In Reply to: A Thoughtful Letter....tanx posted by parhad on August 28, 2001 at 23:58:28:
: Dear sir,
: I am not of Assyrian/Chaldean/Aramean/Syrian/... ancestry. Rather I am a descendant of the Thor-worshipping Hell's Angels of Europe. We had the same reputation in the Middle Ages which the Assyrians had in the ancient world to the surrounding countries. This merely to say that I am outside the general discussion.
: In mourning the departure of your ancestors from the worship of Ashur, have you considered that that very departure aided in centuries of survival under the Moslems?
>>>Here again defining "survival" would help. We may have survived as Christians indeed, but there was nothing Christian about my Assyrian ancestors, at least not in any doctrinal way. When you turn into something else entirely in order to "survive"...have you? And what happened to remaining loyal and resolute especially in the face of threats and dangers? If it is noble to remain loyal to Christianity even at great cost and sacrifice, then why is it not eually commendable to remain loyal to Ashur...since you're going to get killed either way? Is the message that Christianity is worth dying for but Ashur isn't? That when it comes to Ashur we're supposed to turn rational and calmly weigh benefits and losses, pour over a spread sheet projecting possibilities for either into the future before making a wise and measured decision as to whether this religion or that is "worth it"? Yet where Christianity is concerned we are to rush headlong into any danger dragging our babies behind us with never a thought about consequences or benefits?
The Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians are considered people of the book, and thus may continue in their traditions. On the other hand, 'pagans' are to be converted by whatever means available.
>>>It's true that Mohammad respected the people of the Book. But Pagans, Heathens and other Christians hated and killed other Christians...Christians are lauded for remaining true even in the face of death and deprivation visited upon them because of their religion. Why so cautious and hesitant where Ashur is concerned and so quick to praise those who suffered for being Christians? In any case, better to remain true to your family, your parents and grandparents, joining them in the flames if you must, than to deny them and win earthly "survival" and damnation, then Eternal "Bliss" for being such a low down skunk.
The destruction of Lurian culture is one recent example. I am not saying by this that conversion to Christianity necessarily preserves the original culture. A comparison of the Epic of Beowulf with the Nibelungenlied or the Elder Eddas shows definite shift of understanding, with a loss of earlier significances.
>>>Well that's the whole point isn't it? I mean the saving of the culture...not a religion...but the Heritage. If you have to become a Frenchman in order to be spared your life because all Englishmen are being killed and you happen to be one...then what have you "saved"??
: It was not Assyria's religious shift which permitted the Moslem conquest. As far as I can tell, most of the descendants of the old Babylonians now think of themselves as Arabs, and have lost all of their cultural continuity.
>>>No, the Moslems would probably have won anyway...it's what Christian "ethics" have done to us since then, up to and including the Gulf War Set Up and sanctions which sees us actively engaged in our own destruction, aiding in our own Genocide for the first time...much as Christ helped wipe himself out, in this life, this vale of tears devoid of the REAL goodies which are all waiting and in abundance and reserved for the meek and humiliated, UP THERE!
>>>I don't know who you mean by Babylonians. If you mean Chaldeans then it was a matter of policy that they mingled with Moslem culture...by the way "Arabs" are from Arabia...the rest are Moslems from a variety of countries. If you insist on calling people by the name of the country of birth of their prophet, then Christians are Israelis for the same reason. There are no Arabs in Mongolia unless they migrated from Saudi, but there are Moslems there and in Indonesia and in America. You could be a Christian born in Arabia and you would be "Arab", but not Moslem. The Christians of Canada are not Isrealis because their prophet was born in what is today Israel.
>>>Chaldeans in general made the decision to prosper if they could, at least not to allow their religion to dominate their existence and determine their economic status in a Moslem country such as Iraq, where Christian allegience to Britain led to resentment and suspicion from the Moslem population of Iraq, which after all had accepted the Assyrian refugees fleeing other Moslems. Chaldeans went in among the dominant population, downplayed their "otherness" in public, befriended and worked with the dominant population in order to succeed. In private they kept their Christian faith intact and have been very "devout" and all of that. Because they did not back up against a wall, holding out a crucifix to ward off "evil" Islam, consigning their families to poverty and ignorance, having only their dirt poor churches to govern and guide them...they were called traitors or "Arabs". I assure you they are as Christian as the next shmuck. Besides, I doubt the "Arabization" of Christians is any worse than their "Americanization".
: Where now are the worshippers of Ba'al? Where those who serve Bel Marduk? Where now is Shamballa (believed to be a Buddhist kingdom in what is now Afghanistan)? The Hindus retained their religion and power because they had sufficient military might to repulse the Arab invaders.
>>>Repulsed? The Moghuls destroyed Hindu culture and architecture and people by the droves. There were too many Hindus to kill that's all.
Even the two military powers at the time of the original invasion were unable to completely stop it. Persia was completely overcome, and the Persian followers of Zoroaster are now a small minority in their homeland.
>>>If Christians faced similar threats to their existence, I doubt you would be suggesting that it would have been wiser of them to convert to anything which might have spared or "saved" them. You seem to have high expectations of loyalty and honor where Christians are concerned... and can't congratulate others fast enough for dumping gods who would just have meant "trouble" anyway.
: You may find Euro-American 'pagans', you may even find American jewish 'pagans'. You will not find Arab 'pagans' except perhaps among the most assimilated in America. Nor will you find much trace of the Himyarite culture, nor any modern version of their ancient faith.
>>>You aint gonna find many Albigensians either and not a trace of the ten thousand Protestants who were killed in one day by Catholics in France on St Bartholemew's Day. Christians killed far more Christians than Romans ever did, or Moslems for that matter. No one devatsted Christian lives and lands like other Christians did. Is it then a matter of "winners"? If some brute force of a religion comes along that scares everyone into it, will you be counseling resignation and praising people for the only wise course open to them?
: In your ancestral homeland, the only non-Jewish, non-Christian groups able to continue were the Mandaeans and the Yezidis.
>>>So? Does that not make the point?
: Also, I would recommend a study of Jewish history. You refer in one of your posts to a Jewish perspective you admire. My readings indicate that the 'Magnification of the Name' characteristic of Jewish communities in Europe during the Middle Ages is closer to the perspective of those Assyrian, Syrian, and Chaldean Christians who would rather die than convert. It is through this perspective that the Jewish culture has survived two thousand years without a homeland.
>>>Not quite. Jews were also told that God would understand it if they apostasized under duress. Jews would rather live and save their children, almost at any price. Seldom was the promise that one would be spared after renouncing ones religion true. People knew well enough that it really meant there was one more humiliation to be endured before being killed. Many Jews chose death rather than humiliation AND death.
>>>The existence of the Inquisition and its reign of terror was proof that Jews had been forced to convert and had been allowed to survive...as "proof" that they had been "brought" to their senses finally and "accepted" Jesus, sorry their ancestors had EVER rejected him. But then they were ultimately hounded anyway because their forced conversions were "suspect", and also because they remained suspiciously successful anyway.
>>>Jews simply ensured that if they DID manage to survive at all, it would be as faithful followers of their ancestral ways...that suviving only had meaning if it was accompanied with honor. Asssyrians say today that survival was the whole point, at any price. Which is a little odd when you consider that they are supposed to stand ready to suffer extreme mortification for the sake of Christianity, but run like hell from any discomfort which might come their way as a result of keeping faith and honor with their ancestors and their God.
>>>If you remove "Christ" from the word Christian...you have a person who believes in nothing, till they find another prefix. If you remove Ashur from Assyrian...you have followers of nothing, untill they find someone's name to stick there in its place. We became Christian, that's all. We survived as Christians...we have no idea what might have happened to us as Assyrians, and I believe we haven't the faintest clue as to what being Assyrians is any more...so we've made it synonymous with this religion we picked up 2000 years ago...AFTER we'd fallen into despair and coming after the centuries of brilliance and leadership which the whole world now recognizes Assyria to have been.
: Still, I commend and honor your heart. I read your post about the Black Moslem kid. It takes guts to care so deeply.
: Please do not respond to this. You may post it, if you will, or ignore it.
>>>There are many uses and meanings of "Christianity". Sometimes it is a velvet glove, sometimes a hammer, sometimes a sword. It can be a military Chaplain absolving a soldier who just killed three children and raped their mother to death. It can be a cover and a mask for the most brutal and horrendous of crimes, or an Easter Egg hunt.
>>>The best in Christianity is shared by the best in many religions, and no religions...it is the milk of Human kindness which has the potential to flow in several breasts irrespective of gods worshipped or not. The very worst of it is also shared by others. When we speak of Christianity, it's good to know which aspect of it we are discussing.
>>>If the hallmark of Christianity was the wearing of sacred red shoes, and we had been killed for wearing red shoes, and today only fifteen could be found still wearing red shoes...you could argue that red shoes had "saved" these fifteen...or you could say that wearing red shoes had been the cause for the murder of the 12 million people killed previously for wearing them.
>>>Were we subjected to Genocide for being Christian...or were we saved from Genocide and assimilation by being Christian, and in the end will we just be assimilated to death anyway, making the whole dismal exercise finally pointless? Did Moslems leave us alone because we were Christians, or did they slaughter us for being Christians? If it is true that Moslems only spared us because we left Ashur for Christ, then why did they turn on us later?
>>>And of course, what is "saving" anyway...and how much should you "change" in order to be saved...and if you change enough, is it really "YOU" that's being saved? If Assyrians are to think that they were saved by becomming Christians, then I can see why they insist they are Assyrians anyway...that the shift to Christianity was really no big deal, while also maintaining that it WAS a big deal. When you're caught having betrayed your friends you are of course going to downplay it.
>>>The basic tenets of Christian doctrine go against everything essentially Assyrian. We were not slaves, we were subjected to Persian and Roman dominance, but we had a proud and noble Heritage. Had we already stopped being essentially Assyrian when Christianity came to town? Perhaps. Maybe as we see now, real Assyrians went out to fight and work for the nation and paid the price, while others sat at their computers in old Nineveh and issued demands and "musts" left and right. Maybe we are today the descendents of the Assyrians who survived back then by fainting and snivelling so that no one wanted them in the fight. What a genetic mud puddle of a "pool" we have been reduced to.
>>>It was never a hallmark of Assyrian behavior to beg on your knees...to issue vapid demands, to hide from words as if they were arrows...this cowardly and mealey-mouthed behavior, this eating of dust in the marketplace and revelling in humiliation...these have never been recognized as Assyrian characteristics...but they are exactly the ticket to Paradise we were given as Christians.
>>>We committed ritual suicide when we turned Christian, as Jesus practically did. From the moment he said the Emperor was not god he was doomed. But he believed he HAD to be crucified in order to win that eternal thing...and so did we, so did all those back there and then who became Christian. That's why it was in the cards we would lose everything eventually, and we have. We've been forced to run and hide among other Christian nations, but ones who never entertained the slightest notion of adopting our peculiar take on Christianity. These nations are "Kick-ass" Christians...we're the "get kicked" variety.
>>>Our idea of Christianity REQUIRES us to go meekly into the night, to humiliate ourselves and our children, following in Christ's example and that most bloody father of his. It was a foregone conclusion from that day that whoever was more vigorous, more concerned with life on this earth, could do with us what he would.
>>>The Moslem also believes in getting to Heaven fast, but not on our bus...his route lay through fighting and getting killed defending his religion, which incidentally meant protecting his family and country as well. Ours was to refuse to fight (except among each other where we truly excell), to turn the cheek, to gaze meekly up at the sky while being disembowelled...and our clergy have fed us this nonsense till we can't do anyhting BUT stamp our feet and hold our breath and demand we get "respect", when all we get is mild amusement in return and a shove even further back in line.
>>>This sort of humiliation is very characteristic of the brand of Christianity we bought...and it is doing to us what it did for Christ...getting us scourged and crucified and our poor fools don't mind at all, in fact they weep with cheers of joy when they hear of another one killed "for Christ". No Assyrian worth the name would ever think or behave this way...not one.
>>>The price we paid in order to survive...wasn't worth it. There are some conditions under which Life isn't worth it, under which it becomes a bitter existence, one which you would wish to shorten just to escape the infamy you bought yourself. Look at us around the world today...this is survival? This was worth it? It's like being captured alive to be paraded in humiliation around the world.
>>>Many, many people throughout history have preferred death to dishonor, and THEN death. Since death comes for us all, better to care deeply at what price you buy a few extra years. We paid way too great a price, and what we "saved" wasn't the effort. Better to have been wiped out, leaving behind the traces of the amazing culture we had, than to have survived, drawing the unflattering comparisons we, and everyone else, makes today when they contemplate what we were, to what we have become.
>>>It wasn't worth it...but since we ARE still around, I'd rather move on to a more noble and worthy definition of what being Assyrian means...and I don't EVER want to be "saved" that way again.
: Le'olam khayi
: Push b'shena
: Bob Griffin
: Bob Griffin
: DataBase Administrator
: 818.980.5005 x143
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