Different Points; or The Polemical Position of Someone Who is not a Religious Fanatic (a fictional essay)

for Daniel Defoe

He found a text in printed pages, Times New Roman 12. The pages were left without a name reference on a radiator in a classroom at his college. There was no class in that room the period before or the period before that. He made no inquiries.He kept it and read it and passed it along to me who is publishing it here, me, the fictional publishing editor of the fictional context within which this text will function:

A day not so unlike any other day; a man not so unlike any other man; he who talks to himself, talks to everyone; he who talks to everyone, talks to no one, or so he used to believe. He picks up a piece of paper left on the seat next to him after boarding the D at Bay Parkway in Brooklyn, Manhattan bound. He reads the following . . .


The Nazis did nothing in the name of the Judaeo-Christian God. In fact, the Nazis stood opposed to the decadence of Judaeo-Chistian ethics. ISIS does everything in the name of Allah and His Chief Prophet Mohammed. The Nazis could not use the Gospels of Jesus Christ to justify anything they did. ISIS can use Holy Qu’ran–and the non-chronological order of its assembly disallows the less than literate and the merely alphabetic from interpreting which verse countermands which other verse.

The Crusaders could not use the Gospels of Jesus Christ to justify their attempts to free Jerusalem from Muslim dominion. The Crusaders carrying crosses is not the point, but the rhetorical viability or non-vialbility in using principal texts as justification and rationalization. Any Islamist Terrorist can point to Holy Qu’ran or Sharia Law for justification. This is not a stretch. Western imperialism did have less to do with Christianity then Islamic Terrorism today has to do with Islam. The Gospels could not be invoked to justify Columbus. That is, as it was, a rhetorical impossibility. I am not going to say the same for the Old Testament, which is where most imperialists found there impetus for justification or rationalization, but then Mohammed was greatly influenced by Judaism and the Jewish Bible as well as Talmud, Mishna and Midrashim. Examine the historical figures. 

Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed–examine their lives–the history (and neither the Apologia of followers nor the counter Apologia of non-followers)–and then tell me what you take from their example, and how you imagine it does or might affect adherents to the religions that spring from them. I am genuinely asking.

No one is saved by having been born into a religion. This has been said by many. This is known but many more. This is not felt by enough, nor understood throughout its implications.   

He pauses at the conclusion. He folds the paper and places it inside his journal, the notebook he carries with him everywhere he goes just in case–not just in case, but for certain to have pen and paper with him when he needs to write, which he is going to at some point anywhere in the near future (it is interesting to note that there is a where in future time). Why he keeps has everything to do with how interesting, how relevant the text is to what we experience or do not experience; what we know and what we think we know when we do not; how some people feel and how others are appalled by what others feel, think, say, do, write.  He keeps it for how it flies in the face of many of our received ideas about religion and religions; how it flies in the face of certain received ideas we have in our contemporaneity that many believe are the Truth or accept as others devout might accept some dogma of their religion.

There is nothing left for me to say except that I love publishing found pieces, anonymous, as they are in hand . . . who has written this, might be a question, but is not an imperative for me or this publication, The Review.


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