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14 September 2005

Is Vleeptron too Islamic?

Vleeptron sincerely hopes this means:
Ramadan Mubarak

(God grant you a Blessed Ramadan)

Hmmm let's see ... Why is Vleeptron announcing that Ramadan is nearly upon us?

I was born, raised and educated a Jew, and when forced with a gun to my head to claim a religious identity, that's the one that makes the most sense and resonates the most.

Still, you very lovely people are reading the words of the famous Huckleberry Finnstein, probably the most dirt-ignorant Jew on Earth or Outer Space.

If a rabbi (with a perverse sense of humor) told me (with a straight face) that Jews are obligated to stand on one foot every day and sing like a canary for an hour, it would probably take me a month of singing like a canary to find out he or she was just bullshitting me. Essentially, I am just a circumcized old hippie peacenik who loves shellfish.

De temps en temps (did I spell it right this time?) I have been Bob the Experimental Loud Angry Abusive Quaker (Society of Friends), and Bob the Totally Clueless Buddhist. Also a correspondence-school mail-order Sufi potzer (hopeless amateur).

Although most of the Sufi tradition lies within the World of Islam, many scholars view Sufism as a mystical tradition that pre-dates Islam and is theologically harmonious with, but theologically independent of Islam. Robert Graves suspected Sufism might have historical and spiritual links to the ancient Pythagorean Mystery Cult. (Although so far I have not found any Geometry Proofs in Sufism. But I'm just on Chapter 2.)

For a variety of reasons, all of them accidental, I am also a Big Sucker for the Christian Protestant denomination known as The United Church of Christ (Congregationalists). Unlikely I will ask to join or be Baptized. But I am Real Sweet on them and I admire them a whole bunch because of all the Good Times they gave me and the Valuable Things they allowed me to do under their guidance.

But of all the Faiths I have taken little ignorant nibbles from in The Great Supermarket of Spiritual Beliefs, my ignorance of and unfamiliarity with Islam shines darkest. I am One Big Islamic Ignoramus.

I suspect I am not alone when compared with everybody else in Christendom and Judaicaville. Although there are an estimated 1,300,000,000 Muslims on Planet Earth, to most of the non-Muslims I know, Islam might as well be a Hidden, Secret, Password-Protected Religion.

It isn't. Penguin sells a fine paperback translation of The Quran; for a lousy $5 everybody in the English-speaking world could Get A Lot Smarter about Islam within a couple of weeks. (Lesson One: A Quran/Koran verse is called a SURA. Lesson Two: You're really not supposed to call it the Quran/Koran, but I have to so you'll know which Holy Book I'm talking about.)

We just haven't done the homework we should have been doing in order to be good, thoughtful neighbors.

And because so few of us did our homework, Islam, Judaism and Christianity are now Anti-Neighbors. We are all at each others' throats, we are attacking and murdering each other, we are all accusing the other two faiths of being Satanic Fiends and Terrorists. We are all scared shitless of each other.

Perhaps what's going on at this moment in Iraq, Afghanistan, London, New York City, Gaza, Jerusalem, etc. cannot accurately be described as the Sixth or Seventh or Eighth Crusade.

But everyone who reads the headlines in English or Arabic or German or French or Dutch or Chinese or Turkish and watches the TV news and THINKS it's the nth Crusade can surely be forgiven for making this mistake and having this misperception.

If it walks like a Crusade and quacks like a Crusade and flies like a Crusade and has feathers like a Crusade and kills thousands of soldiers and civilian children and women and men like a Crusade ... who cares if it's not really a Crusade?

The PAST is fixed. We are stuck with it forever. It can never be changed.

At this very instant, we are all sitting in the PRESENT.

Ahead of us is the FUTURE -- the only one of these three moments with any Possibilities for Better Things.

So here on Vleeptron, we have decided this might be a very good moment to pull our Western heads out of our tuchases and dupas and fundijos and respectfully try to learn just a tiny bit about Islam. Before the entire World blows up.

Several Christian or qausi-Christian or nominally Christian nations possess nuclear bombs. One Jewish nation possesses nuclear bombs. At least one quasi-Islamic (secular but Islamic) nation possesses nuclear bombs, and there's a great deal of suspicion that a fully Islamic theocratic nation wants to Join The Club.

If we are indeed smack dab in the middle of something that quacks like the nth Crusade, and we all, of all Faiths, don't try to back away from the Crusade and put an end to it as quickly as possible -- the nth Crusade could very easily turn out to be The Very Last Crusade.

Usually I don't know Ramadan is coming until about three days or a week after Ramadan already got here.

This is comparable to not noticing that the noon sky has turned plaid or polka-dot rather than blue.

So this year I am going to get the Respectful Head Start on Ramadan before this holy month begins, so I can be ready to wish all my Muslim Neighbors, in Northampton MA USA, on Earth, in Cyberspace, and on Vleeptron:

Ramadan Kareem!
Ramadan Mubarak!

And perhaps if a lot of non-Muslims do just this little bit to show Good Neighbor Respect to the 1,300,000,000 Muslims on Planet Earth, it might be a Small Start to winding down The nth Crusade, and making the Future a Future of Respect and Brotherhood and Sisterhood.

As the B52s sang: "This Planet's A Mess!"

Okay, I'm picking up a mop and broom now. Vleeptron is doing its ignorant and tiny best to Clean Up The Mess.

Please join me. Please Leave A Comment. Tell me I'm a jerk. Tell me it's a Good Idea. Let me know your thoughts.

And in 20 days, when you encounter your Muslim Neighbor, wish her, wish him Ramadan Kareem!


Blogger Mamagiggle said...

Have you seen this movie called "What the bleep do we know?"
...I think you would like it very much.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

our rented DVD of the movie "Wozzek" starring the insane deranged late Klaus Kinski has been sitting here for a month because I ordered it but I've been too terrified to stick it in and watch it. (Rumor has it it is not the Feel-Good Hit of the Season.)

As soon as I conquer my fear and watch as much of it as I can, I will send it back to NetFlix and rent "What the bleep do we know?" on your excellent recommendation.

Did you really mean "bleep"? Or were you just being dainty?

In either case you have my gratitude for the recommendation.

Blogger Mamagiggle said...

Thats really the title.


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