Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Abram the psychopath?

Okay, I'm not sure why, but I happened to notice a post on Facebook where one friend wished some other friends a happy "Eid Al Adha"... not being something I see everyday...I just had to ask myself...what IS Eid Al Adha?

Well, it turns out, according to Wikipedia, that Eid Al Adha marks the anniversary of the day that Abraham showed his faith in God by showing himself willing to sacrifice his (at the time) only son...Ishmael. Yes, you read that right, Ishmael.

Anyone who remembers Sunday school will remember that Abraham and Sarah were very old and had no children, God said they WOULD have children, but, being very old they didn't have a lot of faith, and so Sarah "told" Abraham to go and sleep with Hagar, the servant. He did, and she beget Ishmael... and God was Angry and told Abraham to cast her out...so he took her to the desert and...for Christians (I'm not sure about Jews) that's pretty much the end of the story. Hagar and Ishmael are driven off into the desert and we never hear another word about them until Ismael's angry, angry grand-kids come out of the desert one day about two thousand years later, take over Spain, kick the Christians out of Jerusalem and eventually work their way up to 9/11.

But if wikipedia has it right, then according to Islamic tradition...Abraham later went back to the place where he left Ishmael and Hagar and built them a well. When he got there, he had a dream...he was to sacrifice Ishmael to God...


Hold the phone, say us Sunday School graduates....that's EXACTLY what he did to his LEGITIMATE son, ISSAC... In both stories, Abraham is about to plunge in the knife when God intervenes and sticks a sheep in a thorn bush...allowing Abraham to kill THAT instead...

Which all leaves me wondering about the three major religions of the West.

See, I have to admit, I had no real trouble swallowing the Issac story as a kid...it all turned out ok in the end: God got a display of loyalty, the kid didn't die, the sheep was good with mustard and everything worked out for the best...(except for the sheep, but who cares?)

...but now, I read that THIS WASN'T the FIRST TIME IT HAPPENED...Turns out this nasty old sleep-with-the-maid-leave-the-kid-in-the-desert man was fond of running around sticking knives in ALL of his kids... Father's Day must have been quite the trip!

Humm...as you look at the modern family of Middle Eastern Monotheistic Religions...Judaism, Christianity and Islam...is is any wonder we have such a bitter family dynamic and can't get along? I think not. Father Abraham was apparently some kind of a nut!


Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,

I am not convinced by the last line where you state that we have a "bitter family dynamic".

In reality, all families have problems and to blame it on a biblical story implies that there is literal truth in that as opposed to spiritual truth, though what the spiritual context of that story is I just don't know.

In addition, multiple family dynamics work in our modern society and function to provide stability to the next generation.

Also there are multiple monotheistic religions in the world, I think that what you are referring to in the final paragraph are Abrahamic religions, if you look further East, the religious/spiritual lessons are very different.

Alex said...


The "family dynamic" I was referring to was between the "Cousins": Jews, Muslims and Christians.
In the West (which is more or less where my concern stops...not because the East doesn't have validity, but because it's not part of my larger culture, and I feel no need to comment extensively) we have been at odds, if not actually at war, with each other for many thousands of years.

After reading this, I must say I'm less surprised than ever, since the West's three major religions all seem to have been founded by an sexually promiscuous old guy who like to go around threatening to to stab his kids.

All of these desert religions strike me as quite violent, with an emphasis on fanaticism, revenge, and violence.

The sole exception would be Jesus Christ...and yet, given the fact that his modern followers seem to find much more inspiration from the Old rather than the New Testament...and, when they do turn to the New, they choose the often hateful words of Paul over the loving ones of Jesus...I think that we can safely leave Jesus himself firmly out of the religion we call "Christian"...

Alex said...

Also, I admit that, in my writing I didn't convey this very well...but I was more amused than outraged at the idea of the West's three major religions all being founded by a knife-wielding psycho who kept hearing "God" telling him to kill his kids...

Alex said...

And finally, most of the trouble makers (on all 3 sides) believe in the "literal Truth" of the story...so, for the purposes of these thoughts, I'm forced to take it at face value as well.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time for us all to take some stock from Buddhist teachings, chill, meditate and give peace a chance