“The [Christian] Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies. Probably because they are generally the same people” (G.K. Chesterton).

My favorite religious exercise is removing the politics, and what this keeps revealing is something ecumenical, spiritual, life-giving and beautiful. One of the most distinctive traits of human nature is our hatred (actually envy) of our neighbors. This is strongest where the neighbors in question are one’s “elder brothers” from whom one’s religious cult borrows substantially. [1] Such is the case with Christians vis-à-vis Muslims. For all the hatred we seem duty-bound to bear Muslims–or perhaps causing itmost of modern Western Christianity’s formal devotions and doctrines are a clear and direct product of Mohammedism. Indeed, Islam is the quintessence of organized monotheism, and it’s super-obvious that those who hate Islam most energetically are the most wedded to the forms Islam has lent them.


The Angelus. As Salvador Dalí first knew, the original painting contained no church and no basket but a black box which Dalí posited was an infant coffin. [2] Though long considered a quintessentially medieval devotion, the Angelus (ca. 1210) postdates the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer) (ca. 600) by about 600 years and was founded by the mendicant Franciscans who having departed from traditional monkish ways are known for their Islamophilia. [3]

But as I myself harbor no mindless or slavishly submissive attachments to the many and sundry Islamic loan-forms that are the pillars of today’s Western Christianity, I likewise don’t fall prey to the hatred my unconscious/unrepentant plagiarist-religionist brothers and sisters are bound by human nature to feel.

Rather, I have taken it upon myself to pop open the hood of religion, and in so doing I have found a vast labyrinth of political-rhetorical brain teasers, dating to before Muhammad, before Constantine, before Irenaeus, back to where the so-called Way movement was limber and catholic [4]. The solution to pretentious predication is humble honesty.

In light of the above, I propose we all:

  1. rein in our respective clergymen and intellectuals.
  2. stop caving to their egos and rendering them far more than their due.
  3. leave room for source-wisdom by not allowing them to fill us up with surface commentary under the guise of “relevant applications”, because it is precisely there that they cheat us out of integrity and integration.

“[Islam] set, once again, an enduring lesson of human history: it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers. And, this is the message of Sufism, one of the greatest contributions of Islam to this world.” (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi)

[1] That will include all neighboring and/or older civilizations.
[2] Dalí further interpreted the painting as portraying dominatrix dynamics, symbolized by the praying mantis.
[3] It was the Islamophile mendicant (Franciscano-Jesuit) party whose influence pushed Pope Pius IX to ratify the dogmas of Papal Infallibility and of the Immaculate Conception, both in the 19th century.
[4] Small-c catholic means “universal”.

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