The Super-Tribe and the City of Gods: Post-Human Christianity and Primitive Islam — the Real Clash of Civilizations?

Is the real clash of civilizations not really about civilization at all, but the past and future?
Is the real clash of civilizations not really about civilization at all, but the past and future?

Since the World Wars, our species has been repeatedly confronted with the horrible visage of our increasingly godlike power. It grins at all of us from behind the emaciated ribs of starved Jews, Cambodians, and Darfurians, with the glare of Hiroshima shimmering across its jagged teeth. Now, what began as a severe crisis of faith in the Europe of the 1920s and 40s has quickly rippled out to encompass every culture and civilization, whether they realize it or not. Confucian and Buddhist peoples have laicized with shocking zeal, not to mention Jews, while Christianity and Hinduism have become hypercapitalist and contradict themselves. Mindbogglingly, all this has happened in the name of progress, virtue, and, most ironically of all, “family values” and cultural self-defense.

Let down as it has been by modernization and globalization, and severely betrayed by its own leadership, few in or out of the Muslim community would dispute that Islam has been particularly hit hard by the ever-expanding spiritual abyss. After all, is not most of the Third World Muslim? And in the few countries where Muslims have been able to prosper somewhat, it has either been in a position of dependency vis-à-vis the West (and now China), such as the bloated rentier states of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia; via dehumanizing authoritarianism, as in Egypt, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia; or in the form of a stuttering ascendancy fraught with ethnic strife, as in the fractious republics of Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Indonesia. If it is true that Islam has “bloody borders,” this condition is at least as much a result of the seepage of vitality from Islamic principles, like blood from a slit vein, as it is due to Muslims’ persistent failure to co-exist with kafirs.

I’m no fan of Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahab but he did have a crucial insight, namely, that the most important concept of Islam is tawhid توحيد (unity). Could it not be that in a sense Islam may point toward our species’ animal past while Christianity may point toward our post-human future? Existence for our primitive tribal ancestors was experienced as a unitary whole in which sacred and secular were one, the same, and visceral. But for sedentarized homo sapiens, existence is an experience filtered through instrumental consciousness, cookie-cut into categories and concepts. Hence the reason why Islam, the marauding super-tribe, and Christianity, the staid city of man-deities, have been historic rivals.

Could it be that as our species barrels toward a future so inundated with technology that not only the body but the very soul could become genetically alterable, the image of the resurrected Christ—more human than human—begins to seems very prophetic, and Islam, for all its brutality, may actually be calling us to remember where we came from and that we should be careful about lunging so quickly toward the Kingdom of Heaven?


4 Replies to “The Super-Tribe and the City of Gods: Post-Human Christianity and Primitive Islam — the Real Clash of Civilizations?”

  1. I would direct your attention, re: the laicization (?) of Buddhism, to the situation in Sri Lanka, where Buddhist monks have blessed and condoned the military’s efforts to wage war against the Tamil Tigers – in clear violation of any buddhist tenet. Yes, i know the TT is a terrorist organization.

    But i think the truth to be gleaned here is that yes, unity is something to aspire to, but perhaps the common enemy here is fanaticism, and that no religion or nation (or any other structure in which human beings come together to find comfort in this world) – is completely immune to it.

  2. Judaism and Islam are kind of similar with the concept of Tawhid, it was Christianity that brought back the chaos of individual magic back into the mix in between the two. I’d say it was another attempt for Ba’al to come back into fashion.

    Tawhid is a wonderful concept, but I cannot escape another meaning I see in it, which is conformity, and for everyone to become the same. Islam means submission to the will of God, but when man writes these books, and most of the followers don’t even understand the language it is written in, I cannot help but think that it’s not a problem with the books, but it’s the laziness of having that safety net of unity that prevents people from making their own connections.

    It is said that Satan (Baalzebub) offered Adam and Eve knowledge beyond that which this God would allow them to have. The knowledge that they are God too. We are stuck because we know we are God but we are so afraid of knowing it because then it means that if we mess it up then there is nothing to look forward to in the afterlife. I wonder how long it will be until we are making Chimeras again, or has the Nephilim recipe been too long forgotten?

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