Those western civilization survey courses are just that surveys. You hit the highlights like the rise of Egyptians and the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, the Renaissance. Not that we shoudn’t have at least this introduction, but college students not majoring in history probably miss as much as they learn. Human history is filled wth many more small significant events then large ones. The small ones seem to end up being swamped by the large predominant narrative, Mithraism and Similarities to Christianity
According to Martin A. Larson, in The Story of Christian Origins (1977), Mithraism and Christianity derived from the same sources, originally from the savior cult of Osiris: a rarely discussed view among Mithraic and Christian scholars but which can account for the similarities without assuming a Christian derivation from Mithraism. He also believes that the Essenes were Jewish Pythagoreans, whose members not only gave birth to Christianity as Essenes, but were directly influenced by Zoroastrian doctrine as Pythagoreans — a view probably shared by Cumont. Mithraism, in Larson’s view, was an established but exclusive sect devoted to social justice, and was assimilated by state-sponsored Christianity before being disposed of in name.
This article leans progressive, but everyone gets a pretty good bashing. What we’re loath to talk about when we talk about Israel and Lebanon.
So at this time of staggering new complexity comes a two-front Israeli war—which temporarily serves, like all wars, to make a complex situation seem simple. Some on the right are pleased because (like Islamist radicals) they are bloody-mindedly eager for a wider war. The Weekly Standard suggested last week that the U.S. should use “this act of Iranian aggression”—that is, Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel—as a pretext for “a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
And in New York, even liberals, when it comes to an Israeli war, default to the kind of hoo-ah rhetoric that obliterates careful thought and evenhandedness. Addressing a pro-Israel rally outside the U.N. last week, Anthony Weiner, the Democratic congressman from Brooklyn, slagged people who regard the Middle East and the fighting in Lebanon as “a complicated issue, a nuanced issue,” because “this is not a time for ambiguity.”
Its not just that many across the political lanscape are already burned out on the current crisis it is that the current political landscape just doesn’t lend itself to nuanced disscussion. The right, whether they are succeeding or not have staked out the you’re either for us or against us(meaning Israel) territory. You are simply not allowed to think, much less say out loud that Israel is a basically good nation that has committed some horrendous acts. That position apparently requires that right-wingers hold too many thoughtful ideas in their pointed little heads at one time. What else can we expect from the political front that morphed Saddam Huissen into Osama Bin Laden, and is now morphing all of Islam into being synonomous with terrorism. It doesn’t bode well for America or the world to solve problems like those in the mid-east if all arguments are striped down to overly simplistic jingoism. One would think that the right-wing fringe would have learned from all the lies that lead to Iraq and the bloody senseless consequences, but apparently not.
What do Wingnuts such as LGF and ‘holy warriors’ such as Hezbollah have in common?
Mali has managed to find its own way to democracy and they didn’t do so at the point of a gun, Miracle in Mali
Today the degree of polarization among Mali’s Muslims is routinely exaggerated by global strategists who know little of its long history. There are, to be sure, still Islamic extremists in Mali, some influenced by Wahhabi doctrine as well as by other fundamentalist traditions. But there are also moderate clerics willing, for example, to help USAID promote family planning, as long as this is done in the interest of maternal health, and condoms are not brandished in public. Christian missionaries, including evangelicals, are free to proselytize in Mali, although they don’t make much headway. Most telling, there is as yet no significant movement to revise Mali’s secular constitution and incorporate Islamic sharia law, a major issue in nearby Nigeria and elsewhere in the region.
Having just enough imagination to carry him through each successive day, and no more, he was tranquilly sure of himself; and from the very same cause he was not in the least conceited. It is your imaginative superior who is touchy, overbearing, and difficult to please; but every ship Captain MacWhirr commanded was the floating abode of harmony and peace. It was, in truth, as impossible for him to take a flight of fancy as it would be for a watchmaker to put together a chronometer with nothing except a two-pound hammer and a whip-saw in the way of tools. Yet the uninteresting lives of men so entirely given to the actuality of the bare existence have their mysterious side. It was impossible in Captain MacWhirr’s case, for instance, to understand what under heaven could have induced that perfectly satisfactory son of a petty grocer in Belfast to run away to sea. And yet he had done that very thing at the age of fifteen. It was enough, when you thought it over, to give you the idea of an immense, potent, and invisible hand thrust into the ant-heap of the earth, laying hold of shoulders, knocking heads together, and setting the unconscious faces of the multitude towards inconceivable goals and in undreamt-of directions.
from TYPHOON by Joseph Conrad