Friday, August 13, 2010

The Sword Verse

Religious cherry picking isn't limited to Christians or Jews. Religious cherry picking is the idea of having an a priori idea of your own, ie kill your neighbor, and then finding a verse, quite out of context to justify killing your neighbour and taking his wife and land, just as a for instance. There are good and bad scriptures. Religions have developed over centuries and in specific contexts and situations. A reference to a specific event can innappropriately be generalized to something else. What one is ultimately to do is read scripture with enlightenment and see the individual verses as part of a whole and in association with the other verses that make up the whole of the religion.

The Sword Verse of the Koran, fifth verse of the ninth sura, cited by Osama bin Laden in his 1996 manifesto was not only cherry picked and misinterpreted it was actually mistranslated. It is the Prophets call to jihad against polytheists. Christians and Jews share the same monotheistic Abrahamic god of Moslems.

"And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush."

The Koran tells us that monotheistic Mohammed was fighting a war against the polytheistic arabs of then Mecca. The verse doesn't refer to Christian and Jewish or even Western infidels in the context but rather to killing Arabs who aren't monotheistic.

Yet here it is 'cherry picked' to serve a political earthly (as opposed to spiritual) end. Personally, being Christian I prefer "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" from my own tradition.

What is further lost from the misquoting and cherry picking of the Sword Verse is the immediately following verse. "If any one of those who join gods with God ask an asylum of these, grant him an asylum, that he may hear the Word of God, and the let him reach his place of safety."

Note that this Muslim verse suggests 'diplomacy' first and suggests that by granting asylum and passage the polytheist will be given an opportunity to hear the Word of God. This is because it is thought that polytheists are merely ignorant, "people devoid of knowledge". So education is preferred over Jihad.

Politicians haven't historically been known for their high morals. In the southern US it is said that a Congressman or Senator can pretty well do anything and get away with it except 'be caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl." Politicians among their own are given a wide berth that the rest of the community might not have privilege too and explains why the western media just loves to point out their foibles as being little different than the stars of Hollywood. In deed Kennedy and Munroe were just the tip of the overlap. The documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" clearly showed the further overlap between the the Columbian gangsters and the Republican Party slush funds. The Jakusa gangs of Japan function nearly openly at times with the big industries of that country. Politics is said to make "strange bed fellows".

I believe the Muslim religion, Christianity and Judaism are all religions of peace and love. However, though it's too soon yet, I wouldn't put it past a future politician saying that his particular killing or war machine is "Mother Theresa approved". It wouldn't be but what are advertisers and marketers for but at times to make a square peg fit a round hole. All you need to do is pound it into the people.

The fact remains that God would just as soon have peace in the middle east. He toomust be bored with all the lying and killing that seems to distract humans from making gardens, flying kites and creating new world wonders ,the proper use of adult energy.

Reference: The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright, Little Brown and Company, New York, 2009

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