People of the Book.

Cynics would say that, were copyright infringement laws to exist back then, the Apostles and Prophet Muhammad would’ve landed in court, for the similarities and reciprocal borrowings between Judaism, Christianity and Islam are staggering. This holds true for the theory but also for the practice, and nowhere this is more apparent than in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Unfortunately, lately we seem to be too busy forgetting about it.


In mid-February 2015, members of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ kidnapped 21 Egyptian Coptic workers from Sirte, Libya, where they were working and executed them in retaliation for the alleged kidnapping of Muslim women by Coptic Christians in Egypt. No such event occurred. IS just needed a pretext to continue its senseless policy of racism and bigotry. The 21 men have been canonized as saints by the Coptic church and were remembered by this banner in a Syrian Coptic church in Old Jerusalem. 


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6 Responses to People of the Book.

  1. So many awful things have been done in the name of religion. It’s interesting how things that can bring out the best in us sometimes end up bringing out the worst instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      It might be me being a cynical bastard but I’m of the opinion that religion brings mostly bad things. Believing in God and helping your fellow humans is hardwired in any religion and in our nature, so it isn’t really a prerogative of religious beliefs. But thinking that I’m right and you are not because my god is called Yahveh and yours Odin (for the sake of argument), or saying that women aren’t as worthy as men, or that you should convert or kill the unfaithful… That’s all religion. In fairness, when I think about religion the best thing that comes to my mind is architecture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good point about it being hardwired…certainly helping others kind of has a species survival value. You know, I think what I like most about being Catholic — and we’ve done some pretty awful things, cringe-worthy stuff, but what I DO appreciate — is that there’s an official church document somewhere, an official church teaching, that says salvation isn’t limited to Catholics, that other Christians, other religions, atheists, basically everyone else, can go to heaven too. I think it was developed in the Vatican II era. And it was an important issue, when you think about babies who died without being baptized, remote tribes who’ve never heard of Jesus, etc. — anyone who isn’t officially Catholic. I found it while doing research for a school paper and I think that’s when I really started to appreciate being Catholic, because I hadn’t previously thought of Catholicism as being a sensible sort of religion. In a way, that document acknowledged that nobody has a monopoly on truth and that one’s religion isn’t the critical factor, and I appreciated that. It’s when people start going against sense and insisting that, as you say, they and they alone are right, that awful stuff happens. (Apologies for the long reply!)


      • awtytravels says:

        Yes, true, but it’s also the same church that didn’t allow religious funerals to a man who asked for the right to have his respirator turned off (he was suffering from dystrophia), permitting those of a well-known drug dealer in that church, or the church that covered paedophiles… I respect your religious beliefs, I’m nominally a Catholic myself, but I really struggle to reconcile Jesus – or the enormous amounts of good that Catholic ONGs and such do – with the Vatican or with a part of the Catholic dogma.


      • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting Catholicism, just saying that it’s surprisingly progressive and sensible on the issue of whether one religion is right to the exclusion of all others. Surprising because, as you point out, in a lot of areas it’s rather cold and uncharitable — pretty sure Jesus himself would be a LOT more sympathetic. I often get the feeling if he were around today, it would be the bishops and priests he would be whipping and calling hypocrites (in the Philippines particularly).


      • awtytravels says:

        Oh, I’m sure that he’d be doing a lot of that throwing-people-outta-the-door business he did in the Temple, were he to return to Earth today! Just replace the Temple with St. Peter’s Basilica…

        Liked by 1 person

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