Monday, June 24, 2013

( 4 ) " Byzantium versus Rome: Warring Christian Polarities. "

By Sodium

It is clear from the title of this topic, as written above, that there were more than one polarity that had initiated and facilitated centuries of struggle, for influence, between two Roman Empires:

* The Eastern Roman Empire ( Byzantine Empire or just Byzantium for short ), whose seat of power was in Constantinople, present day Istanbul in Turkey.

* The Western Roman Empire whose seat of power was in Rome, same location as the location of the current city of Rome in Italy.

Such a struggle went on for centuries, not decades. The question is why? Some of the answers to the why has to do with what has already been covered in the previous reviews that could be summarized as a combination of  heresies concerning the nature of Christ, geopolitical ambitions by both Rome and Constantinople, plus historical, cultural differences and even language differences. Language differences?  Yes, language differences: The language of the Western Roman Empire was Latin, while the Eastern Roman Empire had used Latin for its empire's administrative work, but its population in the Middle East spoke Greek. So did the Eastern Orthodox Church: it conducted its religious ceremonies in the Greek language, and its followers conducted their prayers in Greek too.

To make a long story short, the struggle was characterized with mutual excommunications and name callings. And I let it go at that, without going into unnecessary details.

The important question to me is: what the appearance of Islam had to do with all of the foregoing ?
In order to answer this question as objectively as possible, the following two quotations, as written in the book," A World Without Islam, " might just accomplish that end:

Quotation One:
" If Islam has never appeared on the stage of history, there is no doubt what religion would dominate the Middle East today-Eastern Orthodox Christianity. There has been no other credible religious challenger. And a still-dominant Orthodox Church would likely have maintained deep suspicion toward the West until now. If  Eastern Orthodoxy had preserved its dominance across the Mediterranean (Sea) and the Middle East, it would very likely have been the standard-bearer today for accumulated Eastern anger over the many centuries of grievances and clashes with the West. We will see this theme build over the next few chapters, providing an important basis for the case that the Middle East could distrust and fear the West even without Islam."

Quotation Two:
" We need to go back to Alexander the Great to witness the opening scene of a more than two-millennia history of East-West  geopolitical struggle. Alexander launched the first great thrust of Western power into Asia in 334 BCE, as his forces crossed from Greece into Persian--dominated Anatolia (present day Turkey) and conquered the powerful Persian Zoroastrian Achaemenid Empire of Iran. These regions formed only a part of the Alexandrine Empire, which came to include Syria, Egypt and part of Iraq as well, ultimately reaching the borders of India. This was very much a foreign cultural invasion from the point of view of Asia and left a significant legacy of interaction, culturally often rich but politically hostile. Persia had already been at war off and on with Greece for many centuries. For Asia, Greece was the West, the rival and enemy."

Thus, current imperialist powers and colonialist powers in the West and Islam in the East make up a parallel to what have the two quotations quoted above have shown. In other words, whether Islam has existed or not, the suspicion, resentment and aversion between East and West will continue unabated, as it was during the struggle between Rome and Constantinople, or between Greece in the West and Persia in the East.

The two quotations quoted above are only of many historical facts that vindicate Islam, as the culprit of the aversion of the people of the Middle East toward the West. to refer to Islam of being the culprit is really a myth. This theme will maintain its course through out the persuasive argument, as presented in the book, entitled " A World Without Islam." A great book, indeed.


Next topic will be topic number (5) Islam Meets Eastern Christianity.                      

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