Readability

Following the Leader

by baldilocks

Any dis­cus­sion of the fol­low­ing sub­ject reminds me that, in order to have even a chance of being in the ball­park of a cor­rect con­clu­sion, it’s nec­es­sary to be able to ana­lyze infor­ma­tion prop­erly, rather than sim­ply to gather it. The will and abil­ity to do this has become essen­tial — not just to “win” an argu­ment, but for per­sonal and national sur­vival.

After I posted Dis­cover the Net­works’The Mus­lim Brotherhood’s Strate­gic Goal for North Amer­ica” on my Face­book page, one of my friends pointed out that Chris­tian­ity has a vio­lent his­tory as well. My response:

In order for an indi­vid­ual to exam­ine the tenets of any faith, that per­son must look at the foun­da­tional work estab­lish­ing that faith. Before the Bible was made avail­able to the every­day Chris­t­ian, the Church lead­er­ship – mean­ing the Roman Catholic Church clergy – dis­pensed doc­trine and inter­preted in what­ever man­ner they saw fit.

After Johannes Guten­berg’s inven­tion, the Bible was mass-​produced, mak­ing it avail­able to all who could read it – and, most impor­tantly, trans­lated from Latin in other Euro­pean lan­guages. It is no acci­dent that Chris­tian­ity was rad­i­cally trans­formed and Reformed after that.

A sim­i­lar reform — or rever­sion– is hap­pen­ing to Islam with respect to its doc­trines and, sub­se­quently, its adherents.

One of the Founders of these two reli­gions com­manded his fol­low­ers to love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and to love one’s neigh­bor as self; the other com­manded his fol­low­ers to con­vert non-​believers at the point of the sword or make them pay the unbe­liev­ers’ tax.

As each set of fol­low­ers have become more and more famil­iar with the foun­da­tional doc­trines of their respec­tive reli­gious beliefs, each has begun to behave more in accor­dance with those doc­trines: one set has become less total­i­tar­ian almost to the point of zero and the other, more aggres­sive and vio­lent.

The Bible and the Koran are objec­tive doc­u­ments with his­tor­i­cal con­texts read­ily avail­able in this infor­ma­tion age. It is up to the indi­vid­ual to make himself/​herself famil­iar enough with both – if desired – in order to come to a cogent con­clu­sions about each.

Nat­u­rally, my friend men­tioned the geno­cides com­mit­ted in the name of Jesus. Of course, the crimes of the prior millennium’s Church are well-​known and acknowledged:

Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies of Europe fell into error and sin back when they were bent on con­vert­ing the natives of all lands – not by the act of lead­ing oth­ers to Christ, but by mak­ing Chris­tian­ity about some­thing other than Christ, His Sac­ri­fice, Res­ur­rec­tion and the pur­pose of the fore­go­ing. The Euro­pean mis­sion­ar­ies bound up Christ in them­selves and their own ethnicity.

Chris­tians have used Christ to jus­tify all kinds of sin—much eas­ier to do when it was ille­gal for non-​clergy to read the Bible. How­ever, these crimes do not take any­thing away from the qual­ity of the Gospel; they only speak to the qual­ity the imper­fect human beings pro­claim­ing it. Again, were such mis­sion­ar­ies fol­low­ing the Bible or ignor­ing the incon­ve­nient parts when they tram­pled non-​Christian cul­tures? And was the Islamic group Boko Haram fol­low­ing the Koran or ignor­ing it when the group abducted hun­dreds of non-​Muslim girls from a Niger­ian school?

A lit­tle thinking-​through of things won’t hurt. On the con­trary, it might say our lives.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in baldilocks2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

Any discussion of the following subject reminds me that, in order to have even a chance of being in the ballpark of a correct conclusion, it’s necessary to be able to analyze information properly, rather than simply to gather it.  The will and ability to do this has become essential—not just to “win” an argument, but for personal and national survival.

After I posted Discover the Networks’The Muslim Brotherhood’s Strategic Goal for North America” on my Facebook page, one of my friends pointed out that Christianity has a violent history as well. My response:

In order for an individual to examine the tenets of any faith, that person must look at the foundational work establishing that faith. Before the Bible was made available to the everyday Christian, the Church leadership–meaning the Roman Catholic Church clergy–dispensed doctrine and interpreted in whatever manner they saw fit.

After Johannes Gutenberg’s invention, the Bible was mass-produced, making it available to all who could read it–and, most importantly, translated from Latin in other European languages.  It is no accident that Christianity was radically transformed and Reformed after that.

A similar reform—or reversion– is happening to Islam with respect to its doctrines and, subsequently, its adherents.

One of the Founders of these two religions commanded his followers to love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and to love one’s neighbor as self; the other commanded his followers to convert non-believers at the point of the sword or make them pay the unbelievers’ tax.

As each set of followers have become more and more familiar with the foundational doctrines of their respective religious beliefs, each has begun to behave more in accordance with those doctrines: one set has become less totalitarian almost to the point of zero and the other, more aggressive and violent.

The Bible and the Koran are objective documents with historical contexts readily available in this information age.  It is up to the individual to make himself/herself familiar enough with both–if desired–in order to come to a cogent conclusions about each.

Naturally, my friend mentioned the genocides committed in the name of Jesus. Of course, the crimes of the prior millennium’s Church are well-known and acknowledged:

Christian missionaries of Europe fell into error and sin back when they were bent on converting the natives of all lands–not by the act of  leading others to Christ, but by making Christianity about something other than Christ, His Sacrifice, Resurrection and the purpose of the foregoing.  The European missionaries bound up Christ in themselves and their own ethnicity.

Christians have used Christ to justify all kinds of sin—much easier to do when it was illegal for non-clergy to read the Bible. However, these crimes do not take anything away from the quality of the Gospel; they only speak to the quality the imperfect human beings proclaiming it.  Again, were such missionaries following the Bible or ignoring the inconvenient parts when they trampled non-Christian cultures? And was the Islamic group Boko Haram following the Koran or ignoring it when the group abducted hundreds of non-Muslim girls from a Nigerian school?

A little thinking-through of things won’t hurt. On the contrary, it might say our lives.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published ibaldilocks2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!