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What Time Is It?


I thought an even more apt comparison might between the ISIL and the CSA.  Both  sought to reestablish an outmoded system of law and society and felt they could carve a state that would maintain that system through an act of war against another state that was still struggling to establishing itself.  In both cases, as is usual in war, acts  of atrocity were commited on all sides.

Some argue that it is unfair to compare something that happened 165 +/- years ago with something happening today.  But what is time? and does it really matter..  The 19th century Catholic historian John Dahlberg Lord Acton confronted the same question when he criticized a collegue, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, for a history of the church which pretty much exonerated all Popes from all wrong doing.  The author responded that it was not fair to judge people of the past by today's standards.  Acton suggested that the standard he used had been established 1900 years earlier in the Sermon on the Mount.  Ignorance of ethics is no excuse for bad behavior.

Time was invented by human beings for human purposes.  What time is it? can be a very personal and particular question.  What year is it? will get different answers from Jews, Christians, and Muslims and  totally different answers from Asians, Africans, and Aborigines.  As i read my friends journal entry. it occurred to me that this is the 21st century for Christians (Jesus was supposedly born about +/- 1 C.E. (which is why most of us call it A.D.); but it is the 14th century for Muslims (relevant time begins with Muhammed's escape from Mecca in 622 C.E.)

In our 21st century some Muslims seem fanatical, violent, and uncompromising; while some Christians seem reasonable, tolerant, problem solvers..  But this is Islam's 14th century.  What were Christians like in their 14th century?

In our 14th century all "good Christians" in Western Europe were Roman Catholics.  The Church dictated faith and behavior.  It had recently concluded the last of eight or ten crusades against Islam, some of which had been horribly bloody and had included among its victims Jews and Eastern Christians.  Genocide had been successfully committed against the Cathars and the Walsensians  would soon come very close to suffering the same fate.  The Hundred Years War was being fought between two Roman Catholic armies, and the Inquisition was in full swing and would continue another 200 years.  Jews had been persecuted throughout Christian history but now the first of the "final solutions" had begun -- kill one-third, expel one-third, and convert  one-third.

Of course, these sorts of comparisons are ridiculous.  But what is even more ridiculous is the idea that the line between good and bad, right and wrong, can be drawn anywhere but right through the middle of the mind, body, and soul of each and every human being.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
amaebi
Feb. 12th, 2015 01:27 pm (UTC)
I agree that the comparison is legitimate.

When you say that some people claim it's improper to compare events and situations separated by 165 years, could you say more? Are they just saying that, as an absolute? Or are you thinking of the crowd who continually claim that It Was Just Like That Then [So It Was Okay], or something else?
bobby1933
Feb. 14th, 2015 04:56 am (UTC)
I think that i respond somewhat spontaneously to interesting things that people write, and then if questions arise about what i wrote, i have to go back and read my stuff and try to figure out what i might have meant when i wrote.

What might have been most on my mind if anything, was some stuff from the early days of social psychology. People's opinions and actions are strongly affected by the words and behavior of those around them. We try to be more like people we like and more unlike people we don't like. When we get to thinking we are too much like the people we dislike we suffer cognitive dissonance which we can resolve in many, varying, interesting and crazy ways. Real bigotry, however, is inside us and is rarely much affected by external stimuli once it is part of who we are. People who oppose gay marriage would have opposed interracial marriage and before that they would have supported lynching, and before that slavery and before that the alien and sedition acts and before that the harassment of Catholics and before that the inquisition and so on.

Also, whatever policy or action is advantageous to me is going to seem more fair than it actually is and anything that might put me at a disadvantage will seem more unfair than it is, I am a lousy judge if i (or any of my friends) have a "dog in the fight". A wise man said "don't judge" and he said it because we can't. It is incredible how people forget simple mathematical processes when it comes to deciding a "fair split."

I hate the damnable lies that are told about the poor; but i can understand how honest people might stretch the truth a little bit in order to expose the atrocious misbehavior of the wealthy.

Edited at 2015-02-14 05:03 am (UTC)
amaebi
Feb. 14th, 2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for explaining!
cathy_edgett
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
Beautifully said. Thank you!
bobby1933
Feb. 14th, 2015 05:04 am (UTC)
and thank you.
maadmike
Feb. 13th, 2015 02:37 am (UTC)
Wonderful words!
bobby1933
Feb. 14th, 2015 05:04 am (UTC)
Thank you,
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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