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Father Abraham
January 2, 2007 4:07 AM   Subscribe

"A Christian man is weak compared to a Muslim man." Violence and war between Christians, Muslims, and Jews is a long-standing fact of life. Even St. Francis joining the Fifth Crusade as a peacemaker, would not change the course of history. "He was repulsed by the sacrilegious brutality of the Crusaders." Stories of personal persecution abound. However, there are also some small glimmers of hope and understanding that don't get much notice. Although such efforts are just specks in a sandstorm, maybe they are a start.
posted by The Deej (61 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Remove Christian, Remove Muslim..what is left ? Man
posted by elpapacito at 4:15 AM on January 2, 2007


Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Juche, etc......
posted by srboisvert at 4:42 AM on January 2, 2007


(starts popcorn in microwave, sits back)
posted by pax digita at 4:43 AM on January 2, 2007


Buddhist? Ever heard of ahimsa?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:07 AM on January 2, 2007


Let's hope we can at least agree that this sort of cooperation is a GOOD thing, no matter what your religious outlook. Bravo.
posted by jmcnally at 5:18 AM on January 2, 2007


Buddhist? Ever heard of ahimsa?

Ahimsa? Ever heard of the Warrior Monks of Japan?
posted by languagehat at 5:29 AM on January 2, 2007


just specks in a sandstorm

At first I read that as "just specks in santorum."
posted by ibmcginty at 5:38 AM on January 2, 2007


iron balls
You read too much Savage.

(And maybe so do I!)
posted by The Deej at 5:59 AM on January 2, 2007


In related news:

Former Jerusalem mayor Theodor "Teddy" Kollek, a tireless preacher of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence in a holy city of deep religious and nationalist divisions [and devoted Zionist, of course {for what it's worth}], died on Tuesday aged 95.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:27 AM on January 2, 2007


Also, small glimmers of hope and understanding? I'd venture to say there are loads of Christians, Muslims, Warrior Monks, and Jews who all get along with each other just fine. The violent ones get press because most people understand they're ridiculous and abnormal.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:36 AM on January 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Religion used for discrimnation & violence, news at 11.

Seriously people, what do you think religion is for? duh!
posted by jeffburdges at 6:46 AM on January 2, 2007


Seriously people, what do you think religion is for?

Getting time off from work.
posted by jonmc at 6:49 AM on January 2, 2007


Seriously people, what do you think religion is for? duh!


Oh, I don't know. Explaining the world in the face of a lack of information? Providing comfort and solace? Community?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:53 AM on January 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


dirtynum: these activies may happen in any religion, but religion doesn't necessarily cause them. Certainly burning and attacking the heathen doesn't fit under "comforting" , nor does condemning scientist such as Galileo fit under "giving information"
posted by elpapacito at 6:56 AM on January 2, 2007


And burning/attacking the 'heathen' happens in people; religion is just a convenient excuse much of the time.

Ah well, who am I to talk? I'm just a stupid little theist who obviously has no clue whatsoever how the real world works. Snark on, MeFi Evangelical Atheist Brigade, snark on.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:59 AM on January 2, 2007


Deep breaths, dnab.
posted by cortex at 7:01 AM on January 2, 2007


And burning/attacking the 'heathen' happens in people; religion is just a convenient excuse much of the time.

Exactly. If the fanatic in question discovers politics instead of religion, he'll be quite happy to burn 'subversives' or 'traitors' instead of 'heathens.' For that mentality, it's all good.
posted by jonmc at 7:14 AM on January 2, 2007


Remove Christian, Remove Muslim..what is left ? Man

Remove Man; what is left? Lesbians.

Problem solved.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:19 AM on January 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


I spent a little over 2 weeks exploring Egypt during an extended holiday in April/May. What I came home with is the realization that fundamentalist Islamics represent the average person in the Middle East just as well as Fundamentalist Christians represent me. (I have 2 siblings who are Fundamentalist, so let's just say: ie, not at all.) And also? (Dear Mefites, please don't attack me for saying this, but...) WOW, American media is incredibly pro-Israel & anti-Arab. Perhaps I was just oblivious or naive (or both) before, but I couldn't really fathom the extent of it until recently, myself. Now that I have close friends in Egypt & I've watched the same news in so many different countries, it really bothers me when I see how blatant our propoganda gets sometimes. We are told so little & it's worded in such subtly biased ways that things easily slipped right past me before; now I have started to actually notice & register when I see them. Wish I had been able to before, and that more people could. I've pretty much stopped watching television news.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:19 AM on January 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh I'm taking them, cortex. It just never fails to depress me when the MFEAB goes on one of its tirades, quite conveniently ignoring or forgetting that the overwhelming majority of pre-20th-century art and music is drectly a result of religion, for example.

Sure, I will be the first to agree that some pretty horrific things have been done in the name of various religions. But you know what? Those things would have all happened anyway, because people do horrific things to each other. Hitler hated Jews as an ethnic group, not a religious one--and he wasn't religious anyway. Stalin was atheist. My Lai and associated atrocities in Vietnam...

But again, who am I to stand in the way of the MFEAB?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:20 AM on January 2, 2007


Take some more, then. The MFEAB, such as it, wouldn't care about your protestations, and reasonable people already recognize what you're saying. Taking it so personally is just weird, neh?
posted by cortex at 7:29 AM on January 2, 2007


Actually, even more than anti-Arab it might just be more anti-Muslim nowadays. I'm honestly not completely sure. We're obviously not pro either. And since only 1% of government agents have even limited skills in Arabic (and they're firing fluent speakers for being gay), we're obviously not even trying.

It's a pretty pathetic day when I speak more Arabic than government agents assigned to the Middle East... that's like nobody speaking Russian during the Cold War. Huh?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:32 AM on January 2, 2007


Yes, getting upset when something that is part of the core of my identity is attacked really is weird.

Whatever.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:32 AM on January 2, 2007


DNAB: Yes, getting upset when something that is part of the core of my identity is attacked really is weird.

Of course it isn't. But it's schoolyard goading. Bush-league psyche-out stuff. Laughable. [*laughs*].

Don't let it get to you, just clamly shred any bullshit you see.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2007


What jonmc said. I'm not saying don't be bothered by the problem; I'm just saying, don't see every mefi thread that approaches the subject as a personal attack.
posted by cortex at 7:36 AM on January 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


conveniently ignoring or forgetting that the overwhelming majority of pre-20th-century art and music is drectly a result of religion, for example.

That's too strong an assertion. Religion funded a lot of things throughout history, because religion had a lot of money and power. If secular entities had had that money and power, they would likely have funded the beautiful art and music.

On the other hand, as a member of the Metafilter Atheist Brigade (non-Evangelical division), I think simplistic and trollish statements like jeffburdges' above are pretty ignorant and dickwaddish.

MFAB (N-ED): something for everyone!
posted by gurple at 7:40 AM on January 2, 2007


Could you explain, please, how it's not a personal attack to be repeatedly called 'delusional,' 'stupid', 'childishly ignorant', or any other of the choice adjectives the MFEAB uses on a regular basis?

Furthermore, can you please tell me what exactly is wrong with trying to get the MFEAB to back off a little and think a little more rationally, rather than this knee-jerk snark they always trot out?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:44 AM on January 2, 2007


Interesting info miss lynnster, thanks!
posted by The Deej at 7:48 AM on January 2, 2007


Could you explain, please, how it's not a personal attack to be repeatedly called 'delusional,' 'stupid', 'childishly ignorant', or any other of the choice adjectives the MFEAB uses on a regular basis?

Because it wasn't phrased, "oh, and, dnab, you, you in particular, are childishly ignorant."

Furthermore, can you please tell me what exactly is wrong with trying to get the MFEAB to back off a little and think a little more rationally, rather than this knee-jerk snark they always trot out?

Nothing fundamentally wrong with it. But what you said was this:

Ah well, who am I to talk? I'm just a stupid little theist who obviously has no clue whatsoever how the real world works. Snark on, MeFi Evangelical Atheist Brigade, snark on.

That and two dollars will get you coffee. You personalize a general comment, broad-brush the perceived opposition, and get dismissive, all in one little paragraph. If you're trying to get them to back off and think rationally, you're using weird tactics, that's all.
posted by cortex at 7:49 AM on January 2, 2007


Religion funded a lot of things throughout history, because religion had a lot of money and power. If secular entities had had that money and power, they would likely have funded the beautiful art and music.

Yes, clearly there's a lot of art and music that is secular, but some of the most beautiful music ever created is devotional, and I personally feel that there is a little bit--not necessairly much, and doesn't hold for all people--more impetus to transcend one's own limitations when one feels that whatever one is doing is in service of a higher purpose.

And yes, of course, Art can be that purpose.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:52 AM on January 2, 2007


Because it wasn't phrased, "oh, and, dnab, you, you in particular, are childishly ignorant."

Oh, right, okay. Because they don't mention me by name, it's not personal. Right. I'll remember that next time someone refers to all homosexuals as deviant faggots--it's not personal.

There is no point whatsoever in continuing this discussion with you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:54 AM on January 2, 2007


but some of the most beautiful music ever created is devotional

Agreed. I'm a big fan of gospel music, myself. There's some really great religious music and art. But Michaelangelo was a contractor, not the Pope.

and I personally feel that there is a little bit--not necessairly much, and doesn't hold for all people

I personally feel that nonreligious music speaks more directly to me, as a nontheist (my gospel fetish is weird that way). That's the nice thing about art, different people like different stuff.

Sorry to participate in this derail. Let's let these folks get back to their regularly scheduled thread.
posted by gurple at 8:00 AM on January 2, 2007


I am not going to moderate my own thread, or flag anything. But I will appeal to all of your sense of mercy for humanity. Specifically MY humanity, as one who spent hours filtering the links for this post.

So, before this becomes too much of a train wreck, I should point out to those of you who didn't read the links, the entire point is how people of vastly different beliefs have learned to get along and work for the common good. What a concept.
posted by The Deej at 8:00 AM on January 2, 2007


I'll remember that next time someone refers to all homosexuals as deviant faggots--it's not personal.

or just consider the source and move on. There's always gonna be assholes in the world and no matter what you are there's gonna be some people who'll hate you for no good reason. That's just the way it is. The key is to keep that irration hatred from running societies and to make it look foolish so less people will be inclined to follow it.
posted by jonmc at 8:01 AM on January 2, 2007


Humankind is going to remain bogged-down in the religious mess until we realise that only the Earth matters and that reincarnation is a fact. We are all each other in a sense - only Unity can stop the rot.
posted by Cennad at 8:02 AM on January 2, 2007


If we didn't persecute you DNBB you would be paranoid. So we are doing you a favor.
posted by srboisvert at 8:03 AM on January 2, 2007


Reading the first article, it's odd they would blame Muslims for the problems of Christians in Bethlehem.
posted by delmoi at 8:04 AM on January 2, 2007


Mu.
posted by daq at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2007


DNAB, have you heard Richard Carney talk about atheism as a necessary step toward deeper faith? Clearing away the idols and such and making way for a more thoughtful way about God? I could burn the CDs for you if you want, they did a three part series on him for Ideas (cbc, I mean). You might find it comforting. He is a deeply religious man who keeps in dialogue with atheism because he finds its criticisms useful.

I'm in your neck of the woods once a week anyway.

Seriously.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy: not everything is necessarily about you.

or wait, maybe it is.
posted by Stynxno at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2007


There is no point whatsoever in continuing this discussion with you.

Fucking christ. I was trying to get your back, you ninny. Please proceed to slot me into a box with an acronym label so I can know what I should think from now on, thanks.
posted by cortex at 8:11 AM on January 2, 2007


Reading the first article, it's odd they would blame Muslims for the problems of Christians in Bethlehem.

Huh?
George Rabie, a 22-year-old taxi driver from the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala, is proud of his Christianity, even though it puts him in daily danger.

Two months ago, he was beaten up by a gang of Muslims who were visiting Bethlehem from nearby Hebron and who had spotted the crucifix hanging on his windscreen.

"Every day, I experience discrimination," he says. "

"It is a type of racism. We are a minority so we are an easier target. Many extremists from the villages are coming into Bethlehem."

Jeriez Moussa Amaro, a 27-year-old aluminium craftsman from Beit Jala is another with first-hand experience of the appalling violence that Christians face.

Five years ago, his two sisters, Rada, 24, and Dunya, 18, were shot dead by Muslim gunmen in their own home.

Their crime was to be young, attractive Christian women who wore Western clothes and no veil. Rada had been sleeping with a Muslim man in the months before her death.

A terrorist organisation, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, issued a statement claiming responsibility, which said: "We wanted to clean the Palestinian house of prostitutes."
Are you suggesting these people are lying about who targets them? Or maybe Jews or atheists are pretending to be Muslim when they beat and kill people?

dirtynumbangelboy: I entirely agree with you about the MFAB, but I also agree with cortex that it doesn't do any good to get this upset about it. There are assholes here on MeFi just as there are everywhere; recognize their assholishness and call them on it from time to time, but the less personally you can take it the more effectively you'll be able to do so (and the better it will be for your blood pressure). Just think of them as dimwits who don't know any better; their opinions are not worth taking seriously.
posted by languagehat at 8:15 AM on January 2, 2007


Remove Man; what is left? Lesbians

Hey, just like Big Joe said: "No man, no problem."
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:16 AM on January 2, 2007


DNAB, have you heard Richard Carney talk about atheism as a necessary step toward deeper faith?

That does sound fascinating, Hildegarde. I would like to point out that I have zero problem with atheists as a whole. It's that shrill evangelical atheists who are just as tiresome, boring, and mindbogglingly offensive as their brethren on the other side of the fence.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:19 AM on January 2, 2007


Well hey, maybe the weekly MeFi Evangelical Atheist Brigade vs. MeFi Evangelical Christian Union reenactment of Rwanda '94 will burn itself out early enough that by Thursday or Friday I can finally put up a FPP I've been sitting on, waiting for the right scorched earth moment.

Just some pictures of Richard Dawkins holding hands and making out with Ann Coulter while attending Westboro Church. No big whoop.
posted by dw at 8:24 AM on January 2, 2007


Remove Man; what is left? Lesbians.

You forgot dildos ! Try again
posted by elpapacito at 8:25 AM on January 2, 2007


Help yourself to a yummy pie chart

What flavor?
posted by jonmc at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2007


[a few comments removed. BRAND NEW DAY - take it to metatalk and keep your personal snarksnarksnark out of this thread.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:53 AM on January 2, 2007


[do I stutter? metatalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:04 AM on January 2, 2007


I started a MeTa thread so Jessamyn can enjoy her coffee.
posted by The Deej at 9:15 AM on January 2, 2007


That first story broke my heart - I had no idea fundamentalism had become so entrenched in Bethlehem.
I'm planning a trip there this summer - I guess I had assumed I would encounter the largest Palestinian Christian population there. I'm surprised.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:27 AM on January 2, 2007


How does anyone really know what the "core" of their identity is? It's already been scientifically proven that the brain takes a bit of time to process sensory data to reduce it down into a coherent picture for your mind to put your ego in the center of. What makes it possible to adjust the feedback between raw input and the finished picture that we call our "identity"?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on January 2, 2007


To keep the first article in perspective: in London, the Daily Mail is known colloquially as the Daily Hate. So, there is that.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:02 AM on January 2, 2007


What is it with [people linking to the Daily Mail as if it in some way epresents normal consensus reality? Even taking into account that I notice it more because it makes me choke with rage it seems to be over represented on MeFi.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on January 2, 2007


I especially enjoyed the link about St. Francis and al-Malik al-Kamil (when I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church I took Francis of Assisi as my patron saint; I have been through the stage of disillusionment with the Chruch and have since found the gnostic take on Christ to have opened the missing dimension that the exoteric papacy left out [as if you care]). Does anyone know of any further writings (other than Cahill's complete article) or books on St. Francis' involvement in the Peace Movement?

Also: I can't understand getting bent out of shape over attacks on Religion. Religion is a human invention. And like all things humanity touches, it becomes dirty and numb. Turning the other cheek has great merit when compared to defending that which, indisputibly, has caused great harm (Moses drowned folks in the Red Sea, The Church had its Inquisition, Islam rallies around killing infidels). Remebering that all such shameful actions are done by people, and generally the outlying radicals at that, who are not perfect by any means. You rarely make the news by living a decent life.

Thanks The Deej for a great post.
posted by iurodivii at 10:22 AM on January 2, 2007


The town, according to the Cardinal, is being "steadily strangled".

The sense of a creeping Islamic fundamentalism is all around in Bethlehem.


Well, that and the fucking great walls. Curiously the Daily Mail seems to have omitted mentioning them.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on January 2, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen, this theism vs atheism debate is all well and good, but this remark can not stand: 'but some of the most beautiful music ever created is devotional'

I mean, c'mon, Creed. Ewww.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:12 PM on January 2, 2007


If you're always going around trying to defend your faith or your personal beliefs/ideas about the Incomprehensible Overwhelming Vastness and its antecedents and consequences for your own life, then you're really not sure about what it is you think/believe/feel anyways.

It it was really true for you: 1)you wouldn't give a crap what others thought or said about it; 2)you would be so betaken by your vision of the Truth that you could speak in a way that would leave no doubt in those whom you were speaking to.
As it is, there's a huge unknown so shut up.

heeds own advice now
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on January 2, 2007


Nice links Deej - thank you...
posted by speug at 3:12 PM on January 2, 2007


Miss Lynnster, I hear what you're saying, but I must slightly disagree. I also spent some time in Egypt. First for a couple of weeks. Then for six months. I don't know how good your Ahmeya is, or if you took EMSA before going. I know when I went back with some of the language, it made me realize there is a cultural abyss there that few bridge. There are a bunch of people you will meet there who are more or less western-oriented. But they don't live in Fayyoum.

I know this is a derail from Deej's fine post, but I just had to throw it in. No offense to you, Miss L.; I'd like to hear about your trip.
posted by atchafalaya at 4:10 PM on January 2, 2007


I mean, c'mon, Creed. Ewww.
posted by slimepuppy


LOL!

even tho I actually do like Creed
posted by The Deej at 4:49 PM on January 2, 2007


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