Friday, January 30, 2015

Amazing religious diversity of the Middle East

Seth Auberon, Sheldon S., Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Host Mitch Jeserich,, Los Angeles, Jan. 29, 2015 (from L&P,, Berkeley)
Who knew? I had no idea! We're taught Arab Muslims fighting Zionist Jews and that's all.
Heirs to the Kingdom: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East
Other Religions of the Middle East
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the geopolitical Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange Christian-like faiths beyond Islam:
One religion regards the Greek prophets (like Pythagoras) as incarnations of God, another reveres the angel Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years [just as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism still teach and as Christianity used to teach].
These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs [and even going back to the first known civilization in Sumer or Sumeria]. Their followers have learned how to survive foreign attacks and the perils of assimilation [with Islam, Christianity, or Judaism]. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before.

In Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, former diplomat Gerard Russell ventures to the distant, nearly impassable regions where these mysterious religions still cling to survival. He lives alongside the
  • Mandaeans and Ezidis (Yazidis) of Iraq
  • Zoroastrians of Iran
  • Copts of Egypt, and others. 
Who knew, Russell Brand?
He learns their histories, participates in their secret rituals, and comes to understand the current threats to their long surviving communities. Historically a tolerant faith, Islam has, since the early 20th century, witnessed the rise of militant, extremist sects (such as the CIA-funded Saudi Arabian aberration known as Wahhabism).
This development, along with the rippling effects of Western invasion, now pose existential threats to these minority faiths. And as more and more of their youth flee to the capitalist West in search of dreams of greater personal freedoms and money making prospects, these religions face the dire possibility of complete extinction after surviving against all odds.

Drawing on his extensive travels and archival research, Russell provides an essential record of the past, present, and perilous future of these remarkable religions. More

U.S. Slavery and Capitalism
Michael Slate, Michael Slate Show, (Pacifica Los Angeles, Jan. 30, 2015)
Cornell Univ. Prof. Edward E. Baptist is the author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.

Few realize that bankers financed the purchase of expensive slaves for the picking of cotton for sale on the world market. This prompted the dehumanizing treatment of African-Americans chattel (property) slaves by racist European Christians living in the relatively new USA still expanding west and wiping out the indigenous Native Americans. LISTEN: (Jan. 30, 2015, 10:00 am,

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