The Edge

Ramadan starts late this year, as it has in the past two years. It will begin mid-next week, after the new moon, and lasts for thirty days.

It is a moveable feast, as are many Christian ones—they depend on lunar calendars.

The relationship between man and moon is one of the most robust historical features of our civilization, since it cuts across epochs, peoples, religions, and races.

Throughout history—both the unwritten scraps from the cave-dwellers, and the tomes in the Library of Congress—the sun’s rhythm controls our daily actions, and the moon is a kind of long-term planner.

The rule of humankind by astronomy is also part of our evolutionary trail, since the vast majority of organisms set their clocks around natural planetary cycles.

The evolution of religion is a typical example of the way our thought processes developed and refined—our belief in the supernatural hinged on deities representing good and evil, and on the appearance of multiple gods, which the human psyche ranked in a pantheon of importance—a mirror of  human society.

The notion that religions evolved from each other is unpopular with religious people, because it suggests their own faith incorporates desirable elements of others—or worse, is in many ways similar, but rebranded.

But in fact that’s exactly what happened—and it happens every time a cult emerges.

In 1954, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon revealed himself as a new prophet, from the unlikely holy land of South Korea. As any good prophet must, he produced a book—his was the Divine Principle, the guiding star of the Unification Church, which provided an interpretation of Christianity.

Any such book will always have a fair bit of fire and brimstone, and at least a smattering of sex, preferably illicit.

Thus far, we have clarified the fact that man was tempted by an angel and fell. Both man and the angel fell because of fornication. In the world of creation, men and angels are the only spiritual beings capable of having a relationship of love. From the above, we can conclude that there must have been some act of adultery between man and the angel.

This excerpt from Moon’s Divine Principle has the usual combination of unproven statements and non-sequitur reasoning. Later on in the book, other bizarre thought trains emerge.

As we have discussed in detail concerning World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Adam-type personage on the side of Satan, perished with the defeat of Germany in the First World War, and Stalin, the personage in the type of the Lord of the Second Advent on the side of Satan, realized the world of communism; this fact foreshadowed that Christ would come again, and restore through indemnity the world under the principle of coexistence, co-prosperity and common-cause. Consequently, we can understand that the period for the Second Advent began right after the First World War.

Moon’s disciples went on to gain fame as Moonies, or even Looney Moonies, particularly in the United States, a land where cults abound.

History shows us a generic framework where the more primitive peoples worshiped multiple gods, dealing with the sun, the water, war, and many other things. We see this in the old Norse culture of Odin and Thor, in North American Indian tribes, in the Taino people Columbus encountered in Clear Eyes, and in the ancient Greek and Roman pantheons.

Your average believer must have found divine proliferation challenging—like supporting multiple football clubs.  Above all, the self-appointed representatives of this godly gaggle could not direct the faithful toward a clear god, of whom they were the true messenger.

The Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths changed all this, and in general terms used exactly the same business model, one true god.

Yes, the Christians muddied the water with a holy trinity, but underpinning it was a family structure the faithful could relate to. Well… it needed a few tweaks—which is why poor old Joseph is such a bad fit in the story.

By the time Muhammad started thinking it through a few centuries later, there could be only one god. There is however a coterie of angels, just as we see in the Talmud and the Bible.

Allah created the angels from light. They are neither males nor females. They all worship Allah and obey His orders; they do not sin.

All these belief systems cater to one god, and of course underscore he is the only true deity—which automatically excludes a bunch of unbelievers.

And each system requires a set of regulations, rewards, and punishments, which are remarkably similar across the board—they’d have to be, because they’re a blueprint for societal behavior.

You fast in Lent, and you fast in Ramadan. The rules differ, but the concept doesn’t—penance and sacrifice.

Islam is far more regimented than the general forms of Christianity, but some of the latter day self-appointees such as Martin Luther define pretty stringent rules—you can always trust a German to whip out the rulebook and nail it to the church door—you may in fact require a larger church door!

Islam wasn’t designed for the Arctic Circle—in these heady days of immigration, a penance system that requires its devout to break fast only at sunset is designed to decimate the converts during the summer solstice. Thirty days of starvation in the land where the sun never sets, waiting for iftar.

On the other hand, the mandatory periods for the fajr and maghrib prayers, which take place at dawn and sunset, would be a challenge in December and January, when the sun never emerges.

A violation of either of these Islamic duties constitutes a grave religious breach—enough to require a fatwa from a Saudi cleric.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, and Clear Eyes. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, and Clear Eyes. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

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