Thursday, March 29, 2007

Islam, Christianity, and Paganism

Recently some idiotic politician in Washington State elected to ban Easter, Easter Eggs, and the Easter Bunny on the basis of “separation of Church and State”. It isn’t enough that the Constitution doesn’t actually state that there should be such a separation but that it merely precludes the government from establishing a state religion. But the complete ignorance of this politician regarding the origin of many of our holidays is truly breathtaking. Easter is word derived from ancient Persian for the goddess Ishtar (Aphrodite, Isis, Venus) who is the goddess of fertility. The Egg and the Rabbit are symbols of fertility as well.

The Jews celebrate Passover at Easter Time and the Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and neither of these are relatively serious if not downright grim. Those Pagans however, were celebrating Spring and the rebirth of nature at roughly the same time, so those clever early Christians who were desperately trying to sell their religion to those fun loving Pagans simply tacked the resurrection to the Pagan Holiday. The result of this gives us the rather weird combination of Jesus, Passover, and Easter Eggs which are laid by the Easter Bunny. Then of course we have Christmas which is celebrated as the birth of Jesus, who was born during the summer, but those fun loving pagans in Rome celebrated the Saturnalia starting December 25th so once again the Christians tacked Jesus on to a Pagan Festival that everyone loved, once again making Christianity very marketable. Then we have Mayday where all of those young virgins dance around the May Pole (I leave the symbolism of THAT to you).

The point is that Christianity seems to incorporate some things which are not truly Christian in origin but nevertheless are viewed as Christian. Well it seems that Islam also includes some things not originally included in Islam and one of these is the veil or Burqua. This is not included in the Qur’an which only admonishes women to cover their bosom, but it comes from Zoroastrianism and was later adopted by the Persians. It is not Islamic in origin and many Muslim women do not practice it. However, a woman is suing the government because a Judge dismissed her case because she had her face completely covered with her Burqua. The basis of her suit is that this was a violation of her freedom of religion. Then we see Christian women being forced to cover their heads “as required by Islam” when in fact no such requirement exists within the Qur’an. This is tantamount to suing the government to restore the Easter Bunny because it is Christian. Jesus and Mohammed both must be shaking their heads.

Then we have the issue of circumcision. The Jews and the Muslims, practice circumcision, but the (European) Christians do not. However, it is common in many primitive societies to circumcise boys as a coming of age ceremony. The ancient Egyptians practiced circumcision as a coming of age ceremony usually about the age of 14. Undoubtedly this practice was adopted by the Jews and later by the Muslims. However, circumcision is directed in the Old Testament (Genesis 17:10-14) but is not mentioned in the Qur’an, yet Muslims practice circumcision as a coming of age ceremony. So this is another example of a Pagan practice being incorporated into a religious practice.

The real point here is that no organized religion is totally pure but it incorporates things from outside the original religious teachings. Christianity has gone through a reformation and the result has been many variations of Christianity. Based on these variations, Christendom has established the concept of “Freedom of Religion” and this permits anyone to worship (or not worship) God(s) in any way they choose. It is worth noting that this concept of religious freedom does not exist in Islam. In Saudi Arabia it is a serious crime to even own a Bible and a capital crime to proselytize. Islamic countries do not permit most of the freedoms associated with a free society. In fact it is virtually impossible to separate Islam from the government in most Islamic countries because the concept of a separation between the state and religion doesn’t exist. This makes the lawsuit regarding the wearing of the Burqua supremely ironic because it is driven by a woman who would deny freedom of religion to others while demanding it for herself. If it was a Christian woman in an Islamic Country she would be forbidden to wear a Crucifix while being required to wear a veil even though it was against her religion. Toleration is not a hallmark of Islam.

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