Everything is now changed, except the way we think, and if this is not soon altered we will continue to drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. Albert Einstein, cited in The Journal of the Franklin Institute, vol.221, No.3. March 1936.
Abrahamic religions are monotheistic faiths that recognise a spiritual tradition identified with Abraham. The religions usually identified as Abrahamic are Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The commonality between these three religions is a way of thinking; and it is a way of thinking which has permeated through the whole of what we know as Western and Islamic society.
To be fair to the Abrahamic religions it is a form of thinking that probably existed before Abraham, but it is these religions that have become the most visible and dominant form of this rationality.
The Abrahamic system of thought is based on the concept of right and wrong. The irony of this is that the Jewish and Christian systems at least, are built on “the woman” in the Garden of Eden eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The purpose and result of Abrahamic thinking is the removal of personal responsibility. The consequence of this is that Jews and Palestinians do atrocious things to each other but neither side accepts responsibility for their actions, because they believe they are divinely right and only acting in response to the actions of the other side.
It is this removal of personal responsibility that is the most dangerous aspect of Abrahamic thinking. George Bush and his administration bear no personal responsibility for Guantanamo Bay or special rendition. They are covered by the blanket of being “right” in their war on terror.
And, of course, Osama bin Laden will have every reason why he was “right” to attack the Twin Towers. Osama and George can do anything they like and remain free of sin because they act in God’s name and therefore it must have been God’s will.
Our legal system is Abrahamic. Personal responsibility is reduced to what is legal. In our personal lives we can negate our personal responsibility by being “right”. Using the Abrahamic system of thinking we can do anything we want to anyone at any time and remain free of sin if we are right and they are wrong.
“Debate” on issues is similarly based on claims of right or wrong; basically the idea of debate as a way of finding solutions is alien to our society. It is all about name calling and insults. We gather in groups and claim our God is the only true God, or that our way is the only way: that is the Abrahamic way of thinking.
There is no reason why we have to think the Abrahamic way. It is just the form of thinking that we have ended up with.
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