek/Macedonian-dominance in Palestine. Mohammed's knowledge of Judaism appears to be focused only on the petateuchal stage of Jewish History and this is a serious weakness of his preaching against Judaism which must be acklnowledged and rectified to-day by mohammedan theological circles.
I strongly disagree with anyone trying to tell me that Mohammed was infallible and without error or confusion, without on the other hand ceasing from or diminishing my respect and belief in Mohammed's worth as the greatest practical Reformer in the History of Religions. Finally, for this schematic context, Judaism was a hybrid approach to God "from above" that, in addition to seing God through anthropomorphic icons, was excessively focused, in the absence of a mediator like Jesus, on God's allmightiness, divinity, inapproacheability by humanity, with the exception of a few chosen individuals like Moses, and the Prophets whose lives were however marked by strife and endless spiritual stuggles. Judaism avoided Pantheism, which is unfortunately a fault in Mohammedanism, by an approach to ritual and creation which precurred christian sacramental understandings and developments. It has in fact never been easy or safe to deal directly ( without mediation ) with God, some of the Profets even becoming permanently mentally affected by their experiences.
With Jesus of Nazareth, the perfect human being as well as the perfectly and totally divinised human being, in whom the Word ( the only Being generated and not made by God in so far as Christian Trinitarian Theological insighting is concerned ) incarnated, and who was born from the agencies of the Holy Mary and of God's Spirit, as even Mohammed the great arabic Reformer confirmed in the Holy Quran, humanity became empowered to approach God "from below ", crossing the vast abyss ( chorismos ) of which Plato spoke in his philosophical speculations, that separates the hybrid person of the human being, consisting of a material and a spiritual homeostatic reality from the fully and totally divine and spiritual reality that God is. Although Trinitarian Christian Theology sees Jesus as an homeostatic reality of perfect humanity and perfect divinity, it may be gross to say "Jesus is God" without the proper necessary explanations and caveats which are not however within the grasp of Everyman/woman in the street or of untutored, bad-willing, unfriendly Hebrews or Mohammedans. One fact is obvious ad undisputable, that the Word was generated and not made and is of God as God's own utterance, since when God decided to express God to all else that may not originally have been generated, glorified or unglorified as the case may be. Jesus can only be safely said to be God in so far as his person has not any longer any ordinary material affiliation with earthly humanity
The New Testament says, in the language used by st.Paul, he has acquired a glorified body ( "the body of glory" ) which is anyway accessible by and the inheritance of every willing believer in the inheritance promised to Abraham, i.e., of eternal life. For completenes sake, to use st. Paul's insights, Jesus' mediation also allowed the human " body of sin " to loose its subjection to the Law and sin ( the Law of Sin ), and to be reduced to the
" body of death ", conversion and salvation qualifying the believer for the " body of glory", as a possible reward after the Resurrection and the Judgment. One can further say that a human believer found worthy shall also in this sense and understanding become like God, of God. How else can a human being be able to be in God's presence, itself the Reward for faithfulness to God?
What is there so difficult or unacceptable for Hebrews and Mohammedans alike in the above, if of good-will and not malignant?
Short Digression.
Moreover, in the ancient Hebrew traditions ( see Sir Laurence Gadner's treatment of these issues-: "The Bloodline of the Holy Grail" ) ignored by Mohammed who nevertheless believed in the existence of Angels, there are insights of the existence of Angels, Prophets and great biblical persons whose spiritual powers are effective at each generation of believers in hereditary members of some selected Jewish families. The community of the Essenes to which Jesus belonged had attempted to reintroduce and preserve all these traditions in the hebrew society since the times of the Maccabean revolt, a tradition which had been interfered with by Assyrian and Babylonian invasions, however this tradition, if not the knowledge of it, has been interrupted for our times with the destructions, massacres and deportations of the Jews, by the Romans in 70 A.D. To-day, we only know of the possible and probable existence of Jesus' descendents called the Desposinii, from among whose members are the monarchs of the european royal houses, either ruling or in exhile. In the Essene's community, Jesus as the legal son of Joseph and Mary, held the Messianic role of David, and inherited after the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, who died without issue, the role of High Priest or Zadok Priest ( Melchizedeck ). This does not mean that the influence of these spiritual powers ( angelic and personal ) may not still be manifested in individuals who are somehow related to the dinastic successions of the dispersed jewish families. The Scriptures and even Mohammed have confirmed the impossibility to be in God's presence without some mediation, as long as one is in the human form. Mohammed always enjoyed in fact the mediation of dreams or of the Angel Gabriel, who, according to the Hebrew Essenic traditions was associated with the spirit of the Zadok Priest, hence, possibly the glorified Jesus himself.
In my awareness and understanding, it does not really matter what one believes Jesus to be, as all three alternative beliefs about him are probably equally true and even acceptable to Jesus for the sake of peace and of the unity of the three people of the Book-: i.e.,
(1) The Christian Trinitarian/Monotheistic one that he is the homeostatic unity of the perfect man and the perfect divine being, the Son of God, God.
(2) The Arian Unitarian/Monotheistic ( Jehovah Witnesses, Unitarian , Mohammedan ) belief that Jesus is just a man, a teacher, a reformer, a prophet.
(3) Sir Laurence Gardners' beliefs which introduces interesting possibilities which cannot be dismissed or ignored.
What counts really, is what sort of a human person any of these three systems of belief makes a human being to become. What cannot be compromised is the body of teachings and referential characters, experiences, stories which generate a unique and vastly valuable ethical system, which should be equally acceptable to the three people of the Book. If a human being is aided by any of the three systems of beliefs to the acceptance, adoption and performance of lawful, beneficial, civilisation-improval and maintenance, world-building, problem-solving, evil-reducing activities in accordance with the patterns set by the body of scriptural writings and wisdom-: The Bible and The Quran ( suitably and selectively interpreted for our times), then any of these systems of belief would be acceptable and adequate.
The first test as to the godliness of a person's assimilation ( It would not be sufficient to assert belief) of any of the above presented systems of beliefs would be the person's demonstrated ability and capacity to show good-will, co-operation and possibly even integration and amalgamation with any other person claiming to have equally accepted any of the three systems of belief. The theological differences would be privately held and expressed in separate churches in the same way this is occurring to-day. However, separation between State and Religious Confession would be written in the Constitution of each nation in such a way as to exclude any possibility of any religious system of belief holding the notion of predominating as the only and exclusively true, since, at a practical level none can demonstrate the truth of the claim, which is based strictly on Faith. The leaders and representatives of each religious system would have to publicly and statutorily declare their acceptance of what I am suggesting in a written document and would become responsible for deviations from and breaches of this declaration. Once this were to become accepted by all systems it would become a law of mutual acceptance and tolerance. Religion would only be concerned with the worship of the same God and the observance of a common ethical system not politically negotiable by political partiers for the sake of obtaining votes. The Churches would be responsible for the teaching of ethics and the presentation of the alternative systems of belief, showing the impossibility of proving the superiority of one against and over the other.
The aim would be the unity in difference of the three people of the Book.
I cannot see how Jews and Moslems could, in such a scenario, refuse to adopt the ready-made ethical system of the New Testament, freed from obligatory Trinitarian interpretations, while shelving the Old Testament and the Quran, which would remain as testimonies of the times during which human kind knew God imperfectly. The Old Testament and the Quran represent in fact ethical systems which were in force when God's people were surrounded by enemies-: Confrontation Ethics is in fact to be reserved for those who refuse peace, good-will and co-operation. Jesus did not in fact abolish the Old Testament but only selectively suspended it.
End of Digression.
So, Christianity has introduced the awareness of the approach to God's divinity "from below".
Both Judaism and Mohammedanism, as well as even Christianity itself, have not correctly understood the Christian Trinitarian Belief that should immensely humanity to approach God, in view of the extreme difficulty incurred by the average human person attempting to think without recourse to anthropomorphic icons, which falsify and hide the Trinitarian understanding. Therefore it should be reserved only for those few who can abstract beyond the anthropomorphic.
However, Christianity as all human collectives has also been infiltrated and is in need of reformation. Pope Benedict XVI has recently added ( March 2008 ) to the list of ethical requirements in this modern world, showing willingness to reform.
One thing is however certain, that the New Covenant offered in the Gospels represented with its stress on the Law of the Love of neighbour, especially if poor and oppressed, as if one's self, the highest possible development of Pentateuchal Ethics, which although offering this highest point in the Ten Comandments, hid it at the same time in the ancient traditional Law of an Eye for an Eye, and a Tooth for a Tooth. Jesus confirmed the continuing validity of he Old Testament, however inviting modernity to always try first the Loving and Merciful approach of the New Testament in confrontation scenarios. The Confrontation Ethics of the Old Testament are still applicable when everything else fails. The onus is on whoever first makes an approach in terms of the New Covenant to be honest and in good will.
Mohammedanism was an understandable reaction to the corruption, hipocrisy, sectarianism, intellectualism exploding in never ending theological disputes carried out as a game by the common people in the Bizantine Empire. Mohammed converted to Monotheism and became determined to convert the whole of the arabian peninsula which was politheist, pagan and idolatrous, a conversion which he achieved in one generation. Instead of adopting Christianity, confused and distressed by the number of its divisions into various competing and unreliable sects, or Judaism which he had been experiencing in the unsatisfactory pentateuchal one of the early hebrew refugees in the arabian peninsula, he decided to found a new religious branch, and his followers created an arabic alphabet, grammar and lexicon in order to write the Quran which contains religious as well as secular teachings and directives. It is the learned opinion of modern scholarly circles that the religious parts of the Quran have been inspired by the preachings of the jewish and christian missionaries who preached in Mesopotamia since the death of Jesus, until the birth of Mohammed. Greek, Aramaic and Syriac were until the birth of Mohammed the official written and spoken languages for public servants and clergymen in Mesopotamia. Classical Arabic ( Quranic Arabic ) was developed as a written language with an independent Grammar and Lexicon only 150 years after Mohammed's death, for the purpose of writing the Quran. Anyone disagreeing with these facts let him/her comment accordingly in the proper space provided at the end of this article.
Mohammed is to be considered as a formidable Reformer rather than a Prophet, as he transformed in only one generation the arabic people he united from a politheistic to a monotheistic belief. If we compare his achievement to the long and protracted struggle of Christianity during the three centuries prior to the rise of Emperor Constantine, followed by the never ending rise of heresies, Mohammed's achievement was unique in the history of religious belief. However, Mohammed's methods fanatically retained and unchanged through time and history, also excluded Reformation, which instead occurred in the West.
Mohammed, correctly so for his times, stresses, in an approach totally "from above", to the ultimately and absolutely possible limits the oneness, uniqueness and spirituality of God/Allah/Jehovah. In so doing though, he left the average individual worshipper looking down into the abyss that separates God from Everyman/woman, without mediation. One is to wonder then what God becomes in the mind of a worshipper, who may be open to the assault of what his/her weacknesses are, substituting these for God. Paradoxically, the absolute rejection of images and mediators ends into a highlighting of the material and corporeal in the worship of a Mohammedan, thus falling into pantheism or anthropophormism.
In a way, all christian art about God is anthropomorphic, but it is clearly recognised as so and apologised for by the leading cadres.
This is exemplified and demonstrated for example by Mohammed 's choice and description of Paradise's rewards, i.e., virgin girls, fountains of drinks and food, etc., etc. which can only be accepted literally as the Quran does not allow the subtleties of Scholastic Theology with its analogical, virtual thinking and grading. Unlike the pristine form of Pentateuchal Judaism, God is feared and loved primarily for its Punishments and Rewards. So, it appears to me that the three religions may need each other in order to strike a necessary theological balance, in addition to the fundamental motivation of ceasing unnecessary fighting and bloodshed which is abhorrent to God.
The necessary Caveat at this stage of presentation is that, while the approach "from below" ( particularly a christian one that considers the cross as the ultimate symbol, in so far as it considers the love of the poor and oppressed as the way to the love of God) can avoid idolatrous pitfalls, the exclusive approach "from above" is always liable to paradoxically expose a worshipper to idolatry, since, in general, no human mind and soul has the power to approach God's reality, without vast outporings of Grace, always with traumatic results ( see st. Teresa de Avila who re-discovred with others in her times the approach " from below" ) .
I personally believe that God is also a God of paradox, this being one of the ways God uses to protect ITSELF and us from the idolatry IT abhors ( "Thou shalt not interpose between I and you, to my face, any other thing or being " . The pentateuchal verse does not exclude some other presence at God's side, a partnership [as Mohammed condemns ]; it only forbids an idolatrous, physical, bodily, material interposition, replacement or substitution which Jesus is not as Jesus said he and the Father are spiritually ( God the Father is a pure spirit without a corporeal body, which pantheistic [ i.e., anthropomorphic ] currents in Islam appear to assign to God, idolatrously) One.
This is not, cannot be condemned not even by the Quran, rightly interpreted .
Although Mohammed's and his followers' violence and religious wars may have been justified in his times, which were everywhere violent, this is not possible to-day. To-day's development in person-to-person communication, like the Internet ( i.e., blogging, websiting,
e-mailing, etc.) allows the presentation of discussion and the possibility of choices through democratic processes. There may be a case for democratic processes and Constitutions to be reformed in such a way as to re-establish an equilibrium between rights and duties, and to place a limit to the type of issues that can be subjected to the determinations and choices of the voting masses the majority of which does not have the time, dedication, intellectual capacity or moral judgment for the necessary training, expertise or knowledge to judge and choose about these issues. These special issues should be not politically negotiable and would be dealt with by specially elected Courts of experts. This would be required in order to make democratic principles more acceptable to islamic nations which are concerned with the moral corruption of western masses ( i.e., abortions, divorces, general spread and acceptance of immoral sexual deviations, the general coorruption and alienation of women, etc.).
It therefore follows that the Quran and Sharia Law which have never been subjected to reform, are not to-day acceptable to the modern international world, since these are just incompatible, even granting the shortcomings of the West, presented above. If Mohammed were to be correctly seen as a Reformer rather than as a Prophet, this need for Reformation would then become more obvious and acceptable, as Mohammed himself, if alive on earth to-day, would concur with me.
What Mohammedanism needs is a Document similar to the Gospels which would extract from the Quran and Sharia Law whatever would make Islam compatible with western developments in religious belief. This would not require any change to the Quran itself and to the body of Sharia Law. A classical example is the choice made available by verses 2:62, 3:84-86, 4:69, 5:69 about wether Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism are equally satisfactory to attain Salvation. There are contradictions, and ancient interpreters like IBN ABBAS have decided to abrogate the verses in which Mohammed clearlyand unequivocally declares the three religious branches equally satisfactory. Well, what is required by modern interpreters is to reverse the ancient decision in view of the changes and developments that have occurred.
Above all, given that the West accepts a Revival of christian ethics and morality, Mohammedanism must suspend in a new Document, valid for all Islam, not for a limited section of the Humma, similar to the christian Gospels any invitation to its followers to the use of weapons and war ( terrorism is an unacceptable, illegal, anti-Geneva corollary resulting from the present inability of Islam to wage conventional war against the West) to solve pseudo-religious issues that are in fact ideological and political.
This article is an invitation to Islam in the Spirit of the Gospels, which if rejected, may leave Islam open to the use by the West of Confrontation Ethics, which may be outside the Geneva Convention.

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