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July 24th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Wan Secularism Is No Match For Islam

The contest is unequal. Those who believe in nothing beyond this mortal coil are no match for those inspired by religious faith. The battle could be engaged, maybe, if the diminishing Christian alter ego of Western secularity were muscular. Unfortunately, from its leaders down, appeasement predominates

freedom jihadiIs it well worthwhile watching and listening to Linda Sarsour. She is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. This organisation has links through Qatar to the Muslim Brotherhood. She is an American born of Palestinian parents. She was a Bernie Sanders supporter and played a leadership role in the Women’s March in Washington, organised the moment Donald Trump won the presidency.

Apparently, she was invited seven times to the Obama White House. She is part of the grand and noxious alliance between the Left and Islam. Here, in Australia, think of left-faction Labor luminaries lining up with Islamists to throw Israel to the wolves.

By the way, advisedly, I said ‘watching and listening to’ Ms Sarsour, rather than just ‘looking her up’. The lady is resolute and you fully realise that only by seeing and hearing her speaking. She absolutely knows where she stands, gives no quarter, and is not the least bothered by engaging in racial stereotyping.

Switch to defenders of Western civilisation who speak with the same forthrightness? That’s right, where are they to be found? Well, maybe Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders among politicians or Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer among US commentators. But there is a big difference. All those who I have mentioned are shunned, as extreme, by polite Western society. Geller and Spencer were refused entry into the UK in 2013. By contrast, Sarsour is embraced by mainstream Muslim society and by the Left at the highest levels.

sarsour tweet

Sarsour is not at all shy about invoking Allah in secular matters. There is nothing strange about this in an ideology which has no separation between mosque and state. Herein lies the problem for the non-Muslim rest of us.

sarsour tweet II

The strength of Western enlightened society has been its secular nature. Church and state are separate in nations built on Christian values. These values allowed capitalism to flourish and bring about unimagined prosperity. However, part and parcel of such values is to let discordant voices be heard. Freedom and tolerance — a strength — has become a chink in the armour.

Conservative commentators fall over themselves to be balanced and fair when faced with an imam carrying the religious equivalent of Mein Kampf in his back pocket. (‘Oh, I am sure you wouldn’t personally beat your wife even though you are prepared to stand by the words of Allah, which precisely instructs husbands to beat their disobedient wives.’) And so, the contradiction, along with many others, wafts away into the ether never to be chased down.

An irreligious, multicultural, society is ill equipped to defend itself against the menace of religious fundamentalism when those embracing such fundamentalism are part of a rapidly growing minority group. It can’t be done. The menace simply grows. It grows because there is no effective counterweight.

Muslims enjoy and suffer the same experiences as do we all in everyday life. But there is more to them. They live out the possibility of an afterlife. Whereas this is all there is for your average Joe or Jill.

Most of those I know outside of my church live totally secular lives. Secularity is their beginning and end. And, in the past, most of the people I have worked with fit the same mould. “In my religion [Catholicism], they say, act as if ye had faith. Faith will be given to you,” said Paul Newman in his closing address to the jury in the 1982 movie, The Verdict. These days even pretence is falling by the wayside. According to the 2016 Census figures, those declaring that they have no religion has steadily risen from less than one percent fifty years’ ago to 30% now.

The battle is unequal. Those who believe in nothing beyond this mortal coil are no match for those inspired by religious faith, however flawed is its casting, script and provenance. The battle could be engaged, maybe, if the diminishing Christian alter ego of Western secularity were muscular. Unfortunately, from its leaders down, feckless appeasement predominates.

Extrapolate from the trend over, say, the past thirty years to thirty years ahead. The omens are bleak. They are bleak not just because of declining Christianity but also because otherwise astute people are oblivious to the dangers ahead. Speak to people who know or work with Muslims. They are just like us, they usually say.

They are not. They are not spiritually vacuous vessels. They just look like us. They are Linda Sarsour’s future disciples in disguise.

editor’s note: The tweets reproduced above were lifted from a YouTube clip featuring a collection of Linda Sarsour’s social-media pronouncements. In addition to her frequent and quite vicious attacks on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the video is instructive for the unqualified support she garners from a variety of useful idiots, starting with Bernie Sanders and descending from there to various champions of Hollywood and media groupthink. The full clip can be viewed via this link.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [32]

  1. Ian MacDougall says:

    Islam is entry-level fascism. Islamic societies feature a relatively benign totalitarianism; capable however of being readily shaken out of their customary torpor.
    The fascist Bible is not Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It is the Koran, which beat Hitler’s book by about 1400 years.
    Islamists resent the act that their native countries and societies are economically stagnant, (like Pakistan as compared with India.) They were not always so, but became that way after the Islamic clerics consolidated their power in the couple of hundred years after the death of Mohammed.
    Christian societies exist amid a vigorous and continual contest of ideas, arising mainly out of the Catholic-Protestant divide, but also from the fact that the Bible is not one book, but many quite varied ones. Within it, a scriptural justification can be found for just about anything: slavery; revolutionary war… you name it. Christians from the Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada to Martin Luther King have found their inspiration in it.
    But I disagree with Peter Smith on this rather important point: the best way to fight an illusion (eg Islam) is not with another illusion, (eg Christianity of whatever sectarian brand) but with Reason, and the truth that it creates and reveals.
    You show me a religious argument against another religion, and I will show you the reasoning within it. Peter Smith provides some good examples here in the above article.

    • Homer Sapien says:

      Ian, how do you judge “reason?” If you use reason itself it would be a rather circular argument.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Homer:
        Circular it may be, but it is all we have. All of science is included within philosophy, which in turn is based upon and in continual dialogue with, reason. One cannot make judgement calls about anything without using reason: including judgements about the various products of reason, and of reason itself. And art, music and the rest of everything worthwhile in life. Which of course still leaves room for intuition and choice based on individual preference.
        Appealing to religion gets us nowhere, because every one of them rests on a priori acceptance of some ancient proposition or document. eg the Islamic ‘There is no god but God…(etc)’
        Not even Jesus Christ himself attempted to prove that there was a supernatural order of things. He just took it as a given.
        But if I was religious, I would be a polytheist.
        The ancient Greeks built no mean civilisation on the basis of their polytheism. Monotheism however proved to be far more attractive to those who wanted to fashion themselves a career as a priest or cleric. If God A can be demolished by the arguments of the priests of God B, from there on it is tag team wrestling, with victory to the priests of last god standing. The process can only end one way.
        And the rest is history.

    • Jody says:

      You opening salvo was inspired!! Well done. And your comments towards the end reminded me of Masala talking to Judah in “Ben Hur”….

      “Yes, but how do you fight an idea?”.

      “With another idea!!”

    • whitelaughter says:

      The best way to fight is with a weapon that has been proven to work. The ease with which the Islamic world has shrugged off secularism shows the bankruptcy of trying to fight Islam without religion.
      Christianity held off Islam for over a millennia, and had conquered the Islamic world by the end of WWI. Judaism has proven up to the task as well. Both religions are on the backfoot in the West due to the social dominance of the cultural relativists, but that’s easily fixed: anyone who feels that other cultures are equally valid should be immediately sold to the Muslims as a slave. After all, if their culture is equally valid, their desire to enslave people is as well, so the cultural relativists have grounds for complaint if we sell them.

      • whitelaughter says:

        sorry, *no* grounds for complaint. This site really needs an edit function!

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Both religions are on the backfoot in the West due to the social dominance of the cultural relativists, but that’s easily fixed: anyone who feels that other cultures are equally valid should be immediately sold to the Muslims as a slave.

        Throughout the Western Plains of NSW, and SE Qld, churches are in decline. Now we know why.
        Those damn cultural relativists! They’re all over the place like frogs after rain! like They’re like white ants! They’re like… I dunno… There ought to be a law!
        One bumper sticker coming up… “Down with them cultural relativists!”

      • Jody says:

        There are many complex reasons why Christianity is in decline and I suspect part of the reason is probably what will also effect the muslim faith now that the followers of Islam are in Europe and the USA. The good life. Christianity thrived with poverty, not affluence. The people couldn’t see the logic of “the meek shall inherit the earth”. They came to view that epithet as a convenient ruse for the serfs to be controlled by their masters. A get-out-of-jail-free card for slave owners. Then there’s the new religions of consumerism; sport; celebrity. The muslim brothers and sisters will be equally susceptible to seduction as their Christian enemies before them.

        • whitelaughter says:

          Jody, the increase in wealth just means that the majority of the population are what past generations called “nouveau riche” – possessing money but lacking the social mores and understandings of the obligations of their new class. The situation will correct itself, with people either squandering their opportunities (sadly common, the number of useless university degrees being a prime example) or acquiring the skills to remain wealthy – which includes a respect for the social institutions that protect us, including the church.
          The Muslim world already has comsumerism and sports, and they have made Islamic fundamentalism *worse*, not better. The underclass is the Marxist world saw Western wealth, and so saw the absurdity of the Marxist claims; but the underclass in the Islamic world sees Western wealth and sees a target to rob, a target that they can blame for their owes.

  2. Alistair says:

    The point is that the “Left” has won the cultural wars and Christians have accepted Dhimmi status under the “Left’s” ultimate control. As Mark Latham so elequantly stated:

    “Leftists have taken control of many of these institutions, such as the education system, the public broadcasters and the government bureaucracies.
    Elsewhere, public trust in the conventional pillars of society — big business, churches, the media and democracy itself — has been in steady decline. Conservatives have got little left to conserve. They have become clueless in knowing how to respond to this dilemma. Even worse, these ineffective “civility conservatives” see Trump as part of the problem.
    They attack his language as “too rough and unbecoming”. … What a pack of dithering imbeciles.”

    We can expect nothing from either Christians of Conservatives.
    The fate of the West is now between the hands of the “Left” and the Muslims. Michelle Houellebecq (in “Submission”) lays out in some detail how that works out, but you might be able to guess when polygamy is on offer to any Left backsliders along with 15 year-old brides.

    • whitelaughter says:

      You believe that the Left have won the cultural wars because they tell you that they have. Instead, go read about the Regency era, a time even more dissolute than our own, when perpetual drunkenness was the norm and when it fashionable for young ladies to damp down their light dresses to make them transparent and cause the nipples to harden…with the result than many of them died of exposure!

      And then reflect on how quickly the pendulum swung back, giving us the Victorian era directly afterwards.

      That’s what you can expect to happen again.

  3. Jody says:

    Backsliding 101; the degree of choice in most Social Science or Humanities faculties – coming to a university near you!!

  4. StephenD says:

    History shows that the only effective force against Islam is Christianity. Muslims know this. That is the reason why Christianity is regarded by Muslims as the ultimate opponent of Islam. The battle is spiritual, not intellectual. The Left is spiritually defenceless because it only believes in ‘reasoning’ – it has no ethical standards and no moral code. The Left arguing with Islam has exactly the appearance of a trendy New Age parent trying to ‘reason’ with an obnoxious, disobedient child. The wrong method is being used, because the parent does not understand the problem.

    • whitelaughter says:

      That’s a very insightful analysis and metaphor, good work.

    • Warty says:

      Agree with much of what you say, though I question the left’s use of ‘reasoning’ as you put it.
      Use of reason is one thing, but a resort to ideology is something else: I’ve experienced both. As with many of us, including some of the more illustrious conservatives like Peter Hitchens and Mark Steyn, I started off on the left, read Marx, Engles, Jean Paul Satre, Simone de Beauvoir, Germain Greer, Herbert Marcuse etc and learnt to parrot them, and luxuriated in holding the moral high ground.
      Talk about being totally indoctrinated, but this was back in my early twenties when moratoriums marches were all the go, and Hair was a musical you simply couldn’t miss. I look back on all that and scratch my head in sheer disbelief . . . so far have I shifted.
      The point is that the ideas of The Socialist Alternative, GetUp, the Greens, the garbage coming out of Crikey and the Huffington Post are little different, they’ve simply metastazised.
      Having gone back to studying scripture (but in a far more systematic way), Plato and neoplatonic writings, I have developed a different idea of ‘reason’, this being more a process at arriving at ‘knowledge’, as opposed to sprouting ideas from the top of one’s head (a la Left).
      Process?
      1)being presented with an issue/problem.
      2)considering it/reflecting on it.
      3)knowledge (as opposed to mere ideas) arises.
      4)response.
      This used to be the traditional way, and tradition is of upmost importance to the conservative.

  5. Bill Martin says:

    One of the effects of Islam as it gained such prominence over recent decades was not only to affirm the conviction of atheists that religion, per se, has a deleterious influence on its followers, but it was also comforting to agnostics and unsettling to those of religious convictions. This is a bitterly ironical and significant benefit for Islam, because while their faith is unshakable by external influences, the trend of diminishing respect for other religions weakens the resistance against Islam. Non-islamic religious people, but especially their leaders, endeavour to demonstrate their all-loving, all-tolerant goodness and righteousness by going to ridiculous lengths to be “inclusive and non-judgemental” toward all but particularly towards Muslims, which is further eroding the resilience of followers. In other words, the hope that Islam might be successfully resisted by Christianity or any other religion is a vain one in the extreme. And even if Christianity were to vigorously oppose Islam, it would be an exercise in “my God is the true one, yours is false”, without the slightest prospect of any resolution.

    No, Islam can not be countered by religion, precisely because it is not a religion, but a socio-political ideology. Instead, it must be called out in clear and uncompromising language, disregarding the notions of insult and offence, in the style of Geert Wilders, Marie Le Pen, Pamela Geller, David Horowitz and many other courageous people. Unless the leaders of the west wake up to reality and develop a backbone to go with it, Islam will dominate the whole world before the end of the current century.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Bill:
      I agree; particularly with your last para.
      It should be no holds barred on Islam, but the distinction between that and Muslims should be clearly defined and observed. bin Laden attempted to blur that distinction, and to some extent succeeded. But he was the last follower of The Prophet to take a trick. And look where he finished up.

  6. Warty says:

    If you’re looking for defenders of Western Civilisation (of the debating sort) then how about adding people like Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn and even Milo Yianopoulos to your list. But open debate is not the only means of defence, and we can all offer what we can. The philosopher and lecturer Roger Scruton recommends the average bloke, like me, sets aside time to study some of the varied history of the Western Civilisation. Rev. Robert Sirico recommends study too, but also writing. He himself is a truly inspiring lecturer. And there are so many more like these.
    Each of us contributes too by responding to the various articles on Quadrant Online, and some write the articles: we’re all contributing without necessarily attracting headlines ourselves. This is the true role of conservatism. I believe society can be rather like an extension of the individual mind, in that we are all connected in a subtle sense. In that sense good influences can have their effect too, not just the bad. If one perseveres, things will slowly begin to change and Berlin Walls begin to fall; Iron Curtains miraculously disintegrate; and Muslims are stopped at the gates of Vienna, not once, but twice.
    As for me, I’m a half full glass person. I don’t share Peter’s despondency, in that I feel there is a growing sense of awareness regarding the state of our society, and the rumblings of a subterranean rage, no long capable of being appeased by limp-wristed politicians. It hasn’t as yet come to the push and a shove, but when it does there will be those a lot younger than I who will be prepared to stand up to whatever the Islamists throw at us. This may occur in our lifetime, which for some of us is not all that long, but the old warriors amongst us have helped prepare the way.

    • Jody says:

      Don’t forget Jordan Peterson; a lone foot-soldier fighting the tyranny of the New Left.

      • Warty says:

        Indeed: he’s been through a bit of a rough trot with his off-the-planet students, and an administration insistent on allowing a host of gender fluid pronouns, and determined to ensure that they are used. Canada seems to be even further down the drain hole than we, if that’s possible.

    • Jimbob says:

      Warty

      I like you am a glass half full person. Reading through the posts above, I have just a few comments to add to the debate.

      The first of these is that Christianity is not in decline per se; it is in decline in most of the west. Having abandoned the foundational ethical system of western civilisation we are only left with two options. That is that either “man” and his “reason” is at the centre of all things, or if not man and not the Christian God, then some other god like the Muslim god. Elsewhere (other than the west) Christianity is in the ascendancy and growing geo-political and economic power are correlated to it. The abandonment of Christianity, rather than being the road to a glorious, humanist paradise may actually be a harbinger of decline and ultimate doom of a once great civilisation. Time will tell but the signs aren’t good.

      Secondly, national disaster is often a pre-cursor to spiritual renewal and indeed, there may need to be a “Babylonian Captivity” of the heart, soul and mind of the nations for some period for people in the west to finally realise the value of their Christian foundations. Looking at the great humanist experiments of the twentieth century and the perpetual foretaste of hell that is the Islamic world, I would hope “reason” would triumph but somehow, I just don’t think that is going to happen.

      Thirdly, there is a bulwark against creeping secularism and Islam and as StephenD pointed out above it is Christianity which may be declining here but is taking off elsewhere and may end up being (dare I say it) the chief religion or even the state religion of what will likely become the greatest earthly power yet – look the sunrise in the East.

      Fourthly, and probably most importantly, you, Jody and the few others including myself who contribute here now and then are proof that “the light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”. It’s enough that a few hold on to the invaluable, great ideas which have lifted us above the beasts and civilised us. As others stumble upon these pages either by design or by accident, they will see that there are powerful ideas which once sown can change the course of history. We just need to hold on and keep the light flickering….

      • Warty says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Jimbob. You sound very much a glass half full person yourself. And of course you are right about Christianity expanding in China and South Korea (and parts of Africa too, for that matter). As a community, our mindset is very much a product of the so called Enlightenment, but so is Marxism and the UN Declaration of Human Rights the latter proving to more of a thorn in the flesh, than something that offers any real protection.

        • Jimbob says:

          Mostly half full but sometimes my “cup runneth over”! China already has more Christians than the United States and will soon overtake the US as the world’s dominant economy; Christianity in India is growing at around 1.9% pa compared with 1.2% for Sikhism and is already the dominant religion in quite a few Indian States and India is now the worlds 6th largest economy and growing faster than China’s.

          And of course, don’t forget Latin America where Brazil is already in the top ten world economies and Chile has become a first world nation.

          So not all is hopeless – the centre of civilizational gravity just changes and as it has been from the beginning, Christianity takes hold amongst the poorest and most marginalised and spreads from there and the rest as they say is history….the hungry are filled with good things and the “rich” (in their own eyes) are sent away empty!

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Jimbob:

        That is that either “man” and his “reason” is at the centre of all things, or if not man and not the Christian God, then some other god like the Muslim god.

        1. Why the “scare quotes?”
        2. Allah and Jehovah are one and the same. Worship one and you unavoidably worship the other. Easily verifiable, by scripture, reason and logic. Details on request.

        • Jimbob says:

          Hullo Ian

          In answer to your questions – I wouldn’t exactly call them “scare quotes” but since you asked;

          1. Mankind as a whole is brutish and beastly (constantly at war with some overbearing power preventing utter annihilation as a kind of blessing of the “invisible hand” e.g. a Pax Romana or Pax Americana)and human reason though undeniably useful in some areas, is also fallible, easily blinded by hubris and easily ruled by base passions. Consequently, I have very little confidence in some innate goodness in mankind that will eventually triumph over these shortcomings and create anything vaguely resembling an earthly Utopia.
          2. Allah and Jehovah are not one and the same and that is easily proven by Scripture (details on request), reason and logic (details on request).

          We are left in a quandary – your details verses my details….or is it a matter of neither, Scriptures, nor Reason nor Logic but a matter of “faith”? You see, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and now rules all things. But as you can see from our common human lot, nothing could be more irrational, absurd and totally unreasonable. No amount of argument from Scripture, no “reasoned” argument from first principles and not even the most watertight logic (of which I am quite incapable of anyway) will convince anyone who just simply does not want to believe what I believe.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    OK. I’ll be the bunny. Please show me why Allah and Jehovah cannot be the same identity.

    • Jimbob says:

      OK Ian

      Baits’ been taken but I must admit up front my knowledge of Islam is very limited as I have not made the same study of the Koran as I have of the Christian scriptures so with that in mind I’ll stick to simple fundamentals.

      The most fundamental matter is the very being of God. The Mohammedans believe that God (Allah) is a monad. The Jews and Christians believe that God is not a monad but a Trinity.

      ““ In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone”.

      There is an interesting explanation by Muslim scholars as to what this might mean.

      “It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word “god,” which can be made plural, as in “gods,” or made feminine, as in “goddess.” It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.” ( http://www.sultan.org/articles/god.html).

      So in the Mohammedan view of God, God cannot be a “plurality”, nor can God have some ontological “feminine” principle or any “gender”.

      So in light of the above, here is the Mohammedan view of Man;

      “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

      The word “man” is used to mean a human male, the opposite of woman. It is also used to mean one who is distinguished by good morals and who follows strictly The Divine Guidance. Both meanings are clearly stated in the Qur’an.” (http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=84502)

      In short, Allah is an undivided monad, totally separate from His creatures who share none of his characteristics. Because Allah allows no feminine principle, man has only the meaning of “male” and “woman” is his opposite. Even worse, “man” is the one who is “distinguished by good morals” which of course means only those “who follow(s) strictly the Divine Guidance”. So it begs the question, what are those who do not “follow strictly the Divine Guidance”? Less than “man”? And of course, how do you treat them?

      I’m not going to revisit centuries of Trinitarian controversy, but both the Old Testament and the New Testament define God as a “Unity in Diversity”. He is revealed from the beginning of creation as a triune being, God the Father, co-existing with His Word (Logos) as His Spirit brooded over the “chaos of the deeps”.

      He contains a feminine principle and in contradistinction to the genderless Allah of Islam, the Jewish and Christian God is revealed as containing both genders. The simplest expression is the verses which describe the creation of Man;

      “Let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image, in our (plural) likeness….” (Genesis 1:26 and that “image” was plural and gender diverse) “…male and female he created them:” (Genesis 1:27). Later on in the book of Genesis and by way of explanation male and female together are called “man”.

      “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created he called them (plural and gender diverse) “man” “. (Genesis 5:1&2)

      Anyway, I could go on and on about this but here are two absolutely contradictory statements.

      Mohammedans – Allah is one and there is no other God but Allah. He has no “equal”, does not share any of his characteristics with his creatures (thank God?) and certainly has not much time for women as they seem to be excluded from the moniker “man” – useful appendages
      Christians – God is three in one, Father Son and Holy Spirit and all three are co-equal in power and co-eternal. He also shares some of his characteristics with His creatures and indeed makes human participation in the Divine Nature the eschatological goal of all mankind (including women!)

      “…He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world…”

      Even reason and logic would tell you that if Allah is “a” and YHWH is “non-a”, they can’t be the same “God”.

      These two contradictory and diametrically opposed views of God, have had profound effects on the progress of civilisation simply because all of us, without exception, act in accordance with the things we “believe”, not necessarily with what we “know”.

      I’m sure my arguments are far from perfect but I’ll be glad to have the faults highlighted.

      Best

  8. Ian MacDougall says:

    Jimbob:

    The most fundamental matter is the very being of God. The Mohammedans believe that God (Allah) is a monad. The Jews and Christians believe that God is not a monad but a Trinity.

    Something tells me that the fact that they believe in a trinitarian god will be news to a whole lot of Jews.
    ‘Monad’ or ‘triad’, the god of the Muslims and Christians both is omnipotent, omniscient and present everywhere in Creation (ie the Universe.) God’s presence, power and knowledge does not stop at say, the orbit of Mars. In power, knowledge and presence they both overlap completely, in other words are co-extensive.
    In every way that matters, they are one and the same. Only the names are different. Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians is the only other such that I can think of: certainly not Krishna of the Hindus, or any gods of the Greeks and Romans.
    It was the Jews, not the Babylonians, Egyptians or any other people before them, who came up with the idea of monotheism. Historically, the idea of the Trinity came about because Christ was a Jew: born and died such. But according to scripture, he also had divine power, seen most clearly in the story of his death, resurrection and physical assumption into the heavens above after that.
    When they pray, Christians address God the Father (as in the Lord’s Prayer). They end each prayer with the words “through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” (Or at least, they always did in the Anglican days of my youth.) They never pray directly to the Holy Spirit, who appears late in the Judeo-Christian story, and who apparently serves to enable one human (ie Jesus the Carpenter) to become divine (as one with the Father, as in the Apostles’, Athanasian and Nicene creeds. )
    Thus the Holy Spirit serves a theological function of formal reconciliation similar to that of the neutrino in atomic physics. IMHO.

    • Jimbob says:

      “It was the Jews, not the Babylonians, Egyptians or any other people before them, who came up with the idea of monotheism”

      Interesting to say the least but with many thanks to the University of California (LA) and the Sydney University Archaeologist Stephen Bourke (Pella excavations, 1990′s), it would seem that “monotheism” was neither confined to the Hebrews nor did they influence its’ development in other Near Middle Eastern states.

      Be that as it may, I’m sure more research and further exploration will shed greater light on this in years to come. Such is the nature of science – a work in progress so to speak.

      But to cut a long story short even the one God/Ultimate Being/Prime Mover of the Greek Philosophers (a monad) shared the attributes of omnipotence and omniscience with the Hebrew and Mohammedan gods, but you could hardly call them the “same” God as Jehovah or Allah. So these attributes are not the distinguishing features. Which brings me back to my original thesis; what distinguishes the Hebrew God is that consistently, in both volumes that make up the Bible, He is portrayed as a non-monad and He is “personal”.

      As for the Holy Spirit “appearing late” in the Judeo-Christian story, I can only refer you back to the opening chapters of the Bible (probably redacted by Moses or a priestly school around 1300 – 1400 BC) and Psalm 51, a Psalm of David (approximately 1000BC). Seems He’s been there from the beginning of the story along with the Word (Logos).

      Detached monad? Engaged Trinity? I’ll hang my hat on that one big difference and put my “faith” in the latter.

      Cheers

      • Warty says:

        Put your faith in both, because in personal prayer, Adoni is often used. But in written exposition that which stands back (detached), from which all emanates, being beyond mind, and yet the very essence of your being, is that which is unpronounceable

  9. Warty says:

    Check out your Torah: Yaweh, Elohim and the tetragrammaton YHWH. The notion behind the tetragrammaton being that Adoni (meaning Lord and the word they use to represent YHWH) is beyond mind, beyond understanding, without gender, without persona, without senses and without form. Rather like God the Father in fact, where ‘father’ is just a way of speaking of that which is also without gender etc.
    It is one of the draw backs with Christianity that we use the word ‘God’ which tends to throw up Michelangelo images of a big, muscular old bloke with a long, flowing, white beard: clearly ridiculous.