David Warren in an elegant article tells us of Turks protesting the Pope's visit: "'We spit on the tomb of Jesus' S Kikeerguard,' read perhaps the most intriguing sign at the last legal Istanbul rally before the Pope’s visit to Turkey began. ...the bearers of the sign were unable to explain it. ... I would myself guess that the slogan commemorates some heroic effort to combine Jesus, and by extension the Pope, with Soren Kierkegaard, and by extension Danish cartoonists, into a single object for hatred."
That's really funny. Then hop on my back! They just can't get it right. But imagine! Blaspheming the Lord Kierkegaard! I'm gonna use it as an excuse to blast a cap into some muslimah nuns. They have nuns, right? I'd guess they're all nuns, bundled up that way. Yep, we're dealing with some real scholars here. Indeed, some of the protest signs referenced the, to us, obscure “Barnabas Bible.” What, you breathlessly inquire, is the Barnabas Bible? It's nothing.
But the Gospel of Barnabus is, to us, an obvious 16th century forgery in which: "Jesus smote his face with both his hands, and then smote the ground with his head. And having raised his head, he said: 'Cursed be every one who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God.'" Hm. It prophesies the advent of the Prophet Mohammad, PBUH: "Then said the priest: 'How shall the Messiah be called?'" Jesus answered: "Muhammed is his blessed name." Hm.
To the Moslems, however, "It is widely believed in the Islamic world to be the true gospel of the apostle Barnabas -- 'the one the Christians tried to suppress'. ... It is as long, rambling, ignorant, and senseless as the Da Vinci Code." Well, not as long. Generous of them to tell us what we believe, and should believe. But that's what they do best.
Warren is right on track when he brings up the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. "Turkish television recently showed a massively popular dramatic series in which basic elements from the Protocols were recast, as an 'exposé' of baby-eating U.S. soldiers in Iraq." My! I haven't eaten a baby since the '70s. And don't they know? Nowadays Americans eat only fetuses -- and it's only American abortionists. Not soldiers. Such a bridge of misunderstanding we need to double cross.
The Pope's visit had little to do with Islam per se. It was primarily an attempt to bring relief to the oppressed Orthodox Church that has for so long suffered under Turkish Islamic domination. Loaded words, eh? I'll talk about that some other time. As for the schismatic Church, it is, indeed, a scandal.
Two Bishops, of Rome and of Constantinople, excommunicated each other in the mid-11th century. The grand issue, political maneuvering aside, was the filioque controversy. The Nicene Creed had traditionally read that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father". Yes, that sounds about right. The Roman Catholics had settled upon the more specific "proceeds from the Father and the Son" -- filioque. Well, that sounds pretty good too, although it'd be inference and deduction. In any case there's a lot of historical noise leading up to the schism. Let's just skip it. I know, I'm living in darkness. So ignorant I am, to not be dogmatic about such issues. Hope nobody excommunicates me from their sect over it.
It calls to mind the Raskolnikovs. No, not the Crime and Punishment antihero. It goes like this: the Patriarch of Moscow had been making innovations, and in the conflagrational year of 1666 traditionalists broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church. Tradition had them making the sign of the cross with two fingers -- the reform required three fingers. Tradition had the hand moving from right to left -- the reform had it moving from left to right. Well! This, along with other radical revolutionary outrages of equal portent -- it was all just too much! To the barricades, comrades!
The two fingers represent the dual nature of Christ. The three fingers represent the Trinity. For this, they divided? All faiths have their irrationalities -- if not in the initial revelation, then in the practice. Even stupid religions can be made innocuous, given sane adherents. So what's up with Islam?
Do you suppose Moslems are resentful that their faith is the self-grafted limb on the monotheistic tree? The Bible faiths, one so clearly the outworking of the other -- and then the autochthonic mudpie of the Koran, pretending it's an appendix to the final book of Revelation? ... Mudpie?!? ... I know, I'm an insensitive bigot. What a pig I am -- an unclean beast. Hope nobody issues a fatwa against me over it.
If only we could get them to stop spitting on the tomb of our brooding antihero Jesus S. Kikeregard -- then we would no longer be driven to eat their babies or draw incendiary cartoons. Ah, what a perfect world that would be. Let's visualize world peace, what? Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. Imagine all the people living for today. And when we die -- but let's imagine there is no death. Let's imagine that's our new religion. Haven't we just seen it? We can imagine anything, and believe it's a truth worth killing for.