Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Last Martyr

 One man's heaven is another man's hell
One man's buy is another man's sell
One man's day is another man's night
One man's peace is another one's fight 
--Two Sides to Every Story,
Joe Walsh  

She could never be a saint,
but she thought she could be a martyr
if they killed her quick 
--Flannery O'Connor

And it repented the Lord
that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at his heart
--Genesis 6:6

A Clarification on the previous post, You're All In or You're Not:

While death, killing and dying are central issues in both Islam and Christianity (and Clint Eastwood movies and lots of other things) religions accord their own values to them. This is my view on the differences between the current two players, and why this is essential to their play of war.

Before proceeding, yes, this a military blog and most interest surrounds the "wars" qua war; the Phoney Wars on Terror (PWOT ©), in particular. But since tanks are driven and mortars lobbed by men, it seems fair to go to the human ground when considering war, despite the Department of Defense types who see the whole thing within the confines of their operational maps

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but whereas the United States has a secular Army composed of members hewing to a variety or religious beliefs or none at all, the Islamic State (IS) fighters are one thing: Sunni Muslims. (This is not a logical fallacy. I am not stating all Muslims are IS sympathizers, but simply all IS members are Muslims. ) When they complete a mission, they are always reported as hailing their god, "Allahu Akhbar!"

For those who wish to displace religion from its foundational position motivating most of the Islamic attacks in the past 35+ years, I would suggest that is a mistake. My position is to neither denigrate nor praise any particular religion, only to recognize a foundational belief driving today's hostilities.

Christianity worships a meek prophet, Jesus, who according to the dogma martyred himself so that others may live (John 10:10). Looking at the the Eucharist, what could it mean when Jesus insists that his followers will actually be eating his flesh and blood when they partake of the ritual?

One understanding might be that, beginning from the premise that man is fallen and therefore all are killers and betrayers and every other bad thing that humans are capable of, through the grisly Eucharist man is made to re-enact his responsibility for his murderous impulse each time.

The believer must face his failures in a very real way, by ingesting Him and therefore integrating His faultlessness into his being, perhaps analogous to a pluripotent stem cell injection. Ergo, every Eucharist is the drama of death and Resurrection, writ small (the Resurrection being the continuance of the life in the believer who has partaken of the meal.) Whether that is a precise analysis of His intention (who can know?) one point is clear: Jesus intends to be the last and ultimate martyr.

He will redeem man so that he need not continue carrying out his petty part (though it hasn't quite worked out that way.) Despite man's continued bad behavior, Jesus's death is memorialized at most services. No more sacrificial lambs, no more Crucifixion, no more martyrdom.

Jesus is known as the "Prince of Peace" and the "Lamb of God". This stands diametrically opposite to the warrior Mohammed, who does not preach love of one's brother. In fact, this is a tightly fraternal religion and its members are charged with killing the infidel, who in fact, may just be a member of another sect of Islam (Shi'ia).

To say this interpretation of Sharia is extremism is like calling the Catholic, who believes he is consuming the body and blood of Christ, misbegotten. In fact, they are both faithful adherents.

Followers of Christianity may not have gotten the brotherhood message correct for several centuries, and gross numbers committed grave crimes under cover of their God. Many still do not understand the message of the religion they would claim. But the message is naught but love, and especially, love the stranger.

However, for the Muslims warring today, for those who fight behind the aegis of their prophet Mohammed, they are not misunderstand their doctrine, they are fulfilling it. It is not for them the self-immolation of the Hindu or the Buddhist. There are no Gandhis.

Maybe someone should have done a cultural study prior to invasion and occupation. Some liberals might have stopped insisting what a peaceful religion Islam is.

Of course, it can be expected that anyone will fight against the colonizer, as the French and later the Americans saw in Vietnam. But in Iraq, we were two-down, for not only were we the unwelcome invaders, but the people had been seething at least since they were thrown together into that great confabulation called Iraq last century. We simply unleashed the controls on all of that anger.

Time to say, "We can't do this anymore. We are aiding and abetting the violence by our very presence. Sorry, gotta go." Yes, it's shabby, but who hasn't the U.S. betrayed at one time or another? That's realpolitik, baby.

Or we can continue with the showdown at the Apocalypto Corral, and give the talking heads more daily predictable fodder. And give you something predictable to view when you flip on the news, and a sound byte for when you want to have a little banter with business partners on world matters.

I write on a military blog, and I'm getting bored with this.

Are you getting bored?

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Anonymous Blakenator said...

I can't agree with your premise that islam is all bad. They got sucked into minor roles in both world wars by the western powers. There are enough muslims in the world that they could cause serious problems if they really wanted to. The "terrorists" are groups of criminal gangs operating under the guise of religion and we have folks all too anxious to paint them as religious fanatics to keep the PWOT going. BTW, I grew up in the bible belt and I consider all organized religion a scam.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 8:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I did not say "Islam is all bad."

All of the mainstream religions have their finer points or they would not attract followers.

I stand behind my statements on Islam:

"I am not stating all Muslims are IS sympathizers, but simply all IS members are Muslims."

However, for the Muslims warring today, for those who fight behind the aegis of their prophet Mohammed, they are not misunderstand their doctrine, they are fulfilling it.

As I wrote, most Muslims (as most members of other religions) practice a "lite" form of their dogma. The followers are not animated to do the "heavy lifting" called of them, and are content to live within the bounds of modernity.

I have read a bit of the Quran and a bit of the bible; it's all there for the reading.

Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:24:00 AM GMT-5  

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