Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pretty myopic for a catholic

Israel, the hope of the Muslim world by Spengler*

In this editorial - you can get the gist from its name - someone writing under the pseudonym of Spengler wrote: "Buddhism in many forms teaches divine [sic] humility, but the Zen variety prevalent in Japan adapted itself well to the requirements of the samurai caste, which knew loyalty and submission, but not humility." This is a worthy perspective to take - this lens directs one's gaze past the religion as propounded by its theologians or apologists, and examines religion as practiced. Shame Spengler only used it to examine Japanese Zen Buddhism. Had he looked this way at Western Christianity, he may have realized that despite the humility propounded by its apologists to be at the core of Christianity, Western Christianity as practiced could hardly be said to be an instantiation of humility, or the protection of "the weakest and most despised" that he supposes emanates from humility. Ask an African slave, an American Indian, or even the masses of poor United Statesians throughout the centuries how their rulers, in their Christian humility, protected and cared for them.

I am so terrified, America,
Of the iron click of your human contact.
And after this
The winding-sheet of your selfless ideal love.
Boundless love
Like a poison gas.”

- DH Lawrence, “The Evening Land”

In building his case that Islam does not have a positive view of humility, and therefore does not protect "the weakest and most despised", Spengler's gaze - so sharp when examining Japanese Zen Buddhism - is so blurry that he overlooks the third pillar of Islam, the zakat or tithe: 2.5% of one's savings or business revenue, and 5-10% of one's harvest, to be given to the destitute, the working poor, stranded travelers and others in need. This is a legal obligation peculiar to Islam.

* From what I've read of him, I think it is safe to say that Asia Times Online's Spengler is most likely a Catholic - a believer in Catholicism. Which is, in James Joyce's words, "an absurdity that is logical and coherent." Sometimes the logic and coherence in a Catholic's mind overcome the abundant absurdity, if only briefly. Check out Spengler on female sexuality:

"According to tradition across all cultures, the female sex drive vastly exceeds that of men. The Greek seer Tiresias, who had been both male and female, told the Roman gods (in Ovid's Metamorphoses) that women enjoy sex far more than men. In The Arabian Nights, the Persian Shah Shahryar observes his new bride comporting with a whole troop of slaves. Giovanni Boccaccio famously stated in The Decameron, 'While farmers generally allow one rooster for 10 hens, 10 men are scarcely sufficient to service one woman.' The matriarch Sarah's first reaction to the angelic annunciation of the birth of Isaac was, 'After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'

Across ages and cultures, women universally are said to be more libidinous than men. I can find no report to the contrary. Women get most of the pain in the propagation of the species, so they should get most of the pleasure."

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