Sunday, July 31, 2005

an interesting thing I found

I got this from omdurman.org (a lot of very good stuff there)
Judaism

The ancient Hebrews were, by modern standards, very horrible people. (Then again, so were their contemporaries like the Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks.) The Old Testament says that God told the Hebrews to "smite" entire races, and even to kill their women and children.
On the other hand, the ancient Hebrews developed the Ten Commandments: a code of law whose basis was Natural Law. The Commandments prescribed how people should behave toward each other, as opposed to obedience to a king or a central government. Although the ancient Hebrews had slaves (like everyone else in those day; Greek city-states were democratic only for their citizens), their laws actually accorded slaves some rights.
Judaism changed with the times. With very few fringe-element exceptions, modern Jews do not believe in "smiting" other races. Jews are tolerant of other religions; it was under Jewish occupation of Jerusalem that the city first opened to Christian as well as Jewish pilgrims. Modern Judaism rests firmly on the foundation of Natural Law.

Christianity

Jesus, the founder of Christianity, was a nonviolent teacher and philosopher. He preached a way of peace and reconciliation. Luke 6:27 says "…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you."
Like Judaism, Christianity changed with the times, but for the worse. Christians suffered persecution by the Romans but, once Rome became Christian, it began to persecute "pagans." Pagens were compelled to convert, often at the point of a sword. The "wrong" kinds of Christians were persecuted for "heresy."
Medieval times saw the Crusades and, after the Reformation, the Inquisition and the Thirty Years War. Medieval Christians were capable of enormous violence in the name of God.
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, saw a move toward greater tolerance of all religious faiths. The Catholic Church is reconciling itself with Jews and Protestants. Modern Christians, like their religion's founder, prefer just peace to war, whether just or unjust. Modern Christianity rests firmly on the foundation of Natural Law.

Hinduism

Natural Law is so important to Hindus that they personify it as a god, Dharma: "Right Conduct" or "The Right Way." Those who uphold Dharma are supported by it, while those who try to undermine Dharma are destroyed by it. This is because governmental and social systems that go against Natural Law are so dysfunctional that they cannot survive, and they will eventually fall of their own weight. Buddhism Gautama, the Buddha ("Enlightened One") was the founder of Buddhism and the bringer of the Bodi-Dharma ("Good Law," similar to what Christians call the Gospel or Good News).
The Buddhist Dhammapada (Mascarò 1973, 35) says, "For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love." (See Luke 6:27 above)

Confucism

From the Analects of Confucius
"The Master [Confucius] said, He who rules by moral force (té) is like the pole star, which remains in its place while all the lesser stars do homage to it. …"
"The Master said, Govern the people by regulations, keep order among them by chastisements, and they will flee from you, and lose all self-respect. Govern them by moral force [that is, in accordance with Natural Law], keep order among them by ritual and they will keep their self-respect and come to you of their own accord."
Taoism

Taoism simply means following the Tao, or Way. Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching says, (LXIII) "Do good to him who has done you an injury" (See above; this suggests that Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism have a common origin.)
"Man models himself on earth,/ Earth on heaven,/ Heaven on the way,/ And the way on that which is naturally so." The final stanza of this verse suggests natural law; "that which is naturally so." This verse also suggests that natural law is Heaven's Way.

Islam

Unlike the founder of Christianity, the founder of Islam was not a man of peace:
Muhammed was not only a warrior himself, who had been wounded in a battle at Medina against the men of Mecca in 625. He preached as well as practiced war. In his last visit to Mecca in 632 he laid down that, though all Muslims were brethren and should not fight each other [tell that to the Sunnis and Shiites], they should fight all other men until they said, "There is no God but God."
Muhammed, by contrast [to Jesus], had been a merchant, had a keen understanding of the value of wealth, properly used, expected the umma [Muslim community] to accumulate it and saw it as a method of doing good, both collectively and individually. He himself raided the caravans of the rich, unbelieving merchants of Mecca, and spent the loot to further his cause. This was an example that his holy warriors followed in their assaults on the rich kingdoms of Byzantium and Persia.
...There could be no territoriality in Islam, because its destiny was to bring the whole world to submission to the will of God. ...Only when the whole of the House of War [Dar el-Harb, everything outside the House of Islam, or Dar el-Islam] has been brought within the House of Submission would Islam's destiny be complete. (John Keegan, A History of Warfare)

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