Axver (axver) wrote,

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A couple of rather differing topics - a comparison of deities and Edge's birthday.

I have been wondering for a long time how I can possibly motivate myself to do work. I have finally come up with a solution - I will schedule my assignments in as LiveJournal entries and ensure that I make them! Of course, that doesn't help me with Maths C, but life's tragic like that. We won't speak of last night's rugby abonimation.

Hypothesis: That Allah and Yahweh are similar deities but are not the same.

When people investigate and study religions, it is typical for deities to be compared and contrasted. Much discussion and debate has arisen from the comparison of the natures of two particular deities – Allah, the Islamic deity, and Yahweh, the god of the Jews. Some fervently maintain that the two deities are the same, while others place an equally strong belief in the viewpoint that they are different. Through studying the nature of the two deities, the hypothesis that Allah and Yahweh are similar deities but are not the same shall be investigated and a final verdict given.

At first glance, Allah and Yahweh may appear to be the same to many, and historically, they share common ties, with Yahweh being the god of Abraham, the father of the Jews and Arabs. When the self-declared prophet Muhammad began Islam in Mecca, Arabia, he claimed to be preaching the message of the god of Abraham and established an ideology whereby Islam was the final evolution of Judaism and Christianity (Penney, 1987). He firmly established that under his religious system, Allah was the same god that the Jews worshipped, but only Muslims understood his nature correctly. It is true that the deity he preached was remarkably similar to Yahweh. Both deities are monotheistic, and Judaism establishes the doctrine of ethical monotheism while Islam blatantly rejects polytheism and the Christian Trinity. Yahweh is seen as all powerful, the creator and sustainer of life, eternal and uncaused, and Allah is cast in the same light. A very basic and simplistic assessment would give the implication that Islam and Judaism provide slightly different perspectives on the same deity.

Upon looking deeper at the nature of the two deities, it can be seen that there are a number of significant differences that show them to differ from each other, and the first is the issue of transcendence and immanence. Transcendence is when a deity is beyond the limits of ordinary experience, while immanence is where a deity is said to permanently pervade the universe and be directly involved with and knowable to humanity. In Islam, Allah is completely transcendent. He is unknowable and sits on his throne in heaven – while he sees and hears all, he is not immanent. In stark contrast, Yahweh is very immanent and is said to have a direct and personal involvement with his creation. He is directly involved in human history, loves humanity, and is said to be the being that can be loved back with the “highest and most complete love.” (Montagu, 1990) The transcendent Allah is to be worshipped in fear, while the transcendent yet immanent Yahweh engages with his creation. To illustrate this difference clearly, Yahweh is said to have rested on the seventh day and this example is followed as a matter of duty by Jews, but such belief is blasphemy to Muslims (Institute of Islamic Information and Education).

The second crucial difference relates to the issue of abrogation. Yahweh is an unchanging and consistent deity – he does not contradict himself, nor does he change his mind, and when he makes a declaration, it is permanent. He is reliable and would never refute, change, or otherwise alter any of his own statements. Due to his eternal and omniscient attributes, such activity would defy his nature. However, Allah is more than free to contradict himself, and does so on multiple occasions. He is seen as so transcendent, powerful, and unknowable that he is capable of making one divine command and then making another later that renders the first command null and void. This is known as the doctrine of abrogation, is explicitly defined in the Koran, and shows that Allah’s nature differs from Yahweh’s. Allah is a changing deity, and while his statements are absolute and authoritative, they are not necessarily permanent.

In Jewish theology, man was created in the image of Yahweh, and it is what sets him apart from the animals. This is seen in his being and his capacity for deep thought, reason, and ethics. In addition, God’s greatness is made manifest in the wonders of creation (Montagu, 1990) and as proof of his existence, Jews will offer the evidence of the universe, over which Yahweh is believed to be King. The Islamic deity is far removed from this position. He rules in heaven and although he created everything, he remains transcendent and above it on his throne. To Muslims, it is blasphemy to create any image of Allah, and an example of such blasphemy would be claiming that man is made in the image of god or that the world reveals his greatness. This distinction is more than a misunderstanding, it is a complete opposite – Yahweh created man in his image and his creation reveals his glory, but no image can be made of Allah and to state the world reveals his glory would be blasphemous.

Although a superficial study of the natures of Allah and Yahweh would imply they are the same deity, a more detailed investigation shows that while they share a number of similarities for the simple reason they are monotheistic deities, they are in actual fact merely similar. Some claim they are the same but understood differently, but in the light of three important points, it can be seen that the two concepts of deities are different. Allah is a transcendental god, but immanence is added to Yahweh’s character; any decision or statement made by the Jewish deity is absolute, final, and never to be revoked, though Allah can change his mind whenever he desires; and thirdly, no image at all can be made of Allah but humanity itself is believed to be created in Yahweh’s image and likeness. This clearly illustrates the fundamental differences in nature that make the two deities similar but not the same.

On a totally different note, some stupidity simply has to be read about to be believed. Even then you probably won't be able to believe that someone so incredibly brainless could possibly continue to exist.

I would also like to announce a birthday!

Well, how do you feel about 1989? Czechoslovakia! East Germany! Poland! Romania! Because of one man, one man - THE EDGE! He did it all!
- Bono, during New Year's Day, 26 December 1989 (And no, don't ask me to make sense of it, it's just a good quote)

Yes, today, Mister David 'The Edge' Evans turns forty-three. Everyone send him birthday cake! Edge is the musical genius behind the brilliance of U2, capable of playing multiple instruments at world class levels, and able to transmit more than simply sound with what he creates. His music is an extension of his very being, as can be seen through such brilliance as the mounrful Love Is Blindness solo. He is far and away the most talented member of U2, and IQ-wise, the most intelligent (he quite literally is a genius). In Bono's word, he is "the scientist of the group, a Zen Presbyterian who thinks Catholicism is just too much glam rock, a man who takes sexual pleasure in the accumulation of data, and even his mother calls him THE EDGE!" (From somewhere on the Elevation Tour and I probably paraphrased it)

@U2 did a pretty good and sometimes amusing article on the birthday boy.
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