Freitag, 22. August 2008

Quran, Sermon on the Mount, Nietzsche

Sura 13: The Thunder

Translation of today's post for Erkan:

While the Quran in the Sura 13 continues its course with a kind of Credo (God is the creator of the glorious world, people should obey him, there is eternal reward and eternal punishment), my friend Erkan Saka in his highly frequented Blog* also discovers the Quran and reacts to a Quran-Blog in the British Guardian.

Erkan has picked up a comment of the journalist Andrew Brown (Staff of the Guardian, in care of the Blog). Brown had asked if the Quran, other than the biblical Sermon on the Mount where the meek underclass is addressed, mainly focuses on a strong upper class.

From this question Erkan develops the interesting theory that Nietzsche’s Religionskritik might only apply to (in my exaggerated own words) the loser mentality of those meek people of the Bible, but not to the proud Muslims of the Quran. The Bible was written among slaves, the Quran in contrary was written among free people, exposed to the strong pressure of their opponents, but successfully standing against them.

To me Erkan's idea was not strange, because I had already found it in Yaşar Nuri Öztürk "400 Questions to Islam. 400 answers" (not available in English). Öztürk says in his book that the first man's descent from Paradise was a voluntary act according to the Quran, not Adam's forced expulsion.

The biblical idea istead, a humiliating degradation would mirror to the Christians that they were kind of eternally born "with a hump" (Öztürk). This would lead to a "very angry subconsciousness" of western people. The Quran in contrary assumes the free birth of each human person, undisturbed by inherited sin or father’s guilt.

I can understand this argument but nevertheless do fear that the proud sons of Mohammed cannot take advantage of their freedom. I am firmly convinced that this freedom does not exist. It is the experience of most people that on the day of their birth the stage of their life is already completely decorated, often to their disadvantage. Many of us have to suffer from the wrong decisions of their parents, inherit the consequences of evil deeds.

In the Old Testament, an Israelian saying is cited: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. (Jeremiah 31, 29) Similar to the Quran the prophets of the Bible are turning sharply against the resignation that is included in these words, but unlike the Quran they refer to God’s rescue, which is the only way to be set free from that all-to-well-known curse.

Maybe this is also my main (abbreviated) objection against my unloved fellow-German Friedrich Nietzsche: you rarely find blonde Herrenmenschen in this world. But those who labour and are heavy laden (Matthew 11,29) can be found at every street corner.

*650.000 visitors in two years

Kommentare:

erkan hat gesagt…

Dear Christian,
Thank you for considering my ideas and commenting on it. As one of my frequent visitor, I am glad to get feedback from you!

I will only focus on one piece:
"From this question Erkan develops the interesting theory that Nietzsche’s Religionskritik might only apply to (in my exaggerated own words) the loser mentality of those meek people of the Bible, but not to the proud Muslims of the Quran. The Bible was written among slaves, the Quran in contrary was written among free people, exposed to the strong pressure of their opponents, but successfully standing against them."

These are strong words and I wouldn't support them to the end. I had just wanted to think that two religious books were situated in very different historical times.To make an abstraction from that needs more courage:)

There is also this irony: sometimes theory and practice takes such different manners. Who are the loser, meeker people of the world now? :)

Christian Runkel hat gesagt…

“Who are the loser, meeker people of the world now?” Erkan, maybe I should not answer this question. Instead, I should hold up my Christian tradition and believe that the meek are blessed. Through that blessing the world can be turned upside down, and it sometimes needs a turn, doesn’t it?

I have some unorganized pictures of losers and winners, of pride and meekness. You know that I worked in a Turkish Bank in 1971. I remember well all these proud Bank managers with their noble levantine gentlemen faces and fine suits and how they banged their fists on telephones that gave no connections, and how they endlessly got stuck in traffic jams with no hope ever to be somewhere in time. Their colleagues in the Banks in Germany had rather dull faces and bent down to their phones in a way servants do in Turkey. But their phones worked and their busses and taxis brought them wherever they wanted to go, sharp in time.

Who are the proud who are the losers? Fortunately I found things changed when I returned to Istanbul in 2007. And things change around the world – Brazilians feed the world with corn, Indians supply first class software (and heartbreaking movies), former Third World States produce fine consumer goods. It is a better world where it is unclear who is about to lose and who is on his way to win.

But it will always be a world where God has a blessing for those who lose. We should follow him and bless them, too.

Rustam khan hat gesagt…

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