This is first of a four parts series on Understanding Life
The following topics are covered:
- Cultural Wars
- References and notes Star (*) followed by a bracketed number (#1, etc) identifies applicable specific reference and notes.
Comparative religion, arts and science are tools for understanding life. Terrorism is examined from social and cultural angles. Some references and introductions to contribution of ancient Vedic people and scientists of Indian origin are identified in the second article of this series. The third and fourth articles of the series introduce accomplishments of the pre-17th century sciences and modern science, respectively. Identifying relevance of science in improving knowledge for humanity through religions, arts and science is a comprehensive subject; this series is an introduction to it.
Domestic terrorism* (#1) is being blamed on two recent (August 2012) crimes by hate mongers in the US. Some minorities are not safe in the US judging from the recent attacks on a Sikh Gurdwara inWisconsinand burning of a mosque in Joplin, MO. A policeman was wounded by the domestic “terrorist”, and in turn was also wounded by second policeman at the Sikh temple. Terrorist died of self-inflected wounds. Compare the US national revulsion and society’s dislike of hate crimes to that seen in many Muslim majority nations including Pakistan.
Religious persecution is an outcome of hate and intolerance of other faiths. The bigots following a strict religious code view life as right or wrong. Self-righteous believe other faiths are wrong. In most Muslim dominated nations including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan ugly religious persecutions are very common. I quote from Dawn* (#1),
- “…..major blame for religious oppression in Pakistan, contrary to the conventional account, lies not with the weak and ineffective state that is unable or unwilling to protect minorities, but with much of Pakistani society that refuses to extend religious freedom to others even as they themselves seek its benefits abroad.”
The hate and intolerance commonly results in the desecrations of places of worship of other faiths by the bigoted believers* (#2). God being everywhere such destructions do not negate His existence.
This article examines the social and cultural roots of hate and intolerance that is backed up by history of cultures at war for last two thousand years.
Two guiding principles are freedom and slave mentality that define how cultures and societies operate. For most parts followers of ancient faiths (Vedic/Hindus, Jews and Persians, etc) were guided by freedoms they enjoyed from ancient times (3,500 years+) until they were politically dominated by followers of two Abrahamic faiths. About two thousand years ago cultural wars were initiated by Jesus follower Roman Catholics – the second Abrahamic faith* (#3). About 1,400 years ago a third Abrahamic faith surfaced in Mecca and it spread to the Middle East, Africa and Iberian Peninsula by 10th century* (#4).
The two offshoots of the Abrahamic faiths have dominated the globe culturally and socially for last 1,400 years as the followers of each faith have waged wars to impose their culture in occupied lands. The Abrahamic faiths have two different cultural philosophies; one addresses the relationship of man to his Creator (God) as a relationship anchored in freedom; the other places man in a paradigm as slave or total submission to Allah (God).
Allah or God is intangible and like energy, indestructible. Scriptures are treated as the laws of God or Allah by followers of two Abrahamic faiths. Contrary to what is in the scriptures, in reality demand for submission is to the authority of the governing establishment, to political opportunists as well as to clerics with power to interpret scriptures. The authority of clerics is not demanded or earned, it is assumed and subjects are forced into submission by using a variety of psychological tools and ruses in the name of Allah or God.
The followers of faiths that allowed freedoms have made a variety of contributions to expansions of human knowledge responsible for improved quality of life. The topic is covered in detail in the third and fourth articles of the series. The believers who subscribe to submission, either voluntarily or through regressive political ideology have been reduced to a basic rustic life rooted into the tribal social and cultural ties. Believers deprived of freedoms to pursue true education are striped of the power of intellect required to generate knowledge, etc.
The second Abrahamic faith followers started out by adopting a culture wedded to conservatism and submission. The third Abrahamic faith according to Saeed Akhtar Mirza* (#4) started out and spread with a progressive outlook and the followers with freedoms to think soon occupied the Iberian Peninsula (8th to 13th century), etc. After very hard fought wars or Reconquista campaigns starting 10th century for about five centuries the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 was reoccupied by the followers of the second Abrahamic faith.
In my review article* (#4) of the book by Mirza I mentioned that Christian scholars started the scholasticism movement (10th to 15th century). Scholasticism restored some freedoms to scholars at various European universities. Unless followers of third Abrahamic faith escape from submissive ‘slave’ mindset and subscribe to free thinking they will continue to drift in the Dark Age (14th century to present). Free thinking paves way to power through intellect and scholastic movement.
For Europe there were several unintended consequences to the scholasticism movement. It included a shift from the dogmatic conservatism or the certainty of beliefs in Christian scriptures to a progressive thinking representing a degree of doubt on scriptural edicts. The change of mindset from the certainty of beliefs to a degree of doubt in scriptural edicts created an environment for a new political order that paved way for formulation of the principles of constitutional democracy and a political ideology of the separation of state and church.
Adoption of democratic political ideologies led to constitutional democracies that guaranteed fundamental rights to all and freedoms to choose a faith they are comfortable with. With political and religious freedoms human knowledge expanded as more and more scientific discoveries were made starting 17th century* (#5).
Several historical examples were cited* (#6) to support that the freedoms were earned, not taken for granted by scientists and technologists. For scientists of Ancient Vedic and Christian faiths the technological advances mattered and they have championed freedoms. Technological break throughs in Vedic times as well as in last several hundred years required a belief that, “man is free to choose, free to make mistakes, free to go back to the drawing board and try again”.
A “slave’ or submission to God mentality created an impression that man was “not free” in above sense although for 500 years scholars of the Abbasid dynasty contributed scientific advance to humanity. After 13th century the followers of the third Abrahamic faith lost the battle of ideas and from 14th century to present they have reverted to a regressive political ideology to make extra territorial expansions. The cultural wars of second and third Abrahamic faith followers have continued to present day.
It is not that those committed to submission simply focus on religion, but that their slave mindset incapacitates the followers; the submissive mindset is a brain killer – it does not allow free thinking, only submission to dogma. As long as the capacity for violence was what mattered, through aggression Muslims expanded. Once the source of power shifted to the intellect, they made no progress and remained stuck in the Dark Age.
Extremism (1979 to present) in a regional context in Middle East, South and Central Asia is attributable to the Islamization process* (#7) aided and abated by international conflicts and a drive by Saudi Arabia to reduce Pakistan to its satellite state without firing a single shot.
References and notes
- Dawood Ahmed, “The two faces of religious persecution in Pakistan”, http://dawn.com/2012/08/07/the-two-faces-of-religious-persecution-in-pakistan/ .
- Wikipedia, “Domestic terrorism in the United States,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_terrorism_in_the_United_States
- Houston Chronicle; ‘Lone wolf’ domestic terrorism…, August 4, 2012 and “ Missouri mosque destroyed by second fire in weeks”, August 5, 2012
- Faiza Mirza, “Where God once lived,” http://dawn.com/2012/06/25/where-god-once-lived/
- C. Christine Fair, “What to Do About Pakistan,” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/21/what_to_do_about_pakistan; Dr. Fair is respected observer of Pakistanis. She observed that elements of Pakistan’s erstwhile jihadi proxies, notably Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, among others, have long targetedPakistan’s Ahmadiyya, Shia, Christian, and Hindu minorities. In recent years, they have turned their guns, grenades, and suicide vests against the majority of Pakistanis: Sufis who worship at shrines.
- James Carroll, “Constantine’s Sword” – the Church and the Jews: A History” (Houghton Mifflin Company,Boston, 2001)
- Saeed Akhtar Mirza, “The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun” (2012); the book was reviewed by Kishan Bhatia, “Golden age of Muslims by Saeed Mirza 0716 2012” (3,760 words including Appendix with 2,273 word) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2012/07/29/golden-age-of-muslims-by-saeed-mirza/ 0729 2012
- Kishan Bhatia, “Tides of Ideas,” 0716 2012 (2,876 words) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2012/07/29/tides-of-ideas-revised/ 0729 2012
- It should be understood that starting 16th – 17th centuries (Copernicus and Galilei) to present scientists have to resist undue political pressures from church and mosque authorities to exercise and maintain their freedoms from interferences by religious authorities. Freedoms are earned not taken for granted by scientists and technologists.
- For example, under death threats from the Vatican the 17th century pioneer scientists Galileo Galilei had to withdraw his theory that the universe was centered on Sun, not Earth as documented in the Bible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei. In 1992 Pope John Paul II vacated previous (1633) ruling and Galileo Galilei was elevated from heretic to hero according to a report, “Vatican Rewrites History On Galileo,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/23/vatican-rewrites-history_n_153232.html .
- In 2012 Catholic and other Churches in the US are resisting granting women right to control healthcare services they need including “well being of their bodies, practice safe sex, family planning and a right to be insured at affordable costs.”
- Women healthcare services are a part of the Affordable Healthcare Law (President Obama signed final version of HR 3962 on June 25, 2010) and it was declared constitutional by the US Supreme Court on July 5, 2012.
- An example of the slave to Allah mindset is provided, starting 1977, by happenings inPakistan with implementation of the Islamization policies. Following the Arab tribal traditions the conservative orthodoxy oriented Pakistani clerics/scholars learned from and instituted the Salafi-Wahabi Saudi Arabian clerics’ interpretation of Islam.
- Pakistan denied internationally recognized scholar, Abdus Salam, his fundamental human rights to call himself Ahmedia Muslim and even ignored his Nobel Prize winning scientific achievements; “Pakistan shuns physicist linked to ‘God particle’ “ http://dawn.com/2012/07/09/pakistan-shuns-physicist-linked-to-god-particle/ . Talk about a brain dead nation!
- Without the US and Saudi financial support Pakistan is unable to meet its import bills for energy and defense supplies. Its economy is on a downward slope and reducing it to be a failed nation. Political deology of extremism is blamed for failures; the ideology is exploited by the corrupt establishment of the army and political opportunists for personal gains.Pakistan has been reduced to an epicenter of radical Islam and all things vile. Jihad is financed with military and financial aid from theUSandSaudi Arabia.
- Interesting theories are offered to explain extremism. I consider it as an outgrowth of the Islamization process wedded to the ‘slave/submission to Allah or political authority/power’ mentality.
- Dissections of Pakistani failures regularly appear in press;
- Mehboob Qadir, ‘the Deadly Sand Fly’ in two parts. I: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C07%5C18%5Cstory_18-7-2012_pg3_5 and II: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C08%5C01%5Cstory_1-8-2012_pg3_6
- According to Qadir the extremism of non-state actors is an outgrowth of Pakistani foreign policy conducted by its army.Pakistanhas become a satellite state ofSaudi Arabia in a slickest operation that required firing of no bullets bySaudi Arabia. Saudi Arabiadepends on its satellite state for troop support to engage in any regional conflicts in Middle East, South andCentral Asia.
- With massive infusion of wealth (1979 to present) Saudi Wahabi clerics financed building of numerous mosques, madrassahs and Mausoleums and supported Taliban for Jihad in the South/Central Asian regional conflicts. Wahabism is now deeply rooted inPakistan.
- Khaled Ahmed, “Our ‘reactive’ extremism” http://tribune.com.pk/story/417591/our-reactive-extremism/
- Ahmed theorizes that extremism seen in Pakistan is an outgrowth of building a Muslim ideological state that violently rejects ideologies of other faiths. The extreme actions are justified by perceived injustice and violence of someone else. By infusing ideologically slanted Wahabi education youth are brainwashed with a nationalism that breeds violent thinking.
- Wahabi Islam follows ‘radical regressive conservatism’ meaning they look at the present as an extension of the past. Wahabism is based on certainty that breeds extremism and violence. There is no room for self-doubt or relativism of progressive thought.
- Roman Catholics (3rd – 8th centuries) went through this phase before it gave up on certainty and learnt relativism or self-doubt. Through Scholasticism (10th – 15th centuries) Christians learned values of relativism or self-doubt offered by the progressive ideology.
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