Benediction_at_camp_Bastion
Benediction at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

by baldilocks

A friend asked if Afghanistan was Hindu and/or Buddhist before it was Muslim. Well, ‘yes’ would be a safe answer, but two other faiths which were prevalent in Afghanistan before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

From the BBC:

  • Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world.
  • Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe. Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom.
  • Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster.
  • Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day.
  • Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple orAgiary.
  • The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta.
  • The Avesta can be roughly split into two main sections:
  • The Avesta is the oldest and core part of the scriptures, which contains the Gathas. The Gathas are seventeen hymns thought to be composed by Zoroaster himself.
  • The Younger Avesta – commentaries to the older Avestan written in later years. It also contains myths, stories and details of ritual observances.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. And for those wondering how Christianity reached the Indian peninsula…

From Wikipedia:

Legend based on the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient documents suggests that Saint Thomas preached in Bactria, which is today northern Afghanistan.[14] An early third-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas[15] connects the apostle’s ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and compelled him to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes (or Habban), to his native place in northwest India. There, Thomas found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian (Southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) King, Gondophares. The Apostle’s ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.[15]

Bardaisan, writing in about 196, speaks of Christians throughout MediaParthia and Bactria[16] and, according to Tertullian (c.160–230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220.[17] By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.[15]

See also: Nestorian Church, Church of the East, and Assyrian Church of the East. There is some confusion as to which church is which.

All of the Afghani faiths resisted conversion to Islam for centuries after the seventh century rise, with varying degrees of success. (In the 15th century, the Church of the East was eradicated in the area by Muslim Mongols; Buddhists held on until the 19th century.) But, eventually, Islam won the battle. The war, of course, continues.

Looking into these things resembled peeling back a huge onion. Therefore, I’m posting this to give myself preliminary markers to investigate as much as to answer my friend’s question. Feel free to offer corrections and insights.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

It’s the Christmas season and the usual suspects are up in arms, upset at Christmas trees, at nativity scenes and determined to make sure that nobody says aloud the holiday that must not be named.

There is of course a proper response to each and every single one of these idiots who have their knickers in an uproar, and it’s this:

5 U.S. Code § 6103 – Holidays

Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

US Code
Notes
Authorities (CFR)
prev | next
(a) The following are legal public holidays:
New Year’s Day, January 1.

Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.

Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.

Independence Day, July 4.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September.

Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.

Veterans Day, November 11.

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.

Christmas Day, December 25.

In other words under federal law December 25th is a national holiday and is called Christmas. This is directly written into the US code.

You may not like it, you may object to it, you may scream bloody murder but this is the law on the books at the federal level.

Now if you don’t like federal law, there is a remedy for it.

You can call your two senators and your representative in the house and call upon the to remove December 25th from the list of federal holidays and if you can get 218 members of the House and 60 senators to approve and get a presidential signature or 290 members of the house & 67 members of the senate you can toss out Christmas even if the president objects.

But until you do December 25th is Christmas Day and if you consider that a micro or marco aggression, I really don’t give a damn and neither does the law.