ISIS and the Emasculation of Islam
By R. D. Flavin
Isis, the Ancient Egyptian goddess of Love and Health with two etchings of a dismembered Osirus from the island of Philae, the final Ancient Egyptian temple complex closed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian ca. 527-565 CE.
Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"
The Ancient Egyptian god known as the “Lord of Love” and the “Lord of Silence, Osirus (Gk Ὄσιρις, AE Wsjr) was violently assailed upon by his brother, Set (Plutarch credits Typhon the Titan), either in a fit of madness or perhaps from Osirus enjoying the comforts of Set's consort, Nephthys. The attack was horrible and the body of Osirus was dismembered into a number of pieces (accounts vary from fourteen to forty-two) and scattered throughout the land. Isis, his sister/wife, beset with grief took it upon herself to gather together the pieces of the dismembered body (some report she had help in the recovery). Isis then enlisted the aid of Thoth and Anubis, and together their combined magical powers resurrected Osirus. There was just one problem – no one had located the god's phallus and the resurrected god was without his ...penis for a time. Isis, being the resourceful goddess that she was, fashioned a golden phallus and affixed it to Osirus. Okay, Osirus got the positions of God of the Underworld and Afterlife, and also some judging responsibilities. However, he was still 'dickless' after a fashion which promoted a sense of cowardliness, and he kind of disappeared from the good action myths after a while and was barely remembered as the “God of Death.” Today, however, more than a few believe all of the above is conflated silliness and the root of the Osirus saga is an agricultural one with birth, death, and rebirth.
Was it right for Isis to make a strap-on fake penis for Osirus? We must ask ourselves if it's any of our concern... If it works for them, who are we to judge? Okay, the suckling goddess got some mention, and now it's time to discuss the women and men of today, especially the violently disillusioned, who wish to kill the vast majority of us. There are those who regard the coming violence as the Inevitable Crusade, others as a sad end to Colonial interference and profiteering, and others who simply wish to kill those who wish to kill them. ISIS and their ilk are the enemies of all civilized (and the truly Religious) humans who call this planet 'home'. It's time to clean house...
I propose the earliest religions emerged from a general awe and fear of Nature (lions, tigers, and bears, as well as the phenomena of lightening, thunder, earthquakes, and other scary terrestrial occurrences), and, of course, such celestial happenings as comets and eclipses had an influence as well. I suggest that these 'fears' were used by the tribal big or strong man (later 'village' and subsequently any large gathering of people in a domestic setting) to protect from and hunt prey and in all likelihood the terrestrial and celestial phenomena were 'interpreted' as either favorable or as punishment. In time, the strong man became a king, pharaoh, or some other term for 'ruler' and surrounded himself with wise-men (i.e., esoteric charlatans). Repeated practices and utterances became rituals and dogma, and after the invention of writing many were legally and morally bound by ...scripture.
Let's get something straight right now – all scripture, no matter how well intentioned or if it contains genuine quotes or narratives, are inherent falsehoods. 1) G*d doesn't need to say anything – existence is sufficient. 2) Personal 'enlightenment' can NEVER be applied to everyone – individuality means we all walk our own paths, sometimes sharing a trail or road for a time, but ultimately choosing our own way. 3) Even lying to further a greater good is still lying – truth is sometimes modified with new information, yet 'scripture' is fixed, unchanging, and really old and outdated. We need to approach 'scripture' as a literary genre.
So that this column doesn't become a massive prolegomenon on global spirituality, I'm going to limit discussion to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (perhaps with a brief mention of Zoroastrianism and Mithraism). Any consideration of the Hebrew Tanakh (The Torah, The Books of the Prophets, and the Writings—a miscellanea of poetry and quasi-historical accounts) must take into account the supportive archaeology on one hand and the wondrous fictive encyclopedic collection of a proud and accomplished people on the other. Scholars reject everything before Solomon (though there are some David hold-outs) as myth and legend and treat the quasi-historical accounts as invective propaganda. Job was a clever tale and some of the poetry is quite good. Still, gosh there's an awful lot of violence—some real nasty wet-work as well. I do not regard the Tanakh as a book of peace, but rather as a record of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern accounts of minor wars with major results.
Christianity will be a tad tricky for me as I wish to remain impartial and anti-agenda, but I do have my personal hypothesis of The Gospel of Mark as a polished (or presented for publication) version of a Greek tragedy set in Palestine during Roman occupation times. However, as I've yet to formally present my argument, ...I'm going to ignore it and stick with the basics.
So, Christian scripture (especially the so-called Gospels) amused the literary critics for a time because of their unique composition style (the loose narrative structure of the Books of the Maccabees were barely two centuries old when the Gospels began to be written), but the Books of the Maccabees were soon taken as canonical (or rather, some of them were). However, as with the earlier documentary hypothesis of 'The Torah' with the Elohist. Deutronomist. Yahwist, and Priestly sources, soon the unbiased Christians had discerned the Synoptic Gospels, the hypothetical “Book of Q,” genuine (?) Pauline letters separated from the 'fake' ones (those stylistically unlike the other Pauline letters), the priority of Mark as the earliest narrative (Paul, in the 50s CE doesn't mention a single narrative detail—family and such), that some gospels seemed to have been written to reflect different agendas or motivations for composition, and much more. Even after Crossan's 1991 The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant and the hard work of the Jesus Seminar which released The Five Gospels in 1993, great strides are still being made in Christian scholarship. Who would have guessed Jesus probably preferred beer over wine?
Though I've made this distinction before, I believe it needs repeating – I greatly admire Jesus, the prophet and teacher who practiced a form of egalitarian positivism and sent his senior followers out among the people to ...give them hugs, inform them their suffering had nothing to do with divine considerations, but rather social-economic conflicts between Rome and her 'enemies', and good conduct is all that is expected from anyone. Jesus is known for his “Golden Rule,” that is, treat others as you wish to be treated, which was perhaps 'borrowed' from the Rabbi Hillel the Elder, though practically all philosophical systems around the world and throughout time have a saying which is similar. Jesus was an honorable man who went to Jerusalem knowing he might lose his life because of his teachings. Christ,on the other hand, was/is a magical and fictive creation who performed miracles and knew he would come back from the dead. One was human and deserves our respect and love and the other was an Iron Age superhero who has confused a great many people.
Christian scripture contains many words and sayings of peace, yet its intolerance toward many Jews, the encouragement to divide the family unit if there exists religious disagreement, as well as off-hand remarks about violence and retribution require me to classify Christian scripture as a collection of philosophical texts with some old school mythology tossed in for those who expect the 'fantastic'.
Before I address ISIS (or IS or ISIL), that is, the terrorist group which calls itself the “Islamic State,” I feel it necessary to explain Mohammad, the Quran, and the violent fanaticism which is claimed to be inspired by the Quran, and currently threatens our civilization. Let's have at it, shall we?
The Prophet Mohammad, father-in-law Abu Bakr, and cousin and son-in-law Ali.
Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (570-632 CE; hereafter simply Muhammad) was born in the trade-route city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, not far from the Red Sea, though piracy was on the rise and merchants were eager to establish secure overland routes. While certainly exposed to Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, there were also Syriac Christians and Hebrews about, as well as the prevalent pagan deities of which Allah was a “creator god” with daughters and perhaps some sons. There were many other gods and goddesses alongside Allah, as well as the magical jinn, spirits, and demonic monsters. Mecca, however, revered Hubal (associated with arrows for some unknown reason). Muhammad was orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle to be a merchant. It's said that Muhammad had a peculiar habit of departing Mecca for a secluded cave in the mountains and there meditated in seclusion for several days at a time. Tradition maintains that on his fortieth birthday he was visited by the Archangel Gabriel who taught him the true faith as practiced by Abraham. After three years of chatting with a hallucination, Muhammad left his cave (now called the Cave of Hira), and returned home to teach what he had learned. His wife, a neighborly Christian, and some associates embraced Muhammad as G*d's Messenger, though others strongly advised he keep his teachings private. In the fourth year of Muhammad's revelation, he took his teachings public. It didn't go well, in fact, Muhammad, G*d's Message, and all the new followers were encouraged to flee from Mecca to Medina, where after some negotiations they were welcomed as honored guests.
I don't wish to discuss Muhammad at this time as either a prophet or a warring tribal chieftain – there has to be readily available biographies out there in print and online. The composition of the Quran, it's editing and 'publishing' history, and its intolerance toward some unbelievers with encouragement of murder and its treatment of women are what I wish to elaborate on. We've put men on the Moon, yet as psychologist Jean Houston states: “We have yet to put the first man on earth.”
The Quran (AR al-qur'ān, var. Qur'an or Koran, meaning “The Recitation”) is the primary scripture of Islam and believed to have been verbally transmitted by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad during the years 609 through 632 CE and later written down by various scribes. Several attempts were made to collect all of the writings into a single volume after the death of Muhammad, though modern scholarship suggests a complete version no earlier than 690 CE, a scriptio inferior (underlying text) of a manuscript page is radiocarbon dated to ca. 671, which may demonstrate that portions of the Quran existed at that time.
Taken as a whole, the Quran immediately reveals authorship by at least a half-dozen different people,its chapters (“suras”) are sequenced in an uneven and mysterious manner, with some scholars advancing the theory that a large portion of the Quran was composed explicitly for his wives, while other suras were political and propaganda in nature. It must be remembered that these were words to inspire tribal loyalty, instructions to conquer foreign lands and peoples, and with the express intent of Islam becoming the religion of the world. While some founders of a new religion put 'proper' behavior first, it must be remembered that Mohammad was a rich and powerful man who wanted more... Sure, during the Islamic Golden Age schools allowed Jews and Christians to attend, but be mindful of all the blood that was spilled before that.
Pardon me, before proceeding any further I should explain the divisions within Islam. Simply put, after the death of Muhammad, Abdullah ibn Abi Qhuhafah became the first Caliph (“steward”) and was known by the nickname, Abu Bakr, and is regarded as the founder of the Sunni (“a clear path”) sect. The next two caliphs, Umar and Uthman ibn Affan, did some good things, conquered some nearby lands, and let's move on to the fourth caliph, `Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, whom many had wanted as caliph early on, and is now known as the founder of the Shia (“followers”) sect. It would not be an untruth to write that the Shia and the Sunni passionately hate each other. The third Islamic sect, the mystical Sufi traditions are for the most part cool and have little to do with 'mainstream' Islam. Let's hear it for the mystics!
Now, regarding the brutality and murder encouraged in the Quran, my advise is to learn how to read critically and admit that very few nations surrender without a fight. Women as property? Quran (4:34) instructs men to "admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them" if women act rebellious. I suppose when compared with clitorectimies and genital mutilation, an occasional beating ain't that bad...
Moderation vs Fundamentalism: An Aside
I know many Jews, Christians, and Muslims who don't wear their personal religious beliefs on their shoulders and act like, indeed ARE, just average Americans. They all may hold some opinion I and others might disagree with, but they keep such to themselves as befits civility and manners. Now, loudmouth bigots, racists, and the occasional potential killer or mass murderer (i.e., suicidal terrorists) usually stand out in a crowd, but not always. There are many many many folks with moderate religious beliefs who are the backbones of the countries they reside in. Fundamentalists in all religions are aggressive egotists who crave power (social, economic, and behavioral). Equality is not the game – it's the rules.
They say that family feuding, ethnic hatred, and religious intolerance are basics of human nature, though I would argue their presence resides with the fringe and the bulk or center of our civilization is composed of a multitudinous amount of average normality. We're essentially good people, though unfortunately plagued by thugs, gangsters, murderers, and the rare government or religion who wish to [insert evil laugh] rule the world.
As a child I knew there were folks called Jews (my father took me to Dachau when I was 8) and there was a country called Israel. I vaguely remember hearing about something called the “Six Day War” on the nightly news, but until that awful night in June of 1968, when Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed Sen. Robert Kennedy, I hadn't heard the word “Palestine” before. Then came the Munich Olympic Massacre by Black September, and every now and then there would be something on the news about an airplane hijacking with something to do with Palestinians. I started to pay attention and encountered some alleged terrorist group called the PLO and run by some guy who looked like Ringo Starr. The Jewish-Muslim/Arabic/Palestinian conflict began to sink into my brain, I couldn't really understand much of it (except that innocent people were getting killed). I was able to, however, understand Vanessa Redgrave's 1978 anti-zionist remark, as most everyone else thought it was anti-Semitic and knew nothing about the political Zionist Movement (which the UN had in 1975 termed "a form of racism and racial discrimination"). Yeah, early on I knew I was in way over my head...
As the years passed (and Ringo look-alike Chairman Yasser Arafat got older and stopped blowing things up), more and more of the Islamic world began to publicly criticize Israel and began to call for a two-state solution. The UN had been involved since the beginning, getting Israel in 1947 and 1948 to sign a promise of compensation to the displaced Palestinians for lost land and factories, but ...the Israelis had some real good lawyers who stretched things out for a few years at a time, until after 1961 when the UN met casually for a few minutes each year to pass a resolution to meet the following year, a sham which still goes on. If Israel wrote a check, a lot of posturing and hostilities would cease... In my opinion, of course.
It happened almost haphazardly, but it happened:
The Fall of Lebanon – 1969
And now we're on the precipice of the Unavoidable Crusade...
I'm unsure if Operation Desert Shield – 1990-1991, The War in Afghanistan – 2002-present, and Operation Iraqi Freedom – 2003-2010 should be described as successful or not. Things are almost as bad now as when we got involved... Nature abhors a vacuum, the predator senses the fear of the prey, and there are lots of bad and horrible things happening all over the world. Do we pick our battles or do our battles pick us?
Around the globe, Islamist thugs began to emerge with guns in hand and the worst parts of the Quran on their lips. The Muslims of Malaysia and Indonesia are poised for violence and ready to enforce the antiquated and barbaric Sharia Law. Many tribal gangsters in Africa have pretended to embrace Islam, but only as an excuse to kill their enemies, dehumanize their women, and increase their personal bank accounts. As more and more Islamists discover that the world will do little to stop them and because Islam has NO CENTRAL AUTHORITY and only local ayatollahs and Imans, Muslim factions have been created with the outwardly purpose of defending the Palestinians and reclaiming East Jerusalem (and the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque). And from these various (terrorist) factions has arisen the most ruthless to date – ISIS, that is, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, along with many variations and subsequent acronyms. Initially, ISIS was part of al Qaeda, but got tossed out because they were too savage. Now THAT'S a feather in one's turban – to be kicked out of al Qaeda for being too mean...
The flag of ISIS.
It's difficult to cite specific examples of battlefield cruelty, as many armies have hidden behind women and children, then raped and killed them, performed public beheadings, and have been arrogant SOBs on top of it. What makes ISIS so intolerable is their pretension of holiness coupled with claims to be able to kill anyone, anytime, anywhere, and that they want half of Spain back. It may be somewhat familiar Islamic Fundamentalist behavior, yet I find myself disappointed by the rest of the Islamic world. It's like they're “dickless” and cowardly for refusing to stand up against these punks. They've been emasculated by gangsters...
I can somewhat understand the reluctance of the non-Islamic countries to intervene in the Middle Eastern quagmire of bigotry and tribal feuding. The Jewish-Muslim conflict makes our Hatfield–McCoy feud look like a playground shoving match. However, I believe this to be an Islamic issue and expect them to take care of it. Come on, Islam! Man up and deal with YOUR problems! May peace find its way into your tents and hearts. Along with some courage and accepting responsibility...
Quran (4:85) – “Whoever rallies to a good cause shall have a share in its blessings; and whoever rallies to an evil cause shall be answerable for his part in it: for, indeed, G*d watches over everything.”
PS: If this column is met with fatal criticism, I'd like to be buried at Glenwood Cemetary in Flint Township, MI alongside the other Flavins.
Hoping all the terrorist martyr's 72 virgins have STDs,