Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ex Oriente Lux

A letter from the US Copts Association seeking to draw attention to the recent siege of the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church by mob protesting the exhibition an 'anti-Muslim DVD' points out in passing that the Copts were in Egypt long before Mohammed was born.

As you may know, the Copts -- Egypt’s indigenous, pre-Arab Christians -- have suffered from recent escalations in militant Islamist violence, much of which has been underreported and glossed over by the Egyptian government. As of October 21, 2005, a mob of over 10,000 militants armed with explosives has surrounded the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Muharrem Bey Street, Alexandria. The mob violence currently underway in Alexandria is only the latest in a string of attacks, including this week’s stabbing of a Coptic nun by an extremist student.

The mob had gathered to protest the sale of what they believed to be a DVD insulting to Islam. Three people were subsequently killed when the Egyptian government broke up the mob surrounding the Coptic Church. The Independent describes the essential events.

A play last performed two years ago at a Christian church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria has sparked a riot in which three people were killed.  I Once Was Blind But Now I See, performed in 2003 at the Coptic church of St George, told the story of a poor young Copt drawn to militant Islamists, who then try to kill him. Last week the appearance of the play on DVD rekindled the fury of local Muslims, who called it "an insult to Islam".

Copts now make up between 5 and 10 percent of Egypt's population, though they were once the majority and adherents of a branch of Christianity that is nineteen centuries old. According to Wikipedia:

The first Christians in Egypt were mainly Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus, whom Saint Luke the Evangelist addresses in the introductory chapter of his gospel. When the church was founded by Mark during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews) embraced the Christian faith. ...  In the second century Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely Coptic.

The Arab conquest of Egypt took place in AD 641. Although the Imperial forces resisted the Arab army under Amr ibn al-As, the majority of the civilian population, having suffered persecution for the differing Christian beliefs [following one of the schismatic conflicts within Christianity] were less hostile; in some cases they welcomed their new masters. Considered "People of the Book", Christians were allowed to practice their religion, under the restrictions of the Islamic Shari'a law. 

Despite the political upheaval, Egypt remained a mainly Christian land, although gradual conversions to Islam over the centuries had the effect of changing Egypt from a mainly Christian to a mainly Muslim country by the end of the 12th century. This process was sped along by persecutions during and following the reign of the mad Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ...

There is a tendency, especially among Leftists, to view Christianity as a 'colonial' or 'Western' religion now being challenged by Islam. From this starting point it follows that conflicts between Christians and Muslims are the story of an 'oppressive' ideology being rolled back by an 'authentic' Third World faith. But in fact, Christianity was born in the Middle East and arrived belatedly in the West. When Arab conquerors were marching into a Christian Egypt much of Britain had not yet converted to Christianity. Large sections of what are now the Scandinavian countries did not convert to Christianity until the 11th century. The historical record conclusively shows that many of the 'Green Lines' -- lines which along which Islam is contending with other faiths, in places like Lebanon,  India and Russia -- predate the rise of the West and Western expansion that the Left finds so distasteful. As the US Copts Association points out, Egyptian Christianity is no less authentic and indigenous than Islam and has a right to struggle for its existence.

(Speculation alert) When the leading lay leaders of the Anglican Church were recently murdered in Iraq, Canon Andrew White hastened to emphasize that the victims were not targeted because they were Anglicans, the suggestion being that they were not murdered because of their Western connections. But Christianity is not some recent Western import whose proselytizing activities are causing resentment among traditional Muslims. Christianity was established in Iraq 500 years before Britain converted and 1,300 years before Henry VIII separated the Church of England from Rome. Pre-Islamic Iraq was actually predominantly Jewish and Christian. They were reduced to a minority by their conquerors entirely without reference to the West. Yet so strong is the idea of the West speaking for Christianity that "Church of England bishops are calling for Christian leaders to apologize publicly, at a gathering attended by senior Muslims, for the war in Iraq", without a trace of self-conciousness. The call was contained in a 101 page report prepared by the bishops.

In a preface, one of the four authors, Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries, writes that for many people in the world today, "It is not terrorism, but American foreign policy and what they perceive as American expansionism which constitutes the major threat to peace." Like all major powers in history, he says, America seeks to expand economic, political and military influence. "What distinguishes it from many other empires in history is its strong sense of moral righteousness. In this there is both sincere conviction and dangerous illusion," Harries says. "This sense of moral righteousness is fed by the major influence of the 'Christian Right' on present United States policy."

Within this ostensibly progressive message is a remarkably Edwardian conceit: one which might do justice to a Viceroy of India; the assumption that individuals like Bishop Richard Harries can authoritatively frame the Iraqi debate from the central perspective of a European Christianity. This is probably why the Copts are at pains to emphasize that they are "indigenous" and "pre-Arab". They are fighting for a faith which Western church leaders have no authority to surrender.

61 Comments:

Blogger RWE said...

Once again an intriguing perspective.
Of course at the time Christianity arose it was a "First World" product that was exported to the impoverished "Third World" that we now call "The West" along with many other advancements from Middle Eastern Civilization.
So the current clash of civilizations is in reality a Civil War...

10/23/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The left in yet another respect resembles the fringe right. Both forget that Christianity comes not from the lands of western (white) people but from the Middle East.

10/23/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Let us also not forget that Jesus and his familiy were all Jews...

10/23/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Religion is always a dangerous subject to bring up in a blog post. But the key argument of this post is really a non-religious one: that it is unfair to characterize a 2,000 year old world religion in narrow Marxist terms. That would be like trying to fit a T-rex into a Volkswagen Beetle.

10/23/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

So the Bishop of Oxford sits safely ensconced in his episcopal palace in the home counties, and publicly ties his religion to responsiblity for the war in Iraq (although in fact nobody paid any attention to what Anglican church leaders thought at the time), effectively tossing into the firing line his fellow Christians who have to (try to) live under Muslim rule.

Way to go, Bishop 'do admire my moral superiority'!

If you look around maybe you can find some other Christians to throw to the lions. Your vanity demands no less, and after all they live in 'a far away country about which we know little'.

10/23/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ah - the good old Copts.

Thank you for this post, Wretchard. The current Left is nothing but a very specific form of 19th centur tunnel vision, so contrained that it does not even vaguely remember the broadest, most obvious outlines of The Historical Narrative.

If I were an Israeli, the first thing I would've done in '48 War would be to erase the abomination that is the Dome of the Rock, for example.

Islam is, as a defined creed, a late-comer, a parasite, a mere tribal code so crude no one would think twice to revere it but that "longstanding improves all things, regardless of quality." Its actions have all the marks of the 20th century totalitarian revolutionary parties: conquer first, demolish the historical memory, establish the ruling cliques, convert slowly over time through coercion. It is not often remembered that Islam did not replace Christianity as the dominant religion in the former Eastern Roman Empire (founded circa 100 BC) until around the 12th century. The 12th century. This is 600 years after Muhammad, 400 years after the formation of the Abbasid Caliphate and 200 years after its relative decline and absorption into the informal, growing suzeiregnty of the westward-moving Turks. The Arabs' claim - and therefore the Muslims' claim - to priority in those places outside of Arabia are Ridiculous revisions, manifestations of a completely barabrian people realizing the great and wonderful civilization they just nominally took over engages in something called "politics" with a "discourse" in which "philosophy" and "reasoning" is an accoutrement of weilding actual power. The Western ignorance of the Byzantine Empire is at the root of much of the problems of interpretation of the nature and history of Islam and its claims about itself. That, for example, is why Islam is famously pluralistic in practice, despite its doctrine: how are you going to actually rule and exploit a vastly superior population except by taxing them like their predecessors and letting them basically do what they did before? Does no one remember that the Mongols did almost exactly the same thing - that is, impose only one or two orthodox public ritual requirements, and let the people do whatever they did before, subject to their absolute and arbitrary authority? Come on, no babe observing the Emperor's procession would read the Koran and think of anything but conquest, submission, subordination in the warlord-didactic style with all the imaginative empathy of a mafia lord.

But the Orthodox Church in general, suffering from long dormancy, the vissicitudes of the most volatile region on earth, and its own inherent ossifaction derived from its relationship to the Byzantine Emperor, has a long memory that stands in high relief much like its Islamic neighbors'.
They are a useful reminder of a long, long time ago. I was gonna write more but I'll shut up now.

10/23/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The muslim oppression of Coptics in Egypt is a long sad story that the western media prefers to ignore. The fact that an Anglican Bishop would place a marxist faux interpretation on such tragic events demonstrates the intellectual depravity of the Bishop and his organisation.

Western leftists have been intellectually bankrupt for decades now. Their movement has stalled and turned in upon itself. Academia and the media/entertainment industries are trying to breathe new life into the dead corpse of leftist thought. They lack the intellectual firepower for that task. Real world events continue to devastate the "cause", and demonstrate its vacuous nature.

10/23/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

If the road to the heart of Europe's public opinion can pass through the blood-soaked floors of Israeli restaurants, why not Muharrem Bey Street?

10/23/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

"Pre-Islamic Iraq was actually predominantly Jewish and Christian." Prior to 1948 Baghdad was estimated to have been one third to one half Jewish. Baghdad was a center of Jewish learning for almost 2500 years, from the time of Nebuchanezzar. The rulings and debates of the Jewish courts are collected in the Babylonian Talmud, published in 550 AD, and considered the definitive Talmud. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_Talmud

10/23/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

W.'s notion that demarcating and pointing out "racisim" is particularly the prvilege of white, western, and of course left-wing poseurs carries a lot of weight that needs unpacking.

The charge implicitly says something to the effect that "we (read: you) whites are the only racists on this globe," which is the inverse of the proposition that "we whites are (rightfully) the dominant group on this globe."

The link-up between the two propositions can be parsed in several directions, one of which is the following: "Only whites have the power (read: intelligence, developed culture) to really oppress other races, and therefore whites should bear the burden (read: the inverse of "white man's [colonial] burden") to take on the guilt of being the oppressor."

The perversity of the logic is of course part of its attraction, because its tangles manage to hide the true white racism is tries to erase.

Slice to the center of this whole business, and you have "guilt," which is an off-shoot of "morality." Maybe "morality" is the real evil in the world. Jesus thought so: he never met a "moral" person he didn't dislike, and it was "moral" people who killed him.

10/23/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Bishop Harries statement manages to precisely opposite reality. Another huge conceit from his point of view is simply ignoring the open declarations of the Islamists as if they were the meaningless words of ignorant children.

10/23/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

The irony of course it that the great moralizing tone of the progressive left is itself a descendant of western Christian tradition (as opposed to all Christian tradition) and puritan impulse, wishing to wash away all that don't agree with them. Likewise, they view those most close to them in viewpoint (which includes our right), other westerners as the biggest threat and affront, for no one brings the wrath of a true believer more than a heretic.
This viewpoint sees the Muslims and other Orientals (for lack of a better word) as mere savages to be pittied; thus, totally blind to any possible danger that they may bring.

10/23/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

An illuminating post on Bjørn Stærk's blog explaining European antipathy to American war efforts in the Middle East:

"You are making some errors in judgement of economic data. I'm guessing that you admire the European system for what it HAS accomplished: cradle to grave social security, lack of (visible) poverty - there are no slums in Europe, or at least in the most social democratic parts of Europe, up toward the north. And you admire the free education, the social consciousness, and the care for the individual that the state - seemingly - purports as its mission.

Please believe me - as someone who's lived on both sides of the Atlantic - that it is all an illusion. There are people dying while waiting to receive critical surgery in their much-vaunted national health care systems - because those systems are not working... In America, the people responsible would be slapped with a punishing lawsuit faster than you can cry "litigate!". Unemployment is growing in Europe because there is no domestic demand - due to the fact that their consumer-workers are taxed so much more than Americans that they have nothing to spend on the hi-tech products they themselves produce, thus leaving them dependent on the less-taxed American consumer to keep their economies going. And their free education systems are failing to give everyone a chance to earn a degree: the decision whether a student is "fit" for higher education is made at an early age (certain students are forced into curriculums designed to make them fit for trades, instead of higher learning) so that the hopes of an average student with ambition are beated down - just because a bureaucrat in some Ministry of Education has calculated that the law of averages doesn't justify spending societal effort on a student with average scores.

Of course, you might just enjoy the beautiful cities they have built, with wonderful public transportation, and socially-conscious public services. And I agree, Americans could learn a lot from Europeans on all of that. Too bad that these wonderful cities are heavily dependent on the foreign tourist to enable their keep. Just don't ask to live there: as every illegal immigrant in Europe knows, social democratic societies like it when you come and visit and spend money, but an open door for the foreigner does not exist, legal or illegal, in the same way it did in pre-9/11 American society.

In America, the average consumer-worker-voter has more power than the worker-voter in Europe, because the American can vote with his dollars, which the American has more of to spend since he gets taxed a whole lot less. And, in America, if you want it badly enough, you can buy it. That translates into enormous political and economic power for the American worker-consumer, whose tastes have come to dominate the world.

Now, in regards to comparing the GDP of the US with that of the Europeans, R. Hough makes the right point in his comment above: you are comparing apples and oranges. The GDP in European countries could at times be greater, but only because the economic activity is generated by governmental spending on societal programs and institutions. How do governments get the money to spend on such programs? Why, taxing the people, of course. Growth is thus generated by the state at the cost of lessening the purchasing power of the people. Contrast that to the American system, where comparable growth is achieved WITHOUT lessening the purchasing power of the people, to the point that growth winds up INCREASING that power, thus generating EVEN MORE growth, - not just in the US, but all over the world....

No wonder Europeans are so worried that the American consumer is set on condoning military expenditures: that means less money will be spent on European exports. See, they do think like this - or at least the economists in European governments. So an argument could be made that the Europeans actually have a selfish, ulterior motive for encouraging an anti-war slant in their state-supported media: the American consumer has to be kept consuming European product, like a tethered cow, in order to sustain the European social democratic states... [emphasis mine]

Europeans could easily enjoy such economic power, also. But that would mean a revolutionary change, as they would need to give up on some comfy conceptions on how to organize their societies. Given the blinders Europeans have put on themselves, that revolution won't be coming any time soon...
"

http://blog.bearstrong.net/000124.html

10/23/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I have been reading Keegan's "The Iraq War" and it has given me a new perspective on our efforts to create a democracy in Iraq.
The rift between Shiites and Sunni originally was based on a diagreement on sucession after the death of Mohammed. The Shiites believe that the leader if Islamd should follow Mohammed's bloodline, and had a specific member of Mohammed's family in mind. The Sunni belive that the leader of Islam - and hence of the Calipihate should be Elected by the faithful.
So we have in Iraq the very real possibility that a political leader will be elected - will likely be a Shiite - and will be voted in by both Shiite and Sunni Arabs.
Such an individual might well be considered to have the only real claim to being the leader of the Caliphate - which is everything from Turkey to Egypt - and by the Sunnis' own rules.
This must be very close to an Islamic Facist's worst nightmare - and one shared by every other leader in the area.
Add to that the fact that the elected leader of Iraq would be backed by the mightest nation on planet Earth - one led by a proudly observant and highly determined evangelical Christian.
It's a wonder there are any clean pants left over there.....

10/23/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"He never met a "moral" person he didn't dislike, and it was "moral" people who killed him," says Micha'el (One Like Unto God).

And I can agree, WITH the further qualification that those 'moral' and 'righteous' people were also PRIESTS!

The priesthood, so necessary for the first 7,000 years of recorded history, has also been responsible for killing the One Who comes in fulfillment of previous promises, and has a God-given duty to re-state the Will of God for humanity, for THIS Day...

Clergy instigated, machinated and perpetrated the killing of the Holy One Who came in Sonship and Divinity: Jesus of Nazareth.

Yet Jesus attached His holy and truth-telling words to 3 promises (Matt 24:14, Luke 21:24, Matt 24:15) which delineated the PROCESSES which would come to completion AT THE TIME of the Coming of the Promised One.

Today's clergy, however, ignores St Peter's warning about 'damnable heresies', and today's clergy 'scoffs and denies our Lord Who redeems us' has returned, at the time and in the manner promised by Jesus: in the year all 3 promises were completed: 1844.

The Muslim clergy, arrogant and filled with their own 'moral' virtue, brought in a Christian Armenian rifle regiment to kill Him, in order to sidestep the blame and ignominy awaiting whoever killed the Holy One. Such blame is ascribed in the Muslim Hadith about the One to come in the Year 1260 AH (1844CE).

But God isn't mocked. None of the 750 point-blank bullets hit Him, they only cut the ropes binding Him.

A MUSLIM rifle regiment had to be hastily summoned, or the 10,000 onlookers documenting these events would have gotten even MORE ugly, and could have started killing the Muslim clergy who'd indicted the Promised One.

His mortal remains rest on Mt Carmel, under the golden dome atop the beautiful terraced gardens that Isaiah and Ezekiel promised would beautify Sharon and Carmel.

And our clergy STILL 'scoff and deny our Lord Who redeems us' has returned! They think His coming has no impact on the affairs of today!

10/23/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Just last week I felt I had to rewrite the Danish Wikipedia article on christianity, as it stated 1) Christianity was a term used for a whole slate of different religions. 2) Christianity was tightly tied to European culture and indo-european languages, stating in parentheses the near absurd idea of chinese christians or the bible translated to chinese.

Both assertions deeply ridiculous as not only were the first Christians neither europeans nor speakers of an indo-european language - they were jews speaking a semitic language. There were well established christian societies, centuries before many european nations were christened. Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, North Africa. Ethiopia was made christian already from the 1. century and wholly a christian nation in the 4. century. Armenia was an early christian convert. There were christian communities in India from the 1. century (perhaps the apostle Thomas preached there). In China (6. century), Mongolia (7. century), Korea (7. century) and the bible was in fact first translated to chinese already in the 6. century - and christianity is well and good in China, so well actually that an author like Kevin Kelly predicts that China will be known as a Christian nation in the 21. century. Indeed Denmark itself was first converted in the 11. century - other european countries; the Balts and Slavs of Russia even later.

Of about 2,3 billions christians, most christians today are not from Europe. Though Europe with about 560 millions followers is still the continent with the most christians, already by about 2025 the African and South American churches are expected to be bigger with 663 million and 640 millions members respectively and a further 460 millions in Asia.

It's hard to grasp how supposedly learned men can hold on to the idea that christianity could be something especial european. Perfect examples of people holding ideology above facts I suppose.

It does not need to regress into a discussion of which religion is better, but it is interesting to note how Islam has been successful in presenting itself as the religion for culturally or racially suppressed people - yet Christianity does not require you to prostrated yourself towards a European city five times a day, nor make a pilgrimage to a European city once in your lifetime and christianity does not require you to learn an European language to read the bible. Indeed one of the more central passages of the bible states categorically:

"Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth'ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all." - Colossians 3:11ph

10/23/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not knowing much of the Bahai (sp?) faith I always find carridine's posts interesting. They did have a nice structure in Panama, high on a hill top. It was just a pleasent space, not a seemingly religious atmosphere.

The US public have a terribly warped understanding of history. As dan points out "The Western ignorance of the Byzantine Empire is at the root of much of the problems ..." of the Modern world, I think.

rwe's relating of the greater impact of an elected leader in Baghdad is enlightening. I had not heard that expressed before. An even greater potential impact then just democracy and personal freedom tempered by responsibility. A long term event in Mohameddan Religious history could be about to unfold.

And Mika's posting of an Europeans view of the real world, very nice.

To bad for the Chirstians in Eygpt, but at least the Army continues to show up and regain control. What happens when they can't, or worse, won't?

10/23/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Also Champollion only succeeded in breaking the code of the Egyptian hieroglyphics when he had the inspiration that Coptic was the original language of the Egyptians. Not only does Christianity precede Islam in Egypt, the Copts preceded the Arabs.

10/23/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Minh-Duc said...

Two points:

(1) The majority of the victims from Islamic radical are Muslim themselves.
(2) That Christians (who associate with the West or not) are not the only victims. Zoroarosters, Bahais, Buddhist, and Hindu have long been victims - long before the ascendency of European civilization.

10/23/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Minh-Duc writes:

"The majority of the victims from Islamic radical are Muslim themselves."


Given the slaughter perpetrated by Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, the ME, Europe and elsewhere, I just don't see how this statement can be true. Unless of-course, you consider being born a Muslim and being automatically consigned to live life as a Muslim to be a form of victimhood. In that case I would agree with you.

10/23/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Rat,

Did you read this? Looks as though the US through the UN's Procurement Department was unwittingly financing alQaeda operations:

foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173039,00.html

10/23/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

It seems to be a general condition that being a "progressive" only does harm to your mental faculties and eats away at any knowledge you at some time might have acquired.

Not only have the bishops forgotten the meaning of the origins of their own faith, but their progressive morals allow one of them to claim that past empires did not express moral righteousness. "Rule Britannia", anyone? Or perhaps, "Jerusalem"? How does the first verse of the German anthem start, the verse that is not sung since after 1945? What would an ancient Roman citizen say to that? Thumbs down, no doubt.

10/23/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

mika
the link did not make the jump through the ether. I believe the reliability of the headline, though.
I remember reading of documents linking aQ meetings with Saddam's agents just prior to aQ increasing it's activities. It was postulated that Oil for Food funds were being transferred to aQ operations.
On a related note, Forbes hardcopy mag just had a cover story on the difficulties of stopping underground money transfers and the prosecutions of those evil doers laundering the funds. Don't know if it is on their website

10/23/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Corporate board minutes of IHC, obtained by FOX News, had mentioned a “sole shareholder” of IHC. The sole shareholder, according to the June sales documents on IHC, turns out to have been an even more mysterious company called Torno S.A.H. (search), based in the financial haven of Luxembourg. And Torno, in turn, had two major shareholders who approved the sale of Torno’s 100% interest in IHC. One of these shareholders was a Milan-based businessman, Dario Fischer (search), a director of IHC since at least 1996, who at the time of the sale was chairman of the board.

The other shareholder in Torno S.A.H., who gave his proxy to Fischer to approve the sale, was a man named Engelbert Schreiber, Jr. (search) He has been linked, either directly or through father-son family business, to a number of Liechtenstein enterprises affiliated at various times from the 1970s through at least the year 2000 with Ahmed Idris Nasreddin (search), a man designated as a terrorist financier by the U.S. and U.N. shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

A naturalized Italian citizen, Nasreddin operated for decades out of Milan and Lugano, Switzerland, both as a businessman and a member of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, some elements of which morphed into Al Qaeda. In 2002, Nasreddin, along with a number of his enterprises, landed on the U.N.’s list of individuals or entities “belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda.” He is now believed to be in Morocco.

The Schreiber father-son connections with Nasreddin are labyrinthine, but they are a subject familiar to trackers of terrorist money. Engelbert Schreiber, Sr. (search), served from the 1970s through the 1990s in a variety of legal capacities on a number of Nasreddin-related enterprises registered in Liechtenstein. The name of Schreiber Jr., -- who cast his proxy this June in the sale of IHC -- appeared in the year 2000 on Liechtenstein registry documents of the Wahda Charitable Foundation, which had Nasreddin on its board of directors, and in 1993 on the Liechtenstein registry documents of the Nasreddin Charitable Foundation. In both cases, Schreiber Jr. was named as liquidator, which in Liechtenstein tends to entail significant discretionary powers.
"
.
.
U.N. Procurement Scandal: Ties to Saddam and Al Qaeda

10/23/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wretchared--

Your post covers a subject I've been thinking about since the Copt family in NJ was murdered. The MSM and police denied any terrorist tinge to this story. In fact, I even talked to one of the local reporters and was turned aside: no "there" there.

Well, "There" certainly happened at this event. It is amazing that the Copts survived so long when you consider how many Christian sects were simply wiped off the face of the earth. One of the reasons Islam is anti-history is because this kind of mass annihilation would have to be recorded. As would the vital, vibrant religious indigenes before Mohammed was even a twinkle in his Bedouin daddy's eye.

Christianity lost so much when it was massacred by the Musims. St. Anthony of the Desert, the founder of monasticism, was from the Middle East. As were many of the early Patristic writers. Fortunately, some of their writings were saved.

When the Middle East was overrun, Benedict rejunvenated and westernized the monastic movement. Today, all Christian monks, of whatever faith, follow some form -- stricter or looser -- of the Benedictine Rule (which has itself been reformed --e.g., Bernard of Clairvaux).

As I write this, I'm listening to Gregorian Chant -- a descendant of Middle Eastern psalmody...

We have lost our history. We wander in our ignorance, having no idea of what was lost, what was plundered, ruined, descrated and scourged into oblivion. All by the Religion of Peace. And we have no sense of gratitude to those early Christians in the desert who preserved so much and managed to pass it on before being erased.

Oh, dear...as when we originally decided we'd better stop leaving such long screeds at Belmont and start our own blog, I'd better hie myself home and write there.

Thanks for posting on this sad, neglected and derided piece of history.

10/23/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Oh, man...I just saw the title of this post! You refrained from adding "et Occident" -- clever dude.

BTW, don't forget St Bede was busy in England doing history about 100 years after Mohammed announced his fine self and long before any of his tribe decided to rape and pillage such a wide swath across the bloody borders...like any religion it took them awhile to gather steam.

Just saying..

10/23/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Minh-Duc said...
Two points:

(1) The majority of the victims from Islamic radical are Muslim themselves.
(2) That Christians (who associate with the West or not) are not the only victims. Zoroarosters, Bahais, Buddhist, and Hindu have long been victims - long before the ascendency of European civilization
.


Min-duch--

You're right except for one thing: you didn't go back far enough. Before they got to India, etc, the followers of Allah wiped out the Jews and Christians where they were living at the time. It was only later that they went on to massacre the Hindus. The Hindus fight back because there were actually some of them left to do so.

Do you think any of the Janassaries were Hindu? I doubt it.

10/23/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

marcus: The left in yet another respect resembles the fringe right. Both forget that Christianity comes not from the lands of western (white) people but from the Middle East.

excuse me...

it comes from the JEWS....

long before islam had it's 1st cup of coffee, long before christians wanted to die cleaning the holyland of the infidel the JEWS were there for thousands of years, dont tell c4 that since in his mind (and arafat types) the JEWS are recent colonial occupiers

10/23/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

It is worth remembering that religion, religion as such, including Christianity, is the eternal scourge of mankind.

What movement turned out the lights of classical learning in Europe and tried to crush all traces of it? Christianity. Who buried classical art and thought under a millenium of intellectual oppression in Europe? The Christians. Who made sure through their obsessing with the afterlife that life on earth was mercifully short, given the living conditions during the Dark Ages? You know who. What in part caused the weakness of the Byzantine empire that allowed the Islamic lightning strikes to succeed? Bloody schism between Christian sects.

While I hold Christianity above Islam (at least the evolution of liberal, secular society was possible under Christianity), raw undiluted Christianity is dangerous as Islam is today.

God save us from those who believe in You.

10/23/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

dan: It is not often remembered that Islam did not replace Christianity as the dominant religion in the former Eastern Roman Empire (founded circa 100 BC) until around the 12th century. The 12th century. This is 600 years after Muhammad, 400 years after the formation of the Abbasid Caliphate

i like the terms bce & ce

The "Common Era" (i.e. nowadays) or before common era

what "CE" or "BCE" means. "CE" means "Common Era" (or alternatively, "Christian Era") and refers to the same dates as "AD" or "Anno Domini" does.

"Anno Domini" is Latin for "in the year of Our Lord", referring to christian's Lord Jesus Christ.

10/23/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

paul: Baghdad was a center of Jewish learning for almost 2500 years, from the time of Nebuchanezzar. The rulings and debates of the Jewish courts are collected in the Babylonian Talmud, published in 550 AD, and considered the definitive Talmud.

very good, let's just adjust the date to 550 CE

10/23/2005 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Minh-Duc said...
Two points:

(1) The majority of the victims from Islamic radical are Muslim themselves.
(2) That Christians (who associate with the West or not) are not the only victims. Zoroarosters, Bahais, Buddhist, and Hindu have long been victims - long before the ascendency of European civilization.

did ya forget about those dam joos?

10/23/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Peter
another attack on Christianity is so IRRITATING.
"What movement turned out the lights of classical learning in Europe and tried to crush all traces of it? Christianity. "
Well, it wasn't Christianity, that darkened the "lights" of the classical world, Peter (despite what Gibbons may have thought.)The "fall of the Roman Empire is a bit more complicated than the rise of Christianity, and indeed, it can be argued that Christianity extended the civilized life of Italy's Rome. Almost all the Christian Bishops of Gaul's cities were Gallo-Roman; and if a city did not have a strong and competent Bishop, it did not survive the Dark Ages.

Roman Law and administrative practices, as well as Latin, were all dragged through the Dark Ages by the Church. St Patrick was ashamed of his poor Latin, and within a century, Celtic Christianity was noted for its excellent Latin.

Now, early Christians disapproved of the Games (which were central to the Magnificent Roman Civilization). Slavery was slowly but surely ended in Christian Europe. Since abortion was not permitted by Christians, Christian women did not die at such high rates as did non-Christian women. Since it was important that Christians look after the widows, orphans and the sick within their community, the great public welfare systems pioneered by the Jews was adopted by Christians.

And actually, Christians managed to build a vital and advanced society WITHOUT digging up Greek statues or even reading Aristotle.

The monastery became the prototype for the West's non-kinship centred institutions... the institutions that are at the base of all of our freedoms and wealth.

Please. I have a terrible feeling that those Anglican Bishop twits would agree with you, Peter.

Christianity is a Great World Religion, and remains so today.

10/23/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Also, monogamy: it took a long time to win this battle (Charlemagne had several wives), but by 900 AD it was accepted that there could be no polygamy among Christians, even among kings. Along with abortion, Christians denounced infanticide.

10/23/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Basspastor said...

"It is worth remembering that religion, religion as such, including Christianity, is the eternal scourge of mankind."

Umm, NO!

I presume the author of such tripe considers themselves a "free-thinker", but obviously they haven't put their own anti-relgious zealotry to any kind of logical or fact based means testing.

"Religion" whether it be Christianity, Islam, or Secular Humanism reduced to the linguistic/definitional basis in such an arguement is nothing more than a selective and sloppy generalization about a human institution supported and guided by human beings adhering too some mystical or non-mystical ideology/interpretation of reality.

In other words the scourge of mankind is any of mankind that has any sort of ideology and instituition attached too it with mystical basis and/or non-mystical if you are willing to be an un-religious bigoted free-thinker.

A more logical, philosophical, scientific and fact based free thinker recognizes that using such a broad definition and indictment of "religion" makes the charge rationally useless.

Bad men doing bad things is the problem, whether in the name of Christ, Islam, the Pro-Life cause, Communism, or a myriad of other religion's, or ideologies. Think about that, because it is and will always be more true than singing that old Athiest Conductors tune "Religion the Eternal
Scourge of Manknind."

Bah am humbug!

10/23/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wretch, you inspired me.

Egypt and the Copts: “Kith and Kin”.

10/23/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I wish there was a more critical, familiar tradition of scholarship and philosopy in Islam. Is there one I'm not aware of? The only one I know of is hagiographic to an extent that it makes it pretty useless - or anyway really redundant - for a non-believer.

10/23/2005 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Basspastor,

Some ideologies/religions inspire more bad men doing more bad things than other. Christianity's saving grace if you like, is that it attracted the best and brightest of the planet. And the results are what they are. Islam on the other hand, attracts the worst and darkest of the planet. And the results are what they are. There's something to be said as to why that is so.

10/23/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Leave it to a rabid secularist like Peter to take a poignant historical tale about ancient Christians in Egypt being ravished by Islam and turn it into an anti Christian screed.Atheism is the opiate of shallow materialists.
John Wesley and his Methodist lay workers saved England from the Jacobin horrors of France by ending child labor and improving the lives of miners and factory workers.William Wilburforce in England used his faith to end the slave trade.The churches of New England believed God had endowed men with freedom and inspired this experiment called America,Christian preachers again in New England fueled the abolition movement in America.Dorothy Day and other compassionate Christians cared for the poor in 19th century urban slums.Christian clergy marched in Mississippi for civil rights.The most effective relief in our recent weather tragedies came not from government,but churches.The list is endless ,Petey.The real eternal scourge is secular ideologues building pseudo utopias and destroying everything in their path.

10/23/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Jack Let us also not forget that Jesus and his familiy were all Jews...

Let us also not forget the genetic cousins of the Jews are Palestinians. Many of them have Jewish forefathers who converted to Islam for better status. Both groups have common ancestry from ancient Canaanite and Semite stock.

10/23/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

"Let us also not forget the genetic cousins of the Jews are Palestinians. Many of them have Jewish forefathers who converted to Islam for better status."

Therein hangs the tale. The indictment that is made against militant Zionism cannot be simultaneously turned into an argument for Islam. It is in fact this question of "better status" on which the Coptic question turns.

10/23/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"It is worth remembering that religion, religion as such, including Christianity, is the eternal scourge of mankind."

A perfect example of ignorance of the true nature of religion.

No other meme, concept or strategy in the history of humankind has had such a profound CIVILIZING EFFECT on humanity, as religion.

As humanity's purpose includes the carrying forward of "an ever-advancing civilization", not the least of the extraordinary powers that religion possisses has been an ability to free those who believe from the limitations of time itself, eliciting from them sacrifices on behalf of generations centuries into the future!

Indeed, because the soul is immortal, its awakening to its true nature EMPOWERS IT, not only in this world, but even more directly in those worlds that lie beyond, to serve the evolutionary process: "The light which these souls radiate" asserts the Glory of God, "...is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples."

God is NOT in competition with Itself. When humans try to wield earthly power as a coercive force, and call it 're-uniting' 're-ligio', THEY (not GOD) have gone astray.

10/23/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

As a pertinent aside, where would Christianity be tomorrow if, today, Christians HEEDED Christ's guidance, given through St Peter, to avoid "damnable heresies" of "scoffing and denying our lord who redeems us"? (IIPeter2:1)

By engaging in the damnable heresy of 'denying our lord who redeems us' has returned, Christians deny implicitly that Jesus of Nazareth KNEW His holy words would lead people TOWARD what we now call 1844; deny Jesus could have MEANT for humankind to turn in adoration toward the One Who came in that year; deny Jesus' ability to choose the correct words to describe the Return of the Righteousness that is Christ...

And Christian clergy introduced this damnable heresy January 1845, when they continued praying, "...and we await Thy return, O Lord..." as if He hadn't!

10/23/2005 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

What triggered my original post was the correct observation that Islam is anti-history, since it destroy all that stands in the way of Islamic perfection. This also is true of the wider species religion when it is adhered to with a sufficient level of fervour. Not necessarily, but the potential is always there.

People shouldn't be offended by this. Facts speak for themselves. As I said, Christianity is better than Islam in that its classical heritage allowed for a classsical rebirth once the classics were reinjected into the cultural stream. Doesn't mean you have to love it.

It would be somewhat ironic if someone here started using a variant of the "hijacked-by-fanatics-is-otherwise-a-religion-of-peace" argument to defend Christianity.

Christianity triumphant

"In the late 4th century, persecution of pagans by Christians had reached new levels of intensity. Temples and statues were destroyed throughout the Roman Empire, pagan rituals forbidden under punishment of death, and libraries closed. In 391, Emperor Theodosius ordered the destruction of all pagan temples, and Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria complied with this request."

See you in the afterlife:

"During the Middle Ages in the West, the practice of using natural soporifics, sedatives and pain-relievers to ease the agonies of surgical intervention fell largely into disuse. This neglect was mainly due to the influence of the Christian Church, many of whose leading lights were more adept at causing pain than relieving it. Saving the soul from eternal damnation was conceived as more important than healing the mortal body - a reasonable inference given the assumptions on which it was based."

10/24/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: "Let us also not forget the genetic cousins of the Jews are Palestinians. Many of them have Jewish forefathers who converted to Islam for better status."


let us not forget the arabs are the cousins of the jews, and these cousins now control 640 times the lands of israel. From moracco to iran (yes iran is persian, but there are arabs there now too) and 1/2 the worlds' oil, whereas they, the arabs, have murdered and driven out of their lands all jews and christians, with small exception... coptics are just a small story..

I guess Israel should take the arab lesson and expel 25% of it’s islamic population? what say you c4? where are all those schuls in palio/arab lands? burned down you wont say?

Simple point, the arabs of today want it all... so screw the berbers, the kurds, the jews, the coptics, islam and palios-arabs must rule....

I have been bitching about this for MONTHS, thanks wretchard for FINALLY mentioning the coptics, let us not forget the berbers also...

10/24/2005 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

I’m not disagreeing that Christianity also has some dark blotches in its history. However I do not think those you put forth in your previous post hold water.

”What movement turned out the lights of classical learning in Europe and tried to crush all traces of it? Christianity.”

It was not Christianity which toppled the Roman empire. Indeed from the perspective of the Christian church it was a great calamity. However, as even Gibbon admits, Christianity by converting the German tribes overrunning the Roman world, probably softened the barbarian destruction and the suffering inflicted on the original population. When e.g. the Longobards overran Italy, they specifically stated they were not out to destroy Roman culture or the buildings or saints of Christianity. Even so, the destruction of the Roman empire, paved way for the enlightened Europe which was to come.

”Who buried classical art and thought under a millenium of intellectual oppression in Europe? The Christians.”

I don’t think this generalisation is valid. Many monasteries were centres of learning and teaching, and many Monks were in the forefront of scientific discoveries (Bacon, Copernicous).

“Who made sure through their obsessing with the afterlife that life on earth was mercifully short, given the living conditions during the Dark Ages? You know who.”

Again, I doubt the connection can be made. I don’t know that life in general was much shorter or miserable in the (so-called) dark-ages than under the Roman empire, or anywhere outside Christianity during the same time. Certainly the widespread usage of slavery of the Roman world was very much reduced. The Roman empire suffered through numerous plagues, and anyway you can’t very well blame the church for the black death (which also raged outside Christianity). And those medical procedures used in those times, like bloodletting, stems directly from ancient teaching.

“What in part caused the weakness of the Byzantine empire that allowed the Islamic lightning strikes to succeed? Bloody schism between Christian sects.”

Yes. In part.

10/24/2005 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A History Lesson For Barbara Boxer-by David Gelernter - LA Times

Boxer was obnoxious and frightening.
She made reference to the Holocaust, offensively. More important, she demonstrated that she doesn't know U.S. history, and she implied that the American people don't either. And she raised an alarming question about contemporary politics. We often hear from Democrats that President Bush's policy in Iraq makes no sense. But how can it make sense to the Barbara Boxers of Congress if they can't understand the explanation?
-
Americans who don't know history are the demagogue's natural prey. Boxer's statements assume that Americans at large know as little about history as she does. Let's hope it's not true.
---

Michael Kelly was one of this generation's great journalists and columnists. Here is what Mike wrote a few months before he died while covering the war in Iraq:

"Tyranny truly is a horror: an immense, endlessly bloody, endlessly painful, endlessly varied, endless crime against not humanity in the abstract but a lot of humans in the flesh. It is, as Orwell wrote, a jackboot forever stomping on a human face.

"I understand why some dislike the idea, and fear the ramifications of, America as a liberator. But I do not understand why they do not see that anything is better than life with your face under the boot. And that any rescue of a people under the boot (be they Afghan, Kuwaiti or Iraqi) is something to be desired. Even if the rescue is less than perfectly realized. Even if the rescuer is a great, overmuscled, bossy, selfish oaf. Or would you, for yourself, choose the boot?"

. Bill Bennet: Quotes and Statements

10/24/2005 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I think we must take care to separate faith per se, which has been and continues to be a net positive for mankind, and political or authoritative religion, which has been a net negative.

In Tim Burton's Batman, the Joker's toxins that terrorize the citizens of Gotham must be mixed together to be deadly. Hairspray itself won't kill you, but hairspray mixed with mascara and lipstick could.

Historical simplification is cheap and easy and can become a faith in itself. If we are to learn from history, if we are to (ahem) survive as a species, we must acknowledge complexity and study combinations and get rid of the easy answers when discussing incredibly complex systems and situations.

So, back to the question at hand. Like Joker-brand poison, Doctrine itself is not harmful: Christianity itself is not harmful, and Islam itself is not harmful. But doctrine mixed with power and hate can be very dangerous, and it is our job to create a world that accepts the primacy of religion and the necessity of politics, and then seals them off so that never the twain shall meet.

10/24/2005 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Idiot Master said...

The stupidity/dishonesty of the Left is a theme that never ceases to amaze.

They indict "Western Imperialism", in their view manifested by current U.S. foreign policy and previously by the great Western European empires of the 19th Century. But they ignore Arab Imperialism which completely wiped out numerous ancient cultures, languages and religions. One can only speculate about the the loss to humanity caused by Arab Imperialism.

10/24/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

What triggered my original post was the correct observation that Islam is anti-history, since it destroy all that stands in the way of Islamic perfection. This also is true of the wider species religion when it is adhered to with a sufficient level of fervour. Not necessarily, but the potential is always there.

-rubbish. Islam is anti-history primarily because Judaism and CHristianity are fundamentally historical. (Instead of Mohammed offering the world a new new testament, he tries to win converts by changing the nature of the game, making claim to the eternal and uncreated word...) And, from a Jewish perspective, Peter, in taking on the role of the historically conscious secular person is only a modern version of the Christian who is in a battle with the Jews to define the nature and direction of historical revelation. Christianity is an inherently secularizing force and Peter is its product. That's history.

10/24/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

I think we must take care to separate faith per se, which has been and continues to be a net positive for mankind, and political or authoritative religion, which has been a net negative.

Aristedes, you talk about faith as if it were some kind of later historical development. No doubt at any point in history there have been both people of faith and those who have lost faith, but humanity could never have come into being in the first place if not in an act of faith. That's what separates us from the animals, and it is that moment which all religions memorialize, and in this sense they are all, even eternal and uncreated Islam, historical in their outlook.

10/24/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

No doubt at any point in history there have been both people of faith and those who have lost faith, but humanity could never have come into being in the first place if not in an act of faith.

You mistook my meaning. By saying faith has been and continues to be a net positive, I was acknowledging its special place in the evolution of the human species.

I was responding to Peter's comments on religion. My implicit point was that religion, as a word, is broad and imprecise. Faith is much neater, as in faith in doctrine. Then you can apply it to the whole pantheon of human beliefs, and judge it accordingly.

As to my comment on authoritarian or political religion, one of the largest banes of mankind is the admixture of political power and faith in unerring doctrine. The safe route is to recognize unfalsifiable belief when you see it, and quarantine it to the private sphere away from the halls of power. Faith as a personal or communal belief system is one thing, faith as state policy another.

I believe Peter was speaking of the latter, however inartfully. In that respect, he is correct.

10/24/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Aristedes, I'm sorry I misread you. yes religion is a difficult term to define, and faith much more generally applicable to the problems of humanity. What do you think of religion being defined as belief in a supernatural being and the cultural institutions that define such beliefs? In turn, a secular faith would have to have some alternative way of explaining the subsistent being - our sense of a transcendent existence/being which works to guarantee the common meanings of the words/arbitrary signs we are sharing. IOW, faith in the sacred significance in which we all share need not be religious, but how many people today can have a strong faith in humanity outside of religion? There is not yet a widespread secular under-standing of the nature of subsistent or transcendent being. Trapped within shoddy dichotomies that seem to pose a necessary choice between reason and faith, some people end up taking cheap shots at religion.

10/24/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

I blogged on this on Friday, January 07, 2005

ANCIENT FAITH: THE CHRISTIAN MIDDLE EAST:

Here's a link to a fascinating article about Christians still trying to live out their faith in the hostile regions of eastern Syria, Turkey and Northern Iraq.

http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/08/wirq08.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/01/08/ixworld.html

EXCERPT:

One of the most ancient monasteries in the world, St Matthew's, stands on a barren mountainside in northern Iraq, its last inhabitant a crusty old Syrian Orthodox priest. Nestled between sandstone crags with views of the hills around ancient Nineveh, now called Mosul, it looks like the final redoubt of the Christian world. Seven thousand monks used to worship here; now there is just one, Father Ada Qadr al-Kars. This thinning of the ranks has taken centuries, he said, but in the valleys Iraq's Christian community, targeted with especial ferocity by Islamic extremists for the past year, is disappearing rapidly. Churches have been bombed, priests kidnapped and Christian neighbourhoods subjected to random shootings, the terrorists' revenge for the community's shared religion with the "Christian" invaders.

RELIAPUNDIT: This article reminds me of a fact that I think post-modernists ("Edward Said-like" "orientalists" and Marxists and anti-colonialists) have pretty much successfully gotten the West to forget (because they dominate the "academy"):

Namely, that the nearly the entire Middle East - and North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt - was Christian LONG before the people were forcibly converted to Islam, AND THAT CHRISTIANITY IS AN ANCIENT INDIGENOUS FAITH TO THE AREA - AND NOT SOME EUROPEAN IMPORT!

Another FACT often over-looked - or deliberately obfuscated: the Crusades were DEFENSIVE WARS waged by the Church to RECAPTURE lands which had been taken by force!

The idea that Christianity is alien to the greater Middle East and that it's an alien "Western" presence in the greater Middle East and is in itself an affront to indigenous culture is FALSE.

Christans - AND JEWS AND BAHAI'S AND SUFI'S - deserve to be able to live and worship ANYWHERE in the Middle East and North Africa - including Iraq, Iran Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Gaza!

Those who would prevent the indigenous peoples of these regions from worshipping as they have for CENTURIES - and as they please NOW -are fascists who deserve - at best - our utter scorn.

10/24/2005 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truistedes,
The two of you that have thought so much of this stuff through have actually stimulated me to have a new thought to add to the few that I have had on these matters:
Truepeers said:

"No doubt at any point in history there have been both people of faith and those who have lost faith, but humanity could never have come into being in the first place if not in an act of faith. That's what separates us from the animals..."

Could we say that animals can do fine w/o faith, but after the word, and conscious thought came on scene, faith became necessary?

Obviously to be read as referring to man, although I Still, (even at this late stage in life) have my doubts about some of the parameters men, and conservatives in particular, put on the ability of animals to "think."

10/24/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

reliapundit,
Your post reminded me of this article about the treatment of infidels in general,
Christian and otherwise:

" Oregon soldiers try to help Iraqi who risks all to help them. "

10/24/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Could we say that animals can do fine w/o faith, but after the word, and conscious thought came on scene, faith became necessary?

-in the beginning was the word: that's a profound insight. The question, as I see it Doug, is how a communal, publicly shared word or, better put, sign (the first "word" may have been a gesture - why are Africans' palms white? - sound, mark, etc.)could have first come into being.

We have to imagine a scene where the sign serves a purpose in bringing some new kind of social order about. But when the first person makes the sign, he does not yet know what he is doing or whether others will follow him in signing and thus agreeing to share with him a new kind of social order around the sign. So it is an act of faith that unfolds in a few steps. Someone goes first, there is a second, and a third. All entail different kinds of faith. These questions of firstness, etc., are pursued by Adam Katz at http://prosperoicon.blogspot.com/

Sure, animals can think. But they are not self-conscious like we are because they are not sharing in signs and defining their communities as a periphery of desire around a sacred center/sign.

10/24/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger rasqual said...

The Left isn't too concerned with whether a persecuted Christian minority in a Muslim nation has any legitimate historical claim to their place there. The Left will note that such Christians are as deserving of Muslim retribution as African Americans born in the 21st century are deserving of reparations for the evils of slavery in the 19th century, and that Native American children born today should one day attend college on the Crazy Horse campus in a Black Hills epicenter of a restored Plains nation consisting of at least all of western South Dakota. For my part, I'll be content to lay claim to the family place back in Norway. I'll count on the Left to tell whoever's living there now to go to hell. ;-)

10/24/2005 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rasqual,
So could we say the left is conservative in terms of their great concern with preserving normalcy and common sense?

10/24/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger globalgoodnews said...

listen to this Christian audio blog

readmessage.blogspot.com

10/25/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

It angers me that this is what is done to Christians in the Middle East. It angers me more that Christians in the Middle East refuse to do anything about it. They have the same prospects of saving themselves and their heritage as those Jews of Europe that refused to do anything about what was being done to them. It saddens me that people knowing the story of Passover, the story of Israel's bondage in Egypt, fail to draw the proper conclusion and apply it to their situation.

10/25/2005 03:26:00 PM  

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