Koran, Volume 2

Over the last few days I’ve been working through the “back half” of the Koran. Last time I’d tried to “read the whole thing” I started at the front and didn’t finish. I’m not sure exactly where I left off, as I started skipping around at somewhere near the 1/2 way point. So I’d “sampled” some of these suras and verses; but not read them all. Now I have.

This posting will be some notes on “Volume 2″ of the Koran, and my reactions to it.

Koran, Quran, القرآن‎ al-qurʾān, Qur’an, Al-Coran, Coran, Kuran, and Al-Qur’an, “the recitation”

All of those are “correct”. Don’t sweat it. In Arabic, the word for “the” is “al”, so “al”-Coran is just “THE Recitation”. As Enlish can have a “K sound” for any of “k”, “c”, or “qu”, any of those can be used for the first sound of the Arabic word for “recitation”. It is pronounced the same whichever orthography you use. The Arabic sound is not exactly the same as any “k” sound in English, so some variation is heard in the various speakers, but saying “core Ann” or “coor on” with a slightly ‘trilled’ R is about right. (Heck, there are dozens of dialects of Arabic that are all pronounced somewhat differently, with Koranic Arabic being a particular dialect of its own.)

So why am I using Koran if you see Qur’an more commonly now? Well, the -’- letter is intended to indicate the glottal sound in Arabic at that point in the word. As most every English speaker will not know that sound, and can’t do a decent job of making that sound anyway (unless an Arabic or related language speaker already) I don’t see much reason to put that sound marker in place. The use of “Q” is not all that common in English. It has several possible sounds, from a “k” sound to a “kw”, “ku”, “koo” and “kwe” sorts. While “K” is just “K”. In normal English (that is, not trying to import alien phonemes from Arabic pronunciation) the closest sound you will get is correctly represented by Koran, pronounced with the most common and obvious English sounds. Finally, and in some ways most importantly, the word “Koran” is used in the title of the translation I’m reading, so using that form indicates the era and translation in some small way.

All Translation Transforms

A couple of times I’ve mentioned the point that many Muslims will assert that the Koran can not be translated. In some ways (some of them quite important) that is true.

It is true of ALL languages and especially of ALL poetry; and especially ethnocentric motivational speeches. So take a look at a film of Hitler giving a speech. The crowd is just “loving it”. The emotional flute he plays is very strong and you can see the gleam of ‘thrall’ in the eyes of the audience. Yet, translate that speech out of German, and it loses that power. Some of it just looks silly. Other parts mean or evil. Or Mussolini. To an American audience, some of his speeches made him look like a buffoon. The particular language and cultural norms of facial expression that were effective in Italian, failed to an American audience, and the words lost their power taken out of their native home of Italian. So it is with all powerful speakers in their native tongue.

But there is even more for Arabic and especially for the Koran. Arabic did not traditionally mark the vowels in words. An experienced speaker is expected to just know what vowels belong. The structure of Hamitic / Semitic languages centers around groups of three consonants. That defines a word group. Changes of the vowels give a ‘fine tuning’. So, as a hypothetical example, one might have the same core for “book” and for “publication” and perhaps even “school”, but shifts of vowels and context would tell you which meaning was intended. This can be a problem…

I’m going to paste a link here, but not make it a ‘live link’. (Why? Because I’m saying things about the Koran, and Muslims can be cranky about that, and this is a Muslim site link. I’m not interested in waving a flag under a sensitive nose.) If you wish to check it, do a ‘copy paste’.

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=140018

Fatwa Date : Shawwaal 12, 1431 / 21-9-2010
Question

Assalam Alaikum, Would you please enlighten me as to who invented “Fathha, Kasra and Damma” and introduced them into Quranic (Arabic)?? Awaiting your valued answer – ASAP

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The historians agreed that the Arabs at their first era did not know any dots or short vowel markings on the letters and words, let alone using them. That is because they had no need for it as they were well-versed in the Arabic language.
However, when other nations embraced Islam while not knowing the Arabic language, mistakes in pronunciation started to occur. Rather, when Abul-Aswad Ad-Du’ali heard someone reciting the verse of Allaah {أَنَّ اللَّهَ بَرِيءٌ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُ} (which means): {Allaah is disassociated from the disbelievers, and [so is] His Messenger.}[Quran 9:3], but instead of putting a Dhammah (the short vowel [U] on the top of the letter ل of the word رسوله; he put a Kasrah (the short vowel [I] below the letter ل , making the word mean that “Allaah is disassociated from the disbelievers and from His Messenger.”, then he said to the man: “Glory be to Allaah above being disassociated from His Prophet.” [Meaning that Allaah will never be disassociated from His Prophet]. Therefore, he endeavored to put some short vowel markings on the letters and words of the Quranic text, so he put the “Fat’hah” [the short vowel A] as a dot on top of the letter, and the “Kasrah” [the short vowel I] as a dot below the letter, and the “Dhammah” [the short vowel U] as a dot beside the letter, and he made the “Sukoon” [a marking indicating that the consonant is not followed by a vowel] as two dots.

Then people started to develop and change these markings until ‘Abdul Malik Ibn Marwaan came and put the short vowel markings (Fathah, Kasrah and Dhammah) instead of the dots, and this was easier for people.
No doubt, putting these marks has protected the Quran against incorrect pronunciation and this was among Allaah preserving His Book as Allaah Says (what means): {Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e. the Quran] and indeed, We will be its guardian.}[Quran 15:9]

So you can see in this story that even some of the early Muslims had issues with vowels and the vowel marking we have today was added at a later date.

Now, add in the fact that the particular “meaning” of a word in Arabic may have several different choices in English (and the reader may “hear” any or all of them) and it gets even harder. Make things “poetic”, and it’s sometimes impossible.

Take Shakespeare’s “I’ll mar that young clerk’s pen“. It has a ‘top meaning’ of doing damage to the writing instrument of a clerk. It has a poetic implied meaning of abusing his sexual prowess. It can take paragraphs to cover those kinds of levels of meaning, and even then the “impact” is lost.

So how much does this matter?

In some ways, not so very much. We have a very large number of texts, many of the ancient Greek classics, recovered from the Arabic. Clearly being “washed” through Arabic didn’t prevent the information from being preserved. Every day, thousands, perhaps millions, of pages of many languages get translated into and out of Arabic. So we can get a pretty good idea what is written in the Koran without needing to learn Arabic and spend a few years of study on it.

Yet “all translation transforms”… It will not be the same. Close enough to get the sense of it? Certainly. Feel the poetry of it? Not at all. Be “moved by it” in the same way? Certainly not.

The Koran, Interpreted

The particular volume I’ve chosen to use is “The Koran, Interpreted” A Translation by A.J. Arberry.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Koran-Interpreted-A-Translation/dp/0684825074

First off, it’s from copyright 1955. From before “P.C.” took over things and before “Political Islam” was rampant in the world. I’ve got some trust that it has not been “scrubbed” though those filters.

Secondly, the author spent many years in Arabic countries (again, prior to the Political Islam of today) and is well versed in Arabic. From the back cover: “Arther John Arberry, as Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University, acquired a first hand knowledge of literary and social conditions in the Islamic Middle East.”

There is simply no way I, or most other folks, could ever hope to get close to the ability to detect and convey “nuance of meaning” in the Arabic as someone who has spoken it for years in Cairo while being up to their eyeballs in “Classics”.

It goes on to say: “Between 1947 and 1969 he served as Sir Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University.”

My point? If ANYONE can get the vowel markings right, pick up the mulitlayered meanings, sense the poetry, and put it all into some semblance of correctness in English, it is just such a person.

In an earlier comment (somewhere) I’d said I thought he was a Believer. The wiki says otherwise: ” His translation of the Qur’an into English, The Koran Interpreted, is one of the most prominent written by a non-Muslim scholar, and widely respected amongst academics.” That’s a bit of a ‘mixed message’ in that while it means I can no longer assert a Muslim translator would not make it look deliberately bad; I can now assert he is unlikely to have ‘dressed it up’. Oh well. ( I suggest comparing one of each and looking for differences. There are plenty of Muslim translated versions on line.)

Finally, note that the title says “interpreted”. There is a subtle difference between a direct translation and an interpretation. The first tries to stay close to the original in form and structure. The second tries to be closer in meaning and intent. In this case, Arberry goes out of his way to use such devices as sentence formatting and line breaks to preserve some of the sense of poetry in some verses. To use those words that tell an English speaker what is going on more effectively; even if those words are a bit different from a direct translation. It “transforms” more, but with a better result in understanding and sometimes in emotional engagement.

So in Spanish the idiom for “speak like a native speaker” is “speak like a parrot”. A translation would say “I speak Spanish like a parrot” while an interpretation would say “I speak Spanish like a native.” On the one hand, for the interpretation, we don’t think the person is making squawking noises, on the other hand we lose the imagery. (Sometimes an interpretation can lose some poetry as well… a lot depends on the interpreter. They could have said “I speak Spanish like a native, exactly matching sounds as though parroting the words.” Longer, lumpier, but keeping the imagery a bit more.)

Why say all this?

First off, to make it clear that what is presented as ‘text from the Koran’ is not exactly the same as the original Arabic, but is close enough to know what’s going on. Often, Muslims will defend the Koran against questioners by asserting that the translation is garbage and it does not say what is asserted. IMHO that is typically just a propaganda ploy. Where it says ~”Off with his head!”, it really does say something to the effect of cut the damn head off. Sure, some of the poetic emotional justification for it may be “lost in translation”, but the basic meaning is pretty much going to be right.

Second, just to make it clear that the guy doing this work was no light weight. I would go so far as to assert that his understanding of the Arabic in the Koran will be better than that of most native speakers (as globally most of them have not had a lot of school time in any language).

So just be aware that if you talk to Muslims about a passage from a translated Koran that has any negative connotations you are likely to get the “Koran can not be translated” line and an assertion that it doesn’t really say that. I had that experience several times. It was why I picked the best translation I could find and then read it. To see as close to ‘for myself’ as I could get.

Finally, be aware that many of the translations prior to this one did some pretty extreme things in the process. Several attempted to put things back in chronological order, so the suras are all reordered. Some (most?) made no attempt at all to preserve any poetic structure or sense. In short, some of them are pretty bad. The Preface to the first Volume of “The Koran Interpreted” sites several of these and gives examples. Given that, there is some grounds for the assertion by Muslims that the interpretations are lousy. Many were.

Books, Volumes, Chapters, Verses

The Koran is technically supposed to be spoken. It is a ‘recitation’. So to call a chapter a chapter is a bit off. While it has been collected into a book, and the book (as opposed to The Book that is the Bible as known to Mohammed) is divided into two Volumes by Arberry ( I don’t know if others do this); the individual chapters are called “Suras”.

Traditionally these are arranged more or less in size order from largest to smallest. Some, such as CXII (112 if I can still do Roman counting right ;-) are a single sentence once you get past the obligatory entrance line. Most suras start with an honorific line to god in some way. For CXII it is”In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” So it is a bit hard to think of one sentence as a ‘chapter’ in the usual sense. Thus the use of sura.

Some of the Suras have long stories. Some short bits of stories. Some are ‘legislative’. Others are poetic. Some are just a sentence or two. The “recitation” was only collected and written down some time after Mohammed died. There’s a body of work of the history of it that I won’t go into here, but it is a known recorded history. A non-believer might assert that there was plenty of opportunity for creative editing, accidental loss of verses, and outright rewriting, but the believers assert that the Koran is a perfect transmission from God, so can not be corrupted in that process. In any case, the suras are in size order.

For some Suras, the chapter is the verse. For others, their may be several things that look to western eyes like small chapters in one Sura. Some verses look more like large paragraphs to me.

As a sample, here is Sura CXII in its entirety:

CXII

SINCERE RELIGION

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Say: ‘He is God, One,
God, the Everlasting Refuge,
Who has also begotten, and has not been begotten,
and equal to Him is not any one.’

The Arberry version is center aligned, being ‘ragged’ to both sides. I’m too lazy to figure out how to do that in WordPress right now; but just realize that this is supposed to be formatted symmetrically about the center of each line. I don’t know how the Arabic is presented, and frankly, don’t think it matters too much for ether case.)

So here we see a typical structure for most suras. A number and name identification. An honorific (mostly to God) exaltation. Then the verses. In this case, just one verse, telling you to say a particular thing.

The message is the typical “one god, all powerful” that pervades much of Christianity.

Volume 2 Overview

My first observation is just that the overall impression of all of Volume 2 is that of a “Fire and Brimstone Bible Beater”.

I grew up in the Baptist Church (much of the time) and I’m very familiar with that tone and verbiage. This is in the same mode. God is the all powerful, all knowing and God’s gonna getchya if you do wrong. Often with the typical alternation between “Hellfire and Damnation” and the pleasing attributes of Heaven.

Frankly, if it were only Volume 2 that was the Koran, the religion would be hard to distinguish from a dozen other preachers doing the Hellfire And Damnation thing, IMHO. (But it isn’t just Volume 2… when we get to Volume 1 in a couple of weeks, it has many things that are quite different.)

In general, I found it much more “doable” to read the thing back to front. First off, the smaller suras are an easier bite to swallow, so getting started is easier. Secondly, when you polish off a half dozen suras in 5 minutes or less, that there are 114 of them is less intimidating. Going from the other direction, reading the longest first, then thinking “113 more to go?!”, well, it’s harder ;-)

But more importantly, there was something in the Preface to Volume 2 that helped to clarify why this might be:

It is in the short Suras placed at the end of the Koran that we must look for evidence of Muhammad’s prophetic gift. ‘These are the earliest of all; in these the flame of inspiration burns purely and its natural force is not abated.’ This was the verdict of a great scholar justly renowned for his fairmindedness;

He then goes on to lament a certain tone deafness to the poetic aspects in that evaluation. Yet, here was a clue.

I was, in fact, reading things a bit more in the order of how they were given / created by Muhammad.

More time is also spent in the Preface taking about the rhythmic qualities of the Arabic, and how those are important and tend to be lost in translation. It reminded me of Gregorian Chants and the fact that the spouse belonged to a church that did a certain amount of rhythmic chanting. On the one hand, it is a loss to not have that emotional loading and bypassing of the critical mind. (It is a technique used in many things from hypnosis to brainwashing to national anthems and more). On the other hand, lacking the rhythm enables better critical evaluation of the message riding on that repetitive line.

As the Suras get longer, you get more “stories”. The overall impression I got for the longer ones was a favorite sermon, delivered with variations, being reported by different sources (from different presentations) with some variations. So we get the story of Moses coming around in abbreviated form and with variations. Like the echo of the Biblical story you get when a pastor says “Remember Moses and how his staff was turned to a serpent!”. Not the whole story, just a memory key to the longer story we are all expected to know. Then a bit of launching into the particular issues to be presented with that story in that sermon.

As Mohammad started out preaching from a Christian Bible, this all makes perfect sense to me.

Sidebar on Biblical Bans: So why is the Bible banned if Mohammed taught that The Book was gospel and true? I asked a Muslim that once. The answer was that the Western Bible had become corrupted and that the Bible of Mohammed had been lost, so no valid Bible exists. There is some truth in that. Most likely, the Bible of Mohammed was either the Gnostic Bible, one based on the Peshitta Text, or perhaps even based on the Nag Hamadi text. It most certainly was not what was approved by the Roman Emperor at Nicea.

Heck, even the Protestants and the Catholics have had wars over what was the ‘correct’ Bible (thankfully they have now mostly agreed). We still have variations in the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox too. Not to mention the Ethiopian Bible that has somewhat different books in it. Given that the Catholics were doing their best to exterminate the Gnostic Bible (focused as it is on ‘self being sufficient and valid to discover truth’ and not on “Roman Authority”…) IF Mohammad had a Gnostic leaning Bible, that would be a very valid interpretation of events. But since it isn’t known what Bible was used, it is not possible to chose between the Bibles of today. It does look like the original Jewish Torah is still accepted as accurate, however. Though I’ve not looked too deeply into any caveats on that.

What is NOT true is the idea of Islam as some kind of “Christianity Lite”. With the same stories in it as The Bible. That idea is presented by many Muslims. (I’ve had it from several. But a couple of them were agents of their own countries TLA’s so my sample might have been, um, biased…) Yes, there is a ‘story of Mary’ and several copies of the ‘story of Moses’. But these are mere echos of the biblical texts. Furthermore, giant chunks of The Bible are nowhere to be seen in ‘the recitation’. The Koran is more of an ‘echo of Christianity’, but through warping reflective surfaces. The initial source may be the same, but the result is far removed. (Not all that surprising when you read about the history of early Christianity. WE are seen through “warping reflective surfaces” too in that comparison).

An Angry God and An Angry Aspect

One thing that only ‘sunk in’ after stepping away from it, was that having read the 354 pages of Volume 2, I was “grumpy”. I don’t know how better to put it. Snippy with folks. Short fused. Even without the poetry and rhythm of the Arabic, something still comes through. Perhaps it is just all the absolutism of it. The whole “We’re going to prevail and they can / will all go to Hell.” repeated and drummed in, that results in a general acceptance of a “you go to hell” attitude.

There is no doubt that the God of Abraham is often an Angry God. The God of Mohammed picks that up, but in some way even more so. Despite all the “God the Merciful” and “God the Compassionate”, those seem similar in effect to the cult leader who promises to beat you with whips and burn you with hot pokers, but will be “forgiving” if you just do what they demand, lay down, and ‘take it’.

On the one hand, I’ve seen that abusive pattern up close and personal. (It’s a long story involving a club where ‘to join’ you had to walk barefoot over broken glass. I declined, and thus began a decade long series of various sorts of attacks on me. He died at 18, BTW, rejected by the local Neo Nazis and KKK who rejected him for ‘giving them a bad name’… It’s not clear who “did him in”, but most of the town was OK with it.) So I’ve “got issues” with abusive power structures and with the coercion of “my way or pain”. Yet much of the Old Testament God is that way, and it is reflected in the God of Mohammed. Then further reflected in the Suras. Or maybe I’m just overly sensitive to it.

What was unexpected by me, was that despite my background, that “Grumpy Gus My Way Or I’m Gonna Get Angry” had, to some small extent, soaked into my brain. I can only imagine what the effect would be with chants and rhythm and repetition repetition repetition. No particular suras of Volume 2 stand out in that respect. It has more to do with the overall structure and the persistent message of damnation, salvation, resistance to outsiders, and dominance of will.

So I suggest not reading it all in one go. ;-)

Other points?

At times the mind wanders. It is repetitive and sometimes I found I’d “read” a few paragraphs but not actually paid attention. I’d stop, come back later, and start that block over. Once or twice I thought I was doing that, but found that really was was paying attention, but the ‘next’ sura also started with “the Moses story”; but only part way in was really different. It is hard to keep ‘critical thinking and evaluation’ on line and focused with that much repetition. So again, breaking it up into chunks helps to stay focused on what is being said.

Overall, this part of the Koran is not big in the ‘legislative’ department. Mostly it’s just trying to get the message pounded home that there’s only one God, folks who believe will be the winners, everyone else roasts in hell, and that’s fine. There are also some small bits of ‘legislation’, and various ‘echoes of stories’ woven in. I’m sure that a devote Imam would find all sorts of hidden or deep meanings in some of it, though. For example, a frequent phrase is ‘That which your right hand possesses’. This seems to mean “your slaves”.

http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100624234129AAyvjp5

Best Answer – Chosen by Voters
Normally I don’t copy paste but this is an excellent explanation on the subject;

Asad in his commentary has accepted, subject to possible meanings of the Quranic verse, very rational explanations. In this connection we can mention the issue of marriage of ‘slave girl’ and ‘hur’. He has translated Ayat 24 of Sura Nisa as follows (part):

‘And (forbidden to you are) all married women other than those whom you rightfully possess [through wedlock]. …’

On this he has given note no.26 of Sura Nisa as follows:

According to almost all the authorities, almuhsanat denotes in the above context ‘married women’. As for the expression ‘ma malakat aymanukum’ (“those whom your right hands possess”, i.e. “those whom you rightfully possess”), it is often taken to mean female slaves captured in a war in God’s cause
(see in this connection 8:67 and corresponding note). The commentators who choose this meaning hold that such slave girls can be taken in marriage irrespective of whether they have husbands in the country of origin or not. However, quite apart from the fundamental differences of opinion, even among the companion of the Prophet, regarding the legality of such a marriage, some of the outstanding commentators hold the view that ‘ma malakat aimanukum’ denotes here “women whom you rightfully possess through wedlock”; thus Razi in his commentary on the verse and Tabari in one of the alternative explanations (going back to Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and others). Razi, in particular, points out that the reference to ‘all’ married women (al-muhsanat min an-nisa) coming as it does after enumeration of prohibited degrees of relationship, is meant to stress the prohibition of sexual relations with any woman other than one’s lawful wife.

It goes on to bicker some more with one person asserting that if you take other Koranic verses as context it can’t mean slaves but must mean ‘legal spouses’. Frankly, I’m not buying that one, as these verses were around BEFORE there was full “Koranic context” to change them.

So two ‘take aways’ here.

1) There’s a whole lot of ‘angels and pins’ thinking in all religions, even Islam, with Clerics creating all sort of complicated circumlocutions to explain away inconvenient things.

2) It’s pretty clear that the Koran is Just Fine with multiple wives, having slaves taken from infidels, and having sex with your slaves. One verse even goes into some depth about what to do if an Infidel Slave converts. (At that point you are supposed to make the slave an official wife, with some limited rights).

The point? There’s likely dozens such phrases with ‘inside meanings’ that I’m not catching. I’m just getting the ‘top meaning’ and whatever Arberry illustrates. And, as with most things religious and ‘angels and pins’ filtered, you can spend your entire life haggling details of some of those points. Me? I figure most stuff at that depth wasn’t really there when the guys living in tents in the desert wrote things down. (For The Bible AND the Koran). So I start with the “top meaning” and maybe go ‘one or two down’, but if it takes 2 paragraphs to explain a word, it isn’t likely correct. IMHO. Especially if it lets you wiggle out of an historic embarrassment.

Volume 2, Some Suras

First off, as an example of how “size matters”, the two volumes are about the same page count. About 350 something each. The Suras in Volume 1 are from 1 to 20. So 20 total. That leaves 94 in Volume 2 (for 114 total). This means that I’ve read 94/114 ths of the Koran, by Sura count, in this one volume. 82%. Though only 50% of the word volume. (On other occasions I’ve read most of the Suras in Volume 1. IIRC, I’ve read all of them, but it was a while ago, so I’m up for a repeat. In a couple of weeks…)

Second, there’s no way I can address all those Suras, individually, in one posting. (Thus the ‘summary’ just above). Especially since some of them are just a few sentences anyway. I’d end up with more than 350 pages… So folks wanting to see the bulk of them will need to get their own copy of the Koran and look them up. For specifics to back up my broad brush above, you have to go looking for yourself. (Something I encourage anyway).

There are lots of downloadable versions ( I don’t know how much they vary from Arberry) so easy to get.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=download+koran

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=download+quran

Realize the exact text will not match Arberry. For example, here’s Sura 112 in a different form:

http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/

[112:1] In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
[112:2] Say, ‘He is Allah, the One;
[112:3] ‘Allah, the Independent and Besought of all.
[112:4] ‘He begets not, nor is He begotten;
[112:5] ‘And there is none like unto Him.’

Compare Arberry from above:

CXII

SINCERE RELIGION

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Say: ‘He is God, One,
God, the Everlasting Refuge,
Who has also begotten, and has not been begotten,
and equal to Him is not any one.’

Clearly the ‘sense of it’ is the same, yet there is some significant ‘slippage’ of detail meaning between the two…

OK, while reading Volume 2, I stuck some yellow sickies on some particularly interesting verses. There isn’t a whole lot of particular focus or meaning to this selection. I was not directed by any ‘agenda’ nor any particular thing. Just what was interesting to me. So, for example, you find no references to the (several) suras with the Moses Story in them. Why? We’ve all heard the Moses Story rather a lot. Staff turns to a snake. Pharaoh is surprised. Stuff happens. I’ve described my impressions of them up above. Details you can get on your own.

My purpose here is more to ‘take notes’ of some interesting bits that I saw, so I don’t have to read all 354 pages again to try and find where that bit was. Hopefully you will find them interesting too. If not, well, there’s a link up above with 114 Suras for you to fish in… ;-)

Sura L

QAF

The “L” is Roman Numerals for 50. Yes, that means that 64 Suras went by without my putting a sticky in. Most of them are of a few repeating patterns. “God is great, believe and be reborn or do not believe and roast in hell”. A bunch that talk about ways ‘non-believers’ will assert that it’s all just crazy talk. (Actually kind of humorous to read, realizing that he’s grousing about his experiences as itinerant preacher underappreciated at the time ;-) So you get some saying things like “they will say ‘what, will you follow a man? Does he not eat?’ and ‘where is there not an angel sent down with him?’ and other protestations, some including questioning his sanity; then followed typically by an exhortation to ignore them, as you get your reward in heaven and they roast in hell. There’s also some “God is omnipotent” stuff in many variations, and descriptions of the ‘garden under which rivers flow’ awaiting the believers.

That ‘rivers’ line always threw me. “Everyone knows” rivers are on top of the land… Now I know that in many parts of Africa and Arabia, the big water is in aquifers under the land… so he’s saying “where you have an endless well”, in a way.

As lots of it are that way, stick a toe in any random Sura and you get something close to it with not too much looking around. So these notes are particular sentences plucked out of that surround.

And listen thou for the day
when the caller shall call from a near place.
On the day they hear
the Cry in truth, that is the day of coming forth.
It is We who give life, and make to die,
and to Us is the homecomming.

Upon the day when the earth is split asunder from about them as they hasten forth; that is a mustering easy for Us.

We know very well what they say;
thou art not a tyrant over them.
Therefor remind by the Koran him
who fears My threat.

Arberry uses the convention of inset text with line breaks for poetic bits, and free running text (like the middle line) for the non-poetic parts. Not quite as effective in ‘ragged right’ as in ‘centered’, but that’s the idea.

Here we see the typical fixation on death and dying. Eternal damnation vs hope and eternal life. One thing I didn’t mark, but ought to have done, were the several times Suras said that God had no son. It just didn’t sink into my pea brain until near done that this was an assertion directed at the Catholic Holy Trinity. It is repeating, for emphasis, that Jesus was just a prophet and a man, NOT a “son of God”. I suspect that would give a clue as to what Bible was being used by Mohammed, as it must be one that doesn’t talk about Jesus as “son of God”. (Either that, or he lost those pages ;-) On my ‘someday list’ is to see if the Gnostic Bible omits “Jesus as Son of God”, or not. Or look up what scripture the Catholics point to for their justification of the Trinity.

One other point here: I’d sometimes wondered how you could have a line like “remind him by the Koran” when we know the Koran was only assembled after Mohammed died. IMHO the answer is that Koran is just ‘recitation’; so this is saying to “remind him by the recitation” and not being self-referential to the book in hand.

The other thing to note in this verse (near the end of the Sura) is the apocalyptic sense of it. “When the earth is split asunder”. Just like many Biblical sects, they are pining for the End Of Days and the apocalyptic end, when all the good stuff shows up. That theme comes around a few times too. ~’Yeah, it can be bad now, but when the end comes, we will get our rewards and they roast in hell’. No surprise many Muslim sects wish to accelerate the ‘end times’.

Sura XLVII

MUHAMMAD

(About verse 4)

When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks,
then, when you have made wide slaughter among them,
tie fast the bonds;
then set them free, either by grace or ransom.,
till the war lays down its loads.
So it shall be; and if God had willed,
He would have avenged Himself upon them;
but that He may try some of you by means of others.
And those who are slain in the way of God, He
will not send their works astray,
He will guide them, and dispose of their minds aright,
and He will admit them to Paradise,
that He has made known to them.

So it is a holy duty to slay ‘unbelievers’ and make “wide slaughter” among them. Take prisoners, and let some go if you feel like it, or if you can get enough ransom for them. (Forget the Geneva Convention, this is the word of God we’re talking about here, and when the big guy says it’s OK to slaughter and demand ransom, well, that’s the last word…)

We also get the admonition that dying for the cause is a ticket to paradise, and the idea that God is testing some of you by seeing how many you can kill off in the name of God. Yeah, he could just kill them all, but maybe he’s going to ‘try’ you and see if you really deserve that spot in heaven…

Sura XXXIII

The Confederates

This one is interesting as it is one of the first ones where The Prophet is given ‘special rules’. Hey “It’s good to be The King!” (A quote from a Mel Brooks movie, BTW).

There is part of it that admonishes the wives of The Prophet that they are not like other women, then tells them specifics of what that means for them. (Seems The Prophet gets more leeway…) There is one bit that looks like a bit of an apologetic for something done involving a particular person named “Zaid”, but I’ve not had time to chase that down.

So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them; and God’s commandments must be performed.

So it kind of implies that Zaid was an adopted son, and wasn’t getting the old lady knocked up enough, so The Prophet took a shot at it? All in the name of that “be fruitful and multiply” commandment, one presumes… I’m sure I’ve got it wrong somehow, but it is an interesting verse to find, and puzzle over.

Then, down near verse 44 or so, The Prophet gets some extra latitude on which wives he can have.

Oh Prophet, We have made lawful for thee
any wives whom thou has given their wages
and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war
that God has given thee, and the daughters of thy
uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy
uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who
have emigrated with thee, and any woman
believer, if she give herself to the Prophet
and if the Prophet desire to take her in
marriage, for thee exclusively, apart
from the believers–

Remember that a Muslim man can divorce a wife just by repeating “I divorce thee” enough times. The “taking as a wife” is not a heavy burden (though there are some specific property rights – what I think ‘wages’ refers to.) So this is saying The Prophet can have any wives he pays for, any women taken as slaves / spoils of war, his First Cousins, and any believing woman if she says she’s interested and he wants her. ONLY for him, these rules not for the general “believers” population. Yes, it sure is good to be The prophet… But it goes on:

We know what we have imposed upon them
touching their wives and what their right hands own–
that there may be no fault in thee; God is
All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

Direct from God: He knows it’s a trial for the believers that The Prophet gets to ‘touch’ their wives and slaves, but that’s not Mohammed’s fault…

Thou mayest put off who thou wilt of them,
and whom thou wilt thou mayest take to thee;
and if thou seekest any thou hast set aside
there is no fault in thee. So it is likelier
they will be comforted, and not sorrow,
and every one of them will be well-pleased
and what thou givest her, God knows what
is in your hearts; God is All-knowing,
All-clement.
Thereafter, women are not lawful to thee,
neither for thee to take other wives in exchange
for them, though their beauty please thee, except
what thy right hand owns; God is watchful
over everything.

That last paragraph makes it look like a ‘limited time offer’. A bit of wife shopping and swapping, then back to only those you can take as slaves. Or I could have it all wrong. It would be interesting to see what some Believer sites state this says. The bit about “spoils of war” seems to make it pretty clear that ‘right hand owns’ means slaves and concubines. Still, it’s got to be one heck of a song and dance show explaining it away…

Sura XXV

SALVATION

Just a small sample out of this fairly large one ( 7 1/2 pages). It is an example of the “expect resistance” verses. About verse 62:

But when they are told, ‘Bow yourselves
to the All-merciful,’ they say, ‘And what
is the All-merciful? Shall we bow ourselves
to what thou biddest us?” And it increases
them in aversion.

There are verses like this specifically mentioning folks challenging Mohammed as just being some guy; some giving advice on how to handle it.

Sura XXIV

LIGHT

This one is rather interesting. About verse 35?

Marry the spouseless among you, and your
slaves and handmaidens that are righteous;
if they are poor, God will enrich them
of His bounty; God is All-embracing,
All-knowing.
And let those who find not the means to
marry be abstinent till God enriches them
of His bounty. Those your right hands own
who seek emancipation, contract with
them accordingly, if you know some good
in them; and give them of the wealth of God
that He has given you. And constrain not
your slavegirls to prostitution, if they
desire to live in chastity, that you may
seek the change of goods in the present life.
Whosoever constrains them, surely God,
after their being constrained, is All-forgiving,
All-compassionate.

Back in 700 AD it was likely very good and moral to pick up as spare spouses those women who had not been claimed. Further, if you have a bunch of slaves and servants and some of them are poor, but good looking, well, what the heck.

Otherwise you have a fair number of men dying in battle, so accumulate excess unmarried women. Not as ‘productive’ of the next generation that way; better to bring them in the tent…

Those who can’t support a wife, stay single until you go get some land or herds (or, one presumes, do in some unbelievers and get their stuff and some slaves…)

Those slaves that become believers and ‘have good in them’ can be freed. Nice touch. (IIRC somewhere else it said you can take them as wives. I think that is what the ‘contract with them’ means here. So a slave can ‘upgrade’ to a wife if they become a devout Muslim. Or so it looks to me.)

But what particularly caught my eye was the next line. It looks like it says that it’s A-OK to run a brothel. Just dump some slaves in it and collect the cash, other than slaves that want to ‘live in chastity’. (It is not clear to me if this means virgins ought not be forced into prostitution of if any woman can decide to be chaste). But putting ‘unchaste’ slaves into a brothel as prostitutes looks to be approved. Who knew? Clearly some investigation into what ‘chastity’ means in the Muslim / Arabic context is needed to find the exact bounds on who can be forced into prostitution…

It also looks like the final line says “but if you do ‘constrain’ them, well, God will forgive you”. So there may be a ‘blanket out’ if you do choose to shove your slaves into prostition.

In Conclusion

There are also many verses admonishing to heed God, do what God and The Prophet say to do, and "pay the alms". (I'm not sure if that's the typical Biblical Tithe thing, or some other alms; but it frequently says to be obedient and pay the alms.)

Yes, I've picked out the more unusual verses. There are many many more that say "God the merciful" and 'do good things' and the like. But as they are unclear in the specifics as to what is 'good', I find the verses that have specific actions listed in them more enlightening.

Realize, too, that I'm not picking these verses out for any particular agenda. I'm neither pro, nor anti, polygamy nor wife swapping. (Not my thing, but someone else wants to do it, not my business). Mostly I just find the "rules" being laid out rather interesting. Yes, some of them are very antithetical to Western Law or practices. Like the brothels one. Then again, Nevada has brothels, so clearly some parts of the USA and Christendom are "OK with that".

Overall, the amount of "fire and brimstone" is more than in The Bible, and some of the phrasing is far more sharp. I don't know if that's an Arabic thing, or a translation artifact, or what. Yet The Bible is pretty full of that kind of thing too. Heck, I've heard talk as strong in a First Southern Baptist church (other than the 'off with their heads' and multiple wives things…). They, the Baptists, BTW, also are iconoclasts and not keen on the way Catholics put statues ('icons') of Mary and Jesus at the front of the church. No 'icons' in a Baptist church… no sirree.. So noticing that 'style' is not denigrating it. "It is what it is." Nothing more. The Baptists also think alcohol sinful, so we used Welch's Grape Juice for the communion. (That's where Welch's came from, BTW…) Part of what I find interesting about looking at Islam is the degree to which it is similar to the more edgy Protestant Sects compared to the Catholic Church. Then on other things, very different.

OK, with this, I’m going to take a break from reading the Koran (and let the ‘edgy’ settle out). Some week or two from now, I’ll start in on Volume 1. For it, I’ll likely do postings for single Suras, or groups of them. It’s too big to do all in one posting, and the different Suras, frankly, have more ‘meat’ in them. They can not be generalized as much, and more of them are ‘legislative’ so directly drive the behaviour of Muslims and Islamic states.

The major ‘take away’ I have is that Volume 2, while emotive and poetic, really doesn’t have much in it that is antithetical to western values or to Christianity. Some things, yes, like slavery. Then again, in the 1700s our Christian forebearers where quite happy to use similar evidence for slavery in The Bible to justify their slavery. So folks looking for “interesting parts” would likely do better to read Volume 1. Those looking to understand emotive issues and motivations ought to start with Volume 2.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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107 Responses to Koran, Volume 2

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith;
    “One thing that only ‘sunk in’ after stepping away from it, was that having read the 354 pages of Volume 2, I was “grumpy”. I don’t know how better to put it. Snippy with folks. Short fused. Even without the poetry and rhythm of the Arabic, something still comes through.”

    The hand of evil was lain on your soul and you reacted to it. Good thing you can walk away from it and do healing things. Hell fire and damnation is of the darkness and not of the light. Religions can be tools for evil control of weak minds. Some preachers can spread light and joy to those that encounter them. Others bring darkness and discomfort. The cadence and delivery of words have strong a impact on emotions and most don’t even realize that they are being manipulated. pg

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    As good an explanation as any, I’d guess. “Fits the known facts” as it were. I tend to be fairly “self aware” and have taken great pains to be “centered” and “at peace”; so I tend to notice a “great disturbance in the force”, so to speak… ;-)

    I’m a ‘style sponge’, so tend to just soak up whatever culture I’m immersed into. In the South, I start to have a southern accent ‘right quick’. (You do NOT want to see me after a few hours talking with gay guys! ;-)

    I’ve always been that way, but that I’ve formalized it into the ‘be a mirror’ philosophy and deliberately added to it; well, it can be a fairly ‘automatic’ process now… Though usually I’m also consciously aware of the transform and put bounds on it. “on a leash” as it were… Something in this case had me not as aware. ( I think the archaic form of the language, and the mind numbing repetition).

    At any rate, aware now, and re-centering. (Mozart helped… and some time in the sun…)

    @All

    I found an online copy of the Arberry version that is open to all, but does not have the deliberate sentence formatting that is part of his ‘poetic’ goal; and you have to step through it one chapter at a time.

    http://al-quran.info/default.aspx?x=y#&&sura=1&trans=en-arthur_arberry&show=both,quran-uthmani&format=rows&ver=1.00

    That site also has a few dozen other versions, in many other languages, so native speakers of German, French, Spanish, whatever, can find one there too. (Use the ‘select translation’ drop down under the ‘text’ window in the lower left)

    FWIW, found the Arberry version online at Oxford too. Unfortunately, it wants a ‘login’ to read it. Sigh. But as the introduction was visible, I’ve decided to quote it here:

    http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/book/islam-9780192835017/islam-9780192835017-miscMatter-6

    INTRODUCTION

    THE Koran, the Sacred Book of Islam, comprises in its 114 Suras or chapters the total of revelations believed to have been communicated to the Prophet Muhammad, as a final expression of God’s will and purpose for man. These revelations were supernaturally received, in circumstances of a trance-like nature, over a considerable number of years intermittently, the first (Sura XCVI) dating from about A.D. 610 and the last shortly before Muhammad’s death in A.D. 632. It is uncertain whether the whole of the text was committed to writing during the Prophet’s lifetime; he himself is said to have been illiterate, and merely to have ‘recited’ the words he heard out of heaven. Tradition relates that a few years after his death the scattered fragments were collected together from ‘scraps of parchment and leather, tablets of stone, ribs of palm branches, camels’ shoulder-blades and ribs, pieces of board, and the breasts of men’—this last phrase referring to the retentive memories of the Prophet’s immediate followers. It was during the reign of the third caliph ‘Uthmān (644—56) that the definitive canon was established by a panel of editors directed by the Prophet’s amanuensis Zaid ibn Thabit. To these men belongs the responsibility for the accepted arrangement of the text, an arrangement which is very far from being chronological or rationally coherent; the principle followed seems to have been to place the Suras in diminishing order of their length with the solitary exception of the first Sura, called ‘The Opening’. Apart from certain orthographical modifications of the originally somewhat primitive method of writing, intended to render unambiguous and easy the task of reading and recitation, the Koran as printed in the twentieth century is identical with the Koran as authorized by ‘Uthmān more than 1,300 years ago.

    Since the Koran is to the faithful Muslim the very Word of God, from earliest times orthodox opinion has rigidly maintained that it is untranslatable, a miracle of speech which it would be blasphemous to attempt to imitate. It is thus the duty of every believer to learn to understand its meaning in the original Arabic; to assist him in this not always easy labour he has at his disposal a great range of commentaries, some of immense length, compiled by learned exegetes in every century down to the present day. For all that, the Koran has been translated many times and into many languages, first into Latin circa 1143; the earliest English version appeared in 1657. The most esteemed English translations are those of Sale (1734), Rodwell (1861), Palmer (1880), and Pickthall (l930). In all these versions, with the exception of Rodwell’s, the traditional order of the Suras has been followed; Rodwell attempted a chronological rearrangement, foreshadowing the far more radical recasting of Richard Bell (1937-9).

    In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which—apart from the message itself— constitute the Koran’s undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind. (The summary result of my investigation is printed in my The Holy Koran, published by Allen & Unwin in 1953.) This very characteristic feature —‘that inimitable symphony’, as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book, ‘the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy’—has been almost totally ignored by previous translators ; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original. For the Koran is neither prose nor poetry, but a unique fusion of both. The verses into which it is divided— and the reckoning by fives and tens goes back to ancient times —are threaded together by loose rhymes into shorter or longer sequences within the Sura; the rhythms of those sequences vary sensibly according to the subject-matter, swinging from the steady march of straightforward narrative or enunciation (tales of the ancient prophets, formulations of ritual and law) to the impetuous haste of ecstatic ejaculation (the majesty of God, the imminence of the Last Day, the torments of Hell, and the delights of Paradise). I have striven to devise rhythmic patterns and sequence-groupings in correspondence with what the Arabic presents, paragraphing the grouped sequences as they seem to form original units of revelation.

    The reader of the Koran, particularly if he has to depend upon a version, however accurate linguistically, is certain to be puzzled and dismayed by the apparently random nature of many of the Suras. This famous inconsequence has often been attributed to clumsy patchwork on the part of the first editors. I believe it to be rather of the very nature of the Book itself. In many passages it is stated that the Koran had been sent down ‘confirming what was before it’, by which was meant the Torah and the Gospel; the contents of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, excepting such falsifications as had been introduced into them, were therefore taken as true and known. All truth was thus present simultaneously within the Prophet’s enraptured soul; all truth, however fragmented, revealed itself in his inspired utterance. The reader of the Muslim scriptures must strive to attain the same all-embracing apprehension. The sudden fluctuations of theme and mood will then no longer present such difficulties as have bewildered critics ambitious to measure the ocean of prophetic eloquence with the thimble of pedestrian analysis. Each Sura will now be seen to be a unity within itself, and the whole Koran will be recognized as a single revelation, self-consistent to the highest degree. Though half a mortal lifetime was needed for the message to be received and communicated, the message itself, being of the eternal, is one message in eternity, however heterogeneous its temporal expression may appear to be.

    There is a repertory of familiar themes running through the whole Koran; each Sura elaborates or adumbrates one or more —often many—of these. To take a very straightforward instance: Sura XII consists almost entirely of a recital of the story of Joseph, with dramatic hiatuses emphasizing that the story is a familiar one, retold as a reminder of God’s dealings with men and how He delivers out of evil and rewards His faithful messengers, a moral driven home in the epilogue. Sura XXVIII somewhat similarly relates incidents from the life of Moses, but the narrative is broken up to introduce a number of favourite leitmotivs: refutation of those who denied Muhammad’s mission, the Last Day, and the Judgement, the Unity of God, woven backwards and forwards into the pattern of the composition. Sura XIX (and .there are several others like it) follows a somewhat more complex scheme; episodes are sketched from the lives of a series of prophets in illustration of the Divine mercy, followed by a statement of the contrasting fates awaiting those who disbelieve and those who believe. The short Sura XCIII exhibits a simple but perfect rhetorical balance: an opening adjuration by contrasted light and darkness introduces three triplets matching exactly together. Sura LV, a triumphant hymn to the power and glory of God, the terrors of Hell, and the joys of Paradise, is knit together by a running refrain as the tension is built up from a quiet and meditative beginning to an unbearably tremendous close. So the pattern of each Sura can be methodically analysed into its component parts, seen as motives common to the whole Koran, treated in each context individually and with an astonishing wealth and variety of rhetoric and rhythm.

    All previous versions of the Koran, like the original text itself, having been printed as continuous prose, the rhapsodic nature of its composition has been largely lost to ear and sight; by showing the text as here presented, some faint impression may be given of its dramatic impact and most moving beauty. I have called my version an interpretation, conceding the orthodox claim that the Koran (like all other literary masterpieces) is untranslatable; in making this interpretation I have considered the opinions of the learned commentators, and when (as not infrequently) they have differed, I have been eclectic in deciding between alternative explanations. I have tried to compose clear and unmannered English, avoiding the ‘Biblical’ style favoured by some of my predecessors. There is however one feature of antique usage which I have deliberately retained; it is absolutely necessary, if confusion is to be avoided, to mark the distinction between the second person singular and the second person plural. As footnotes and glosses do not interrupt the smooth flow of the Arabic Koran, so in this English interpretation footnotes and glosses have been deliberately avoided; readers anxious for further guidance should consult the earlier annotated versions.

    This task was undertaken, not lightly, and carried to its conclusion at a time of great personal distress, through which it comforted and sustained the writer in a manner for which he will always be grateful. He therefore acknowledges his gratitude to whatever power or Power inspired the man and the Prophet who first recited these scriptures. I pray that this interpretation, poor echo though it is of the glorious original, may instruct, please, and in some degree inspire those who read it.

    A. J. ARBERRY

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Found out who Zaid is / was:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zayd_ibn_Harithah

    Adopted son of Mohammed. This has a slightly different view of events:

    When the Prophet Muhammad went to the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh to ask her hand for his adopted son, the family was shocked as they were excepting Muhammad to marry Zaynab bint Jahsh who also was his cousin, however the marriage took place but did not last long due to the lack of understanding between the couple and later Zayd divorced her. God ordered Muhammad to marry her to reinforce the cancellation of that form of adoption.

    The cancellation of form of adoption refers to a ‘Koranic revelation’ that the particular kind of adoption used for Zaid was not to be done any more. Go figure…

    Also found a description of the Sunni / Shia divergence. Stems from when Mohammed died and one group ‘elected’ a leader while another followed a particular relative of Mohammed. From that, the different weights given to different folks (i.e. who trusted whom) diverges, and so the set of ‘guidelines to live by’ diverge as they trust different folks who were in contact with Mohammed to have it right or to have not lied…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahabah

    covers it in some detail.

    Later scholars accepted their testimony of the words and deeds of Muhammad, the occasions on which the Qur’an was revealed and various important matters of Islamic history and practice. The testimony of the companions, as it was passed down through chains of trusted narrators (isnads), was the basis of the developing Islamic tradition. From the traditions (hadith) of the life of Muhammad and his companions are drawn the Muslim way of life (sunnah), the code of conduct (sharia) it requires and the jurisprudence (fiqh) by which Muslim communities should be regulated. The two largest Islamic denominations, the Sunni and Shi’a, take different approaches in weighing the value of the companions’ testimony, have different hadith collections and, as a result, have different constructed views about the Sahabah.

    So it looks to me like it is flat out impossible for a western society to simply state that our rules are dominant, so long as they must follow their rules. The two power structures are in conflict, and always will be.

    How can we have a civil code and civil code of conduct when they have one that is to over ride it?

    The Shi’a believe that after the death of Muhammad, the majority of the sahabah turned aside from true Islam and deviated from Muhammad’s family, instead electing the caliph by themselves at a place called Bani Saqeefa, they did this by a majority vote and elected Abu Bakr as the first Caliph. Although some of the sahabah repented later, only a few of the early Muslims held fast to Ali, whom Shi’a Muslims regard as the rightful successor to Muhammad. Shi’a scholars therefore deprecate hadith believed to have been transmitted through unjust companions, and place much more reliance on hadith believed to have been related by Muhammad’s family members and companions who supported Ali. The Shi’a believe that Muhammad announced his succession during his lifetime at Dawat Zul Asheera then many times during his prophethood and finally at Ghadeer e Khum.

    There are a few verses in the Koran that are taking to mean “and do like The Prophet did” or “watch him and learn” as it were. The Arab tradition was to keep such records of what amount to tribal custom. So the one from Mohammed’s tribe became the guideline to what he did and how he lived.

    It looks like a fair amount of the ‘strangeness’ of Muslim custom (from a western point of view) comes not from the Koran, but from that Tribal Custom Notebook… And a lot of the Sunni / Shia strife comes from arguments over it.

    OK, so that’s likely the major nexxus of the “conflict” of Islam with The West. It is also, most likely, fairly firmly rooted in about 700 AD (though some argument was made for some of it predating that point in time, even before Mohammed took over.)

    I’m not going down that rat-hole any time soon. I’ve got too many other things to do right now; and it can’t even start until after Volume 1 (that is itself a couple of weeks off). But “noted for later”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnah

    The word Sunnah (سنة [ˈsunna], plural سنن sunan [ˈsunan], Arabic) is driven from the root (سن [sa-n-na] Arabic) meaning smooth and easy flow [of water] or direct flow path. The word literally means a clear and well trodden path. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar. According to Muslim belief, this practice is to be adhered to in fulfilling the divine injunctions, carrying out religious rites and moulding life in accord with the will of God. To institute these practices was, the Qur’ān states, a part of the Prophet’s responsibility as a Messenger of God[Quran 3:164][Quran 33:21]

    The sunnah of Muhammad includes his specific words, habits, practices, and silent approvals: it is significant because it addresses ways of life dealing with friends, family and government.
    Recording sunnah was an Arabian tradition and, once people converted to Islam, they brought this custom to their religion. The sunnah is consulted after referring to the Qur’an, if the issue is not addressed there. The term “Sunni” denotes those who claim to practice these usages, as part of the Ummah.

    So we also can see why they are ‘touchy’ about any criticism of Mohammed, as HE is by definition the proper way to live and behave. Can’t have any human failings in the perfect role model, now can we?…

    I’m reminded of that Star Trek episode where a book about gangsters was left behind on a planet and they built their whole society around imitating the gangsters ethos and way of life…

    http://www.startrek.com/database_article/piece-of-the-action-a

  4. Dave says:

    EM-
    The depth of your analysis is always fascinating. You might enjoy a book called “The Age of Sacred Terror” by D. Benjamin and S. Simon (2002). It is especially relavant now as it goes into the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and their initial attempts at launching an uprishing before they were crushed by the Syrians in the 80s. The stupid looks in Washington could have been avoided if more people had read this book. These people never have been, and never will be our friends or allies under any circumstances. They are the world’s greatest opportunists and they will continue to play us, the Russians, and Chinese off against each other until they are strong enough to start eliminating those who stand in the way of their plans for global conquest. They will become the Nazi’s of the 21st Century unless the moderates in their society are able to take control which at this point in time does not appear to be possible.

  5. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. What you say about translation it is absolutely true: We are “young” enough to remember catholic church masses in latin….when that “deaf lion” Pope John XXIII, made it translate in local languages, he screw it all up (don´t know if on purpose). A “Ritual” should be “effective” (from “fact”), i.e. produce some “effects”, in this case, to attain a certain “atmosphere” or operative silence, which is known in music and poetry as the “canon”, a rhythm, a succession of impulses able to transmit a certain “information” which is imbedded in the text.
    At the same time a “translation” is needed, from our side, from the side of he who hears or is the object of the ritual, such “translation” it is not to be understood literally, as that Pope (A “group of Rome” guy?) did, but relates to our ability to “tune in” with the message being transmitted, a kind of understanding/sensibility of that “language of the birds” as the Quran texts are called and which we could call, in terms of physics, as “resonance”.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    Another “language”, another “vehicle” used in the Muslim world to convey information, teaching, knowledge of the universal laws which control and govern the cosmos is “Sacred Dances” or “Sacred Movements”, as practiced by Sufis and which were brought to the occident by G.I.Gurdjieff :
    BTW: We, in occident , childishly, associate or rather confuse knowledge not with real science but with “technic”, and level of being with having “stuff” or “gadgets”. What is it our culture, our laureates? AL BABY LIKE?

    Watch this:

    And being taught in New York, by Jeanne de Salzmann:

  7. philjourdan says:

    Your analysis is more alarming than any reports I have seen in the news. Not necessarily the content of the Koran, but on the effect it plays on you. It does not bode well for a lasting peace.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    The fact is this: There is not any “clash of civilizations”, as our “official” civilization at least, it is inexistent (just think of the Nobel price given to Al Gore), and represents for them, the arabs, the incarnation of the evil itself, of Satan, and not because of the obvious and actual existence of many men of real culture in occident, but to the fact that our “leaders” and our common people have reached such a level of desacralization of life, of “secularity”, driven by those “leaders”, from the times of the French revolution and of the “illustration” on (the prevalence of a small part of our psyche) and not because these are really “devils”, they are just “fools”- butlers of real “devils” behind.
    To understand this we should know that this is a situation similar to a group of cancer cells driving many other cells around them as to acquire “power”against the dominion of the brain, where if they succeed will screw up the host body, our world. In any case, there are enemies of humanity around, as there have always been, but now manipulating them and us alike and the outcome is quite easy to forecast, as our dear E.M. did it several times: War; but what for?….just to increase the revenues of a mad and silly “elite”, wildly eager for power and gold. But why is this so?, well, this is so because of FEAR, those guys, having no inner poise whatsoever, are pathologically driven by the fear of losing “stuff” and themselves, of not longer being considered as cute, nice and gay supermen.

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    During the 70´s, if I am not wrong, during the Soviet era, there was an interchange of farmers between US farmers and Russian. A couple of US farmers who visited a couple of russian farmers told they found very poor people there who their only possession was an old radio, so they began ranting about all the “advances” they own in their homeland….When they ended their ranting the russian couple went to their door´s house, telling the american counterparts, they were going to show them something: When they opened the door a group of neighbours approached and they said : This is our dearest possession: Our friends…………
    See?

  10. marchesarosa says:

    It has already been mentioned in the comments above that Muhammad was illiterate and so which “version” of the Bible he was using (Gnostic or otherwise) to illustrate his “recitations” is somewhat academic. He had clearly been exposed to certain Jewish and Christian “stories” through contact with the Jewish and Christian tribes then living alongside the polytheistic tribes in the Arabian peninsula (yes, it really was a multicultural place Before Muhammad!). If he had actually been able to read the religious texts of either contemporary Judaism or of Christianity, at a time when the Arabs were not even literate, his “versions” would not have been quite so garbled. He was certainly determined to be accepted as God’s Prophet and willing to do anything, including murder, to vanquish those who were, understandably, attached to their own pre-islamic traditions.

    I have read the Qur’an, too. I agree that it is boring, exceedingly repetitive, full of “off with their heads”, hellfire and damnation, oh, and lots of stuff about what the right hand possesses. (;-) I find surprisingly little of the COMPASSION, etc, muslims pretend to find there, and an awful lot of authoritarian demands for SUBMISSION.

  11. Pascvaks says:

    The human search for the meaning of life has not taken many stides of late. The religious Jews rely on Moses and some advances since. The Christians rely on the Roman pantheon of gods, now saints, and a Trinity. The Muslems rely on a Dark Ages tribal hand-me-down. The Chinese on Budha. The Indians on the oldest writings perhaps and gods at every turn. The rest on variations of these theologies or rejection of all and a dab of witchcraft or some other ancient cult’s mumbo-jumbo. Ethics is dead, no one does ethics anymore. Philosophy is in a shambles. PhD means anything but. Well, I guess it was only to be expected. What’s to come? A new prophet, a new saviour, a new leader to guide us out of our self-imposed imprisonment to a merciless Pharaoh? Surely there will come another. God would not forsake us to this godless existance forever. right? OK, enough sarchism, we will see a new dawn, of that I have no doubt. The ancient ways are no longer strong enough to hold us and we are slowly releasing our grip on the past. No doubt some one of us, perhaps someone who can read and write, will go back and try to put it all together, the old and then the new; what we have learned since the middle ages. Did God speak to all thes people in the ancient past? I have no doubt He did. Has He been silent ever since? I can’t believe it, I have a feeling He’s been shouting at the top of His voice and we’ve been too deaf and dumb and blind to hear Him (or Her, or It, or Whatever).

    A thought occured to me while reading the above. I wonder where Gengis Kahn’s memoirs are. Bet he appealed to God as he made war on everyone he sought to conquer too. Wouldn’t be suprised if he had some similiar ‘thoughts’ and ‘experiences’ to Mohammid.

    PS: Another cryptic thought from the backyard while getting a little fresh air and having a smoke -
    Think of all the things that people are not but ought to be…
    Then think of all the things that people are but shouldn’t be…
    Compare these things…
    Have a better idea of why you’re here?
    (Me neither;-)

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: we’ve been too deaf and dumb and blind to hear Him (or Her, or It, or Whatever).
    My dear “WE” is too many. Have you wondered why perhaps you were deaf and blind…Never is too late, for how do you explain the cosmos and your own existence?

  13. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo -
    I was speaking ‘collectively’ of course, I am well aware that ‘you’ and ‘I’ –and one or two others– have the ‘inside track’ to Valhalla;-)

    Which reminds me of something I picked up from a not-too-long-ago movie (forget the name) about Vikings and some Arab guy:

    Lo! There do I see my father…
    Lo! There do I see my mother,
    and my sisters, and my brothers…
    Lo! There do I see the line of my people,
    all who have gone before me,
    back to the beginning of time…
    Lo! They call to me…
    They bid me to come take my place among them,
    in the Halls of Valhalla,
    where the brave may live forever.

    It was one of those “We who are about to die salute you” prayers before the big battle. It struck a chord;-)

  14. RZW says:

    I think you should try to read book “Why I am not a Muslim” from Ibn Warraq when you finish reading Koran.
    about book: Those who practice the Muslim faith have resisted examinations of their religion. They are extremely guarded about their religion, and what they consider blasphemous acts by sceptical Muslims and non-Muslims alike has only served to pique the world’s curiosity. This critical examination reveals an unflattering picture of the faith and its practitioners. Nevertheless, it is the truth, something that has either been deliberately concealed by modern scholars or buried in obscure journals accessible only to a select few.

    ISBN:9781591020110

    - I would say quite similar to :”CAGW” faith

  15. Jerry says:

    I doubt I will comment on this thread simply because I will be in hyper-mirror mode with an itchy trigger finger and that does not make for a polite rant, but rather for vile ridicule which is the way I favor to destroy the religion of peace. (sooner the better)

    Who knows, this may be the first stone thrown in the glass house. :)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-19/iran-cleric-pummeled-by-badly-covered-woman-after-warning-her.html

  16. Sera says:

    I would guess that a large amount of tribal stories are loaded with metaphor- so that one would have to paraphrase, rather than translate.

    This may be one of your longest posts- it took me forever, but it was worth it.

  17. Greg says:

    http://youtu.be/t_Qpy0mXg8Y great video on Europe history

  18. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Stories told in the desert 1300 years ago, or 2000, or 3500 probably have some universal truth in them, to the degree that we are the same species. The BIG questions haven’t changed, …..Who are we? Where did we come from? what should we do? Why?……

    But its hard to debate that the rest of religion is made up for the convenience of the tyrant of the day — that tyranny being good, bad, or indifferent.

    A would-be leader of men says “Here’s what I want you to do!”.
    Some say – yeah-Buddy, because their self interest is well served.
    Others say, Whoah, because their ox is being gored.
    Most say, WHY?

    The most common answer through history is “Because God wants you to”!

    It’s enough to make one consider the possibility that man has created god is his image.

    Strip away all the political conveniences and temporal aphorisims (or anachronisms) and there is a pretty small kernel core of faith left, which does seem pretty close to universal, to me.

    BTW, it’s that tiny kernel that may allow the American experiment to continue, lest one of the so-called “tolerant” religions take it upon itself to eliminate the unbelievers, has most have attempted at some time or place in history.

  19. Richard Ilfeld says:

    @Pascvaks says:
    The Thirteenth Warrior?
    Actually, a watchable movie — SF channel runs it once in a while.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Greg:

    I think I saw that video in another comment / thread as well. Finally got enough time to watch it.

    I’d like to dispute it, to assert it is wrong and full of bias. I can’t. It shoves its finger in the open wound of historic trauma and says ~’This needs to be fixed’.

    Where he sites historical facts and the sweep of history, it matches what I know.

    Where he discusses the percentage of verses in the Koran being about Kafir (non-muslims) and how to treat them, it matches what I’ve read in the Koran. Of particular interest was the ‘knee’ on the change of the Koran (the added more violent text – what I think is Volume 1) in the spread of Islam; and then the way the Kafir and violence percent of text ramps us even more in the Sira and Hadith (at 41 minutes) with the Hadith 60% Jihad related and the Koran “only” 14%.

    I’d suspected that there was ‘more bad stuff’ hiding in the Hadith, but to see how much is a bit of a shock. Now I need to find where I can get an English (or Spanish or French or..) copy of the Sira and Hadith.

    What seems to be the case is that there’s a couple of Koranic verses that basically say “do as Mohammed”, and those are used as a subroutine call to “the history of Mohammed”; so a very large body of “clerics” are devoted to intense scrutiny of his life (and of stories of his life, complete with a hierarchy of ‘nearness to Mohammed’ by the story tellers); then making mandatory cultural pronouncements about what is ‘good behaviour’. Making Islam as practiced today a ‘personality cult’ of Mohammed, with clear results. (See the response to cartoons and movies…)

    Unfortunately (for us) Mohammed was a fairly violent and somewhat bi-polar / Schitzoid character in how he treated Kafir. You can read that in the Koran. Kill us, or enslave us, or impress into a brothel, or sometimes just let folks go with a pat on the head and a smirk…

    Yet the “facts on the ground” of history are even worse than recorded in the Koran. So I’d figured that there was “more” hiding somewhere. Looks like the presenter has already ‘gone there’ and found it in the Sira and Hadith. So that’s the place to look for the ‘hidden dominance bits’…

    @Sera:

    Sorry for the length, but some things can’t be fit in 1 page … I try to condense things to the smallest size possible (makes the understandings easier to store in the brain ;-) but some things need a larger canvas to make clear. Glad the result was worth it.

    While there is a lot of metaphor in stories of the Bible, not so much in the Koran. The ‘right hand’ one being the most common. Most of it is pretty obvious. IMHO, the hard part is in how folk will have built metaphoric castles of belief on top of what is really a simple line of text. (Heck, I’ve seen preachers spend an hour on one verse of the Bible…)

    @Jerry:

    I know the feeling. Hell, I even jumped down Jim2s throat on the oil thread as I was on a short fuse… Taken me 2 days to get back to my more ‘steady’ self.

    @RZW:

    I’ll put it on the reading list, though I’m about 2 years ‘booked up’ at the moment…

    @Dave:

    OK, 2 on the reading list. ;-)

    It looks to me like the violence and virulence of Islam was only briefly suppressed during the colonial era, and now, post W.W.II, with oil money in hand, is starting to rediscover its roots and ‘voice’ of the sword / jihad. Not good. It isn’t moderating, it was just resting…

    @Petrossa:

    More reading list! Oh Boy! ;-)

    I’ll take a look, likely this weekend…

    @Adolfo:

    I just loved the mystery and music of the Latin mass. In English it just sounds silly. “Fruit of the womb”? Really?… Fruit is something you consume…

    @Philjourdan:

    There can be no peace, neither lasting nor short; only temporary ‘truce’ for rest and rearmament, or submission.

    Not my evaluation, it’s in the Koran. Somewhere in Volume 1. (Part of why I’m doing this re-read. To note where such specifics are located in the repetition).

    Yes, I’m a ‘sensitive’ and ‘style sponge’. Often it is a large feature. Other times it takes some effort to ‘retain the self’… But I have a well defended core that smooths the troubled waters…

    @Adolfo:

    Interesting videos. Which I knew what they meant better… (One of my weak spots – dance as meaning)

    On the ‘western culture’ vs Islam question: I generally agree. Islam laughs at our emptiness.

    “What do you think of Western Culture?”
    answer: “I think it would be a very good idea.”

    (I’ve lost the pointer to where it was said… maybe I’ll search it up after lunch…)

    I find myself in a gravely at risk minority. A simple seeker after truth and wisdom. On one side, the violence, intolerance and narrow-mindedness of Islam. On the other, the false “tolerance and open-mindedness” of ‘western secular culture’. The first wants to exterminate my self discovery and any discovery of fundamental truth not in conformance with ‘Islam’. The second wants to extinguish any ‘inconvenient truth’ that is in conflict with their denial and greed, their power lust for dominance of wider groups (that can only be done if the groups are ‘accepted’).

    There’s got to be an alternate path.

    I used to exist in America. Now I’m not so sure it can survive. The EU is set to extinguish any real understanding of fundamental truths and values under the weight of “post normal science” and “moral relativism”; while the East is set to crush it under Socialist Central Authority; while Islam wants to make sure it “submits” to the Koran, Sira, and Hadith (i.e. gets extinguished and re-written as 6th Century Arab Culture with a violent religious overlay). Now we’ve got all three of those being pushed into American Culture.

    Frankly, that’s why I’ve been a bit slow on new steps in the Holy Carbon text. It’s not easy to document a “spiritual sciencism” that can’t be corrupted via folks building castles of fantasy on top of it… So I’m being slow and careful… Part of why I’m re-reading the Koran is to see “what worked” and “what blows up”. Mostly I’m learning cautionary tales…

    I’ll get to the rest of the comments after lunch…

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    Ah, a bit more ‘enlightenment’. The Volume 2 verses are the early “Mecca Koran”. After he moves to Medina, we get the longer “Medina Koran” verses. Kind of explains what it has ‘progression’ when read ‘back to front’…

    http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/cot/t1w11meccasurahmedinian.htm

    The Surahs divide the Qur’an (Koran), the Islamic Holy scripture, into “chapters”. The Surahs are collections of the different sayings spoken by Mohammed, believed by Muslims to have been channeled him from Allah who made the original Arabic Qur’an in heaven. Mohammed uttered these sayings over a period of 22 years from the time of his first revelation in a cave on Mt. Hira in 610 A.D. until his death (632 A.D.). Mohammed himself did not write them down, being illiterate,1 but those that heard him wrote down the sayings on anything available or memorized the sayings. Later, under the Caliphs Abu and Ali, copies of the documents were compiled and written down together. Estimates suggest that two-thirds of the Surahs in the Qur’an Mohammed spoke or repeated while living in Mecca and the other one third while living in Medina (after the flight from Mecca)2. During these 22 years, Mohammed faced some major changes and these were reflected in the Surahs. Other than a general change of length, the Medinan Surahs being more prolonged and extensive than the Meccan ones, the character of the Surahs also changed. To understand this difference it is vital to understand the situation in his life both in Mecca and then in Medina.

    So about 114/3= about 38 Suras as the “new” ones. That would be Volume 1 plus 18 more. That makes sense as the last few above (33 and 24) are where it starts to focus on ‘legislative’ things like number of spouses and ‘special’ rules for The Prophet…

    The first Meccan Surahs Mohammed “received” told him to tell others of Allah’s message. In these Surahs, he viewed himself as one who should warn the people with a goal similar to that of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah3. He warned the Meccan citizens to leave their idols and wickedness behind and to follow the one God. During this time in Arabia, there proved a great deal of Jewish and Nestorian Christian influence and though Mohammed never read the Bible, he heard much about the prophets, Jesus and the history of the Jews. He showed respect to “the people of the Book” and to the Bible in the Meccan Surahs. It is interesting to observe that the most dramatic change between the Meccan and Medinan Surahs is concerning the Muslim relationship to Jews and Christians.

    OK, so we also find that whoever was reading the Bible to him, was likely reading the Nestorian Bible.

    From a rather odd source, we find out what makes the Nestorian ‘different’:

    http://www.partialobserver.com/davinci/essay.cfm?dvcid=24

    Furthermore, Brown and the esoteric Grail Quest completely ignores the existence of the Nestorian Canon, the Bible in use by the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of the East. This Bible excludes the New Testament books of Revelation, Jude, Second John, Third John and Second Peter, because the use of those books was not attested in the churches of Persia early enough to have been woven into the canonical tradition.

    Since the Nestorians were the ones that ran off to China, we can likely find an early version of it somewhere there (if not stamped out by the ‘cultural revolution’…)

    Though we have some in Michigan, too!:

    http://www.nestorian.org/download/march_newsletter.pdf

    Good entry point higher up, but without the picture and the “Michigan” reference:

    http://www.nestorian.org/

    These folks go into some depth about they Syriac text and how it was transmitted. It looks like about 5th Century the Peshitta was the common one. So most likely the Aramaic / Syriac Peshitta Text is the one of Mohammad:

    http://classic.net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=SYRIAC%20VERSIONS

    The Peshitta had from the 5th century onward a wide circulation in the East,</b and was accepted and honored by all the numerous sects of the greatly divided Syriac Christianity. It had a great missionary influence, and the Armenian and Georgian VSS, as well as the Arabic and the Persian, owe not a little to the Syriac. The famous Nestorian tablet of Sing-an-fu witnesses to the presence of the Syriac Scriptures in the heart of China in the 7th century. It was first brought to the West by Moses of Mindin, a noted Syrian ecclesiastic, who sought a patron for the work of printing it in vain in Rome and Venice, but found one in the Imperial Chancellor at Vienna in 1555–Albert Widmanstadt. He undertook the printing of the New Testament, and the emperor bore the cost of the special types which had to be cast for its issue in Syriac. Immanuel Tremellius, the converted Jew whose scholarship was so valuable to the English reformers and divines, made use of it, and in 1569 issued a Syriac New Testament in Hebrew letters. In 1645 the editio princeps of the Old Testament was prepared by Gabriel Sionita for the Paris Polyglot, and in 1657 the whole Peshitta found a place in Walton s London Polyglot. For long the best edition of the Peshitta was that of John Leusden and Karl Schaaf, and it is still quoted under the symbol Syriac schaaf, or Syriac Sch. The critical edition of the Gospels recently issued by Mr. G. H. Gwilliam at the Clarendon Press is based upon some 50 manuscripts. Considering the revival of Syriac scholarship, and the large company of workers engaged in this field, we may expect further contributions of a similar character to a new and complete critical edition of the Peshitta

    Why does this matter? Because I have a copy of the Peshitta Text, translated to English from the original language, preserved unchanged from the earliest form (as it was not translated from the original Aramiac / Syriac as that was the native language of the church that preserved it…) Basically, it attests that it is a flat out lie that “the Bible of Mohammad has been lost”. It’s still kicking around today.

    FWIW, I like it more than most other translations in several ways. Not the least is that some obvious ‘strange things’ have been fixed. Some offend the traditional stories used by ministers, but that’s just too bad. The most spectacular (which isn’t all that spectacular, so shows how little is really wrong): the story of the camel and the eye of the needle.

    In Aramaic / Syriac little ‘dots’ change what word you have. The translator of the Peshitta points out that on dot is the difference between “camel” and “rope” and that in “their version” the Bible says “It is easier to pass a ROPE through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” Frankly, that metaphor just ‘fits’ better. They were not into sarcastic excess and absurdity in the old days… Basically, I think they have it “more right”. There’s about a half dozen such things in the liner notes, all more minor. Clearly substituting “camel” for “rope” doesn’t change the meaning much… Certainly not enough to chuck out the whole Book…

    So at the end of this Sidebar, we reach a ‘pattern solution’ once again. Some key policy decisions of the clerics of Islam look to be far less rooted in good scholarship and far more rooted in “personal benefit and interest”… The “chuck the Bible” is clearly one of those.

    In short: Shove a Peshitta Text in the face of any Muslim who claims the Bible of Mohammad has been lost and point out it is unchanged from the original Aramaic / Syriac spoken by Jesus.

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Nestorianism

    Explains the “split”, a couple of hundred years before Mohammad, and why him following a Nestorian version would be so ‘anti Trinity’ and why they would assert that the current Catholic version of things is wrong:

    Nestorianism was an ancient Christian heresy associated with Nestorius (c. 386–c. 451 C.E.), Patriarch of Constantinople, who taught that Christ consisted of two distinct persons (human and divine Logos), rather than a unified person. Nestorius’ view of Christ was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431 C.E. The christological debates surrounding his teachings led to the Nestorian schism, separating the Assyrian Church of the East from the Byzantine Church.

    Nestorianism originated in the fifth century out of an attempt to rationally explain and understand the incarnation of the divine Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as the man Jesus Christ. It taught that the human and divine essences of Christ were separate and that there were two persons, the man Jesus Christ and the divine Logos, which dwelt in the man. Consequently, Nestorians rejected such terminology as “God suffered” or “God was crucified,” because the humanity of Jesus Christ that suffered was separate from his divinity. Likewise, they rejected the term Theotokos (Giver of birth to God/Mother of God) as a title of the Virgin Mary, suggesting instead the title Christotokos (Giver of birth to Christ/Mother of Christ), because in their opinion Mary gave birth to only the human person of Jesus and not the divine.

    So I think, especially given that some of the Koranic verses match this mind set, it’s fair to assert that Mohammed was listening to Nestorian Christians and a Peshitta Text. Then after the move to Mecca, got enamored of his own position and power has head of a hoard and started making Islam distinct from any earlier Christian influence. (Then his followers made it a personality cult after he died… via the Sira and Hadith… )

    I think I’m finally reaching the “satisfied” end of this path… No longer does Islam just burst onto the stage of history, run rampant for 1000 years, and then “just is”. Now we can see the roots of it and the ‘hinge point’ where it changes.

    Back at that hyperhistory link:

    During the years when Mohammed preached in Mecca, he wanted to attract the Jews and Christians of the area to the message he was preaching. He did this by showing the similarities of the other prophets and himself, and praising and showing that the God of Abraham was the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. This helped him because, compared to negative reaction of most of the pagan citizens of Mecca when they were told to destroy their sacred idols, the Jews and Christians welcomed the Muslims and some of the so-called “Christians” even converted to Islam and became Mohammed’s closest companions and followers. However, by the time of his flight to Medina, his approach differed and the Medinan Surahs show a different face concerning the Jews and Christians. Predominantly, the Jews and Christians quietly yet firmly rejected his claim of being a prophet4. Additionally the change might have been influenced by a tribe of Jews that refused to help Mohammed when an army from Mecca besieged Medina in an attempt to kill “The Prophet”.

    The Medinan Surahs show that though, Mohammed still believed they served the same God, he started pointing out the fundamental differences of the Christian and Jewish beliefs to the God of Allah. For example, read and compare the following three verses:
    Surah 29:46 (Meccan) And dispute ye not with the People of the Book… but say, “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow.”
    Surah 9.30 (Medinan) The Christians say that the Messiah is the Son of God. That is but a saying with their mouth. They only imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God’s curse be upon them! How they are deluded away from the truth!”
    Surah 5:73 (Medinan) They are unbelievers who say, “God is the Third of Three…No god is there but One God.”

    It goes on to point out how the Koran says, in essence, new verses can replace old ones. So the violent and more hateful ones of “Volume 1″ overlay those of “Volume 2″… They also find the same increase in ‘legislative’ verses in Volume 1.

    Because he now is the leader of the Muslim people instead of just the prophet of Allah, his Surahs become much more detailed in how to conduct oneself and laws to control what the Muslims can and cannot do instead of merely asking them to return to righteousness. As already mentioned, he now considers himself the ruler and leader of Islam. By revelation, Allah now gives permission to Mohammed to take as many wives as he wants and special rules apply to associating with him or his possessions.

    There’s a lot more in those links, but I’m not going to copy it here. If you are interested in more, hit the links…

    Overall, the impression I get is one of a Zealot preaching a Nestorian view of God and Jesus, but only from poorly remembered Biblical verses read to him. Over time, he comes to embrace ‘conversion by the sword’ and succumbs to the adulation of followers, seeing himself as a great leader and founder, not just as a spokesman for Christianity… So starts to give lots of direct ‘guidance’ with no biblical connection. Later, after his passing, the followers use the written tribal customs and their own interpretations of what Mohammed approved and did not approve to write down an expanded set of “guidelines”… More rooted in Arab culture, history of religious warfare and ‘spoils of war’, That, then, leads to the Caliphates and Jihad as major themes of Islam up to the modern age.

    So they have canonized violence, war, domination, enslavement, submission, and the general culture of the Charismatic Dominant Strongman leading an adulating and slavish following.

    I think we’ve seen that pattern before…

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. So in Spanish the idiom for “speak like a native speaker” is “speak like a parrot”. A translation would say “I speak Spanish like a parrot” while an interpretation would say “I speak Spanish like a native.”
    Where did you get that? In spanish “Hablar como un loro” (speak like a parrot) is literally speak like a parrot does it: parrot like, without thinking, to speak no sense, without having any idea what one is speaking out, like a tape recorder. Or as you say: Reading the telepromter…

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    In Spanish Class… There may be differences in dialect.. We had a lot of discussions of Mexican vs Castilian vs South American variations. Miguel, my friend where we shared houses often ;-), was constantly frustrated that his Mexican Spanish was often held to be ‘wrong’ by our Spanish teacher. (The teacher was a native Portuguese speaker, but his degree was in Spanish, though I think he was credentialed for both. Perhaps it is a Portuguese thing that ‘leaked in’.)

    He taught a European style of Spanish, but without the lisp. Not sure exactly which one.

    The “pattern sentence” we practiced, put in to Google Translate, don’t like it as ‘native’, though:

    Yo estudiado español por 3 años, pero yo no lo hablo como un loro.

    I studied Spanish for three years, but I do not speak like a parrot.

    Leaving it as “parrot”.

    I clearly remember the experience as I liked the imagery of the parrot.

  24. adolfogiurfa says:

    Another meaning of “hablar como un loro” is: “speaking too much, like a parrot”

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    Though politicians are not Parrots, instead they are Vultures :-)

  26. dearieme says:

    Some scholars believe that the Koran was pieced together a couple of centuries after M’s death. (Other scholars aren’t convinced that M existed at all.) Their picture seems to be that it includes Arabic teachings from before M’s life, bits and bobs of stuff remembered and later written down about the early days of his activities, bits of unorthodox Christianity, bits of Judaic writings, and stuff added to make political points contemporary with the editors. Ancient muslim scholars seem to be agreed that quite a lot from M’s early days was simply lost.

    Some scholars believe that the “Mecca” wasn’t the modern Mecca at all … The uncertainty goes on and on. The whole thing is so uncertain that it must be doubtful whether much that’s well founded will ever emerge.

    Mind you, although it may be likelier than not that Jesus existed, I wouldn’t say the odds on were very high, and I very much doubt whether Moses existed.

  27. philjourdan says:

    Reading the Koran is useful in getting an understanding of WHAT Muslims believe. Reading the history of the creation of Islam is useful in learning HOW it came to be. The sad part is that Mohammed was simply an ignorant megalomaniac. And with the increased adulation, he went more crazy with power. I suspect that many would say the same about Jesus, yet Jesus never wielded any power. His message was of sacrifice, whereas Mohammed’s was one of conquest. And it is for that reason I fear Islam will never be a social religion, but always one of violence.

    As for Spanish (sticking my nose into the conversation), I do remember the conflict between Castillian and Mexican Spanish. In school in California, we were taught Castillian, but that was 40 years ago. And the teacher did constantly remind us of the differences.

    But not being a native speaker (like my wife), I was not aware of the differences between Mexican and South American Spanish! Which I guess is why my wife does not always understand our Venezuelan friends (my wife is second generation, her mother was from Guadalajara), But they are similar enough that it is about the same as talking to an English guy and working out what a lift is versus an elevator.

  28. adolfogiurfa says:

    @philjourdan Venezuelan spanish is the same as that spoke in caribbean countries, as language it is affected by temperature (!!), that version is spoke faster and with mouths open as to cool the lungs, and in a kind of singing way, and it is influenced by african americans. The nearest to the Castillian spanish is that of Lima, Peru, as it was the place where the spanish viceroys governed south america, so you will find the purest forms of castillian spanish in Peru and Colombia.
    BTW, all these countries became independent after the French Revolution which was applied to these countries through the free Masonry of the Scottish rite, which from then on sought to disappear all monarchies and its possessions in favor, at the beginning, of England. Then this secularizing movement had to replace all leading classes as to replace them by more easy to control people, such a “democratization” is like replacing the order, say in a tree structure, where there are cells which are part of the trunk, others part of the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits, by one single specialization, say that of the trunk, thus being at the end of the day, an oncological construction: Instead of a “tree” we have a tumor. This is such a NWO.

  29. jim2 says:

    Winston Churchhill:

    How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proseltyzing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @philjourdan: Very few people, but very, very few, realize, that the “arab spring” it is part of the “French Revolution” made by the lenders´elite: Those “stages” of the world revolution were already actualized in most of the occidental countries (example: Land reform in Italy in 1948, in Peru 1968,etc.) and IT IS A CANCER like development, where hierarchical organization and division of labor is substituted by an “equalization” wrongly called “democracy” (as the Greek democracy was really the democracy of a ruling social class among their members) really is a Tyranny of a very small elite. (Do you remember those “mergers” and aggressive buys of the 90´s which replace LOCAL properties, in the hands of LOCAL aristocracies, and transferred them to a few international corporations, owned by the speculative elite, those “lenders” of old.
    Not to surprise if nature sends the earth to be treated with some kind of “chemotherapy”……to remove or kill this kind of homogenous and unnatural growth, really a neoplasia.

  31. philjourdan says:

    @adolfogiurfa – You explained one thing I have noticed. Maria speaks very fast! I cannot really learn much from what she says (I had a couple years of Spanish in school 40 years ago, but am picking up a lot more now). Even around my wife’s family, their speaking is more measured (much like English), and not the staccato that Maria has!

    I did learn one word from her as she uses it a lot (I guess like a pause word in English – um, er, ah, or the worst “you know”) – pero. Did not take me long to figure that one out!

  32. Pascvaks says:

    As much as we in the West have ‘grown’ (or ‘shrunk’?) in the matter of theology, and as much as we may not want to get in an argument with anyone about what they think of us or themselves or whatever, and as stupid and wasteful we think anything more than an obvious-to-a-moron threat should be, we may be forced into a corner not of our choosing and made to kill fools who do not think the way we do. Fools who are nearly all innocents, but fools who follow their fathers and brothers, and who in turn follow madmen bent on jihad. It’s insane! It’s the worst nightmare in the world. But it may happen. It appears to be happening. No we are not blameless, we have been foolish too. We have backed ourselves into the corner as much as the fools have backed us. We have told them and ourselves as many lies as they have told us and they have told themselves. There is nothing new under the Sun, nothing! One side will win and die, the other side will lose and die more. We don’t have an overpopulation problem, we haven’t in thousands of years, we have countless ways to ensure that we don’t. We have one way that we seem to prefer more than any other; some call it jihad, some call it war.

  33. adolfogiurfa says:

    This is what is happening NOW in your beloved country (UN´s AGENDA 21 in action just for you kids!):

  34. astrostevo says:

    E.M. Smith :

    Good, in-depth and interesting stuff here. Cheers.

    Regarding the quote :

    “What do you think of Western Culture?”
    answer: “I think it would be a very good idea.”
    (I’ve lost the pointer to where it was said… maybe I’ll search it up after lunch…)

    Pretty sure that’s usually attributed to Mahatma Gandhi although it could be apocryphal.

    @jim2 – 21 September 2012 at 1:10 pm :

    Great quote. Thanks.

  35. BobN says:

    @EM – Thanks for taking the effort on this, good information!

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    @BobN & astrostevo :

    You are most welcome. Hopefully it is helpful while also saving some folks the work of reading the whole thing to reach the same conclusions…

    @Dearime:

    There’s a wiki on Koran origins that looks reasonably OK. Matches what I’ve read elsewhere.:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_and_development_of_the_Quran

    The compilation of the Qur’an spanned several decades and forms an important part of early Islamic history. Muslims believe it began in the year 610 when Gabriel (Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrāʾīl) appeared to prophet Muhammad in the cave Hira near Mecca, reciting to him the first verses of the Sura Iqra (al-`Alaq), thus beginning the revelation of the Qur’an. Throughout his life, Muhammad continued to have revelations until before his death in 632. Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike disagree on whether the Prophet compiled the Qur’an during his lifetime or if this task began with the first caliph Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (632-634). Once the Qur’an was compiled, due to the unanimity of the sources, Muslims agree that the Qur’an we see today was canonized by Uthman ibn Affan (653-656). Upon the canonization of the Qur’an, Uthman had the other codices that existed at the time destroyed and burnt. Due to this, it has become difficult for scholars to look at the different codices from before the canonization because no manuscripts remain and all that is left is varying accounts from different historians. Even though Uthman canonized the Qur’an during his reign in 653-656, variations still remained in the Qur’an, which can be seen in the early manuscripts of the Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties.

    Due to varying historical documents, controversy is seen amongst scholars as to whether the Uthmanic codex we have before us today is authentic and complete. Most Muslim scholars believe the Uthmanic Qur’an is what was revealed to the Prophet in its entirety, while others believe verses were removed and other codices of the Qur’an are more absolute.

    Some scholars debate the validity of the collection of the Qur’an as a whole. It is questioned as to whether the Qur’an ever existed in its entirety during Muhammad’s or Uthman’s time. Traditionalist scholars accept much of early Muslim literature, albeit with a grain of salt, while skeptics reject this literature in its entirety. Both these views are generally opposed by Muslim academia. The text of the Qur’an used today is taken from one of the seven variant readings chosen by Ibn Mujahid (he reported there were fourteen) in the 10th century and published as the Royal Cairo edition by King Fuad of Egypt in 1924

    Original compilation starts right after he kicks the bucket. Takes a decade or three IIRC. (632 to 655 ish). Then we’ve got some folks quibbling and one guy decides to burn all the others (thus proving his copy is the correct one… Guess ‘Koran burning’ isn’t all that bad… as long as you are a Believer…)

    Diacritics / vowel marks get added. (So actual words marked, and one hopes that they got it right…) and then a bit more standardizing… in about the 900s… when there were about a dozen give or take a few, versions.

    But This Time For Sure! THIS one is the only true uncorrupted and exact perfect Word Of God direct FROM God! No doubt about it…

    The echos of ‘older stuff’ and ‘Biblical Variants” is no surprise. He is supposed to be repeated older Biblical sources as he’s preaching.

    Per folks ‘not existing’: Generally, folks only wrote down stuff that mattered. It was not a cheap, easy, or widely used process. We also have good histories from other folks who pretty much say all those folks existed. I’d not doubt that bit too much.

    (For example, we have Roman records about the problems in Jerusalem…)

    @PhilJourdan:

    I started Spanish in 6th grade, so had 3 years in grammar school then 2 more in high school. That makes it about 50 years ago for me. Odd… thinking that the Spanish I learned then might now be an “archaic” form… as it was likely a 20 or 40 year old dialect anyway (to make it into books) and now even that is 1/2 century more ‘out of date’…

    In the ’70s I was at a friends home and a guest of theirs was on the phone. Taking fairly fast. I could follow it, but was right in the middle of thinking “He speaks it very well, but his accent and word choice need work. He is clearly a European or American who learned it in school.” when my friend introduced me to him and expained that he was an Argentine native…

    The Argentinian Spanish was significantly different from Mexican Spanish, and “shifted” in pronunciation from what we’d learned in school too.

    Then I watched the movie “Before the Fall” on TV. Tres Dias title in Spanish.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0984155/
    http://www.3diaslapelicula.com/

    Don’t know what dialect of Spanish it is in, but I can only pick out some words and phrases. Every so often something comes on a TV in the background, and it’s the Spanish I know… It was a bit maddening, but taught me that Spanish has many dialects I’m just unaware of, entirely…

    (Someday I need to track down what dialect they are speaking… one of those nagging loose ends in life…)

    Per Islam and the tradition of violence: It looks like the percent devoted to Jihad rises over time in the ‘subroutines’ reaching a peak in the Hadith. So it’s not just Mohammed, but the followers that expand the “traditions” of conquest.

    @Adolfo:

    Heard a Colombian speaking once. Very clean Spanish. I commented on it and she proceeded to inform me how proud the Colombians were of their “pure” Spanish…

    Per the Masons and England: They were not so much in favor of England as against Monarchy and Popes. Wanted to devolve power away from aristocracy. IMHO, that’s a good thing… We got the USA and a French Republic. Both doing mostly good things for a couple of hundred years. Lately not so much…

    @Jim2:

    Nice, very nice. Always knew old Winston had a keen eye for things…

    As Science is now being corrupted into a Green Religion, one wonders how long before his fall prophetic statement starts to show color…

    @Pascvaks:

    What causes me worry is that our “leaders” make very stupid decisions. These seem to be based on some “sound bite idea” and without anyone thinking it through to the end point.

    Like Australia deciding to take in a load of Muslim “Refugees”. Now they were on the list of countries with riots after “the movie trailer”. It will only get worse, as you have a religion that as a strategy pushes for high birth rates smack in the middle of a country with low birth rates thanks to college education and The Green Religion.

    The “end game” of that is simple to see: Australia will be having ever increasing “issues”. NOT due to any particular group being evil; but do to mixing groups that are NOT able to “play well with others”. They will be about 6% Muslim in under 30 years. 12% in 60. 25% in 90. In 120 years the majority will vote in Sharia law and taxes for the infidels… Demographics is destiny…. (The only real consolation is that the US is one cycle ahead of them so we go to Sharia in 90 years… maybe sooner with ongoing immigration and no border control…)

    So that, then, means we are in a 3 way race condition:

    1) Sharia, as above.
    2) A massive war / expulsion ( vis Nazi methods).
    3) A Reformation in Islam and they match us in modernity and birthrates.

    I don’t expect #3 has a hope in hell of happening.
    I expect once the first country of historical note reaches stage 1, the others will blow up.
    I fear we’re on track for #2. Probably in Europe first, then spreading. Watch France / Germany.

    @Adolfo:

    In my more paranoid indulgence moments, I wonder if “this is by design” just as the British Empire used to mix minorities in order to assure strife, and the ongoing need for The Empire to keep the peace…

    Keep an eye on UN “Lawmaking” that places control of such peace keeping in the hands of the elite at the UN…

    I hope that long before we get to that point, things “resolve” otherwise.
    “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”

  37. BobN says:

    @EM – Good observations of the future. Europe had a bad declining population and opened the flood gates to immigration. The first generation seemed to work out, low percentages so they fit in. AS the numbers grew the bad surfaced with high school dropout and unemployment. The immigrants were now becoming a drag on society, plus the numbers reached the point that the Muslims started asserting themselves. All over Europe you see enclaves of Muslims that rule by their law in those neighborhoods. Even the police do not venture into those areas. This will only grow as evident by the statistics you cited. If Europe doesn’t stop this soon they will loose the traditional western culture and be taken over by Muslim Rule. The population is such that it may not be stoppable by immigration policy.
    The US is doing the same thing, Obama has thrown open the immigration to the Muslim Community. We are at war with radical Islam, so what does our president do, give them priority on immigration and assists in bringing in big blocks of dependent Muslims. We bring in 80k at a time, giving them free Housing, Cars, cash and EBT cards. I have seen the Housing in Seattle, Its top notch. White I find interesting is that the government is locating many in the Bible belt of the South. Tennessee has a very big Muslim group. If I didn’t know better I would think someone has an agenda to break the Christian stronghold of the Bible belt.
    In my opinion this will end in only one way! Look to Deer-born (sp) as the leading example of growing Muslim takeover. The cops now enforce Muslim rule over the rest of the community.

  38. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: I have just seen the trailer of the movie: “Tres dias”, well, the language is spanish from Spain, as it is usually spoken there.

  39. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: Keep an eye on UN “Lawmaking” that places control of such peace keeping in the hands of the elite at the UN
    The UN bureaucracy have been convinced they are the “chosen ones” of a world after “sustainability” has been applied. The “Club of Rome ” has taken care of involving many of them.
    BTW. We are here talking about “Religions” when the Elite, has long ago decided, our new creed: A rare concoction of the existing creeds with esoteric ideas from the “Lucis Trust”:
    http://www.lucistrust.org/en/arcane_school/reflections/problems_of_humanity
    Already having its first “church” in the same UN´s building.
    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_un05.htm
    A brave new world…order!

  40. j ferguson says:

    E.M.
    Thanks for persisting with this project. I’ve read the post 2 of the three times it will take for me to be certain i have a grasp of it. At this point, your “take” seems more in accord with mine than previously. I think the first time I read Koran, I was looking for specific things which it was alleged to contain.

    One was “The most foolish thing which eateth up the wealth of a believer is building”

    As an architect, I was not enchanted with this thought, but then I had no believers so far as I knew among my clients.

    And it wasn’t in there – maybe the Hadith?

    I’m still working my way through it one more time in between readings in other things of greater interest to me. There are some real pearls in the longer suras.

    For example, the one where the proscription of involving God’s name in a curse or other mundane reference. It’s ok with God so long as you weren’t serious.

    It could be that by 600CE, God had accepted that a lot of worthies swore and eased the restriction a bit, or that the Prophet was more worldly than Moses, or something like that.

    I liked the idea. I’m always charmed by an aside in there with all the thundering – “Oh, by the way, if you didn’t mean it don’t worry about it.”

  41. Pascvaks says:

    @JF –
    The way we’re going these days, nothing is our responsibility or fault, especially when we get ‘emotional’; with all those bad body chemicals –not to mention the ones others have added to our environment– streaming through our bodies, why there’s just no way that god would hold anyone responsible for anything, so why would a modern legal system do that either. When you come down to the rock bottom post-modern basics, we are not responsible for anything, life just happens. (I’m really not real sure why we’re suppose to be our brother’s keeper anymore and pay all these social welfare taxes, or care about the price of water in Saudi Arabia, it seems that when you throw individual responsibility out the window that the baby goes with the bath water;-) Ain’t life and philosophy a beach? (I always throw religion into and under the philosophy bus;-)

  42. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: why there’s just no way that god would hold anyone responsible for anything
    Are you asking for a Sharia?

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @BobN:

    Something is being done ‘to plan’, but what is not clear is “who’s plan”? Riding Adolfo’s hobby horse for a while: The sudden acceptance and spreading around of Muslim groups happened to start right about at the same time that the Masonic Order laid the Koran down on the table next to the Bible and Torah and said that the “God” and book you had to believe in could be any of them…

    This will not end well. There are dramatic structural conflicts between the cultures.

    @Adolfo:

    I don’t know if the trailer has the same dialect in it as the bulk of the movie. It’s also possible that my hearing loss, coupled to TV set sound quality being not the best, made it hard to follow. Still, to me, it was like the first time I heard a person speaking Texan. I could tell it was English, sort of, but not follow it… Also when the TV in the background in some scenes would be delivering the news, it was in the Spanish I could follow and recognized.

    At any rate, I have no doubt “it is the Spanish they speak in Spain”, but which one? ;-)

    BTW, I think Pascvaks is particularly NOT asking for sharia. It has a large dose of “must do” and being “held accountable” and he’s advocating ‘not that’ (or rather questioning the why of it…)

  44. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: God´s laws are the same as known natural laws….it is our RIGHT to divide by zero and having everything screwed up….even God himself cannot make 2+2 different than 4 (we would disappear from the “program” right away, Earth included, though a silly “liberalism” taken to insanity extremes, says: WE CAN,….sure WE CAN….screw it all up, that´s our whole “free choice”.

  45. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo -
    Not asking, just observing. World has gone crazy, I’m getting off at the next stop, too many “Contraries” riding horses backward, walking backward, holding hands with coyote, flying with crows, going naked in snow. Stupid! Something in water! ;-)

  46. BobN says:

    I have a question that maybe a more scholarly member on here can answer. I have read things on the internet that state that Mohammad was created by the Pope to create a counter force in that day to help the Vatican gain control of Jerusalem. In other words, the Catholic church started Islam. Does anyone know the legitimate history of this and to what extent it is true. I keep hearing this and seeing references to it, but don’t know if its just Internet speak.

  47. adolfogiurfa says:

    @BobN: It is just internet speak, as you said. Politicians could have never created a Religion, they are only able to concoct policies as to increase their masters´revenues.

  48. BobN says:

    @adolfogiurfa – I’m a bit skeptical as to this story, but I have seen it on the Internet discussed as if it were fact. The early Popes were as much political as they were religious leaders, if not more. I posed the question as I keep seeing it in various discussions, so I’m a bit hesitant to totally dismiss it. I leave it as an open ended question, but I suspect you may be right.

  49. BobN says:

    @adolfogiurfa – As an example of what I was saying, here is a link to one of several sites that discuss the ties between Catholics and Islam.
    http://www.redicecreations.com/specialreports/2006/04apr/catholicislam.html

    Please note, I was raised Catholic and don’t pose this as a slight to the religion, just looking for the truth.

  50. adolfogiurfa says:

    BobN: Perhaps the Catholic Church had a kind of Central Intelligence Agency back then…LOL! perhaps it was then called “Operation Arab Autumn” :-)

  51. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @BobN; I have been paying attention for 60 years and this is the first time that I have heard that story. However I believe that the Islamic creed was developed to counter the attempts of Roman subjugation of the North African christian sects. So in a way it IS a creation caused by the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church.
    In my opinion the christian creed was developed by servants and slaves. Islam by merchants and brigands. So there is considerable difference in views of GOD and behavior towards others.
    A study of the creation and evolution of the Mormon Church is insightful on how creeds are created. As this took place in the last 200 years and in the U.S., much of the evidence is still out there in spite of attempts to sanitize the records. pg

  52. BobN says:

    @adolfogiurfa – I’m think the boss man went and gave speeches and got them riled up, but that’s a pretty unbelievable scenario. Yes, Operation Arab Autumn, highly likely!

    @P.G. Sharrow – I was shocked when I first heard it, but it comes up a lot in discussions. I tend to think your theory is more plausible. Its funny, I have known and lived around a lot of Mormons my whole live, but I know very little of their teachings. Maybe that’s my next project, read the book of Mormon’s. I know their genealogy records are incredible.

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    @BobN:

    On the “Story” of the Pope “did it”:

    I don’t think so.

    Why? Two very simple and very strong reasons.

    1) First, and most simple. The teachings of Mohammed are very anti-catholic. They go out of their way to disparage the “Trilogy” form of Christology. Heavy on the ‘no graven image’ thing too. Basically, several Suras are aimed right at Catholicism (as opposed to the local Nestorian form that looks to be the one he was pushing). The Catholics would NOT push for someone to “talk dirt” about them and push the one they were trying to stamp out.

    2) The focus on the Jews and Jerusalem just smells of fabrication. They were bit players AT BEST in that time window. There were two major empires waring over the area. The Byzantines on one side. The Persians on the other. They swing back and forth a couple of times, basically wasting each other. Only long after that, and AFTER Mohammed has been rolling for a while, does Islam sweep in and pick off the leftovers. The Jews are just an irrelevant footnote in all that. The real players were the Byzantines and the Persians.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassanid_Empire#Second_Golden_Era_.28498.E2.80.93622.29

    So in 610 AD Mohammed gets his first revelation. It takes until 622 AD for the Medina / Mecca move. In 632 AD he dies. What’s going on during those years?

    However, Maurice was overthrown and killed by Phocas (602–610) in 602, Khosrau II used the murder of his benefactor as a pretext to begin a new invasion, which benefited from continuing civil war in the Byzantine Empire, and met little effective resistance. Khosrau’s generals systematically subdued the heavily fortified frontier cities of Byzantine Mesopotamia and Armenia, laying the foundations for unprecedented expansion. The Persians overran Syria and captured Antioch in 611.

    In 613, outside Antioch, the Persian generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin, decisively defeated a major counter-attack led in person by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Thereafter, the Persian advance continued unchecked. Jerusalem fell in 614, Alexandria in 619 and the rest of Egypt by 621. The Sassanid dream of restoring the Achaemenid boundaries was close to completion. This remarkable peak of expansion was paralleled by a blossoming of Persian art, music and architecture. The Byzantine Empire was on the verge of collapse and the borders of the Achaemenid Empire came close to being restored on all fronts.

    In short, were I a crafty old Pope, would I set up a “push” for a Christian sect I despised off in a ‘nowhere’ and aimed at a minor group of oppressed people? When THE guy swinging a big, er, “stick”, is the Persian Empire on a heck of a roll and kicking backside on the OTHER Roman Empire, the Byzantines?

    Exactly what “mind set” has me look at the Persians over running Jerusalem and thinking “Gotta get those Jews…. I know, I’ll support a rival Christian sect that calls me a heretic!”.

    It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    So time passes. The Byzantine / Persian thing continues, and both get bled by it.

    While originally seeming successful at a first glance, the campaign of Khosrau II had actually exhausted the Persian army and Persian treasuries. In an effort to rebuild the national treasuries, Khosrau overtaxed the population. Thus, seeing the opportunity, Heraclius (610–641) drew on all his diminished and devastated empire’s remaining resources, reorganized his armies and mounted a remarkable counter-offensive. Between 622 and 627 he campaigned against the Persians in Anatolia and the Caucasus, winning a string of victories against Persian forces under Khosrau, Shahrbaraz, Shahin and Shahraplakan, sacking the great Zoroastrian temple at Ganzak and securing assistance from the Khazars and Western Turkic Khaganate.

    Now look at those dates. We’re about 5 years away from Mohammad dying. He’s still trying to get Arabia under his belt. The Byzantines have made a surge back and are now kicking Persian butt.

    So again, as a crafty old Pope: Would I have wanted to wait 18 years and watch two major empires duke it out, thinking all the time “that nobody in the desert, he’s the ticket! Get him to take down the Jews!!!!” Or would I be whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the Byzantine Emperor about some Western Empire support, if he hands Jerusalem back to me or has the Byzantine Pope put back under my control? Which has the best odds?

    Then we get the big harry guys from “up north” coming in to stir the pot:

    In 626, Constantinople was besieged by Slavic and Avar forces which were supported by a Persian army under Shahrbaraz on the far side of the Bosphorus, but attempts to ferry the Persians across were blocked by the Byzantine fleet and the siege ended in failure. In 627-628, Heraclius mounted a winter invasion of Mesopotamia and, despite the departure of his Khazar allies, defeated a Persian army commanded by Rhahzadh in the Battle of Nineveh. He then marched down the Tigris, devastating the country and sacking Khosrau’s palace at Dastagerd. He was prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal and conducted further raids before withdrawing up the Diyala into north-western Iran.

    The impact of Heraclius’s victories, the devastation of the richest territories of the Sassanid Empire, and the humiliating destruction of high-profile targets such as Ganzak and Dastagerd, fatally undermined Khosrau’s prestige and his support among the Persian aristocracy. In early 628, he was overthrown and murdered by his son Kavadh II (628), who immediately brought an end to the war, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629, Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony. Kavadh died within months, and chaos and civil war followed. Over a period of four years and five successive kings, including two daughters of Khosrau II and spahbod Shahrbaraz, the Sassanid Empire weakened considerably. The power of the central authority passed into the hands of the generals. It would take several years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and the Sassanids never had time to recover fully.

    In the spring of 632, a grandson of Khosrau I who had lived in hiding, Yazdegerd III, ascended the throne. The same year, the first raiders from the Arab tribes, newly united by Islam, arrived in Persian territory.

    So now we’ve already got Jerusalem back in the hands of Christians. And the Muslims show up at the time Mohammed died. Somehow this timeline is just not working out right for that Pope wants Islam to “get the Jews” angle…

    From your link:

    “The Roman Catholic monk had fanned the flames for future Jewish persecutions at the hands of the followers of Muhammad. The Vatican desperately wanted Jerusalem because of its religious significance, but was blocked by the Jews.

    Would that be the Jews running the Persian Empire or the Jews running the Byzantine Empire? Oh, wait, they were being over run and subjugated by them both…

    Another ‘stink bomb’:

    ‘Teachers were sent to young Muhammad and he had intensive training. Muhammad studied the works of St. Augustine which prepared him for his “great calling.” The Vatican had Catholic Arabs across North Africa spread the story of a great one who was about to rise up among the people and be the chosen one of their God.

    ‘While Muhammad was being prepared, he was told that his enemies were the Jews and that the only true Christians were Roman Catholic. He was taught that others calling themselves Christians were actually wicked impostors and should be destroyed. Many Muslims believe this.

    ‘Muhammad began receiving “divine revelations” and his wife’s Catholic cousin Waraquah helped interpret them. From this came the Koran. In the fifth year of Muhammad’s mission, persecution came against his followers because they refused to worship the idols in the Kaaba.

    So supposedly Mohammed is being schooled in Catholicism for the PURPOSE of stamping out the other Christians in favor of Catholicism… so why are his suras particularly anti-trilogy? NO son of God and No Jesus as part of God. Just Jesus as a human prophet…

    Looked at from the other side of time and space it’s just as bad. Up in the region of the Roman Catholics, things were very dicey:

    http://earth-history.com/Europe/medieval.htm

    500 AD Clovis, founder of the Frankish state, conquers most of France and Belgium, converting his territories to Western Catholic Christianity. He founds the Merovingian dynasty and passes his kingdom on to his sons, who begin fighting one another for additional territory.

    ca. 550 AD Various tribes, among them the Franks, Alemans, Thuringians, and Saxons, are active in central Europe, an area the Romans called Germania. Some, like the Franks, adopt Christianity in the fifth century; others, like the Thuringians, remain pagan even in the face of brutal efforts to convert them. These Germanic peoples operate in small bands of warriors, owe a fierce loyalty to their chieftains, and move from one settlement to the next rather than establishing urban centers. Metalwork is chief among the arts of the period. Germanic artisans make jewelry, decorated weapons, and other portable luxury objects with rich surface patterns, abstracted animal forms, and colorful inlays.

    ca. 575–591 AD Gregory of Tours writes the Historia Francorum, a ten-book history recording the deeds of the Franks. Gregory becomes bishop of Tours in 573. His writings serve as the sole testimony to much of the architecture of his day, as most of these buildings no longer stand. He praises the craftsmanship of his generation and is a patron of many buildings and artworks himself, including a new Cathedral of Saint-Martin at Tours (destroyed in the Norman invasions of the ninth century).

    So basically everything in the “back yard” of Rome is a mess. Germans and French all having wars and generally being destructive. Now, just 20 years before Mohammed gets inspiration, what’s on old Gregory’s mind?

    590 AD Pope Gregory, originally a Benedictine, creates a religious policy for western Europe by fusing the Roman papacy with Benedictine monasticism. He creates the Latin church, which serves to counteract the subordination of the Roman popes to Eastern emperors. As the fourth great “church father,” St. Gregory the Great draws his theology from Ambrose of Milan, Jerome and AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO. His concepts of purgatory and penance widen the gulf between the Eastern and Western Churches. He reigns until his death in 604.

    599–600 AD In two letters to Bishop Serenus of Marseille, Pope Gregory the Great criticizes the bishop’s destruction of images in his diocese, arguing that pictures are useful for educating the illiterate. Gregory’s statements will serve as the basis for church doctrine concerning artistic images in the West for the next thousand years.

    So he’s still “inward focused” and trying to get his house in order. Still working on some of his own “iconoclasts” and having some arguments with the Eastern Byzantine Church (though I think it isn’t called that yet…) Not exactly the kind of context where you start thinking: “You know, those Jews off in Jerusalem, maybe I need to get an Arab to be mean to them in, oh, 20 years…” Then he dies 6 years before the (by then trained) Mohammed is rolled out…

    610 AD Heraclius becomes Emperor in Constantinople as the Persian Empire is attempting the takeover of Byzantine civilization. For the sake of convenience, the rule of Heraclius generally marks the beginning of Byzantine history, though it can be argued that Byzantine civilization begins with Diocletian, Constantine or Justinian.

    And now we’re back on the Persian timeline… So I”ve got pandemonium recently in my back yard. I’m trying to create a new church structure and get folks all singing from the same hymnal, as it were. I’ve got a power struggle with the “Other Catholics” off in Byzantium I’ve got TWO empires arguing over who gets Jerusalem (and most of the rest of the old Egyptian Empire to boot); either one of which could have me for lunch and not really notice.

    So the thing I’m going to do is get some orphan working as sheep chaser out in the Arabian desert to swing things my way by hiding in caves and having visions? And would that be the Pope that died too early, or the one that has had all of 6 years to get things all under his control, cook up the scheme, and make it all happen. (Remember that envoys on horse from The West to Arabia though battle grounds do not communicate fast…)

    Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God.

    That’s my grand papal strategy?

    There’s more, but I’m pressed for time at the moment. To me, the whole thing just has “hoax” all over it. Too many things that “don’t fit” and a load of things that nicely fit present biases and present “mythologies” that did not exist then.

    So: Sucky timeline. Lousy “reality check” on Papal motivations. Fits a prejudiced present time centered narrative. Stated actions do not match the Koranic verses.

    Maybe on some slow day I’ll revisit it and see if I can make a posting out of it…

  54. BobN says:

    @EM – You have very sound arguments and present a good case, it just bothers me that something that seems so crazy on the surface is constantly being mentioned as fact in various blogs. You would think someone like yourself would have thrown up enough flack to let that urban legend die. Amazing how things can persist.

  55. E.M.Smith says:

    I’d never heard the story before. One thing to do is just look at ‘which blogs’. Do they all share a “style” or “theme”? All in places historically anti-Catholic or anti-Jew (or both)? Do they share some particular religious bent?

    Another thing to do is take a few key words from the “story” (like the supposed name of the person confided in) and search on them for “debunk” and / or “hoax” and / or ‘urban legend’ and see what pops up.

    FWIW, my favorite is the one of the dying kid who wants greeting cards as he’s dying of cancer and wants to get in the world record books. He recovered some decades back, has pleaded dozens of time for folks to STOP sending cards. They still come….. buckets of them…

    Now instead of something that benign, you have a story that pump up Jewish Persecution while at the same time denigrating Catholicism and pissing off Muslims? I can think of a few Million folks who would like to keep that kind of story ‘in play’… (i.e. anyone not in those three groups… and some who ARE but like to feel guilty!)

    It is also the case that very very few people have any real “critical thinking skills” (see the folks slavishly devoted to Global Warming who can’t do math or physics…) and of those that do; many have no desire to use them (sloth) or would rather exploit the game than follow unprofitable truth… It’s a very very small subset of humanity that can debunk it, will spend the time on it, and will have the moral compass to NOT try to exploit it instead. Thanks to that, we get all sorts of “Nutty” things that people do and support and believe…

  56. E.M.Smith says:

    A quick search on “Vatican created Islam hoax” rapidly showed that the better key would have been the name of the supposed “Jesuit”…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Rivera

    Cornerstone’s account

    According to the Cornerstone exposé: Rivera had a ‘history of legal entanglements’ including fraud, credit card theft, and writing bad checks. Warrants had been issued for his arrest in New Jersey and Florida, and he was wanted by the Spanish police for ‘swindles and cheats’; while in the USA in 1967, he claimed to be collecting money for a Spanish college, which never received this money. The details of his claims changed: In 1964 he said he had left the Catholic Church in July 1952, but he later put the date at March 20, 1967; despite this, he was still promoting Catholicism in a newspaper interview of August that same year. Although supposedly placed in the sanitorium in 1965 and held there for three months, he gave the date of his release as September 1967, leaving a period of over a year unaccounted.

    The document exhibited by Rivera to prove his status as a Catholic priest was fraudulently obtained and the Catholic Church denies his claims of having been a Jesuit priest or a bishop. He had only one sister in London; she was not called Maria, was not a nun, and did not live in a convent. In an employment form dated 1963 he claimed marriage to Carmen Lydia Torres, and the couple had two children in the USA when his own account had him a celibate priest in Spain.

    Cornerstone also questioned Rivera’s claim to various degrees, including three doctorates (Th.D., D.D., and Ph.D.), reporting that his known chronology did not allow enough time for him to have completed these degrees and that he had admitted to receiving them from a Colorado diploma mill.

    Allegations against Catholicism

    According to Rivera, Jesuits are responsible for the creation of communism, Islam, and Nazism, and causing the World Wars, recession, the Jonestown Massacre, and the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (a Catholic); he further claims that the Catholic Church wants to spread homosexuality and abortion, that the Charismatic Movement is a front for the Catholic Church, that the Popes are antichrists, and that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon. He has also claimed that the Jesuits were the masterminds behind the Medieval Inquisition in the 13th century, despite the fact that the Jesuits were not established until the 1540s.

    Allegations that the Church created Islam

    Rivera also alleged that Muhammad was manipulated by the Catholic Church to create Islam and destroy the Jews and other groups of Christians, and that his first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, was actually a Catholic nun in an Arabian monastery who was told by a bishop to marry him and sow the seeds of what was to become Islam. Rivera also alleged that the Vatican staged an apparition at Fatima (named after Muhammed’s daughter) to cozy up to Muslims. He further claims that it also staged the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II using a Muslim as the marksman “to guilt-induce the Muslim world, bringing them still closer to the Catholic faith!”

    Sounds like a deranged person to me…

  57. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Revelations, to my knowledge, do exist, as when a sudden realization of a truth or an arrangement of laws/truths which explain facts around us, which through such an enlightenment become crystal clear for one´s intellect (really an “Apocalypse” in the etymological sense).
    They must involve certain conditions in the “receiver”, thus the analogy with a radio receiver is adequate: it must involve the physical phenomena of resonance, favored, perhaps, by an increase of the emitter´s signal.
    Gnostics implicitly referred to this possibility and tradition tells us that certain conditions favor its actualization, like the “egregore”, a group of men working together for a common purpose or through the potentiation of a common blood or heritage. Franz Anton Mesmer observed this phenomenon in his studies of the human “magnetism”. Not surprisingly it could happen in certain epochs or during some cosmological/environmental conditions.
    Churches, as political entities dealing only with “temporal” power and plain acquisition of power and gold, did not obviously liked such “enlightenments” as they could endanger their powers: Just remember “academia” attacking “deniers” for denying their creed of “climate change”. Such “institutions” have always rejected any “awakening” of the grassroots as it is happening today: They prefer us joyfully and sillily amused and “distracted” from real powers/knowledge which could jeopardize their so “hardly” acquired assets and privileges.

  58. adolfogiurfa says:

    BTW: It was surprising hearing, yesterday, to Iranian president Ahmadinejad, at the UN speaking favorably of a “New World Order”, `a la Bush´. How many “New World Orders” do exist?…at least it seems there are two versions. Quite strange indeed. Only E.M. will clarify this for us.

  59. Petrossa says:

    The coming of the Mahdi was always part of AmenJihad’s blurred vision. He sees himself really as part of that. It’s main belief is that once this mighty Imam will be born, islam will rule the whole world. He will unfortunately only come after the destruction of the current one.

    Which in view of Iran’s desperate struggle for nuclear armaments is somewhat scary. One wonders who put Sadam Hussein on the chopping block….Now Peter has cried wolf Iran can play that card.

  60. Pascvaks says:

    “Beware of false prophets bearing gifts and swords and speaking in tongues and wearing strange clothes or spending all your money and saying “Four More Years!””

    Life’s a beach! Ya’ just can’t trust anyone anymore!
    (Not that we ever could, not really, right?;-)

  61. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    Near as I can tell, even Chimps and Gorilla have cheating and lying as strategies.

    @Petrossa:

    Yeah. That’s the “creapy bit”. MAD doesn’t work when one of the parties WANTS self destruction and eagerly awaits the “end days”…

    @Adolfo:

    My problem with the “One World Order” fantasy / speculation is simple. It’s the point Pascvaks raised. Nobody, especially at that level, trusts anybody…

    So I believe LOTS of them will ‘talk a good game’ about one world order, while secretly muttering to themselves: “Yes. MINE, with ME in charge, doing what I want.”

    So the Muslims want “One World Order” with Islam for all… except that the Sunni and Shia have different ideas about who is a Muslim and which Islam rules….

    The Russians are on board with “One World Order”, and them in charge…

    China is “Good to go” with this whole “One World Order” thing, especially as it is letting them build up massive manufacturing facilities and come to dominate global economics; THEN they will be able to force everyone else into the Communist / Socialist Centrally Planned Market system… with them in charge…

    The EU is busy setting up the “One World Order” with the EU to be at the core of it. All those old Empire relationships being restored, with Kings and Aristocracy for some and “Social Democracy” for others (lead by children of the same linage) and all under the EU One Power… Next stop, the world (via the UN)… and finally being able to tell Russia how to do things and getting the USA under “control”…

    While folks in the USA Power Elite are all in favor of “One World Order” with them exempt from actually taking orders from anyone else and with them letting the UN Romper Room let the other guys blow off steam as we de-facto tell them what to do…

    See the problem?

    IMHO, the “New World Order” / “One World Order” is just the same old Human quest for power and dominance, lying and alliance forming, skulduggery and deception. Just for a little while they have been able to “run with it” as we had ever increasing global “stuff” and production. Hey, it’s been “good times” in climate (food) and technological wonders have stayed ahead of stupidity for about 100 years. Easy to agree when you are arguing over how much MORE each of you get.

    But we’re turning a corner. Due to a cold shift in progress, food and comfort are going to downturn. Due to the Demographic Bomb, desired consumption in excess of production is rising all over the globe. Due to stupidity (i.e. central planning in stead of free markets) our rate of progress is slowing (especially in the Eurasian area, but increasingly in the Americas too).

    So we’re going to have a SHTF moment. At that point, the “One World Order” does what they always do. It breaks down into the petty bickering, back stabbing, and attempts at raw domination that have always been “diplomacy by other means”…

    IMHO, we’re already seeing those processes unfold in Greece, Spain, The Muslim World and a few others. American culture is imploding (can’t even build a pipeline to move Canadian oil to our markets?) with more folks voting for “Give me the Dole” over “Let me make a living”.

    It’s easy to agree when times are good. It breaks down when times are bad.

    So the “One World Order” is doomed, due to human nature and the cyclical nature of the world. Yes, they will try. Yes, during a collapse the hyper rich rarely suffer (French Revolution being one of the few times). But “shit happens”. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

    There are riots from Spain to Pakistan and we’ve got 20% range unemployment over much of the same arc. Civil war in several countries in that arc too (Libya maybe just wrapped up). Hardly a case of everyone hard at work creating wealth for the aristocracy…. IFF they are “running things” they’re not very good at optimizing benefit, even for their own pocket…

    Heck look at Syria. Russia saying “Leave ‘em alone”. The USA and EU saying “Do Something”. China watching and waiting to play the card that helps them most. The Arab States suggesting THEY take over (and hoping they don’t get to do it). Iran pot stirring. Israel ready to nuke things if they get out of hand. Turkey nervous about the flood of refugees and trying to look Islamist and Western at the same time (failing at both).

    That’s ONE little spot. That “ONE” and “ORDER” are not even working on that scale…

    So that’s my explanation. We have a gaggle of pickpockets working the crowd… at a pickpockets convention… in the end, a lot of noise and swapping of pockets and not a lot of net change; then folks will notice and the whole thing will turn into a shouting shoving match.

    Always been that way. Don’t see evidence we’ve evolved beyond it. “Every man for himself” tends to rule eventually, even at the top levels (especially at the top levels?) when things get bad. Lousy leadership leads to bad times. We’ve got lousy leadership, globally. QED.

  62. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: You were not be able to hear Ahmadinejads´s speech but as I hear it most of it, it surprised me his support for a new world order and not only that but his mention of, indirectly to “sustainability” and environment, the same Al Gorean rant…not only that but YOU WONT BELIEVE IT, just to check it out I visited the following page of an Iranian Spanish TV Channel where, just wonder WHO appeared as a shining revolutionary STAR….GISS´JAMES HANSEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://www.hispantv.com/live.aspx#
    So, there are two projected “New World Orders”, and…. a THIRD ONE already implemented and running, working through all the UN´s binding agreements, following the Agenda 21. All three managed by the Elite of the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, etc.
    BTW, Around 1960 or 1961, I don´t remember well, I was introduced to one of these guys, who unfortunately died a few weeks after, while hunting crocodriles in south east asia…

  63. Zeke says:

    I wish to make one small clarification regarding the Old Testament. It is composed of 44 books, and almost as many authors. It spans thousands of years and covers events, individuals, nations, and laws from the distant, inaccessible past. And yet, it is coherent, and it is coherent with the New Testament. For this, it deserves a modicum of care in reading, and as an ancient text it cannot really be compared with the Koran which was dictated to one man.

    I think there are two keys for gaining some understanding the difficulties this blog brings up regarding God in the Old Testament, and will possibly give future readings a little more interest for you.

    1. Theme: the Anti-climax.
    This theme runs entirely through the Old and New Testaments. You will recall that Genesis begins with a re-creation event, and the formation of man and woman. The state of the original pair is conveyed in simple terms, but reflect a spiritual reality which is beyond language. The beauty of the creation and its state of purpose and innocence was enjoyed by a pair who were given great intelligence, power, good and wisdom. This was all thrown away in a single gesture. This is called an anti-climax. This is also preserved in myths such as Cupid and Psyche, and perhaps you know the results of Lohengrin’s curiousity. I seem to be running long, but every story in the Scriptures ends in an anti-climax, so that even when slaves are set free, when left alone for a few days they worship an idol and wish for the good old days of garlic and cucumbers; and even when the Messiah comes to Israel, he is rejected and killed. Being aware of this may help or may not help, I don’t know.

    2. Theme: the Assault
    This just means that spiritually it is assumed and understood that one creature has been allowed to wreak hatred, destruction, and deception on the created world and people. This is not altogether foreign to other traditions from long ago. People all over the world recognized the need to choose good, to be protected from evil things, and to know that one is responsible for all that is done and thought in this life. This is made most clear by Zoroaster in Persia before the first 5 books of Moses were even written. It is an ancient theme and shows the deep connection of the OT to its land.

  64. BobN says:

    @Zeke – Your comments on the bible triggered a question I have always wrestled with. If man has free will to choose good and evil, how is the end of times known. What happens if man was to achieve peace and harmony and life good Christian lives, would the ending change? If the ending changed then the teachings are wrong, the whole free will thing must assume mans evil ways. I asked a Priest that question as a kid and he just gave me the stare.
    Maybe a totally stupid question, but this has haunted me since I was very young.

  65. Petrossa says:

    Bbon, you didn’t ask me i know, but still. No such thing as free will exists. So you can stop wondering.
    http://petrossa.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/free-will-does-it-exist/

  66. Pascvaks says:

    @Petrossa – Don’t you think we sometimes look too close at the trees and see only the bark, and miss the trees and the bark when we step back too far? I guess one day we will know a lot more than we do now –if we live so long;-)

  67. adolfogiurfa says:

    @BobN: We are in the middle of nature, so we have to follow natural laws; everywhere there are two ways: a way “up” and a way “down”, a way to higher energetic levels: the way against entropy, which is called negentropy, climbing the ladder or the way down, to lower energetic levels, the easier way of falling down, the way of entropy and death, of course. You see? That´s our only freedom. You choose.
    As an example, and in relation to good-bad behaviors: The higher energy we manufacture in our bodies is such a material substance capable of reproducing LIFE: Libido; if we spend it carelessly we won´t have enough material to build up higher energetic accretions which may survive the death of our coarser body. See?, everything is material and there are grades of “materiality”: the higher the “pitches” the higher the vibration, the higher the frequency the more “life”…
    Of course it will be always easier to go down, to be eaten….
    @Zeke: That´s the eternal movement: vacuum, the zero, attracts the unity, 1 and 0 . See the Pope´s seal: two “keys” crossing, two axis, Alpha and Omega, 1 an 0, see? the KEY is everywhere….
    We are living, again, the times where these truths / laws become evident, but we must take care as there are two possible ways fighting one against the other on the Earth: The salvation of the Individual (the way of God comprising the individual and the totality), and the “salvation” of the “egregore”, of the many together, a “Brave New World” where individuals disappear in a big “tumor” controlled by a devilish “elite”(the way of the devil, the possibility of a relative local “eternity”, the cancer way).
    Now I can explain to myself why “our” James Hansen has chosen Iran.

  68. Petrossa says:

    @Pascvaks
    Trueism. But what is the ‘right’ distance? Because in the bark are still patterns to look at, so you can zoom in even further to learn about insect damage etc and when you zoom out you can see the patterns in the woods made of trees which tell you about soil conditions etc.

  69. E.M.Smith says:

    @Zeke:

    Generally in agreement. Couple of minor points, though (all somewhat disputable, so read with a ‘question’ tone):

    I thought the Old Testament was of somewhat unknown date of origin for the stories, some reflecting older Babylonian stories. Seems the Wiki has it as written about 8th -6th Century BC
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament
    with a final ‘touch up’ in 500-300 ish BC.

    It also may have been originally written by different folks, but there was a specific time when it was assembled and polished by what looks like one “committee”; so I’d expect a stylistic sync at that point. Later books, like Maccabees, would have been written by folks who regularly read the Torah, so would be steeped in the style.

    Rather like preachers of today who speak and write in the style of “Thy and Thou Art”. A style can persist “out of time”. So I’m not that surprised it is “consistent”. Frankly, too, the folks keeping the Torah and O.T. tend to be well educated and incredibly careful… not so the guy who chased sheep, lived in a cave some times, and had random folks taking notes on his ‘presentations’… so it tends to ‘wander’…

    Per Zoroaster: I thought his writings were mostly ‘undated’ but that the language was of about the same era as the O.T.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroaster

    Has “scholarly estimates” ranging from 18th to 6th century BC, so overlapping, but with very wide range to the older end.

    . The Old Avestan language of the Gathas (which are attributed to the prophet himself) is still very close to the Sanskrit of the Rigveda. Therefore, it seemed implausible that the Gathas and Rigveda could be more than a few centuries apart, suggesting a date for the oldest surviving portions of the Avesta of roughly the 2nd millennium BCE.

    A date of 11th/10th century BC date is sometimes considered among Iranists, who in recent decades found that the social customs described in the Gathas roughly coincide with what is known of other pre-historical peoples of that period.

    So looks to me like both are from “about the same time” but with very wide error bands that could put Zoroaster 1000 years earlier… or not.

    Then we have that niggling problem that folks are trying to date things based on the language used and folks might have been deliberately using an archaic language form… like using the KJV today “for effect”. Or like the use of Latin well into the modern era long after Rome fell. Do we really know that was not the case? Or is it just an assumption…

    Oh, and the number of books in the Old Testament depend on who’s Bible you read… Jews have one set, Catholics another, Protestants yet a different one… (though the Protestant set is largely just the Jewish set with different divisions into book boundaries).

    Basically I’m just pointing out that things are a lot murkier than your statement made it sound (though I figure you know that stuff and just didn’t want to write a Russian Novel in a comment ;-)

    On the general points of themes and care in reading: Yup.

    @Adolfo:

    I get to see Ahmadinejad on Al Jazeera (a bit more often than I’d like ;-) but didn’t see the part where he endorses Hansen… Thanks for the link, I have it buffering the TV now…

    Remember that Islam has the direct statements that lying to the Infidel is a fine thing to do and has the traditions that misleading your enemy into ruin is fine too. So “which audience” is critical. Things to the home audience in the home language are often in conflict with what is said to the “audience of the ‘other’” and especially if not in the home language. (For Arabs, what they say in Arabic is often the exact opposite of things said in English to Infidels…)

    I’d puzzled over just why an Arab Friendly Rich Guy would fund Link TV (clearly they have a bias toward covering Middle East topics and with an Arab-friendly bias) yet it is VERY “left wing” / socialist. Not seeing a lot of “socialism” and “left wing” in those Arab Monarchies and Dictatorships… But IFF you wanted to hobble the west… gee, maybe sponsoring those folks most likely to cause trouble makes sense…

    In that context, I have to wonder if the Iranians are quite happy to “help us along” in our destruction of our productive capacity to appease the god of Global Warming….

    @BobN:

    Asking Priests to resolve logical conflicts in The Holy Book(s) will almost always get The Stare (or sometimes the “don’t question just have faith” mini-lecture).

    My “out” from that particular conundrum was to figure it was “free will per person” but the big pattern still holds. So you can move, say, from 10% ‘moral believers’ to 50% or maybe even 90% moral believers, but there’s always going to be an End Of Days for those that don’t swap what side of the field they are on…

    That was my rationalization anyway…

    @Petrossa:

    An interesting POV, but I think there are “existence proofs” that it is at best incomplete, and in some cases simply wrong. By your reasoning, no person could go into a burning building to rescue another, jump on a grenade to save their fellows, choose NOT to procreate when an opportunity presented. No free will and ‘we’ are just along for the ride on the limbic system. Yet reality is otherwise. Clearly consciousness exists precisely for those times when it over rides the limbic choices.

    And from a personal experience POV: Martial arts training. About 6 or 7 years+ Much of it is directed at training that limbic system to be highly competent all on its own and to condition the brainstem to coordinate rapid physical motions and metabolic state very closely. The ideal state to reach is that of “no mind”. i.e. Exactly what you are saying: to have the limbic and brainstem parts of the brain functioning independently (and so, much more rapidly and precisely). Yet…. WHY did it take 1/2 decade to get to a point where the conscious mind was not ‘meddling’ in the process? Because it can meddle and DOES have control, it is hard to get it to STOP. Far from being “unable to control”, it is getting it to NOT control that is hard.

    Then you get to re-learn how to have control, while not interfering with the process. So the limbic sets up the “kill shot” in the context of being attacked by a threat, and the conscious level can say “hold!”… I’ve had that moment. After years of practice, I could do sparring ‘without thinking’ having “me” largely along for the ride. Making suggestions, but mostly on things like longer cycle strategy (so blocking a punch and doing a counterstrike would be largely automatic, moving toward the opponents weak side and noticing he leaves kicks hanging too long so planning to ‘try to catch one’ being directed). One day, a guy picks a fight with me. Long story short, I have a ‘knife hand’ lined up on his throat and him on the ground ‘right quick’ and DECIDE I don’t need to damage him… sending ‘down’ the strategy to “hold at ‘intimidated’ as we’ve won.”

    We DO have free will. It saved at least one scum bag from having a very sore throat or being dead… It integrates with the automatic levels from a position of control over them, and the hard part to learn is to STOP that control for well learned things. To “be of no mind” is very hard and takes years to learn well.

    One other example: Go jump out of an airplane… The first couple of times, that limbic layer is just screaming “NO!”, and the conscious mind says “yes…” and you let go of the airplane and do not die… Eventually the limbic layers realize this isn’t a life ending event and it becomes less intense… One of my complaints about jump training today is that they do the ‘buddy jump’ so YOU don’t have to overcome your own fear / limbic response. Someone else makes the ‘go’ decision for you. For me, it was a peak experience to have reason overcome fear. Hanging under a wing with one foot on a few inches of step and the other over several thousand feet of ‘down’ in a ‘stiff wind’ is intense; letting go at that point more so… Were we all just driven by our limbic system, nobody would let go of a perfectly good airplane… (though it can be a struggle some times ;-)

  70. Jason Calley says:

    @ Adolfogiurfa “I was introduced to one of these guys, who unfortunately died a few weeks after, while hunting crocodriles in south east asia…”

    I am guessing that would be Michael Rockefeller. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Rockefeller

    @ E.M. “The first couple of times, that limbic layer is just screaming “NO!”, and the conscious mind says “yes…”

    Much the same in caving. You are standing on the lip of a 200 foot drop, you have double checked your harness and rope, and your instinctive systems are gibbering — but you step over the lip anyway. Most of the fatalities involved in vertical work occur to people who have lost the limbic response. The limbic is sleeping easily, and the rational mind says “I did a 150 foot drop this morning. No problem. This is only 40 feet. Easy deal. Piece of cake.” Of course a 40 foot drop is NOT a piece of cake, and when you realize that you forgot to set the screw lock on your carabiner you have exactly two seconds left before you hit.

  71. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Jason. Yes he was Michael Rockefeller.

  72. Zeke says:

    BobN says: “If man has free will to choose good and evil, how is the end of times known. What happens if man was to achieve peace and harmony and life good Christian lives, would the ending change?”

    If you are talking about the visions of John who was exiled on Patmos Island, and I think you are, those are certainly representative of spiritual realities, and reflect both things that have been, things that are, and things that – it is said – will come to be. They are spiritual pictures: the woman on the beast with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, the prophet with the frogs (unclean spirits, deceptions) coming out of his mouth, etc.. I don’t know if you have direct experience of that book. So we define that we are referring to spiritual pictures or correspondences. In the sense that some realities are spiritually pictured, and are still future, the text is emphatic that no dates have been set.

    Therefore, since no dates have been set, that means that there is always, always oportunity for times of great regeneration, renewal, and even metamorphosis for individuals on earth, and the long and short is that through free will, the ending apparently is delayed. In the meantime, extraordinary things are possible.

    Perhaps an extraordinary time is beginning right now.

  73. Zeke says:

    Thanks EM. I would just suggest that a good test for you to guage the way that Western scholars/Academics handle ancient texts (Zand Avesta, Job, Genesis) is by examining the way they handle other documents you may know, such as the Constitution.

    Perhaps they have something to add, but there is also much to be desired! ;)

  74. Zeke says:

    @Adolfo, I enjoyed the thoughts regarding frequencies. Antennas may tell us more about ourselves and all life than we realize.

    Insects for example are using wavelengths emitted by particular molecules in their surroundings to find eachother and find food. That’s extraordinarily fine tuned arrays to pick up very tiny parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and our own technology has only recently caught up.

  75. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: Perhaps we could perceive other people as vibrations.

  76. BobN says:

    @EM & Zeke – I think your way of viewing it makes sense and is logical. There will be an end some day, but it may only be triggered by some percentage of evil in existence, not the vast evil that the Bible alludes too. I guess I can get hung up on definitions that are hard to determine based on a books description. The armies of the world gathering for the battle of Armageddon, I guess the world doesn’t have to be awash in evil, just leaders taking the wrong side. I guess I look for concrete facts and the Bible just alludes to things that you write your own script and interpret as best you can and when the interpretation doesn’t go well you resort to faith.
    Some things just “hurt” to think about, as there are no answers.

  77. Petrossa says:

    EM
    Your examples support the theory, rather then disprove it. No sane person runs into a burning house for no reason. Only a strong emotion can cause someone to do that, be it to save your offspring, or in the case of the fireman by extending the same emotion to others.

    Btw it’s not so much a theory as a very simplistic for all readers explanation how the brain really actually works. Quite a few notable neuroscientists have this view.
    Read this for example, not the least of the lot, Gazzaniga.

  78. Pascvaks says:

    Thought(s) -

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Truth is in the mind of the thinker.

    Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees, sometimes we’re so close we can’t seem to see anything recognizable.

    It’s nice to dabble in mysteries, but we’re deluding ourselves if we actually think we’re going to solve anything; most of us don’t have the patience or determination to stay long, for us it’s just hit and miss and bye-bye.

    Consider, we are confronted with an infinite number of sensory perceptions; we deal with these by putting them in various categories and mind boxes, most we determine are harmless and these we ignore –sometimes to our parrel, etc., etc., in a way that describes the human machine. But the machine is not everything, there definitely seems to be something more, or so we think. As we ‘chew’ on everything that we think about, we tend to put many things in harmless boxes and forget about them, we imagine the impossible, the beautiful, the grotesque, the beauties of complexity and the fatastics of simplicity, we wander and wonder and wander… some step back and attempt to philosophize about the meaning of life and why we’re hear and who made us, someone must have made us and everything else some think; others think :”It just happened”. Sometimes we think too much and sometimes we don’t think enough. We’re constantly faced with problems.

    Philosophies and religions and social systems and other things try to make life understandable and easier to deal with. Sometimes they work for a little while. Usually they fail over time and morph into something else.

    The more complicated things become, the more people are apt to settle on simple answers. When this doesn’t work, when things fall apart, when worlds collide and crumble, people get mad, or go mad, or kill each other, and behave very badly; when the dust settles, when things get rebuilt and someone has the time to write something, someone will find an explaination or two for all the things that happened, and come out with a proposal for how this can be avoided in the future if everyone will only recognize so-and-so-and-such-and-such, etc., etc.

    People would probably have killed each other off in a skinny minute if they hadn’t invented (created) so much out of all the chaos. Problem is, we live on one speck of dirt in the middle of no-where with numerous worlds scattered hither and yon, and each of them think they have the ‘right’ reality. This did, does, and will create problems; no doubt about it. (and there’s no simple or cheap answer; people will kill each other over what they think is and is not real)

  79. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: You are indeed crying for an understanding you already have. Just feel it. Words are forbidden.

  80. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: Alchemists called it Reading the silent book

  81. Pascvaks says:

    Adolfo-
    I tended to read The Silent Book too much sometimes. Thank you;-)

    For those who think: “There IS an answer to every problem; we can work this out if we only talk!” (a’la The United Nations, League of Nations, etc.) The truth is that we are not progressed enough to speak the same language, and we fool ourselves to think that there IS an answer to every problem or that we can work out our differences peacefully if we only talk. One day yes, perhaps; but not today. The West is being stupid, once again war is just around the corner. The UN is another utopian day-dream.

  82. Petrossa says:

    Cliché as it is, it is nonetheless as true as ever. Humanity is just a thin veneer on the beast.
    Lofty ideas always give way to primary instincts, any day anytime.
    Lofty ideas are steered by primary instincts any day anytime.
    Primary instinct comes first always.
    (assuming a healthy brain)

  83. Zeke says:

    An alternative to that view is that we have innate rationality and liberty which can only destroyed by:
    corrupt societies and miseducation about our bodies and brains, and the Laws governing the Universe;
    less than optimal boding during childhood, and
    by habitual responses that are counterproductive.

  84. Petrossa says:

    @Zeke
    Sure it’s alternative. Just wrong that’s all.

  85. Pascvaks says:

    There’s an old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Well, there aren’t very many ‘civilized’ people in foxholes either and the longer they stay in those holes the more they come in touch with, and become, their truly basic selves. When we “let slip the dogs of war”, the furry, best friend of mankind is not the little beast we are speaking of. Our enemies have already placed themselves “down there” in the basest mode, we on the other hand have not desended too far “down there” ourselves –but it doesn’t take much, and they are getting real pushy, and they’re using our reluctance against us. When your enemy fears only his god, face the facts that you’re going to hell, so act and dress the part. Get real. Go total. And vote for someone who puts the highest value on your life, and the lives of your family and countrymen, and not on some philosophical, ‘civilized’ notion of ‘fair’, and ‘rules’, and ‘diplomacy’, etc. When you send your sons and daughters to hell, back them, get it done and get out ASAP! Don’t lolly-gag or pussy-foot around. (Enough! I fear we’ll see soon again that today’s ‘civilized’ people are fools, but trun quickly into the dogs of war. Nothing’s changed in 6 million years. And god is just an excuse to kill people who have what you want, and want what you have)

  86. Petrossa says:

    Pissing on corpses is pretty much down there imho. I can understand the cause, but still.

  87. Pascvaks says:

    @Petrossa -
    The most dangerous and the most uncivilized people in the world have the highest IQ’s and best educations that money can buy, they also come from the 1st Tier of Nations, the most advanced in the world; you can’t normally see the beast under the suit but he’s there. When they apply themselves, when all holds are off, when nothing matters but winning at any cost, there is nothing more primitive nor more dangerous than a caveman (or ape) with a sheepskin. Wizzing on a corpse, or collecting ears, is child’s play; it can’t hold a candle to the things these guys can and will do if they’re really p.o.’d. Never underestimate the value of a good education. Nor how totally insane and dangerous people can get if
    you push them too hard and far.

  88. BobN says:

    @Pascvaks – I agree totally with you comments about war. War should be avoided as much as possible, but when you decide to send young people into battle, turn them lose. The military is designed to break things, let them do that! Our military has become so hindered by rules that they really can’t function in my opinion. Don’t shoot until you get permission. Don’t bomb if there are possible civilians in the area. Don’t worry about local customs, your not there to lease them. Our army now fights in such a Politically correct way that soldiers have to be very careful not to be brought up on charges if they are too aggressive. Sure there are war crimes, but we don’t even come close. Why be there if you don’t do what your trained for?

  89. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    In parachuting, a statistic we were regularly told was that most accidents and deaths happened at about 100 jumps. At that point, you started to lose the initial fears, become too comfortable, and believe too much in your own competence. Shortly after that, the rest have had an ‘aw shit’ moment that they came through OK, and were less “full of themselves” and returned to caution…

    @BobN:

    I like the way an old Marine Chinook driver put it:

    “Marines are supposed to kill people and break things.”

    We seem to have forgotten that. Trying to turn armies into police is a mistake.

    @Zeke:

    I would agree is you added “some people are”… I clearly am in the group that was born with a fundamental bias toward rationality and liberty. It took a long time for me to learn that some other folks were NOT that way. Yet “the kid across the street” was clearly “born evil”.

    From earliest age, he desired power and control over others, suppression of liberty. Irrationally causing pain. (He’s the one that got killed at 18 by ‘bad guys’ who felt he was giving them a bad name). He was fundamentally driven by broken emotional needs.

    I’ve known a lot of folks from many places nearer the middle of the spectrum too. A little evil, or somewhat rational. It’s a spectrum with people on all points of it. Folks can move on the spectrum, but only in limited ranges (proportional to the external force applied). Much of Judeo / Christian teaching is to try to influence that middle toward more moral and rational.

    Fundamentally good and rational folks can learn to ‘pass as evil’ and even do a fair job of it; but are never the same as the fundamentally evil. Similarly, the fundamentally sociopathic and evil can ‘pass as normal’ for limited times and contexts. (Though they seem less skilled at it; but the best of them can ‘pass’ well enough to take over countries and lead them to ruin.)

    So it’s a ‘nature vs nurture’ problem. In my experience, those are best answered with “both, to a degree”. So, were I raised in Afghanistan, would I be a Jihadi? I don’t think so. I have a fundamental drive to completion, order, symmetry, logical ‘fit’. From long before I learned such things. (One of my earliest memories, maybe 4?, is pointing out that the kitchen could be made more orderly by grouping things differently in the cupboards…) So I suspect I’d be an outcast there, asking too many questions. The environment might choose to channel that behavior into being an inventive engineer in the UK, or into a stoning victim in Afghanistan, but it can’t change a violent Alpha into a quiet Engineer… Yet IFF I realized the ‘risk’ early enough, I could likely learn to ‘pass as evil’ and fit in well enough…

    In short: There’s a lot of different kinds of folks, we are all adaptable, but only to limited degree. Handedness gives, I think, a clue. 10% of folks simply can not change handedness. Left to their own, about 30% are left handed. The implication is that about 10% are hard core right, and 10% hard core left. About 20% are “modestly either”. So 60% total to this point. That then leaves about 40% near the middle of the bell curve who just don’t really care. (I’m in the 30% who was ‘slightly left handed’ but when asked to change thought it was stupid but went ahead and swapped. My eldest sister stayed left. 2 other siblings and both parents are right handed, but from an era when left was more strongly discouraged than for me.)

    On most things, folks make a spectrum of ability and leaning…

    (In fact, it is the fault of our societies that we select for “evil” traits and reward them. So most leaders have some significant psychological faults. Egomania and mild sociopathic being most easily observed.)

    @Pascvaks:

    Depends on the God… The God of the Amish is not so much about taking other folks stuff… nor about having wars…. Gross generalizations about religions and gods usually indicate a very narrow education in religions and gods…

    While I agree that we can ‘let loose’ and go Rambo, it is not an irrational state for all of us. For me, at least, it is a “Spock Moment”. “Sometimes the only rational thing to do is an irrational act.” (rough paraphrase). So I had to learn how to demonstrate “irrational rage” at folks who otherwise would not stop attacking me. It was the only language they would understand (and one of the early successes of the ‘be a mirror’ philosophy). Yet I never let ME become the act…

    BTW, in my experience, the degree of “crazy” increases with IQ and Education. (Note that I.Q. is a performance on a particular test and NOT ‘ability to think clearly’… the two are different.) Generally the violent kind gets filtered out (though not always) but more of the ‘nice crazy’ gets concentrated…

    So we have a system that rewards folks who are great at ‘game playing’ in many forms, but not games anchored to reality and a moral compass. Then we are surprised that the results are not reality centric and lack morals… Lots of “crafty evil in suits”…

    @Petrossa:

    As my examples were of people having their conscious mind over ride the emotional desire, they simply can not support your POV that the emotional layer rules.

    By your definition, I have an unhealty brain. I have no innate fears that I can identify. My fears have generally been learned (by painful process or by observation).

    I’ve stood on the edge of a concrete rim 6 stores up and looked down. Mildly pleasant. I’ve jumped off high bridges into water. Fun. I’ve been 40+ feet under the ocean and out of air. Ear plugged, so going up was painful. “Worked the problem” with an awareness of the “timer” ( I can hold my breath for over 2 minutes) but not a lot of emotional “issue”. Falling is fun. Fire is fun (being burnt, less so). The list goes on.

    Fears? I have a learned hatred of mosquitoes, so if one is in the room with me I can’t sleep until I kill it. Not fond of falling a long ways without a parachute ( 70 foot into a lake, bruised under the arms when I didn’t hit quite right). Public speaking was a touch “nervous” until I’d done a couple. Now that I’ve been on TV a few times, even millions on TV isn’t a bother. Heck, even going a day or two without eating doesn’t do much other than cause a feeling of ‘rumbly in the tumbly’.

    Yes, I’m aware of the ‘emotional layer’, but it is like “elevator music”. There, in the background, easy enough to ignore and a lot of the time you don’t even notice. Has no noticeable effect. Most extreme example? I’ve “fallen” madly for some individual women. Once told it wasn’t going to go anywhere, I just “disappear the feeling’. It evaporates. I can’t think of any emotional state stronger than that.

    Per “running into a burning building” taking strong emotion: I could not disagree more. It takes SUPPRESSION of emotion. The ability of the conscious mind to say “shut down that desire to run away”. I can speak from (minor) experience.

    On one occasion, while my infant son was at my feet, I reached into the oven to pick up a pan of hot food with a kitchen towel as the ‘mitt’. Didn’t think about the fringe. The electric element lit up just as I was grabbing and lifting, igniting the fringe. It didn’t notice until the pan was out of the oven and the door was closed. I then found myself with the kid looking up, and fire headed for my hand. The emotional desire was to just drop the flaming thing. At that point an emotional clamp went on. Rational decision only to be allowed. Knowing that would make a hot mess and potentially burn both the kid and my feet, I chose to accept the modest pain likely to come and place the pan on the stove, then ‘shake to extinguish’ the towel. My emotional state is best described as “DAMN IT – gonna get burned.” That came AFTER the decision when I released the emotional clamp.

    It doesn’t matter if you are under the water out of air, being hit in the face with fists, 3000 feet up about to voluntarily drop, or looking fire in the face: THE pattern is suppression / abscense of the emotive limbic response and dominance by the rational problem solving state. At least, for the survivors…. Emotional states are fine and all, but only during ‘low intensity’ events.

    ALL the classical “limbic” responses are absolutely NOT in control of me. Ever. They get a vote, but it is a minor vote and easily discarded. Were I in the position of needing to shoot someone, it would be because rationally there was no alternative. I would then do it without hesitation and without emotion. Nor would I feel anything afterwards. (Beyond, perhaps, a “Damn It, gonna be a lot of paperwork…”) (Anyone who tried the “You can’t shoot me, you don’t have…” whatever; would be in for a very rude surprise. It doesn’t take any courage, nor any fear. Only “BING! This is the only solution available to you. Analysis complete. Damn it.” A mild sadness at not finding a better solution is about as much as it gets. ( I don’t like sub-optimal solutions…) (To quote my Uncle “Some folks jus’ need killin’. Delivered flat and relatively dead pan.)

    BTW, the neuroscience I’ve seen on the topic makes several fatal flaws of reasoning. First off, they assume far more commonality among folks than really exists. The error of ‘over averaging’ strikes again. (Heck, there are at least 5 kinds of handedness and that isn’t even commonly recognized. Same side brain vs cross-over brain wiring in both Rt and Lt plus balanced ambidexter. Brain wiring is highly variable.)

    Then they confuse the “readout” with the “computing”. They are “surprised” to find some part of the brain having “the decision” prior to the “conscious awareness”. Then spin great fantasies based on that error. The CPU has the “output” decided prior to the screen drawing the picture? That’s a surprise?. That does not mean the screen is “the dependent conscious mind” and so the conscious mind is a fiction. It means they have seen where the conscious mind MAKES ITS DECISIONS and failed to understand what they saw.

    In short: I am not separate from my brain. We are an integration of hardware and software, of readout and CPU, of the entire “instruction pipeline” even if some parts of the pipeline complete their task prior to the printer printing the output.

    (BTW, I have 12 units of Med School on my transcript – in Psych… It’s a long story…)

  90. Pascvaks says:

    @ BobN – Yes, since the Truman/MacArthur tiff it’s been an issue; “be as tough (and nice) as possible and don’t make the Big Boys mad” or ‘fight like hell and get it done ASAP!’ Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., all little wars we fought while we kept looking over our shoulders at the Big Boy(s). Were we too nice, too safe, probably –looking at the past in 20-20; should we have stayed out and let others take action, I wonder? More likely we built the pigsty just the way we preferred to have it; our bad. (I personally think the Europeans have been allowed to get by with murder, and get fat and lazy on our blood, but that’s beside the point –we were probably more responsible for turning them into wimps than they were, not wanting them to challenge us.) Point is, we’ve had a lot of Tip-Toe-Through-The-Tulips Presidents that the judgment of history hasn’t fully dealt with yet. Personally, you and I are on the same sheet of music. I hate war, especially ‘police action’ wars, and long duration ‘police action’ stupid sissy wars I hate the most.

    @EM – Thanks for the come back. Didn’t adequately express myself, omitted a BIG point: “Very civilized, highly educated, bright people –be they Rambo’s or Spock’s– can and will devise the most inhuman and scientifically advanced means and methods to destroy their enemies once wars go Caveman (Total) and all bounds are loosed”. Perhaps I should add as well, that even the meekest people among them can and will have an exponential effect because the personal ‘power’ that they have and contribute to the overall effort is greater than that of their counterpart on the other side; meek or not, willingly or not, they give their cavemen an important and far more lethal edge. A caveman with an edge is a very very bad caveman, be they the Rambo’s in the fields and trenches of the war zone, or Kirk’s and Spock’s and McCoy’s and Scotty’s at the helm of the USS Enterprise, or the Ozzie’s and Harriet’s and Rickey’s and David’s and Brother Everett’s and Sister Ruth’s on the home front. (Aside: Why do educated single young men between the ages of 16 and 24 make the best cavemen? You can tell/teach them anything and they’ll die like mad dog cavemen trying to do it. They‘re also far less interested in dying for their country or cause, and far more interested in making those on the other side die for theirs –and that‘s a very BIG edge.)

  91. Zeke says:

    There are still a lot of controversies in brain science and new discoveries are being made daily. So to draw hard and fast conclusions based on what little we know, and to say with any certainty that we know what the brain can and can’t do, or what it always does (as EM pointed out) is not warranted.

    I will say that there is some science that does powerfully support the idea that we are endowed with rationality and liberty as part of our essence, and that we are not brutes. The evidence is that our bodies do not thrive in conditions of anger, fear, anxiety, lust, greed, worry, and doubt. Our bodies and brains lose flexibility, coherence, complexity, and health when those inward conditions exist. Therefore, we can begin to ask whether we are designed to live in good thoughts, good words, and good acts and that our rationality and liberty is the faculty that allows us to recognize that and to adjust our behavior and over ride the initial limbic responses that are so chemically powerful when first released into the bloodstream.

  92. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    If I’m ever in a position to need to ‘take exceptional action’ there is every possibility that it would not even be detected… There are some very very clever cavemen ;-)

    @Zeke:

    Harking back to that past posting about how we’re related to bunnies and rodents… and dragging in some evolutionary biology…

    We are, at our metabolic core, prey animals. There are millions of years of monkey / chimp / early human bones with big cat tooth marks on them. Predator animals have a very different set of basic ideas about right and wrong.

    So we do best in calm and happy surroundings. We are most healthy eating our veg gies and sleeping a lot ( crepuscular, BTW, with an afternoon nap…) We CAN have a high adrenalin flight reflex and, pushed, we can be a violent defender ( I’ve seen bunnies take on a cat and win, when forced…) but the basic evolutionary core is peaceful. There are ‘social dominance games’ even among bunnies, but rarely to the death.

    Now look at predators: Killing the offspring of other males is normal for cats. Fights to the death are normal. Killing is done without even thinking about it. The desire for adrenalin is a FEATURE, not the result of an ‘aw shit’. They thrive on it.

    So where people are ‘more complicated’ than bunnies is that we’ve spent about 6 million years evolving into “predator apes”. We’ve added a layer of “predator attitude” on top of a bunny core. Depending on the individual, they have more, or less, of those two.

    I’m more of a bunny who has claws and fangs and knows how to use them, but would rather not. Give me a lasagna and potato salad and siesta and I’m set for a few days ;-) I’ve known folks who where all predator all the time and could barely keep it under control. Dinner and a nap? Drives them nuts. They are action starved and want to go break something. Hate sharing. Need dominance of others. Enjoy watching someone else suffer pain. Look at the folks up on charges of murder, rape, violent property destruction, etc.

    So could ANYTHING make me into one of them? Nope. I simply can never enjoy watching pain in others. Far too high an ‘empathy’ system. Can anything make them into me? Nope. They have no empathy. Don’t know if there’s more than just empathy makes the difference, but it’s a large part.

    So there are many different kinds of people. Some of it is hereditary (the gene for a drive to dominance and lack of empathy has been identified… and is highly present in criminals though also present in non-criminals to a surprising level) and some of it is learned (people are plastic, within limits) so my Father In Law was a 101st Airborne Drill Sargent in W.W.II – yet was basically a very nice, polite, and moral man (and a 3rd Degree Mason BTW). He learned how to ‘do what was needed’ to train his men. (During the war he also found ways to get them fresh socks, keep them fed, take care of their emotional needs, etc…) So fine and well balanced folks can ‘act predatory’ when circumstances force it. Predators can sometimes learn to “pass” for a while, but are not nearly as good at it…

    Where will our evolutionary path take us? More predatory, or less? I think that is still an open question. There’s an increasing level of “success” on the part of clearly sociopathic predatory personalities. Yet a fair number of “the rest of us” are still doing OK. Perhaps we’ll find a better way to constrain the worst of humanity… or not. IMHO, part of the “issue” with Islam is that it clearly encourages the predatory and non-empathetic mind / style…

  93. E.M.Smith says:

    BobN had a comment intended for here that ended up in another thread:
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/internet-exploder-strikes-again/#comment-40903

    Going cave man is interesting. I have noticed over the years that you can take a quiet seemingly well adjusted worker and promote them. Immediately, most of them become little Hitlers making demands about everything. To not cause chaos, these people always needed to be reined in and beat back to being normal people again. It seemed to always take about 6 months of training, control whatever to not get people to overstep their boundary. Don’t mean to sound sexist, but newly promoted women were always the worst. I’ve seen what a little power does to a first line manager, just think what real power does. Do people change or is the true personality emerging because it can.

    Another aspect that is most curious is the late bloomer. Some people hit the floor running in life and have everything figured out at 20, others like myself don’t wake up until much later in life. I’m a different person now than I was at 20, just woke up one day.

  94. Zeke says:

    I do not think it is very easy to make the case that any animal “predator” ever kills in order to achieve an adrenaline response in themselves, or to inflict pain, or out of personal rancor. It is generally agreed that predators kill to eat, and to eliminate rival males. They fight over females, that is. So this part of your premise is not that well established. A “predator” is a term usually used for hunting animals, not murderers.

    So: humans who are not killing their dinner, or protecting family (this would include many of the volunteer soldiers mentioned above), and are killing for some other reason, are actually much lower than beasts. Their rationality, having been turned on its head, allows behavior below even animal behavior. It argues for the existence of the rationality which is unique from animals in the first place.

  95. E.M.Smith says:

    @Zeke:

    Never had a cat that hunted? I’ve watched many. They clearly are not just ‘getting lunch’. Often killing even when not all that hungry. It is the notion of un-emotive getting dinner at the diner that is a bit short. Dogs, too, like the ‘thrill of the chase’. Personal rancor? Heck, what is ‘fighting for dominance’ but personal rancor? Look at any pack hunting animals and you will see a LOT of “personal rancor”. Or bears. Watch them “argue” over who gets the best territory… or watch predators steal the food from each other and then try to claim it’s dispassionate…

    Even bunnies have some of that. To introduce a new bunny to a tribe, you must cage them near each other for many days. If you just put a new one in, you get fights (sometimes to the death). Two males will fight even in the absence of females.

    Animals are territorial and some animals are just cantankerous and like to fight / hunt / kill. (Some can be quite friendly and nice sometimes too). The full range of “attitudes” are there.

    Cats, especially, like to get worked up over ‘hunting behaviours’ and ‘playing with prey’. Often catching and releasing to chase and re-catch a prey animal. (And not just house cats).

    It is the notion that animals and humans are distinctly different that’s missing the mark. The parallel behaviours and physiological responses are very great. (Chimps even form hunting parties and conduct armed raids.) The same approach to Alpha Dominance explains actions from packs of dogs to an army platoon. Dogs don’t chase cars because they are hungry…

  96. Petrossa says:

    Chimps hunting monkeys with spears

  97. philjourdan says:

    @BobN, et. al. – War is a very uncivilized undertaking, but we (the US) expect the combatants to be civilized about it. It does not work. You have a mob mentality that takes over when you are in a constant adrenaline rush, and soldiers do things that are the very nature of war – violent, and uncivilized. To expect different is to expect the sun to rise in the west.

    Mob mentality (which is evident in all sorts of settings, not just war) means people will do things in a mob they will not do by themselves – or even dream of doing. What sets a soldier apart from a common mob is discipline. Soldiers (from well trained armies) actually are much less violent than a typical mob because of it. But even the best discipline cannot stop all mob mentality. So you get Abu Gharib and the pissing on corpses. When you look at the actual actions that are being condemned, they are not really that bad in relation to what an undisciplined mob will do. But they do get more attention. We expect a mob to be violent and mindless. We expect soldiers to only follow orders. Our expectations are unrealistic. Mostly because we are not in the situation where our lives our constantly in danger, so we can be the slothful observers tsk tsking the actions of those who are.

  98. Pascvaks says:

    “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” When in New York be a New Yorker; when in Calcutta, in London, in Rio, in Mecca, in Hong Kong, etc., go native. People are very adaptive, and they will. When in college, be collegiate; when in the jungle, go ape. There is only one basic rule: survive, live, win. In our leisure we can get philosophical, we can pontificate about anything in the universe all we want and claim that things ought not be so ‘whatever’. But, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, time is money (life), money (life) talks, nobody walks. We are two sides of the same coin, opposites fired and pressed into a rather hard solid unique whole. And very complicated, did I mention that? Trying to figure out someone else is very complicated, we have just as much trouble sometimes trying to figure ourselves out. (We are each a test-tube full of chemicals, all a similar but different mix, and it’s very easy to get ‘out of balance’, we have no control over the mix.

  99. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pasvaks But you may concede that a few or many things happen beyond our diminished grasp, beyond the limited and narrow spectrum of our senses, like the possibility of the apocalypse, of our conscience to reach, or better, to receive information, the influence from other wavelengths which may help us in comprehending nature and reality in a different level than the lower stages we have reached in our “development”. Thanks to these we may rectify and straighten our trajectory in order to reach higher goals, quite different from those taught by our “leaders”.

  100. Petrossa says:

    Maybe Pasvaks will concede to such a wild speculation, i for sure won’t. That our grasp is less then limited yes, i’ll concede that. But that in the 99% we don’t grasp is some hidden purpose, like god, no that not.

  101. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Petrossa: What about your-self?

  102. Zeke says:

    I did not say that the animal kingdom is all sweetness and light. Polar bears kill their own cubs for a snack, and are known to eat humans; perhaps that is another study for another time: why does the environmental movement favor polar bears? Why do they love to create wetlands with tax money near cities that are home to mosquitos which prefer humans in their diet and carry disease? And yet environmentalists hate cattle, and high yield wheat with a passion.

    But in general, the order and the energy of wild animal life is limited, and used in concealing themselves from predators, eating, finding a mate, raising young, migrating long distances, and defending. I do not see territorial behavior as reflecting cruelty or “attitude” at all, but it is animal and instinctual, and linked to securing food supply. Animals in contact with human settlements, or kept by humans, can be trained to do things they do not normally have the energy or inclination to do. Obviously nature is a vast subject, but let’s hear it for the majority of Porifera, Cnidaria, Playthelminthes, Molluska, Annelida, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, and Chordata that just go to work everyday. :)

    What I think is clear, and where I believe science is leading, is that the base emotions, thoughts, and habits are harmful to individual human physiology. The emotions of fear, anxiety, worry, envy, anger, doubt, lust and greed do have degenerating effects on our nervous system over the lifetime. This is interesting and worth considering, because the opposite is also true: thoughts and emotions of care, attunement, focus, love, purpose, and kindness also are beneficial to the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system. They function at higher and more efficient levels in those conditions and deteriorate quickly in negative, bad emotions and thoughts. I believe this is compelling evidence that we are not so designed to live or to be as brutes; and I am not talking about the behavior of groups, but the specifics of the individual human body and its best health.

  103. Zeke says:

    The term “environmentalists” was too broad, and not exactly what I meant. Thank you.

  104. Pascvaks says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, beating the dead horse of Koran Vol 2:
    Hay Guys! These are “people” we’re talking about. We will eat and believe anything or anyone…

  105. adolfogiurfa says:

    And different people have different gifts or abilities, otherwise the world would be quite boring. Many, as we, just disappear and nobody will remember us, others leave deep traces of their lives sometimes very deep in the hearts of people; for good or for worse Mohammed was one of those who left something as we are still talking about him or his legacy.

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