Unity vs. Diversity Holy Wars/Sacred Wars”, “Atheism and Polytheism Loss to Monotheism” and their Relationship to “Epidemic Pestilence – 09/18/2014

“A religious war or holy war (Latinbellum sacrum) is a warprimarily caused or justified by differences in religion. The (possibly fictional) account of the conquest of Canaan by theIsraelites in the Book of Joshua, the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, and the Christian Crusades (11th to 13th centuries) and Wars of Religion (16th and 17th centuries) are the classic examples but a religious aspect has been part of warfare as early as the battles of the Mesopotamian city-states. In the modern era, arguments are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate: examples include the Yugoslav Wars and the civil war in Sudan. In several ongoing conflicts including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, and the wars inAfghanistan and Iraq, religious arguments are overtly present but variously described as fundamentalism or religious extremism depending upon the observer’s sympathies. At the same time, members of many religions have been and are active members of the modern anti-war movement.”

“Warfare did, of course, have religious aspects since theprehistoric period. Warfare and organised religious cult arise simultaneously with the emergence of tribal structures capable of supporting concerted, large-scale enterprises in theMesolithic. Our earliest direct records of the ideologies behind early warfare are from the Bronze Age Near East. In the religions of the Ancient Near East, each city state would have its own tutelary deity, as it were owning, ruling and protecting the city. Warfare between these cities was conceived of as warfare between the cities’ national gods. By the later Bronze Age, inAssyria and Babylonia, certain gods seem to have acquired the quality of a god of war, e.g. Nergal, perhaps in origin a “warlike” aspect of Shamash, the Sun. The ancient “city-state deity” system is still visible in the Iron Age, thus Athena is the goddess of Athens and responsible for the city’s interests in general, and only secondarily a “goddess of wisdom” or a “goddess of warfare”. Significantly, the Trojan War is portrayed by Homer as a conflict between factions of the gods, as it were fought out by proxy with the use of human armies. Thus, while each war would be seen as a conflict between the deities of the warring parties, there are very few example in ancient history of an actual “Holy War”, where the motivation for the conflict is itself religious in nature. The prime example are the “Sacred Wars” waged by the Amphictyonic League to protect the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the chief religious sanctuary of the ancient Greeks (First Sacred War 595 BC-585 BC, Second Sacred War449 BC-448 BC, Third Sacred War 356 BC–346 BC).”

“In Classical Antiquity develops the notion of a pantheon with a divine “division of labour“. Now, Ares was “war personified”, but while Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, there was only a very limited “cult of Ares”. Hellenistic religion popularized the idea of gods being representations or allegories of abstract concepts. Now, the Greco-Roman god of war AresMars via interpretatio graeca could be equated with warlike gods encountered among other peoples. While early empires could be described as henotheistic, i.e. dominated by a single god of the ruling elite (as Marduk in the Babylonian empireAssur in the Assyrian empire, etc.), or more directly by deifing the ruler in an imperial cult, the concept of “Holy War” enters a new phase with the development of monotheism. The history of the Roman Empire shows a gradual transformation from polytheism to imperial cult and eventually to Christianity. By contrast, Islam from its beginnings at the end of Late Antiquity was designed as radically monotheistic, and within a century succeeeded in absorbing much of the known world of classical antiquity into the Umayyad Caliphate.”

“The Muslim conquests were a military expansion on an unprecedented scale, beginning in the lifetime of Muhammadand spanning the centuries, down to the Ottoman wars in Europe, and arguably continuing to the present day in the Saheland in Darfur. Until the 13th century, the Muslim conquests were those of a more or less coherent empire, the Caliphate, but after the Mongol invasions, expansion continued on all fronts (other than Iberia which was lost in the Reconquista) for another half millennium until the final collapse of the Mughal Empire in the east and the Ottoman Empire in the west with the onset of the modern period.
There were also a number of periods of infighting among Muslims; these are known by the term Fitna and mostly concern the early period of Islam, from the 7th to 11th centuries, i.e. before the collapse of the Caliphate and the emergence of the various later Islamic empires.”

“While technically, the millennium of Muslim conquests could be classified as “religious war”, the applicability of the term has been questioned. The reason is that the very notion of a “religious war” as opposed to a “secular war” is the result of the Western concept of the separation of Church and State. No such division has ever existed in the Islamic world, and consequently there cannot be a real division between wars that are “religious” from such that are “non-religious”. Islam does not have any normative tradition of pacifism, and warfare has been integral part of Islamic history both for the defense and the spread of the faith since the time of Muhammad. This was formalised in the juristic definition of war in Islam, which continues to hold normative power in contemporary Islam, inextricably linking political and religious justification of war. This normative concept is known as Jihad, an Arabic word with the meaning “to strive; to struggle” (viz. “in the way of God”), which includes the aspect of struggle “by the sword”, Jihad is sometimes understood as Holy War, and jihads have been called to convert other non-Muslim states to Islam or as defense.

“The first forms of military Jihad occurred after the migration (hijra) of Muhammad and his small group of followers toMedina from Mecca and the conversion of several inhabitants of the city to Islam. The first revelation concerning the struggle against the Meccans was surah 22, verses 39-40:

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).

This happened many times throughout history, beginning withMuhammad‘s battles against the polytheist Arabs including theBattle of Badr (624), and battles in Uhud (625), Khandaq (627),Mecca (630) and Hunayn (630).”

“The medieval Iberian Peninsula was the scene of almost constant warfare between Muslims and Christians. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back treasure and slaves. In raid against Lisbon, in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliphYaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.

“The Almohad Dynasty conquered all Northern Africa as far asLibya, together with Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberian Peninsula). The Almohads, who declared an everlasting Jihad against the Christians, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.

“In the late tenth century, a story spread that before Muhammad destroyed the idols at the Kaaba, that of Manātwas secretly sent to a Hindu temple in India; and the place was renamed as So-Manāt or Somnath. Acting on this, the Shiva idolat the Somnath temple was destroyed in a raid by Mahmud Ghazni in CE 1024; which is considered the first act of Jihad in India. In 1527, Babur ordered a Jihad against Rajputs at thebattle of Khanwa. Publicly addressing his men, he declared the forthcoming battle a Jihad. His soldiers were facing a non-Muslim army for the first time ever. This, he said, was their chance to become either a Ghazi (soldier of Islam) or a Shaheed(Martyr of Islam). The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb waged a Jihad against those identified as heterodox within India’s Islamic community, such as Shi’a Muslims.

“Upon succeeding his father to rule the Ottoman Empire,Suleiman the Magnificent began a series of military conquests in Europe. On 29 August 1526, he defeated Louis II of Hungary(1516–26) at the battle of Mohács. In its wake, Hungarian resistance collapsed and the Ottoman Empire became the preeminent power in Central and Eastern Europe. In July 1683 Sultan Mehmet IV proclaimed a Jihad and the Turkish grand vizier, Kara Mustafa Pashalaid siege to Vienna with an army of 138,000 men.

“On 14 November 1914, in Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares Jihad on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging Muslims all over the world—including those in the Allied countries—to take up arms against Britain, RussiaFranceSerbia and Montenegroin World War I. On the other hand, Sheikh Hussein ibn Ali, theEmir of Mecca, refused to accommodate Ottoman requests that he endorse this jihad, a requirement that was necessary were a jihad to become popular, on the grounds that “the Holy War was doctrinally incompatible with an aggressive war, and absurd with a Christian ally: Germany”

“In epidemiology, an epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi “upon or above” and δῆμος demos “people”) occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience. Epidemiologists often consider the term outbreakto be synonymous to epidemic, but the general public typically perceives outbreaks to be more local and less serious than epidemics.

Epidemics of infectious disease are generally caused by a change in the ecology of the host population (e.g. increased stress or increase in the density of a vector species), a genetic change in the parasite population or the introduction of a new parasite to a host population (by movement of parasites or hosts). Generally, an epidemic occurs when host immunity to a parasite population is suddenly reduced below that found in the endemic equilibrium and the transmission threshold is exceeded.

“An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic. The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline. A few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not.”

“Epidemic typhus (also called “camp fever”, “jail fever”, “hospital fever”, “ship fever”, “famine fever”, “putrid fever”, “petechial fever”, “Epidemic louse-borne typhus,”[ and “louse-borne typhus”) is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters. The causative organism is Rickettsia prowazekii,transmitted by the human body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis). Feeding on a human who carries the bacillus infects the louse. R. prowazekii grows in the louse’s gut and is excreted in its feces. The disease is then transmitted to an uninfected human who scratches the louse bite (which itches) and rubs the feces into the wound. The incubation period is one to two weeks. R. prowazekii can remain viable and virulent in the dried louse feces for many days. Typhus will eventually kill the louse, though the disease will remain viable for many weeks in the dead louse.”

“Epidemic typhus is thus found most frequently during times of war and deprivation. For example, typhus killed hundreds of thousands of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps duringWorld War II. The deteriorating quality of hygiene in camps such as Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen created conditions where diseases such as typhus flourished. Situations in the twenty-first century with potential for a typhus epidemic would include refugee camps during a major famine, natural disaster, war or other epidemics. In the periods between outbreaks, when human to human transmission occurs less often, the flying squirrel serves as a zoonotic reservoir for the Rickettsia prowazekii bacterium.”

“The mortality rate is 10% to 60%, but is vastly lower (close to zero) if intracellular antibiotics such as tetracycline are used before 8 days. Chloramphenicol is also used. Infection can also be prevented by vaccination.”

WHO vaccinates its personnel (we hope so, for their sake), but, besides that, ‘Who” vaccinates “who”, especially in Low Developing Countries (LDCs) ????? :+(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemic_typhus

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