T Nation

If the Middle East Was Christian

OK, let’s play the What If game.

What if Jesus’s message had spread throughout the Middle East? What if The Persians and Arabs had become Christians? What if Mohamed had been a Roman? What if the entire West was Muslim?

What if todays religious demographics for the two biggiest monotheistic religions were switched?

Would the West be the shithole and the Middle East the secular capital of the world? Would Radical Islam still exist? What would our cultures be like? Would there be radical Christian suicide bombers? Christian terrorists? Would there still be Islamic terrorism (only reversed)?

I know that, in reality, this is a much to complex and confusing question to answer. But, ceteris paribus, only the religions have spread differently, what would the world be like? (Once again, ignore the impossibility and complexity of the question)

If everything else remains the same, I’d say that whoever figures out the Enlightenment first wins.

“Wins” in the sense of advancing to a modern civilization with ubiquitous technology, as opposed to living with goats on dirt floors.

Yes. The world would be very different.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
What if Jesus’s message had spread throughout the Middle East? [/quote]

It did.

Before Islam much of the middle east was Christian. A major factor was because the Byzantines made Christianity the state religion in the third century.

Beowolf this is an excercise in futility. If you weren’t so ignorant of the different ideologies and histories of the two religions you would understand this.

Why don’t you take a little time and educate yourself. Here is a site run by former muslims where you can get some understanding of the ideology that is motivating the Jihadists.

http://www.islam-watch.org/

[quote]lixy wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
What if Jesus’s message had spread throughout the Middle East?

It did.[/quote]

Yup…

It is tough to tell… The ME has always been a place of turmoil. Also, Christianity has been beset by heresy several times through out history, one of which where the flesh was totally disowned, and martyrdom was celebrated. Granted this was really early on, but it happened. Likewise, all criticism aside, I would like to give Islam the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are in a period of heresy and will be abated one day.

When people use religion as a tool for earthly goals rather than spiritual goals, it is always dangerous.

Now if we are talking about Christianity as is today, vs. Islam today, then I would think it would be more peaceful. That is because they are in a period of internal turmoil…

The one thing I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty is that there wouldn’t be a state of Israel.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
Before Islam much of the middle east was Christian. A major factor was because the Byzantines made Christianity the state religion in the third century.

Beowolf this is an excercise in futility. If you weren’t so ignorant of the different ideologies and histories of the two religions you would understand this.

Why don’t you take a little time and educate yourself. Here is a site run by former muslims where you can get some understanding of the ideology that is motivating the Jihadists.

http://www.islam-watch.org/[/quote]

Er… it’s a game buddy. I didn’t actually state my opinion on the way things would be.

I already knew much of that part of the world was Christian pre-Islam thank you very much. It was more of a question as to whether the religions fostered and created our cultures, or our cultures that fostered and molded our religions.

The Papacy would hold the world hostage, as the religion would have the world by the short hairs re: energy.

And we’d have a lot more history about the Tigris / Euphrates river Mesopotamia Valley cradle of life and law (Hammurabi code) and how we owe history indefinite servitude for their glory.

I believe it would be a far worse world.

Would the Byzantine Empire still survive?

[quote]pat wrote:
It is tough to tell… The ME has always been a place of turmoil. Also, Christianity has been beset by heresy several times through out history, one of which where the flesh was totally disowned, and martyrdom was celebrated. Granted this was really early on, but it happened.
[/quote]
Several of which.

When people try to merge the spiritual and earthly realms to bring heaven on earth, judgment day or some sort of divine order, that’s when things get really dangerous.

[quote]etaco wrote:
When people try to merge the spiritual and earthly realms to bring heaven on earth, judgment day or some sort of divine order, that’s when things get really dangerous.[/quote]

When two peoples with different spiritual and earthly ideals cohabitate: that’s really when things get messy.

[quote]kroby wrote:
etaco wrote:
When people try to merge the spiritual and earthly realms to bring heaven on earth, judgment day or some sort of divine order, that’s when things get really dangerous.

When two peoples with different spiritual and earthly ideals cohabitate: that’s really when things get messy.[/quote]

Two different ideals usually aren’t even necessary. If one just happens to breath a bit funny, or have a silly hair cut, thats really all they need to claim they’re evil and must be eradicated.

Civilization is attributed neither to religion nor enlightenment but rather from peace and economic prosperity. The world would be a completely different place had Islam not been born to nomadic culture. What makes Islam a seemingly rebellious religion is its constant struggle for a place to exist in a land of little resources.

It is true in the modern day ME religion plays a very large role and is wholly responsible for the disparity of the economic classes. I am thinking largely of the Saudi royal family and Iran who use their religion to subjugate their people and maintain power.

Civilizations only last when there is relative lengths of peace in which populations can prosper. We seem to forget the extremely long dark period that took Europe after the fall of Rome when there were many tribal wars for borders. The enlightenment didn’t come t Europe until over 1000 years after Christ when there was relative peace between its many nations.

[quote]kroby wrote:
When two peoples with different spiritual and earthly ideals cohabitate: that’s really when things get messy.[/quote]

Not necessarily. India does not match your theory. If there is relative prosperity there will be peace between all peoples.

The problem happens when certain factions force their views on others of differing philosophical ideals. In the US one can worship any way one chooses if one chooses at all. The freedom to choose is also very important to peace and prosperity.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Civilization is attributed neither to religion nor enlightenment but rather from peace and economic prosperity. The world would be a completely different place had Islam not been born to nomadic culture. What makes Islam a seemingly rebellious religion is its constant struggle for a place to exist in a land of little resources.

It is true in the modern day ME religion plays a very large role and is wholly responsible for the disparity of the economic classes. I am thinking largely of the Saudi royal family and Iran who use their religion to subjugate their people and maintain power.

Civilizations only last when there is relative lengths of peace in which populations can prosper. We seem to forget the extremely long dark period that took Europe after the fall of Rome when there were many tribal wars for borders. The enlightenment didn’t come t Europe until over 1000 years after Christ when there was relative peace between its many nations.[/quote]

When did Rome have peace? Were they a civilization? Life is a constant struggle. Peace is often fleeting. Civilization does not need peace or prosperity. Civilization needs some sort of control to flourish. Kind of the opposite of the anarchy you have been espousing the last few months.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
When did Rome have peace? Were they a civilization? Life is a constant struggle. Peace is often fleeting. Civilization does not need peace or prosperity. Civilization needs some sort of control to flourish. Kind of the opposite of the anarchy you have been espousing the last few months.
[/quote]

Rome had a period known as the Golden Age. It started with Augustus Caesar who allowed markets to flourish by not interfering in private property. It lasted about 100 years. Of course this only was a “golden” period for about 10% of the entire Roman Empire who were neither serfs or slaves.

No one person, group, or entity can control any civilization. All governments require cooperation from their subjects in order to rule. What is seen as control is merely a series of choices which have effects, seen and unseen.

Anyone else think it’s pretty fucking interesting that the regions with the greatest diversity are often the most stable?

(India; America; Present day western Europe)

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Anyone else think it’s pretty fucking interesting that the regions with the greatest diversity are often the most stable?

(India; America; Present day western Europe)[/quote]

There is large diversity in these regions because people are free to choose their own state of affairs and thus populations are free to move about as economic conditions permit.

Stability is not brought about by diversity but rather peace, prosperity, and freedom of choice. Diversity is enabled by the the conditions of stability.

Amsterdam is one of the most diverse places I have ever been. It is also one of the most prosperous, classically liberal, and peaceful places in Western Europe. It is no wonder that people would flock to these regions.