Luminar Podcast: Splash of Civilizations

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Ante says:

    I see Hare Krishnas regularly on Zagreb’s central square. A small group of 3-6 of them typically totally dominate the whole square by banging and chanting and to be honest it’s irritating as hell. Very punchable. And I can totally relate to Deidre’s point that they are “more Indian than Indians”. The whole thing is quite sad, people will turn away from genuine culture and tradition that is right there in front of them and become… that. At least it seems to be a passing phase for most of them from what you said.

    As for Wahabis, for whatever reason they remind me of Adventists. Apart from the blowing up part. I knew an elderly pair. They were polite people, the guy in particular was a really good man. But woe to you if you happen to somehow provoke a sermon about Saturday or Sunday being the 7th day. Also there was always a problem of what you can and can not cook when they come for a visit. They also once “accidentally” forgot a booklet called something like ‘The pope is the devil’ (or something such) after staying at our place for a while, knowing my mother is a devout Catholic. I think we were the only close friends they had who weren’t Adventists, which sometimes lead to awkward moments when one of their other friends unknowingly said something wrong (but among themselves obviously perfectly normal) concerning Catholicism at the table. I got an impression of people intolerant to an extreme, not in some healthy way of having a spine as you’d say and being unapologetic, but holding outsiders in contempt.

    And then more recently through wonders of youtube I noticed these people tend to constantly engage in “debates” about age and sometimes shape of the Earth, evolution, medicine, healthy eating and so on on an extremely technical, scientific, modern level no matter how wrong they are. Their positions are purely based on their reading of the Bible of course, but they make every attempt at clothing this in scientific terms, make use of actual specialists in certain fields to create an appearance of legitimacy, desperately trying to convince the audience. And in all this talk of theirs, supposedly based on the Bible and what not, God ends up being a genetic engineer, a really powerful extraterrestrial, who created the world by using something I can’t call otherwise than technology and who then later has interactions with that world, from the Deluge to the Resurrection using same technical means. Very cold and shallow.

    Anyhow, would you agree there are parallels? Both Wahabism and Adventism are fairly modern and from the little I see of Wahabism it tends to have the same contempt for the outsider, the cold, technical approach to the world (there are hilarious videos of Saudi preachers claiming the Earth is flat), as well as the Sola Scriptura view of its host religion.

    • Avatar Malić says:

      Wahhabi way of theologizing is a from of interpreting Kuran and Haddits and its not so simple to just draw parallels off hand as nothing quite like that exists even in Christian heresies. However, some of the fruits are quite similar to what you get with Sola Scriptura denominations and sects: total rejection of mediation between God and man, nihilistic understanding of apophatic thinking and, most of all, utter materialism. I remember first seeing one of their Mosques near Novi Pazar, Srbija: it looks like shopping centre, obviously with no attention to traditional forms of building place of worship. It looks quite modern actually. The thing is that tradition is a expressed through various mediations that persist through time, like sacral art, conceptual systems, ways of conduct, caligraphy, etc. and this kind of all or nothing approach throws them out of the window. The very ambition that there should be no mediator between God and man defies the nature of religion which exists preciselly for such purpose.

  2. Avatar A.D. says:

    I cannot speak regarding Adventists, as I have never met one!, but regarding the Europeans who become more Indian than the Indians themselves, I have extensive experience. Not just with ISKCON, althought the stories of corruption in that movement would curl your hair. Since my teens I have been involved in Yoga circles, though I have not been part of any hierarchy or deeply embedded in any movement. A kind of drifter doing my own thing. But still, as is natural, I know many yogis and have association with them over many years. In these circles the food is Indian, the clothes are Indian, the greetings are Sanskrit, the whole demeanour has been to adopt cultural characteristics that are not one’s own, and to a certain extent one can understand the fascination as the culture has many refined qualities.
    Anyways within one movement that I was involved with to the extent that I trained for two years to be a yoga teacher with them – and an excellent training it was from a technical point of view – stories surfaced in the past few years that the top guru was a paedophile who inflicted the most atrocious acts on the children of his disciples. Ironic, given the paedophilia that has benighted my natal religion, and that contributed to driving me away. Oddly enough it was I who broke the news in this country as I came across it hiding online, a story or series of stories which was being actively suppressed – although after I had blasted the news, loudly and frequently, from the rooftops no one here could ever claim to have not heard about it.
    Presuming that people would abandon affiliation with such an abominably disgraceful person, I awaited response, only to find it was me who was cast out of long term friendships and me who had become a pariah. 99% of the people have closed ranks and pretended it is all untrue and have continued on, wearing their saffron robes, chanting his name in bhajans, looking up to the teachers and the organisation. Fecking idiots, is all I can say. Thank goodness I was brought up by sensible country people to have a fairly thick skin!
    Having said all that, disillusionment with teachers and organisations, does not undermine the inherent truth of any traditional teachings for me.

  3. Avatar Mihai Marinescu says:

    Branko is right that this “Protestant” flavored sects are nothing but fragmented elements of genuine religions all centered around the most obnoxious modernist ideas. The parallel drawn at the level of architecture is very telling indeed- just look at the so-called “mega-churches” in the US and elsewhere too.

    That said, I always have a problem with people trying to completely let Islam off the hook when it comes to Wahhabi terrorism. Media manipulation or not, CIA and what have you- fine- but there is at the very core of Islam at least a seed- from the very beginning, when Mahommed and his bands were conducting raids in the desert, the conquest of Medina etc.- which can be developed into such kinds of behavior as those of Wahhabis.
    The so-called “tolerance” that some historians today like to point out in regards to the expansion of Islam and so on is mainly selective picking of different events, ignoring the general picture. In reality, it was never easy to be a non-muslim under the Islamic reign.

    For my part, I consider the assessment of Islam as a Christian heresy to be correct. It is a mixture of Old Testament law with a pretense at universality such as is found in Christianity. Theologically: a regression to the abstract monotheism as found in Judaism, coupled with a strange mixture of previous heresies rejected in Christianity: the origenist conception regarding the pre-existence of the soul, arianism, nestorianism.
    The contradictions are obvious: Islam upholds a sacred language and a set of laws destined for only one people at a particular time, which it tries to extrapolate to the whole of humanity. Of course, there is no universality in what is only a part, hence conversion by sword is the only ultimate “solution” to this.

    How much influence did Islam end up having on the Western part of Christendom, following the exchange in the high Middle Ages and forward? That is an interesting question to explore.

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