Saturday, September 29, 2012
Why You Fail to Understand the Middle East
I'm sorry that I have to go on the attack to my Conservative readers (only because I know that most of my readers are conservative), but I'm going to have to call you (most of you) out on something. Many of you claim that Islam is the problem in the Middle East, and you're doing that for two reasons:
1. You have a feeble understanding of Arab and Persian cutlure.
2. You're on a mission to paint Islam as a false religion, at least false compared to Christianity.
I got someone on some blog, maybe Political Realities, to admit that he believed Islam to be a "false religion," (his words, not mine), and I couldn't help but wondering if his opinion served as a credible one. I mean, honestly, would you give credence to a radical Muslim's interpretation or perception of Christianity? I wouldn't, but that's not because I grew up Catholic. It's because I generally don't seriously consider the opinions of radicals when they're speaking about their perceived opposition.
So let's explore thing 1 that I mentioned above. I think all of this stems from the fact that few of you have even a cursory grasp of Middle Eastern culture. Arabs and Persians have historically been brutal cutlures, and that fact is largely a result of their environment. Try growing up in the harsh, unforgiving desert and see how you turn out. Then, couple that with the fact that the peoples around you are so bent on increasing their stockpile of already scarce resources that they're forced to conquer those around them just to have a greater chance of survival.
That's how these cultures began, and that's part of the reason they are still harsh today. You might think that because it was such a long time ago that they should have evolved, but thousands of years of a particular cultural attitude has a way of ingraining itself in the psyche of an entire people. You can't simply unmake thousands of years of cultural development and just expect them to "get with the times." Although it may change and evolve over the centuries, it won't simply "go away."
I think Silverfiddle brought up the Jews as an example of how Islam is the real problem, because he believed the Jews to be peaceful. Well, let's consider something here: how did the Jews even obtain their homeland? Spoiler alert: they conquered it. Not only did they conquer the lands that came to be known Israel and Judea, but they committed genocide all along the way. They claimed that God told them to, so that the heathens wouldn't test their faith in God.
A little harsh, no? Oh, but what they did was totally fine because "God commanded it." Hopefully, some of you reading this are seeing how absurd that sounds, especially when you consider that the terrorists blow up school busses of children because it is "Allah's will." The Jews were just as brutal as the Arabs and Persians. Their laws were just as unforgiving. They owned slaves (ironic given the fact that they broke free of slavery), they believed in eye-for-an-eye justice, and they sacrificed animals, just like many "heathen" religions around them.
The only difference is that the Jews were consistently conquered from about the 8th century BC on, so their society didn't really get a chance to reach the heights of decadent violence as their neighbors did. Although I am sure that they were still just as fanatical and brutal as everyone else. I mean, they stoned people, too.
So why do you think Islam is the problem, given the fact that Middle Eastern culture has been brutal since it began? The Arabs, Persians, and other Semites had existed thousands of years before the advent of Islam. Islam, if you know anything, didn't come into being until the 7th Century AD. I promise you that Sharia law was simply the pre-existing law that ruled Arab and Persian cultures, just with a religious excuse behind it.
Arab and Persian culture came before Islam, and Islam is a product of those cultures. Why are far east Asian Islamic countries less fanatical than Middle Eastern countries? It's because they come from completely different cultural traditions.
Why are American Christians more fanatical than European Christians? Why are there some Mormons who still believe in polygamy and some that don't? Why is an Italian Catholic different from a Midwestern Catholic? It's because of how culture reflects the interpretation of a religion. Fundamentalist Southern Baptists are infinitely more zealous and ignorant of the meaning of Christianity than even the most ardent Catholic. And it's because Catholicism is rooted in nearly two-thousand years of tradition and evolution, while the Southern Baptist movement is maybe two hundred years old counting its predecessors.
Many of you fail to understand the violence in the Middle East because you can't get over your vendetta against Islam. You look for any reason to point out how awful a religion it is, so every time a Muslim perpetrates any kind of violence, you immediately use that for validation. I suppose we should say that Catholicism is false every time a priest molests a kid. We should just throw all of Christianity out the window whenever Christians perpetrate violence.
"Christians don't kill in the name of God!" Well, they don't anymore at least. But that's only because Western Civilization evolved. The Arabs and Persians are still living in 1099 AD. Islam is no more false than Christianity. Get over it, because unless you bring intellectual things to the table, all you're doing is having a "my dad is better than your dad" argument.