I keep finding it helpful to juxtapose Islam with Amazonian shamanism. We’re a lot more similar to the former than the latter. We have a shared destiny with Islam, whereas we don’t really acknowledge the validity of the animistic spirits of shamanism, which we don’t even know much about, while we can somewhat relate to believing in Muhammad because we have Jesus and Moses.
Some of us can observe these three monotheisms at a distance in the way that most of the west perceives amazonian shamanism. Unlike amazonian shamanism though, we live enmeshed in the cultures of the three monotheisms, our lives are more directly affected by them. In a certain sense however, we have a shared destiny with amazonian shamanism too, if you consider our problems with the southern border and the peoples that populate the countries on the other side of it. All these different religions affect our lives to varying degrees. That is to say, some of us who are more secular and observe them anthropologically are still living in their worlds despite the fact that we aren’t exactly members of them.
Take the most recent significant world event for instance, the UAE/Bahrain/Israel deal. Why was it presided over by the president of a “Christian” nation? Does the contemporary avatar of Jesus Christ have to make peace between the oldest and the newest monotheism? Seems to be the case, as strange as that might sound.
In line with that same theme, in 2017 the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While that’s meaningless to many of us more secular ones, to religious Jews and Muslims it’s extremely controversial and engages them on the most emotional-existential level.
Just watching these events unfold like they’re between shamanistic tribes in the Amazon, it seems to revolve around a particular holy site in Jerusalem.
The Al-Aqsa mosque is known as the farthest place of worship in the Muslim tradition, and one of their three most sacred sites, in the same category as Mecca.
When Muhammad was in Mecca the Angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to him one night to direct him to Jerusalem. Once there, at the Al-Aqsa mosque, otherwise known as the Temple Mount, he prayed, and Gabriel helped him ascend to Heaven, where he spoke with Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others.
See, most of us hear this and think “Yeah right!” Well, this is what Muslims believe, and this is what the controversy surrounding Palestine is rooted in. You think that Muslims are superstitious for believing this. I also see it as superstitious that Jews believe that the Messiah will appear when the temple is rebuilt at this site we’re speaking of.
Doesn’t this look perfectly secular to you?
It’s not. It’s about Messianism. The Christian Trump is siding with the Jewish Netanyahu against the authority of Muhammad, and the two Muslims are agreeing. This is what they mean by “peace”.
Do you relate to this at all? Maybe you do, I’m sure I have some religious readers. I for one see this as superstitious, and the fact that it’s a major world event being aired on TV is absurd to me. Nonetheless, I live in a society where these three “shamanisms” are considered valid to varying degrees and have to adjust my life accordingly, no matter how detached and distanced I am observing them.
In a more rational society the above picture would involve the rolling out of human CRISPR experiments, that’s a lot closer to a true messianism than any of this worship of primitive, obsolete texts.