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Holy War

New -- 11 November 2010

A Holy War is a religious war caused by religious differences -- or rather, justified and/or rationalized by said differences. It can involve one nation with an established religion against another nation with a different religion or religions. Or the war can occur between different sects within the same religion (possibly for reasons of variations in philosophy, or more likely, in a battle for control of the religion. One can also have a religiously motivated group attempting to spread its faith by violence... or... to suppress another group because of its religious beliefs/practices. [1]

There are just so many ways that one can go to war because of one's beliefs... or someone else's.

[There is, by the way, absolutely no connection between Holy War and Holy Cow... unless... of course... you're being hounded by an anti-beef-eating, anti-Beefeaters Gin-swilling Hindu.]

[Also, "Holy War" should not to be confused with "Holy Shit! ...War?"]

As such, your average, relatively mundane (i.e., worldly) Holy War includes such stalwarts as:

• The Crusades, 11th, 12th, and 13th-century religiously sanctioned military campaigns waged by much of Christian Europe against the Muslim Middle East.
• The Cherem referred to in the Tanakh.
• Reconquista
• Seisen, the name given by Showa era propaganda to the Second Sino-Japanese War
• Taiping Rebellion
• Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
• Jewish-Roman Wars
• Arab-Israeli Wars
Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion

[You really got to check out the last example... particularly the bits about sex, law, and immortality.]

And, of course, by any other name -- and smelling pretty much the same -- there is Jihad. Or... apparently... nearly so. Maybe... Actually, it all depends upon... interpretation... aka, the bane of religion.

According to Wikipedia, Jihad is considered to be a religious duty of Muslims... and in fact when translated from Arabic into English Jihad becomes “struggle.” Similarly, a person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; whereas more than one person is called the mujahideen. The problem arises when one considers the rather wide range of opinions about the exact meaning of the word, Jihad, and/or the religious duty assumed thereby.

On the one hand, “Muslims use the word in a religious context to refer to three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle in a holy war.” Assumptions about the prevailing definition range from always implying warfare, to lodging a valid protest, and/or “to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct". While the term is often translated by Western societies simply as "holy war", Muslim authors tend to reject infidel interpretations -- well... they would, wouldn't they? Instead, the Muslims tend to stress the non-militant connotations of the word.

Well... maybe not... all Muslims.

Recently, a holy site in Ayodhya, India was partitioned by India's Supreme Court, giving the Hindus two-thirds of the site, while the Muslims received one-third. Of course, both sides planned to appeal... so we may have to stay tuned. However, the background leading up tot his decision is interesting.

The conflict had stemmed from Hindu extremists in 1992, tearing down a 16th Century mosque built on the site the Hindus claim as the birthplace of the god, Ram, an action which had caused deadly riots. After the verdict in October 2010 partitioning the site, there were no riots. According to Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram [2], "India has moved on, young people have moved on."

Now wouldn't that be fantastic?

This could be construed as a precedent for Moslems building on sacred Jewish sites in Jerusalem... and vice versa... to the point where there are now "deadly" confrontations. On the other hand, probably not. Differences in philosophical outlook might not be as amenable to compromise as in this 400 hundred year old conflict. And just to demonstrate the nature of the extremes:

"The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is warning Christians against practicing yoga. Seminary president Albert Mohler has called the current U. S. Fascination with the ancient Eastern mind-body practice 'a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion,' saying, "Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the human body that is, to say the least, at odds with the Christian understanding." [3]

Heaven only knows what the latter is!

On a more serious note,

“A poll by Gallup showed that a 'significant majority; of Muslim Indonesians define Jihad to mean "sacrificing one's life for the sake of Islam/God/a just cause" or "fighting against the opponents of Islam". In Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco, the majority used the term to mean "duty toward God", a "divine duty", or a "worship of God", with no militaristic connotations."

"Within classical Islamic jurisprudence... jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and may consist in wars against unbelievers, apostates, rebels, highway robbers and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam. The primary aim of jihad as warfare is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but rather the expansion and defense of the Islamic state. In later centuries, especially in the course of the colonization of large parts of the Muslim world, emphasis has been put on non-militant aspects of the jihad. Today, Muslim authors only recognize wars with the aim of territorial defense as well as the defense of religious freedom as legitimate.” [emphasis added] [1]

And yet, within the definition emphasized above, the recent strong effort by Muslim nations to pass a UN Binding Resolution for all nations being required to pass laws prohibiting criticism of religions (including Islam), constitutes jihad. Such laws would be "against unbelievers, apostates, rebels, highway robbers and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam." The latter covers about everyone other than true Muslims.

It must be stated again, that any group, organization, belief, or faith that cannot tolerate criticism is also a group, organization, belief, or faith that is almost certainly not entitled to any freedom or consideration of any kind whatsoever. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

[Meanwhile, there are hints of new statutes in the United States whereby it will be against the law for anyone to criticize the newly elected Republicans in the Congress and the Senate. They are, after all, very sensitive to criticism and we don't want to injure any feelings less they become upset and spill their tea all over their laps. Right? ...not really.]

Significantly, whether the Qur'an sanctions defensive warfare only, OR commands an all out war against non-Muslims depends on the interpretation of the relevant passages.

Ah, yes... it's always that bit about interpretation!

Crusades

Let us assume for a moment... however brief... that Jihad is only about defense. But... even in this case, would a defensive Jihad be any more comforting, when on the near horizon there appears to be on mainstream agendas, the very real possibilities of new and improved versions of the Crusades?

Gerald Celente, writing in The Trends Journal [4], has noted that:

"Holding Islam responsible for the acts of an alleged few was like holding Christianity responsible for the US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fought mainly by Christian soldiers.

There are lunatic fringes in every religion, radicals in every political system, and a criminal underclass in every business and ethnic group. To single out Islam is the immoral equivalent of blaming Judaism for the financial meltdown, or maintaining that all Italians are Mafia dons.

And yet, in basic training, American Soldiers are being force-molded into Onward Christian Soldiers. The reports of this shows up in such articles as: “Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought” and “US soldiers punished for not attending Christian rock concert”.

World War II taught the military that emphasizing discipline was not enough to ensure that young men would be willing to callously kill others... even under the strictest of orders. Amazingly, a majority of men in WWII simply shot over the heads of the enemy, and thereby avoided court martial while simultaneously adhering to their own personal moral code. It was under this revelation that the military shifted gears and began the primary emphasis of instilling within each and every soldier the idea that killing the enemy was in order to save their buddies from the enemy killing them. It became more of a team sport, where the team is everything. You simply cannot fail to support your gang member... it just isn't done.

But now... just in time for the new, improved crusades... American soldiers are being taught that instead of merely killing the enemy in order to save one's buddies... or to avoid court martial... the new rule is to kill the enemy in order to avoid going to hell... as well as perhaps guaranteeing a ticket to heaven. In other words, What Would Jesus Do, if not kill anyone not believing in "the Savior".

The problem of course is that when the Christians are finished killing the Moslems... then they might turn their attention to the Jews ("Christ killers"), Buddhists (and anyone practicing the black art of "yoga"), Secularists ("heretics") and any kids reading Harry Potter. After that there is either the Catholics or the Protestants that need killing (depending upon your Chaplain's orientation). Of course, there is no reason to assume that there might not be some serious conflicts between various sects of the victorious mob.

[We will momentarily ignore the possibility of the Moslems killing most of the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, secularists, et al. Of course, in either case, being a survivor of any such wars would probably be less ideal than having gone down in a fire fight.]

As for the new emphasis on a fundamentalist Christian-led U. S. Military... how is this not a gross violation of the Constitutional's First Amendment restriction on establishing a religion? And how are such violations being treated by the press? Well other than the occasional article in such local news outlets noted above, it's pretty much business as usual for the national media. That is to say, find out what the people want in their news, and spoon feed it to them... while avoiding like the plague, any subjects that might be slightly unpleasant and/or controversial (that is, controversial among the 80% Milgram majority). People don't like to pay for bad news... directly or indirectly.

[The 80% Milgram majority, by the way, stems from psychological experiments over the last fifty years or so, which clearly demonstrate that roughly 80% of otherwise, decent people will nonetheless inflict intolerable pain upon their fellow humans simply because someone in authority orders them to do so. When one considers how religions are first and foremost about exerting authority over the masses... particularly the 80% majority... then one can see that no horror, no abomination, no terror, is exempt from being inflicted upon humanity by an irresponsible authority. This becomes particularly important when one considers who it is exactly that joins any religious crusade, jihad, and/or holy war. See Crusaders below.]

When it comes to the media... the epitome of irresponsibility authorities... things can only get worse. Instead of national coverage of the brain-washing going on in basic training, all the emphasis is about small time pastors with minimal followings who decide to bring back some good old fashioned book burning... only in this case with special emphasis on the other religion's holiest book.

As Celente [4] writes:

"Always under the umbrella of “this is what the people want,” the media routinely deflect criticism of their obsession with the sensational and the squalid (feasting for months on the corpse of Michael Jackson or wallowing in every salacious detail of Tiger Woods’ sexual adventures).

"However morally repellent this may be, saturation coverage of celebrity scandals has little or no life or death consequences, and certainly no effect on geopolitical events. But by according this level of coverage to the ravings of “fringe” Pastor Terry Jones, the media once again proved not just how low they can go, but how destructive they can be.

"The media, individually and collectively, were perfectly cognizant of the incendiary nature of a rising anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States, and how their coverage would create a knee-jerk anti-American backlash from the world’s billion and a half Muslims. The US media were as guilty of fomenting anti-Islamism as Josef Goebbels was of inciting anti-Semitism in Germany.

"They were Crusaders for the Crusades. They could not help but know that time lavished upon a bible-thumping Quran burner could only inflame hatred among the already bigoted. But in an unprecedented frenzy of journalistic irresponsibility, they were blazing new trails; jonesing up new markets, inciting bigotry where none existed before." [emphasis added]

But like all properly constituted crusades, there was the need to include all of Christendom. Again, Celente says it best:

"Throughout Europe, extreme nationalist parties were gaining strength, upsetting the always precarious balance of established parties. From egalitarian Sweden, that bastion of tolerance, to open-minded Netherlands, to fashion Conscious France, to class-conscious England, to architecturally-sensitive Switzerland, Muslims were singled out for their crime rate, birth rate, abuse of the welfare state, alien customs, offensive dress, and refusal to integrate.

"With 500 million EU citizens distributed over 27 countries, and freely flowing across borders, the next in line to be targeted as unwelcome were the Roma (Gypsies) who were being thrown out of France in 2010. The third group that would be told to go back where they came from were the EU’s Eastern Bloc poor relations, who had been welcomed for their cheap labor during the continental building boom and in the early days of euro-phoria.

"History was repeating itself (as closely as history ever repeats itself). The lyrics were different, but the tune was the same: an insurgent populist, ultra-nationalist/anti-immigration/xenophobic movement at one pole, and a resurgent workers’ solidarity/anti-plutocrat movement at the other.

"Yet, while the groups were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, there was common ground between them; their love of country. Right or left, both considered themselves citizens first and EU members second. Both right and left had become disillusioned with promises that a common currency, open borders and globalization would usher in an era of earning more, working less and living better."

Celente makes no bones about where this is leading:

"Trend Forecast: The Quran burning/anti-mosque episodes were but two instances of the growing American/European sentiment — anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim — that would escalate into the new Crusade. This was more than just religious bigotry or patriotic xenophobia, it was no less than another chapter in America’s unending Cold War. As we wrote back 1993, an old enemy would morph into a new one:

“As the trend evolves, Islam will become the new Communism. Western powers will view Muslim Crusaders with the same fervor they once viewed communists who sought to overthrow Capitalism. ‘Moral imperatives will drive foreign policy.’”

"No one seemed to recognize it back then, and even in 2010 it wasn’t being acknowledged for what it was. The Crusade fought in the name of the “War on Terror” was no more than a variant of the Cold War with new faces, new names, and a new enemy. It kept the juggernaut that President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” rolling full steam ahead, and like the Red Commie threat, it would serve to keep the American people in a constant state of fear.

"What had been called Civil Defense had metastasized into an inviolable multi-billion dollar business euphemized as Homeland Security.

"With the United States plunging ever deeper into debt, its deficit rising, and with millions unemployed and down to their last dime, President Obama vowed not to cut a penny from national security for the next three years.

"The defense budget was the trillion dollar sacred elephant in the room. Everyone saw it; few talked about it. In the 20th century, anyone daring to suggest cutting defense was branded “soft on communism.” In the 21st century, advocates for cutting defense were vilified as 'soft on terror'.”

Crusaders

The biggest problem with Crusades are the Crusaders, the latter who strongly tend to be religious fanatics. After all, who else would willingly volunteer for a war and thereby risk their life (limb, sanity, and so forth and so on)... purely because of having a different philosophy of life and how to live it? Doesn't that sound just a bit insane?

(But then again, isn't religious fanaticism, by definition, pretty much insane?)

It might appear to anyone without an ax to grind, improvised incendiary device to strap on, or nuclear warhead to drop, that it might well be advantageous to have all of the religious fanatics squaring off and killing each other... sort of like the Shiite Iranians spending years killing and being killed by Sunni Iraqi. However... the problem that inevitably arises is after the religious fanatics have developed some real skills in murder, maiming, and mayhem, these same nuts are now in possession of the weapons of mass and individualized destruction, and will have then returned home (or abroad) to impose their views on others. Even worse yet, this would be after they have had their righteousness allegedly validated by a deity... i.e., we won! There's nothing like winning... or just surviving... to convince someone of their having made precisely the correct decision in matters of philosophy and religion.

Part of the real horror is the manner in which any Crusader thinks... and/or rationalizes. Within the mind set, the paradigm, of any and all Crusaders -- on all sides of any chosen Holy war -- is the assumption on their part that the Crusaders can do absolutely anything, and still be forgiven by their god. Such forgiveness and motivation is granted on the basis that they were defending the faith. This is a form of Dominionism, where all things are rationalized, and where there can be no sin (or punishment) for the religiously-inspired prosecutors (and/or defenders) of their faith. This is likewise the mind set of radical religious sects just as Opus Dei [5] of the Roman Catholic's version of Onward Christian Soldiers and/or Fanatics, and various sects of Islam, all of whom might happily war among themselves in order to inflict their narrower religious views. And then, of course, there's the ultra-orthodox adherents of Judaism, some of whom have actually tried to build walls inside their schools in order to prevent any cross-fertilization from their slightly less orthodox Jewish brethren.

Crusaders are seldom curious, thoughtful, or open to new ideas. They are fanatics. There's not much else to say in their defense.

However...

What about the "moderates", that ever-increasingly rare breed, that act more in the form of being a "Cafeteria Christian," those who choose which parts of a religion to adopt, and which to leave aside as an artifact of several centuries ago. Can one not hope that these moderates might prevent the real fanatics from going ballistic? (pardon the pun)

Probably not.

The problem with so-called religious moderates, be they of the style of Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Republicanism, and any other strange orders... the problem stems from something we've already alluded to, i.e., the Milgram Effect.

The bottom line of those experiments that verified and supported the initial research is that roughly 80% of the populace will deal out punishment and pain to their fellow man (not necessarily those who happen to have opposing religious views)... but inflict pain and suffering on strangers purely on the basis of being instructed to do so by authority figures. From the perspective of humanity, this is horrifying! There is, in fact, very little humanity among humans. People who are supposedly kind and gentle to their fellow man, will turn on that same fellow man and inflict serious pain simply because some one they have assumed to be a legitimate authority has told them to do so.

When the Nazi's were on trial in Nuremberg after WWII, the inevitable defense by high ranking members of the German society (judges, generals, et al) was that they were just following orders. This defense was found wholly unacceptable at the time. But now, apparently 80% of human adults would likely cop the same plea. Under no circumstances, would this change the fundamental wrongness of the action... but many would still hide under the cover of just following orders... even when we're talking about civilians obeying the dictates of various authorities. Seldom mentioned in this notably weak legal defense was the more plausible excuse that they were too scared to disobey orders... for fear of what might happen to them! Very few soldiers or even non-combatants are likely to say, "I'm sorry, but your order is wrong. It is morally and ethically contrary to my beliefs. I cannot follow such orders." Many people have been shot or executed for far less, so one should perhaps hesitate to condemn such defenses.

What all of this implies, then, is from whence the real horror of Holy War derives... i.e., there are even less constraints on any combatants than might have ever been imagined by the Geneva Convention... particularly when it comes to religious crusades, jihads, and so forth. Furthermore, in the spirit of very possibly fighting fire with fire... there are simply no limits to the inhumanity that one human can apply to others. It's the Inverse Golden Rule: Do every imaginable horror to others, before they do as much to you.

In point of fact, such inhumanity is often if not inevitably rationalized by the insistence of the perpetrators that the enemy is either not human, has the wrong religion, or is merely the enemy. They're fascist dogs, infidels, heretics, gentiles, non-believers... and as such are not really human, have no human rights, and rank on the hierarchy of species, somewhere below scum and/or the bubonic plague.

And that is the nature of Holy War.

What gets a bit scarier are The Rules of Holy War.

_______________________________

References:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

[2] The Week, "The World at a Glance", October 15, 2010, page 11.

[3] The Week, "Only in America", October 8, 2010, page 8.

[4] Gerald Celente, The Trends Journal, Autumn 2010, page 15

[5] From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Dei:

"Controversies about Opus Dei have centered around criticisms of its alleged secretiveness, its recruiting methods, the alleged strict rules governing members, the practice by celibate members of mortification of the flesh, its alleged elitism and misogyny, the alleged right-leaning politics of most of its members, and the alleged participation by some in authoritarian or extreme right-wing governments, especially the Francoist Government of Spain until 1978. Within the Catholic Church, Opus Dei is also criticized for allegedly seeking independence and more influence. Members and people who have knowledge of Opus Dei activities however agree that this is not

 

Oh, God

A Whimsical View

Comparative Religions         Chronicles of Earth

Forward to:

Sumerian         Enki and Enlil         Anunnaki

The Milgram Effect

Freedom of Religion        The Rules of Holy War

Racism and Culturalism         Multiculturalism         Perils of Immigration

Free Speech         The (9) Supremes         The Halls of SCOTUS

An American Third Party         A Third Party That Knows How to Party

 

 

 

               

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