I Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati, address Jimmy,” who complains that I do not speak to him, and takes issue with my statement of fact that religions are like fashions:
He writes: “The three biggest religions in the world all derive similarly from one source. I’m talking about Orthodox Judaism, Christianity and Islam. … This alone disproves the statement that religions change so fast. These three have been around for thousands of years.”
Consider: The Hebrew religion of 1000 B.C. was of a type called by your scholars henotheistic (many Gods, one chief God). The Hebrew religion of 500 B.C. was monotheistic, but involved temple sacrifices to that single deity, and had taken in much of Greek Platonism. Only after those unsubtle rulers the Romans razed the second temple, what is called Judaism appeared, a religion based on books, not altars. The changes are greater than the consistencies. To one who watches over centuries, it looks like constant change, not continuity. And I have not spoken of pre-1000 BC, in which the tribes of Judah and of Israel were not different from other tribes in Canaan, nor were they one, until David (a great man I knew well) united them and rewove a history to link their legends. (Why is Jacob also named “Israel?” Because here, of two legends were made one.) And you are wrong too in one detail: The numbers of adherents to Judaism in any form is today, as it was then, so small as to be negligible. Yet, perhaps you meant to call it a “great ” religion, if not a “big” one, and I would agree, as it’s influence has long outweighed its size.
Christianity is a very young religion, yet it too has changed more than it has stayed the same. The great Augustine (whom I knew, though not well) would not recognize as Christian at all the Protestant sects today. I do not say that religions do not continue to reiterate tropes, nor that they do not claim continuity, just that the claim is manifestly false, just as those who today who pretend to honor the wishes of “the Founding Fathers” have little knowledge and less faithfulness to that disparate group of intelligent, bickering, improvising, beneficent and self-centered wealthy educated men.
Islam borrowed from Christianity and Judaism, too, but it is so recent that I can little take it seriously. Indeed, prior to half a millennia ago, none of these three had made a great mark upon the peoples of the world, as the numbers of people in India, China and Japan greatly exceed those of Europe, and these were Buddhist or Hindu (to use modern words that themselves assign fixedness where there is none.)
Even in Europe, these religions are only recent. In the great days of Rome and of Greece, innumerable religions aggregated inaccurately as “pagan” dominated, and had dominated, for millennia. The early Hebrews were but some among the many whose beliefs came in altered form from the great holy city of Babylon. Holy I say, speaking of its regard, not of its merit. And yet, for most, all they know of Babylon comes from the Ezraic Bible, where the burden of a people’s exile caused them to hate what they had once admired. Surely, all others in that ancient world admired Babylon, and had done so for longer than Christianity has yet lived upon the earth. Far older still was the oracle at Delphi, and the rock where in the bible it is said the High Priest Melchizek sacrificed to God Most High: that rock (now in the Dome of the Rock) has been holy even since I was a child, as Alexandros tells me, who lived in Jericho when as a city rather than a village it was young.
But we are still speaking of the your European world, which despite its current greatness is only recently so. Those people called Harappan, who lived in Mohenjo Daro and elsewhere, and who lost their cities when the Saraswati river moved, gave their gods to the Aryans from Iran, and thus Shiva and Brahma overcame Indra and Dyaus (though Dyaus survived elsewhere as Zeus and Deus.) Or in China, where religions had no names at all, but the ideas now aggregated as “Taoist” were long established, though with marked differences, many millennia before writing began, and the great teachers who thought it forth are not known by your scholars.
Little of what I write here is controversial at all. Your own scholars say it.