Friday, August 18, 2006

The End is Nigh! (or at least, Nigher)

I spent last night watching the DVD Islam: Empire of Faith in the Empires series. I had a ready watch the Kingdom of David DVD about the rise of the kingdom of Israel and its later history and found that the excellent, so when I found this DVD in the local library, I borrowed it is well. I watched all three hours of it while folding clothes last night (yes, I had a lot of washing).

I can highly recommend this to anybody who wants to get a handle on the life of Muhammad in the history of Islam. It basically takes us over the next thousand years until the conquest of Byzantium in the 15th century, ending with a fairly short “It’s all downhill from there” type of conclusion. Most of these scholars interviewed in the DVD appeared to be Western and yet I got the impression that they were Western converts to Islam. I would describe its general bias as pro-Islamic, especially so in the account of the Crusades (as perhaps is to be expected), but still extremely informative.

Nevertheless what one is left with at the end of it is a sense of the total interconnectedness of all things. The interesting thing about this series of DVD’s, is that it demonstrates how each of the major civilisations of the world have affected one another, and really couldn’t exist without the other, and cannot be interpreted apart from the other. Yet one becomes equally aware of the fact that great directions in human civilisation have been influenced by random individuals and events without which world history would have been quite different.

And I for one cannot watch this series without getting a sense also that the world now is more interconnected than ever, and that (if I can use the Biblical analogy) the time is fast approaching when we are about the harvest what we have sown in the previous 3000 years.

I know that sounds all rather apocalyptic, and yes it is. That doesn’t mean that the end is upon us of course. 500 years ago Brother Martin Luther predicted the end was nigh as he railed against the devil, the pope and “the Turk”, and all Europe was united (despite its religious differences) by the shocking news that “the Turk” had reached the gates of Vienna. But, again to paraphrase our Lord, “the end was not yet”. I imagine it is “not yet” now either. But we can be forgiven for being a little bit eschatological in our reflections.

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