Kurban-bairam: 5 stories about Islam and sacrifices
September 12, 2016, Muslims celebrate their main holiday – Kurban-bairam (in Turkic) or Eid al-Adha (in Arabic). Its name is translated into Russian as “the feast of the sacrifice.” These days, Muslims remember the sacrifice of Isaac: Hajj is performed, charity is heard more actively, and sacrifices are offered. The monstrous ignorance of Islam, and the abundance of aggression that has arisen around the Muslims, led us to the idea of selecting several materials on this issue. In addition, for us Christians, this is a good opportunity to think: on the history of Abraham and Isaac, and on the subject of sacrifices in general.
1. Mahomet: his life and religious doctrine. Vladimir Solovyov
A brief popular account of the life and teachings of Muhammad. A good book for those who want to start exploring Islam. In addition, an eminent philosopher here is trying to understand what exactly is the Christian attitude towards Islam.
“Between pagan sensuality (honey) and Christian spirituality (wine) Islam really has healthy and sober milk: it feeds peoples called for historical action but not yet reachable to the highest ideals of humanity with their generally accepted commandments.
For Arabs and other peoples who adopted the religion of Mohammed, it should become what the law for the Jews and philosophy for the Greeks was – a transitional stage from pagan naturalism to true universal culture, a school of spiritualism and theism in the initial pedagogical form accessible to these peoples. ”
2. Byzantine ideas about Islam. Prot. John Meindorf
Article outstanding Orthodox patrologa. Here are briefly described the first meetings of Orthodoxy and Islam and the Orthodox reaction to Islam.
“There was a gulf between the two religions, through which it was impossible to bridge the bridge with neither lush controversy, nor dialectical arguments, nor diplomatic efforts. Insurmountable on the spiritual and theological level, this confrontation from the very beginning also took the form of a grandiose struggle for supremacy in the world, since both religions claimed the ecumenical mission and both empires assumed world supremacy. By its very religious design, Islam could not distinguish between "political" and "spiritual", but Byzantium never wanted to distinguish between the universality of the Gospel and the imperial universality of Christian Rome. This complicated the mutual understanding and led both parties to finally consider holy war as a normal type of relationship between the two empires. ”
3. Lectures on the history of religion: Islam. Professor Andrei Zubov
Part of the famous lectures of Professor Zubov on religious studies, dedicated to Islam.
“Islam is the most amazing religious system for a Christian. Amazing, because Islam came not only after Christianity, but also because Islam spread mainly in the lands of the Orthodox East. For a long time, the spread was explained very simply – by “fire and sword.” It is not true".
4. Islam: the message of God, not taking the Cross. Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev
The chapter on Islam from Andrei Kuraev’s book Gifts and Anathemas.
“You can’t put a barrier to love, you can’t say that beyond this limit love will never dare to go. The gospel attitude of God towards man is presented in such a way that it can be said that God “became mad” because of the love for man. The crucified Creator is truly both a “temptation” and a “madness.” God is free to choose His ways to man. He may appear in thunder and lightning. Or maybe in the form of a slave and a wanderer. ”
““ In a patched saloon, ”and not surrounded by legions of angels, God visited people. “With a kind of eccentric” and “hiding” His Divinity, the Creator turned out to be Emmanuel (“with-us-God”). God is really too different from man – and therefore both strange and wonderful. What do you ask about My name? it is marvelous (Gen. 32, 29; Judg. 13,18). And they will call his name Wonderful (Is. 9, 6).
Yes, God's love can approach man and our sins closer than it seems to Muslims, who, in caring for the severity of their monotheism, strive to oppose the Creator and the world as strictly as possible. ”
5. Sacrifices and sacrifices: Gregory the Theologian, Vladimir Sorokin and Rene Girard
Sacrifice is the most important part of any religion, in particular, biblical, and the story of Abraham and Isaac is one of the central ones in the Old Testament. Both of these topics are very difficult to understand, so let's just say two things. Isaac was not sacrificed, God did not want it. The Christian sacrifice, the Eucharist, is primary, essentially bloodless.
Sorokin's seminars are a great example of reading and interpreting Scripture. We recommend his seminars on the sacrifice of Isaac – the first and second.
"Word for Easter" sv. Gregory the Theologian is one of the most important dogmatic writings of the Church dedicated to the Atonement. The theme of the sacrifice of Christ is here. And now: the greatest Eastern Christian theologian does not know to whom this sacrifice was made …
The book “Scapegoat” by Rene Girard in the most concise and understandable form sets forth his theory of religion and culture as a whole, the theory in which the victims occupy the main place. The theory of Girard is, of course, controversial, both from an anthropological point of view and from a theological point of view. Nevertheless, this is the most serious attempt (of which I know, of course) to understand the sacrifice. And the fact from which Girard comes is quite simple – so simple and obvious that he is not noticed: in our world (the world formed by Christianity), there are no victims of sacrifices, but only victims of crimes. And it says something about something.
I would very much like to avoid the topic of Islamic fundamentalism, but, probably, without it the selection would be incomplete. I do not know whether it is true that Islam is “guilty” of fundamentalism, because the religion that gave birth to one of the most enlightened societies in history is Islam. Perhaps it is modern globalization that gives rise to fundamentalism, by no means only Islamist.
In any case, in the public consciousness, they are connected regardless of our desire. On this occasion, we mention the book of the two "antipodes". The theme of the first, “Zizek's Doll and Dwarf”, is the fundamental “antifundamentalism” of Christianity, the need to save the Christian heritage for the victory over modern capitalism and its symptom – fundamentalism. The second one, “Between Naturalism and Religion” by Habermas, is devoted to two modern tendencies: the reduction of man to biological matter manipulated by science, on the one hand, and on the other, the revival of the role of religion (including the growth of religious fundamentalism). Zizek and Habermas – thinkers are completely different, but it is thinkers who are not screamers, alarmists or dissolvers of ridiculous stereotypes that are now enough around any complex topic. What is missing is the voice of thought.
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