The long scope of history

Reverend Jeffress, pastor of Dallas’ First Baptist Church.  What a piece of work.  Anyone with so many people’s ear should be more circumspect.  Even if he has these moronic opinions you’d think he’d have enough sense to keep them to himself.

In case you are getting here late, the good reverend stated, from the pulpit, that Islam is an evil religion, full of pedophiles.  Oh, and that the Crusades weren’t all that bad.  He went into more detail but you get the gist.  He incited the congregation and got an ovation for his efforts.  Clearly he was not the only small mind in attendance that day.

If the 2 previous paragraphs didn’t clue you in, I’m about to give my opinion:

The top five religions of the world all share the same thoughts on how to treat people and the best way to travel through this world:  Kindness.  You don’t have to read the Koran to know this.  Google it.  Better yet, find a Koran online and just read the prophet’s last prayer.  His final word on the subject of life, the universe and everything is kindness to one another.  The bible says the same thing, doesn’t it?  I mean, as an overall theme?

I will grant that Islam places God (or rather, Allah) before the state but don’t most Christians?

So what’s the real problem here?  I mean, how did this weird worldview come to be?  Once again, I have an opinion:  The ‘good reverend’, while seeing things from the wholly self-righteous view point of ‘conservative Christian’, is unable to see the reach of history.

Let’s start at the start:  When was the Bronze Age?  In Europe is was from 3000 to 600 b.c.  In Korea it was 800 to 400 b.c.  My point is, the Bronze Age isn’t a fixed point in planetary history because not all cultures are at the same level of development at the same time.  This is due, I imagine, to the supply of food, the resources available and the space that a population has to expand into, etc.

In the ‘60’s we pretended that the American Indian didn’t really do any bad things…well, unless provoked by those nasty white folk.  Closer examination proves they did.  So are the aforementioned white folk better people?  Hell no.  They were (most of them) just a little further up the ladder at that time.  We committed our atrocities before we left Europe (ok, mostly).

Which brings us to today.  The west is a (more or less) civilized world.  The near east largely isn’t.  They are hundreds of years behind us, culturally.  In some ways, thousands of years.  So is most of Africa and a hundred other spots on  the globe.  Let me be very clear on this point:  I am NOT claiming superiority here.  I am saying that much of the world is acting and reacting as we did several hundred years ago because they do not, or did not, have the advantages or resources that we have.  From a Christian viewpoint it would seem that we’d be a little more understanding – given our ‘blessings’ and all.  “We” committed heinous crimes then.  “They” do it now.  In the scope of history, it’s a small gap. The fact that the middle east is so tribal doesn’t help either.  What the disparity does mean is that the technology of the modern world is available to the primitive world.  The more “primitive” cultures can now kill a lot more people than we ever could, back in the day.

People who know me know that I give short shrift to religion in general.  Even so, I think it’s clear that religious sects aren’t things.  They are groups of people and sometimes people do stupid things.  Even evil things.  I’m not saying that some fundamentalist Islamists don’t.  I am saying that some fundamentalist Christians do too.  Evil and stupidity are universal and it’s ignorant and harmful to look down on others who are where we once were.

Finally, please note that I do not mean “all people” do anything or that evil only takes place “then” or “there”.  There are always exceptions.  Baptists today are civilized human beings.  Mostly.


1 Response to “The long scope of history”

  1. 1 badphonekarmagirl
    September 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I really don’t have a problem with your idea that maybe Islam is just in a different place in its history. I can see that. I can even see how your using the White Man and Native Americans as an example. But, my 1/128th Choctaw was offended. The comparison is not really the same. Most Indians understood at some point that modernity and the white folks were going to win out. They wanted bullets and guns to hunt because they understood the advantages over the bow. But other than the idea of two cultures colliding at two different points in their technological advancement, your analogy does not hold. Hell yes the Indians did horrible things. They even scalped people – they learned that from the Spanish. But, they didn’t take the fight to the white man. The white man took the fight to them. Big difference. The white man was taking their land. The white man lied to them and betrayed them at every turn.

    Oh, and talk about terrorism – what about those smallpox blankets!

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