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In America!

Kanook – Tlingit Nation


August 2010

Since I first stepped across the threshold of an institution that was designed to increase my
awareness of the world around me, a school to you not used to my long-drawn out sentences, I
have been taught that Politics and Religion are not supposed to mix – or in any way depend or
lean on each other. My teachers, preambles to important documents, and religious texts seemed
to have been wrong, whereas today we find leaders of both, referencing both in every other
speech, and in written opinion with such frequency it is embarrassing and confusing.
The title does not mean I put one above or below the other, as it is stated in my opinion in
today’s world they have morphed into one and the same. Albeit our forefathers composed the
founding documents of the United States gave it their all in attempting to erect a wall between the
two concepts, history before and after the founding of the United States of America went against
their smoke-filled rooms of creation.
I would imagine that fresh in their memory, supported by tempered records preserved from the
first days the European set foot near Plymouth, a memory was somewhat fresh that created a
sour taste in their mouths. It appears it was this primary cause that pushed them towards erecting
the wall between running a country and praying each day to eliminate their fellow man. Keep in
mind that our country was not formed with a few drops of blood being spilled on dry land and
around the sea lapping against our eastern seaboard, it was wagons full. The battle between the
socitey that collected taxes from their colony and the select group of individuals who had invaded
or “discovered” the land of the Indian was costly to both sides – and it was cost and a long supply
line that finally overcome their ancestors from across the Atlantic. That and the fact that the
Indians taught the revolutionary army it was not cool to walk in a straight line, drums beating,
bagpipes howling into a line of redcoats with flags furled and waving in the breeze – it was much
better to hide behind a bush or tree here and there and pick and choose those who were so bold,
and a bit on the stupid side. Just as today we find religiously driven members of our world
society crawling through the early morning dawn with a couple of kilos of TNT or some other
derivative strapped to their body and going on to meet at least 71-virgins when their job is done –
when our country was founded they were called revolutionaries, today we call them terrorists – in
the end it means the same – death!
Death is no stranger to Homo sapiens, and it is true that each one of us desires only to leave this
realm with dignity and respect – and each one of us, the higher-members of the animal kingdom
are different, hell we not different we’re unique unto ourselves and our friends and relatives, each
one of us a treasure that can never be replaced or completely duplicated – it is true it is not the
length of our lifespan on the Earth, but it is true the mark we leave behind that leaves an
impression, good or bad!
And it is both the bustling religious leaders and the stampeding politicians who jam their
cookies to lump us into one group or the other, believe me they do NOT do this for your benefit
or mine, they do it to rise to a high level that they perceive to be far above their members. To
stroll about in their material finery, peering down from their sand castles in the sky, to partake of
the food from Mt Olympus savoring every bite, at times allowing a scrap or two to roll down the
mountains steep slopes lubricated by the perfectly flavored wine overflowing from their golden
goblets, they are gods in their own minds.
Yet when they climb into their bully-pulpits and their assembled words pry their lips apart a
great majority of this religion, party or whatever flock to the pews and harp and hosanna their
words of wisdom – no matter the slant of their attempts at winning a few votes are the swish of
paper money as it leaves their members pockets into theirs. Strangely we do it without
complaining too much, it is just the thing to do.
Religious leaders sell us the concept of life-after-death, while politicians sell us their concept of
life before-the-election – both pitches a bit hazy and full of promise. One we cannot affirm and
the other all to evident after the election, most always not only being a falsehood but as far away
from their promises as one can get. God bless the voters who cry and moan and plan for the next
election their hopes and dreams pinned on another who has already selected his or her campaign
slogans splashing them across their web sites and audio and video releases. The disappointed
voters cheer, clap their hands, buy each other a drink or two and life is good – until after the
election and they find their choice to be just the same-old, same-old as before.
Along with religion, politics is the oldest profession on the books, that is except the profession
of the girls of the night, which by the way are more honest and give more bang for the buck than
either of the two that follow – pun intended! I know that just as the religious who read this
amateur piece there are a few remaining that truly believe that politics is a occupation that is
meant to be reverend and worshiped! That is for their party and that the opposition is the scrum of
the earth and should be run out-of-town.
The voter is a funny animal whereas they seem to follow the politics of the region where they
first sprouted their wings, dinner tables are mostly their birthplace as their mothers are fathers
relate their affiliation with this or that particular breed of politics – as it so happens I was raised in
an environment where I had a mother and maternal grandmother who at times saw beyond the
dribble flowing over the lips of some leaders, and I was really fortunate that my maternal
grandfather was best friends of one of the few politicians in the Territory of Alaska that was as
honest as any on the planet. As for later years I was too busy enjoying the life of a small-town
atmosphere and could have given a rip about politics, as a matter of fact it wasn’t until I was well
into my young adulthood (you know around 40 or so) that I realized that the Cuban Missile Crisis
was almost the end of the world, and that if it hadn’t been for a Democratic President I might not
have had to worry about finding a job when I got out of college.
It seems that I tend to blame a part of our problems with our politicians, for reasons that before
they ventured into the land of free gifts and multiple handshakes, many of them were lawyers,
lately I’ve had to step back and bit on this assertion simply because there haven’t been too many
religious leaders participate in the study of law, and are equally adept at casting some promises
that fail to materialize, – present law that is, as they seem well practiced at preaching the law that
was brought down the mountain by one Moses, but what the heck we’ve been fooling with those
laws since he stumbled down the hill and found his people bowing down before the golden calf –
naturally being prompted by the politicians of the tribe.
As for the various religious beliefs around the world, “get a grip”, there are hundreds – well
maybe not hundreds but you know what I mean. According to the latest numbers available on the
Internet – there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large
religious groups – topping the list of major religion being laid to the chopping block and sliced
and diced are the Christians whereas 34,000 separate groups have been indentified with 17,000 of
those are “independent churches” that are not interested in joining any big denominations.
The same source tells us there are over 2 billion Christians, albeit there is a strong indication
the number is dropping while there are some 1.57 billion followers of Islam a number that is
growing. As for what we call “far eastern religions” it is noted that there are almost 1 billion that
practice Hinduism, and 390 million that live with Chinese folk religion, and some 1 billion (plus
or minus) that practice Buddhism. Before we get to excited about all these God-Fearing
individuals there are some 775 million plus who have no religion, of course this number would
swell beyond any of the above if we removed those who spend copious amount of their time on
their knees worshiping the almighty “buck” from the others and slipped them into the ranks of the
“no organized God-Fearing” gang. That normally doesn’t happen simply because the others
welcome the knee-benders from the “greenback religion” with open arms as they provide manna
(money for you “haven’t read” Moses story) for their offering plates and pledge envelopes.
Zoroastrianism is the oldest religion in the history of mankind – having the honor of being not
only the oldest but having had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other
single faith. It as founded by “Zarathushtra” (Remember the theme song from 2001), in Persia
(Iran) and was the world’s first (1st) monotheistic faith (single God for you heathens), albeit once
was the religion of the Persian Empire (which in its day covered most of the Middle East,
Northern Africa and the southern regions of Asia) today its numbers run around 200,000. It is
known that in general most of the stories found in the Christian Old Testament and books of the
Jewish faith are direct copies (never get them to admit it) of the gang from Iran – whereas the
beliefs concerning God and Satan, the soul, heaven and hell, the virgin birth, slaughter of the
innocents (Passover), the resurrection and the final judgment are all found in the history of
Zoroastrianism.
Hinduism is the 2nd oldest and the 3rd largest religion on the books having crawled from the
antiquity of mankind around 1500 years before the virgin birth in Bethlehem, it differs in many
aspects of Christianity and other monotheistic practices in that it does NOT have: 1) a single
founder, 2) a specific theological system, 3) a single concept of deity, 4) a single holy text, 5) a
single system of morality, 6) a central religious authority, or 7) the concept of a prophet.
In other words, Hinduism is NOT a religions per se as compared to Christianity (which when
you think about is pretty screwed up in its own way) it is more like an all encompassing “way of
life”, such as the indigenous peoples of the America and their “spirituality”, which by the way
when those “God-Fearing” folks from Spain and other parts of the deeply religious non-bathing
countries stepped ashore, after Columbus stumbled across the land, cussed their greeters up and
down, burned their historical records and planted flags in the name of the holy-than-thou lord
Savior Jesus Christ and took all their wealth back over the ocean, just as the Federal Reserve is
doing today. And to top it off when they arrived back home they told the listening folks, they had
encounters a bunch of ‘savages’ who didn’t make full use of their gold – makes you wonder and
address that old quote, “as much as things change they remain the same”.
Coming in at the 4th oldest religion in the world is Wicca, which you probably never heard of
whereas it is the largest of the “Neo-pagan” religions, people who practice this concept have the
greatest respect for the Earth and for their Goddess and her consort – the horned God, some well-
meaning super-dooper killers of man Christians classify the Wicca followers of Satan, but what’s
new they classified anyone who steps outside of “their” beliefs as follower of Satan. The Wicca
has a “strange” rule they follow, in that they are forbidden from harming their fellow man,
including themselves even in self-defense, some cased being noted they have followed their rule
to the grave.
One Native American woman said during an interview, “If you take a copy of the Christian
Bible and put it out in the wind and rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will
disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our Bible is the wind and the rain.”
Our famous Southern Bible Pounding President GWB, when he was the Governor of the Great
State of Texas said on ABCs Good Morning America on June 24th, 1999 that he strongly (waving
his brand new store bought leather bound Bible, just for the interview) disapproved of Wiccan
soldiers being given the same religious rights as others in the military. What a guy, it was okay to
die for America and its sometimes misplaced religious values, just don’t tell anyone you are
Wiccan and want to take a smoke break like other Christian soldiers.
You know, the Creator in all of his or her wisdom must have reassessed more than once, his or
her decision to give all of mankind “free will”, I bet there have been times when he or she has
pondered the fact of removing the condition from a few of the idiots running about – but unlike
man, he or she hasn’t amended his or her decision, only placing loaded bets on the outcome. I
haven’t been made privy on which side of the board his or her money is riding, but I would
imagine it must be ridding pretty close to “starting over”!
The 5th oldest noted religion is Jainism which reemerged in 550 BCE when the last “Jina”
(Mahavira – The Great Hero) attained enlightenment after 13-years of deprivation, in 467 BCE he
fasted to death – leaving this world having “conquered love and hate, pleasure and pain,
attachment and aversion, and had thereby freed his soul from the karmas obscuring knowledge,
perception, truth and ability…” The Jinas traditionally believe that the first Jina was a large
being who lived some 8.4 million years ago, and today they enjoy a system of beliefs that are
similar in parts to Hinduism and Buddhism – there are today some estimated 4 million located
primarily in India, albeit there are some 1,410 (1991 census) in Canada.
Taoism is the 6th oldest religion of our planet, it is also noted as one of the “great’ practices, it is
an Eastern religion/philosophy with around 250 million followers – a number that is hard to nail
down with any amount of accuracy because many of its followers are also indentified with
Buddhism and Confucianism, and simple because it is somewhat difficult to obtain reliable
polling information from the population of China – it is not that don’t believe in telling the truth,
they’re a little shy of speaking out! For good reason – Taoists were heavily persecuted after the
Communist victory in 1949 and during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, albeit some
religious tolerance and basic freedoms are slowly emerging over the past few decades. I
experienced this reluctance to talk about politics and religion when I was in China in March 2006,
whereas when I asked our personal representative a simple question I received a forced smile and
was informed it wasn’t proper in their culture to discuss certain matters…so be it! When in
Rome drink wine, when in China stick with the rice and enjoy the noodles!
Tao (“Dow”) can be somewhat translated into English as “path” or “the way” – and like most
religions from antiquity it is basically indefinable – in other words it has to be experienced
whereas it refers to “a power which envelopes, surrounds and flows through all things, living and
non-living. The “Tao” regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the Universe. It
embodies the harmony of opposites (there would be no love without hate, no light without dark,
no male without female).”
Its founder “Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE)” enjoyed a life that overlapped that of Confucius (551 –
479 BCE) – albeit some believe he was a “mythical” figure – while other strongly believe in lived
in the 4th century BC.
It is said that Lao-Tse was searching day-in and day-out to put a stop to the constant feudal
warfare and other conflicts that were tearing his society from stem-to-stern – in this search he sat
down and wrote the book “Tao-te-Ching” (Daodejing). Although Taoism was born as a
combination of psychology and philosophy it evolved into a full blown religious faith in 440 CE,
when it was adopted as the State Religion – and Lao-Tse was popularly venerated as a “deity”, in
this adoption of Taoism it became one of the three great religions of China along with Buddhism
and Confucianism.
Today there are approximately 30,000 who reside in the USA.
Buddhism is the 7th oldest and the 4th largest religion on our planet – and was founded in
Northern India by Siddhartha Gautama who graced the surface of our world from 563 to 460
BCE. Estimates run the scale between 350 mil to 1.5 billion, albeit per some it should be the 2 nd,
or even 3rd largest its exact numbers of followers are impossible to determine for a number of
reasons – listed are a few: 1) They do not have congregational memberships and often do NOT
participate in public ceremonies, 2) In totalitarian countries, for example China in 1995 only 5%
of Chinese adults admitted to pollsters that they belonged to any religion, therefore Buddhist
number range from 106 million to 1.06 billion, 3) In Asia, many of the population follow a
syncretistic (look it up) religion, which are a blend of various world religions – whereas you will
find a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism – knowing this it is very difficult to
determine a meaningful number of Buddhists.
Although its beginning is believed to have started with Gautama in the 6th century BCE,
Buddhists themselves believe there were countless Buddhas before him, albeit it was Gautama
who assumed the title “Lord Buddha” or one who has awakened.
They strongly believe in “reincarnation” whereas the returning spirit or memories are not
limited to entering a Homo sapien and can enter into an animal or even return as a supernatural
being. In direct contrast to Christianity, classical Buddhism does NOT involve the recognition or
worship of deities, and also does not teach the existence of the human soul.
Buddhism almost completely disappeared in India, fortunately it had become established in Sri
Lanka whereby it then expanded across Asia evolving into two, three, or more primary forms.
1) Theravada Buddhism (sometimes called Southern Buddhism; occasionally spelled
Therevada) "has been the dominant school of Buddhism in most of Southeast Asia since
the thirteenth century, with the establishment of the monarchies in Thailand, Burma,
Cambodia and Laos
2) Mahayana Buddhism (sometimes called Northern Buddhism) is largely found in China,
Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.
3) Vajrayāna Buddhism (a.k.a. Tantric Buddhism, Mantrayana, Tantrayana, Esoteric
Buddhism, or True Words Sect). Some consider this to be a part of Mahayana Buddhism;
others view it as a third Buddhist path.
4) Tibetan Buddhism. This developed largely in isolation from Theravada and Mahayana
Buddhism because of the remoteness of Tibet.
5) Zen Buddhism. This developed from within the Chinese Mahayana school known as
Chan. Zen Buddhism is becoming increasingly popular in the West.
6) Modern Buddhism has emerged as a truly international movement. It started as an
attempt to produce a single form of Buddhism, without local accretions, that all Buddhists
could embrace.
"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the
future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural &
spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural
and spiritual, as a meaningful unity" A widely cited, but apparently spurious quotation attributed
to Albert Einstein.
Confucianism as the 8th oldest religion is an “ethical” and “philosophical” system that is a
primary world religion – it had its beginning in China and over the years has worked its way into
Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Most followers who adhere to the teachings of “Confucius” follow
Chinese traditional religion, which are a blend of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism along
with local tribal and clan beliefs.
Its founder K’ung Fu Tzu or Confucius was born in 551 BCE in modern day Shantung, and
lived during the Chou dynasty, an era famous for its “moral laxity”. At the ripe old age of 22 he
opened a school and with his success as a teacher was appointed the Minister of Justice in his
home province of Lu. After a conflict with the Marquis of Lu he left Lu and wandered for 13
years throughout China – giving advice to rulers, along the way accumulating a small group of
students. The last years of his life saw him back in Lu where he devoted his talents to teaching –
he left this earthly realm in 479 at the age of 72…notice that his lifetime almost exactly with that
of Buddha who had passed on two-years-early at the age of 80.
Confucius taught that when societies operate under laws, people are punished by authorities
after having committed illegal activities. People generally conform to the laws, often without
necessarily understanding the rationale behind them. He promoted a different way: to internalize
behaviors so that actions are controlled beforehand. People then behave properly because they
wish to avoid feeling shame and want to avoid losing face. In theory, the result is a reduction in
the number of coercive laws required for smooth functioning of the society.
I shift a bit, on the most important day of everyone’s life they come into this realm naked,
defenseless, and unable to communicate – and totally vulnerable to the outrages hoisted upon
them from society, the environment, and last but more important than any, chance! Chance
creeping up on them, arriving at various times during adulthood whereas the character that molds
them reflects the some of the forces that were shunned and blunted by genetic advantages. Good
or bad, divine or evil, smart of stupid – most providing walks of extremes that appear to some as
“dumb luck”. As they stumble along their path through life, some who had lived through a period
of innocence during their younger days are dragged down by their exposure to jealously, avarice,
ambition, and greed – mostly we label these poor unfortunate souls “politicians, bankers and
lawyers, with a few engineers thrown in for good measure”. These unfortunate few, along with a
number of other professions, as a group are unable to express their feelings or to experience
happiness without a sense of dread that “it” will be fleeting, consequently they bust their way
through life spending their time stocking up for a “rainy day”, seldom if not ever stopping to
appreciate a wonderful day.
Some downtrodden religious figure somewhere in history stood on a stool in a dark alley and
told his listeners that “life is not fair”, whereas a child is born unto a set of rich parents, is handed
the best that fame and fortune could provide, while in the alley where they (religious figure) was
standing gave birth to a child whose parents lived in an abandoned Maytag washer carton. The
speaker asked his crowd, “why one child should be blessed when hundreds of other suffer cruel
fates?” He couched his answer with “life is not fair”, and that it is only with a rare circumstance
that the child in the alley would one day rise above his ancestry running out of the alley of despair
to a day full of sunshine and everlasting rainbows. Life may not seem fair, but we seem to forget
that its life and we do have “free will”, and in America plus a few other lands, with a few twists
and turns if one finds the “shining path”, and stays on it will one day experience the alley
morphing into a 8-lane freeway heading off into the future.
In Confucianism relationships are central, whereas duties surface to fit a particular situation –
whereas the individual stands simultaneously to several varied relationships with different people
such as a young persons relationship to parents or elders, and visa versa – as the junior members
of society are considered to have a reverence to their elders and the elders manifest benevolence,
concern and guidance toward the juniors. This theme of mutuality if prevalent in East Asian
cultures even today.
The 9th oldest practicing religion is Shinto, an ancient Japanese religion that came into being
around 500 BCE – a practice that mixes nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero
worship and shamanism. The name Shinto is said to be a spinoff of “shin tao” a Chinese phrase
meaning “The Way of the Gods”.
In the 8th Century CE, the 1) Yamato dynasty consolidated its rule of most of Japan 2) Divine
origins were ascribed to the Imperial Family 3) Shinto was established as an official religion of
Japan, along with Buddhism.
The complete separation of Japanese religion from politics did NOT occur until just after WWII
– whereby the Emperor was forced by the American army to renounce his divinity. Not being
like other organized religions, Shinto has no real founder, no written scriptures, no body of
religious law, and has only a very loosely-organized priesthood. It has approximately 3 million
followers.
The age of Judaism is clouded buried deep in Hebrew tales, thereby it is classified as the 10 th
oldest organized religion, it is the original religion that is linked to Abraham after he guided
members of his family and their followers out of South Eastern valleys in modern day Turkey, or
the valley of Ur. There are other religions that trace their roots back to Abraham and his wife
Sari (Sarah). The Book of Genesis tells the story of the Three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob (Joseph who is recognized as a 4th Patriarch by Christians but not by the Jews), and Moses
the next major leader of the ancient Israelites, leading a large group out of captivity in Egypt and
receiving the Ten Commandments as a collection of laws applied to the time period – he then
marched the north, after wandering around in the deserts for over 40-years to make war on the
existing inhabitants of the land of Canaan. It wasn’t until Samuel, David and Solomon appeared
on the scene that Judaism really came into being – and later fell from grace as the Assyrians ran
roughshod over the land, and in 587 BC that it fell to the Babylonians with Solomon’s Temple
build with the assistance of the Phoenician’s being destroyed. It was rebuilt beginning in 536
BCE, by some Jews who were allowed to return from their captivity in Babylon where they
resided between 422 to 352 BCE – Alexander the Great invaded around 332 BCE and from 300
to 63 BCE it was basically an extension of Greece – in 63 BCE the Romans occupied the land of
the Middle East. The followers of Judaism adhere to a number of texts in their faith brought
together they make up the Tankah:
1) the Torah (aka Pentateuch): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
2) the Nevi'im: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (2), Kings (2), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea,
Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah,
and MalachiIsaiah.
3) the Ketuvim, the "Writings" including Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs,
Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles (2).
And then they have the Talmud that contains stories, laws, medical knowledge, debates about
moral choices, etc… whereas the material is derived from two main sources:
1) the Mishnah's, 6 "orders" containing hundreds of chapters, including series of laws from
the Hebrew Scriptures. It was compiled about 200 CE.
2) the Gemara (one Babylonian and one Palestinian) is encyclopedic in scope. It includes
comments from hundreds of Rabbis from 200 - 500 CE, explaining the Mishnah with
additional historical, religious, legal, sociological, etc. material. It often records many
different opinions on a topic without giving a definitive answer.
The 11th oldest religious group in modern day is the Christian Faith, which came into its own
after the resurrection of Jesus Christ – today at the last approximation of the number of groups
wandering around are some 30,000 Christian Faith Groups. It can be said that within this group
there are too many to list that consider themselves the “true descendents” of “The Way” as the
early Christian movement was originally called. Three examples that standout are:
1) The Roman Catholic church teaches that Jesus ordained his twelve disciples who became
the first bishops. Peter was the first pope. The bishops then ordained priests, some of
whom were consecrated as bishops. This has continued to the present day in an unbroken
"Apostolic Succession."
2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the Mormons -- teach that the
Christian Church went astray from Jesus' teachings when the last apostle died. Only
when their, founder, Joseph Smith, founded the Mormon Church were the original
teachings of Jesus restored.
3) Many religious historians believe that it was never Jesus' intention to found a church.
As for the actual origins of Christianity or the “Jesus Movement” historians site three primary
figures, “Yeshua of Nazareth”, “Paul of Tarsus”, and “James the Just” as being central figures in
its early years. This was before the followers of Jesus were labeled Christians, still considering
themselves to be Jews, referring to themselves as followers of “The Way”.
Note: “Yeshua of Nazareth” is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, whereas in Greek Jesus is
a form of his actual name Yeshua, and Christ is Greek for Messiah or anointed one – therefore
Jesus Christ in NOT his actual name but a combination of his 1st name and his role in
Christianity.
Yeshua was an Orthodox Jew and a follower of Hillel the Elder1, known as the founder of the
more “liberal” of the two schools of Jewish philosophy that were reported to be active at the time,
albeit Yeshua did stray from his teacher’s belief in that he believed in applying more restrictions
to divorce. According to New Testament history he committed an act of aggravate assault in the
Jerusalem Temple just before the Passover, arrested by the Roman Army, tried, and sentenced to
death as an “insurrectionist”. He was executed in Jerusalem over 1,980 year and 4 months ago, a
date remember by the celebration of Easter on which he arose from the dead a day and one-half
after his execution and later ascended some 40-days later (or one day as some believe) to be with
his father in Heaven. At the time the Jews believed in a 3-layer-Universe, with Heaven located
about a dome (“firmament”) that was suspended over a “Flat Earth”, and believed that “Hades”
was located below the Earth.
One of mainstays that both Yeshua and Paul taught was that “the end of the world” was near,
albeit in that the last 1980 years this has not come about, there are a great many of the Christian
Faith who believe this event is their immediate future with some looking forward to the event to
end their miserable existence on the 3rd planet from the Sun.
The 12th oldest and the 2nd largest religion practiced here on Earth is Islam, beginning some
1388 years ago – it is written that Islam is a word derived from the Arabic word, “salam”, which
is often interpreted as meaning “peace”, albeit some agree that “submission” is a more probable

1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillel_the_Elder
translation. The followers of Islam are referred to as “Muslims”, whereas Muslim is an Arabic
word that refers to a person who submits themselves to the “Will of God”. During these difficult
times when an act of terror or murder and mayhem are committed by a citizen of the Arabic race
they are immediately referred to as an “Islamic Terrorist” or a “Muslim Terrorist” – which is not
the case if a person or group from Idaho or Utah causes the death of a number of their fellowman
they are not labeled a “Christian Terrorist” or “Christian”, simply someone who took a few lives
in their act of terror.
Most religious historians view Islam as having been founded in 622 CE by “Muhammad the
Prophet” who lived from 570 to 632 CE, whereas it was in Mecca, when the angel “Jibril”
(Gabriel) in the shelter of a cave read the 1st revelation to Muhammad. Estimates today put the
followers of Muslim and some 1.8 billion individuals.
Islam primary beliefs are six that of which are the foundation of the religion:
1) A single, indivisible God. (God, the creator, is just, omnipotent and merciful. "Allah" is
often used to refer to God; it is the Arabic word for God.)
2) The angels.
3) The divine scriptures, which include the Torah, the Psalms, the rest of the Bible, (as
they were originally revealed) and the Qur'an (which is composed of God's words,
dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad).
4) The Messengers of God, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and
Muhammad -- the last prophet; (peace be upon them). Muhammad's message is
considered the final, universal message for all of humanity.
5) The Day of Judgment when people will be judged on the basis of their deeds while on
earth, and will either attain reward of Heaven or punishment in Hell. They do not
believe that Jesus or any other individual can atone for another person's sin. Hell is
where unbelievers and sinners spend eternity. One translation of the Qur'an, 98:1-8,
states: "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for
ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." ("People of the Book" refers
to Christians, Jews and Muslims). Paradise is a place of physical and spiritual pleasure
where the sinless go after death
6) The supremacy of God's will.
A great many of the followers of Islam believe that Islam existed before Muhammad was born,
and that the origins of Islam date back to the creation of the world, albeit Muhammad was the last
and by far the greatest of a series of prophets including Jesus Christ, who they maintain was not
the Son of God, but simply one of his primary prophets. The Muslim’s word for God is “Allah”
which in Arabic means “the One True God”. A great many Muslim leaders trace their ancient
ancestors back to the 1st son of Abraham from his 2nd wife Hagar an Egyptian servant who was
given to Abraham as a handmaiden to Sarah, who was barren and under Sarah’s advice and
begging Abraham bedded Hagar with their offspring being Ishmael, both were later banned to the
desert of the Sinai and one of Ishmael’s descendants was Mohammad.
Considered a spin-off of the Islamic Faith and the 13th oldest religion is the Bahá'ís who believe
in a single God who has repeatedly sent prophets into the world through whom he has revealed
the "Word of God." Prophets include Adam, Krishna, Buddha, Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus),
Mohammed, The Bab and Baha'u'llah. It is considered the youngest faith of the major religions
of the world getting it start in 1863 CE…
One faith or non-faith I haven’t addressed is that of the Atheist who is not a complete believer
in religion in the sense that Christianity, Islam, and, Judaism followers are. Atheism is not
generally perceived as offering a complete guideline for living as do most religions. However,
Atheists frequently derive their own ethics and philosophy of life and worldview using their
Atheism as a starting point. These factors are generally derived from secular considerations, and
not from any "revealed" religious text. Some Atheists, when asked what their religion is, will
answer, simply, "Atheist." Others will say that they "have no religion, they are an Atheist." There
are estimates that put the Atheist’s around 150 million, plus or minus.

As you can see the world’s society is made up of many different ways that it chooses to
worship or not worship the creator of Homo sapiens, what one does notice is that all of the “latest
causes” seem to have their roots back to just after man organized himself after the recent end of
the last Ice Age, whether or not religion existed before this time has been the subject of some
spirited debates, with no definitive results. Some remark we are marching backwards in our quest
to control each others ideas or concepts on what “it is all about”. Regardless, although Islam is
the only organized major religion that does NOT separate church and state, the others are slowly
changing and moving the two concepts towards a marriage of convenience. Playing one against
the other to snare the population with promises they can’t keep, nor intend to. Some overly
anxious members on the sale to the masses actually believed they could deliver, sadly after
achieving their election goals, they accept the norm of real life believing after a short while that
they can not deliver, brush the reality aside and march on, they have made it and now strive to
collect their due – such was and is the life of many leaders in public office.
Most greenhorn politicians before they are chosen by the voter are not bent on cheating the
voters, unfortunately upon entering their public officer for the first term are surrounded by the
“experienced” members of this unique club who explain the rules and regulations of the largest
game in town. For those select few who are reluctant to follow the rules as they are laid out soon
find out that their position in the club is tenuous at best, even those who entered office from a
majority of the votes from their region and who may have a purse that seems to put them ahead of
the pack chasing the greenbacks. They find themselves with a slim chance of delivering the
promises back home, their well written proposals for changing the same-old, same-old sit on their
desks gathering dust soon to be placed in their storage closets in cardboard boxes with their titles
written in felt tip markers. Two things either happen, they change their ways and play the game
and if their lucky squeak through another election or they don’t they last one term and go home
with a bad taste in their mouth and their will to change the system crushed beyond salvation.
The old timers swagger up and down the hallways with the manners of a young bull in a
milking barn, throwing about favors and glad handing the lobbyist’s with large check books,
accepting paid vacations in this foreign country or that and maybe a jaunt on a deserted island
with a corral full of buxom women and loose morals. In America it’s called politics, the land that
is not ruled by a King and his court, but over time now finds it is ruled by lordly princes and
princesses who firmly believe that they are about the “law of the land”.
When caught with their hands in the cookie jar they scream and threaten to bring down the
wrath of the Creator on those who challenge their kingdom, some make it by the guillotine, just
barely their status bruised a bit – they wait a short while until the dust settles and before you can
yell out “Jackie Robinson” are once again wallowing in the cauldrons of corruption and greed as
the old pro’s they are.
Over the past few decades the United States system of government has gone from one of
cooperation to one of confrontation between the two primary parties of the land…it makes no
never-mind who is in the majority the other will do its level best to stall the governing of the land.
In other words, no-matter who achieves the highest office of the land, even if they enjoy having
the majority in the House and Senate, they will be picked apart by committees along with the
Press effectively leaving the voter/taxpayer by the side of the road as they lead with their banners
of whatever slogan waving in the breeze. The checkbooks of the organizations who are in need
of this favor or that favor open wide to either side, there is no preference as the leaders line up at
the soup kitchens dishing out bowls of greenbacks marinated in greed.
From all appearances one is led to believe that Democracy in the USA has become a system
doomed to an early death, what will replace it? Good question? Do I have a solution, well no,
but you see as one person who is a bit removed from the street fighting and name throwing in-
country I still am worried that the land of my birth is sliding slowly behind curtains of time as a
has-been, and sadly the leaders in command continue to pick each other apart and refuse to walk
across the aisle and say “hello”, no matter their (our) differences I would think it is time to put
them aside and chased the opportunity to put the American homeland back on its feet and work
towards solving the problems of the land, and not the petty differences shouted across the media
24/7.