My contemplation of racism and classism is enough of a mine field without getting into religion but I will get into it just this once (I hope just this once) because it is such a prevalent topic and because of my recent reading of an article entitled “Islam’s Exceptional Relationship to Politics” by a self-entitled “person of world influence” contained in the publication The Washington Diplomat. As I have previously stated, in Western Civilization, religion especially Christianity and its much ridiculed “slave morality” served as one of the few means by which workers could organize and fight the powers-that-be. (This is substantively no longer true as even Christian churches seem to have surrendered to the power of the Outer Party known as the law.) I did not get into the history of Eastern Civilization because in that history religion rarely served as an alternative to social class power or as a basis for workers to organize against the powers, instead Eastern religion usually acted and acts as an extension of the social class power structure. Like new school racism, Eastern religion served and serves both as a means to maintain class structure and to affirmatively promote it. The most obvious example of this is the Hindu caste system of India that was also picked up and formalized into British colonial legal culture by the powers of the British Empire as a means to control their colonial subjects in India.
Getting into a history of Eastern religions is beyond the limitations of this blog and would require extensive reading of detailed history books not just the reading of popular pontificating on Eastern religion that for whatever reason seems to enjoy evoking an exoticism for the Orient and its religions making them seem to be some type of peaceful alternative to Western religion that they most certainly are not. Buddhism is an example of this desperate distortion of Eastern religion into a Shangri-La. It is true that the present Dalai Lama is a pacifist trying to promote Buddhism as a religion of peace but much of this results from the fact that Tibet was badly beaten by the Chinese Army when it — not China — started the Sino-Tibetan War to regain territory lost in prior wars with China. Any reading of the history of Tibet and of how prior Dalai Lamas’ achieved a unified Tibet through outright murder of their opposition with their families would extinguish any delusion one might have of Buddhism as a religion of peace. It is doubtful that the Chinese have any such delusion given the way Buddhist Japanese Army officers treated them in the Battle (also known as the Rape) of Nanking in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
As discussed in more detail in the podcast http://www.sandpebblespodcast.com, religion is supposed to be the cultural and physical expression of a culture’s rational answer to the question: “why is there something instead of nothing”? Regardless of how many successful answers science provides to the problems it tackles, it is limited to creating pragmatic fiction that can be proven false. Science’s dependence on inductive reasoning by logical and ontological necessity means that it can never give non-pragmatic true conclusions, it can only provide conclusions that can be proven false. This may seem like I am belittling science but the contrary is true; giving statements that can be proven false is better than what any art, pseudo-science, or any other product of human reason can usually do. However, regardless of the logical difficulties, reaching non-pragmatic or absolute truth is the goal, substance, and essence of any religion on the question of “why is there something instead of nothing”?
In history, in many eras, there was a fine line between religion and politics; often they were the same and often one would transform into the other. The ancient empires’ worship of the state was both religion and politics. Much of the success of Western Civilization has to do with the separation into equal adversaries of politics and religion. Much of the present inability of modern Technological Society to advance any meaningful social ethics keeping up with our technological advances and the ever-reaching and omnipresent power of Big Brother and its Inner Party is due to the fact that politics and its Outer Party the law no longer have any serious adversaries — neither religion nor anything else. As the 20th Century World Wars proved, science and its created technology are not adversaries to any politics and never will be, they will serve any master.
However, there is no such fine line, never was, nor will there ever be any line between politics and religion for Islam. Islam has “an exceptional relationship to politics” because it is politics. It was essentially started by the warrior prophet Mohammad to unite warring tribes into a grand army, conquer much of the Middle East and North Africa, create a large commercial and political empire so that he could die a rich and powerful man with many slaves, servants, and wives. He was essentially a 7th Century upper class Adolf Hitler who succeeded in his plans to build a thousand-year Reich that is now trying to evolve into another thousand-year Reich. Much of this success was due to Islam’s tradition of using slaves as warriors promising them their freedom if they win the war. Many Muslim nations did not formally outlaw chattel slavery until the 1960’s and 1970’s but it still exists informally in many areas. This type of politics can give hope to workers for some form of meaning in their lives but meaning in life is not the sole definition of religion. Even Nazism and Japanese Shintoism gave many people meaning in life, so much so that they were willing to die for it on suicide missions and as Kamikaze. The meaning must come from the answer to the question, “why is there something instead of nothing”?
Christianity’s answer to that question is a founder who died an outcaste criminal and rebel to Caesar leaving behind only the Sermon on the Mount and its Beatitudes — a true “working class hero” in the heavy metal Ozzy Osborn tradition or in the Paul McCarthy pop tradition or in any tradition or view of working or even middle class life. Islam’s answer to this question is a successful military conqueror and commercial business magnate using a rigid military and social class system to succeed. Muslims who become terrorists are not corrupted by “radical Islam”; they are the nature of Islam and true followers of its warrior founder Mohammad. Though it is true that most Muslims are peaceful people, such was also true of most Nazis, communists, and other fascists; such truth does not change the true substantive nature of either Nazism, communism, or fascism and their effect upon workers and the middle class.
In short, Islam is not an alternative to the Outer and Inner Party, it is the Outer and Inner Party for much of Eastern Civilization and provides no hope for workers of either the working or middle classes to avoid a life time of wage slavery nor an Orwellian 1984 society but is one of the available means by which such slavery and society is being created.