P. Edronkin

Is There A Parallel Between Medieval Christian Society And Today's Islam?

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For some, this comparison can be derogatory or even insulting, but it seems that at least, medieval Christianity and present-day Islamic world can be compared, or at least comparisons are tempting. Certainly, there is one key element that is common to both, and that is teocentrism, or a life centred on the idea of God. In medieval Europe, religion took even a better seat than politics, philosophy and even peace: endless war and violence was justified using religious arguments, as well as the persecution of Jews, the quest for the Holy Land and Jerusalem, and the expansion - either peaceful or violent of Christendom - and the same can be said of today's Muslim world.

Indeed, there is a row with the Jews among most Muslims, a life centred around Allah, religion has so much influence on Muslim society so as to even constitute the basis for laws and regulations, people who question the basis of religion or offend it in any perceived way are publicly condemned to death, there is a seemingly endless war, a quest for Jerusalem and the expansion of Islam.

And another very intriguing thing is that during medieval times in Europe and as its culture stagnated, Islam was shining in arts, sciences, philosophy and other areas, while today the situation is almost completely the opposite. In fact, during those times western countries took steps to get rid of Muslims and Jews, all of whom were people that meant a lot for the advancement of local culture, economy and science (See The Mother of All Mistakes). Today, Jews can barely visit or live in Muslim countries, and the situation for Christians in those countries is not quite safe.

Most comparisons of this kind are often derogatory or easily interpreted as such, but in this case, I would like to stress something different, because if this proves anything, it is that we are all equal, equally bright and equally stupid: it is only a matter of timing. But the fact is that considering the destructive firepower of modern weapons, and the continued violence between Muslims and just everybody else: Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindis, and Muslims themselves, there is something to reflect on from both a political as well as a survivalist point of view: a nuclear or WMD scenario, despite the discredit that Mr. Bush-'s blunder in Iraq means, is indeed possible, and even more likely that during the cold war because religious fanaticism is never rational.

Religions are okay: the problem is how we interpret religious ideas, and why some people do that in a fanatical way: we must face the fact: there is a large number if Islamic militant groups that using the excuse of just causes are only causing bloodshed that sooner or later ends in retaliation and yet more blood over the ground. The only winners are the fanatics, so without pretending anyone to change views on all the matters that matter us, we should all agree that violence is to be used more prudently, and first of all, only by states as their prerogative, and then, as little as possible. Militant groups are simply the excuse for the existence of feudal warlords.

Force in the hands of groups other than the state preclude progress and modernity, and only serve to bring destruction and disgrace over those who such groups pretend to represent or defend, for being them always weaker than a state but believing that they can harass and pester their adversaries, which are indeed, states, sooner or later end up attracting their full wrath, against which they have no possible and realistic defence.

We can just take the example of King Solomon of Israel and his forty or so years of leadership to see that a state which is powerful has the seeds of prosperity, and not divisive factions: as long as Solomon's Israel kept a credible military might, his kingdom was prosperous and powerful, but his successors divided the power and the country soon fell to division and occupation.

The only thing that today's Islamic world doesn't have is an American continent to discover and Indians to wipe out, as Christians did. Let's hope that we can all learn from history and that no new Americas get discovered just to be destroyed soon afterwards. The parallel is there, but there is one hope: we have the knowledge of past deeds, so the mistakes of Christians may help today's Muslims to see where 'Holy Wars' lead to.

Dead and martyrdom are not good for really just causes because justice is about life and not death.

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