Saturday, December 08, 2018

Comparative Religion

From Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Reza Aslan:

"In any case, neither the commandment to love one’s enemies nor the plea to turn the other cheek is equivalent to a call for nonviolence or nonresistance. Jesus was not a fool. He understood what every other claimant to the mantle of the messiah understood: God’s sovereignty could not be established except through force. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of God has been coming violently, and the violent ones try to snatch it away” (Matthew 11: 12 | Luke 16: 16)."

Aslan suggests that all that peaceful stuff about turning the other cheek was imported later to make Christianity palatable for peaceful times. In a way it's a wonder that Christianity was founded off such a unique and narrow revolutionary like Jesus.

This is a book written by a Muslim about the historical life of Jesus.

I've spent so much time looking up articles on Wikipedia to get up to speed to this ancient world.

Reading about the other guys is interesting to me. I talk to people about their guy, whether it's Jesus, Mohammed or Buddha. Ethnic religions don't have universal creeds and guys, they have families, traditions, though they are not devoid of thought and can be turned into philosophies like the Vedanta and Kosher Sex.

There are lots of parallels between the Buddha and Jesus. The Buddha and Jesus both wanted to stop the sacrificing of animals. There are many parallels. Jesus was noted for not charging for his miracles, and the Buddha didn't want anyone to charge for the teachings, the teachings are free. They both spoke in the common language, not the language of scholars.

There are differences. It seems Jesus was out for his people, but the Buddha wasn't out for his area or king. He radically included those of lower caste and women, though some perhaps think he didn't go far enough. The nuns got extra rules. In Theravadan countries the nuns wash the men's clothes often. While the Buddha's times were fairly contentious, there were pockets of calm. Jesus was fighting to overthrow the yoke of the Romans from dot.

I can see how liberation theology can be inspired by Jesus. He really did seem to be trying to overthrow the oppressors. I would consider the Ambedkarite Buddhists to be a kind of liberation theology.

I can see why some Christians are so against magic. (I never understood boycotting Harry Potter, it's such an excellent series of books and movies.) The contrast between son of God and magician is perhaps not so easy to see sometimes, and they wanted their guy to definitely be the son of God. I didn't know that he wasn't into healing those who were not Jews. But he didn't make a living from it, he never charged for his miracles.

Aslan is himself in an interfaith marriage. A fascinating article in itself. His wife Jessica Jackley co-founded Kiva. They have adorable children.

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