Who are the Christians of Lebanon?
Hanibaal/Lebanon Iznogood/Thursday, December 29, 2022
To be a “Christian” in Lebanon is a political identity, not a religious one. Just as an Irish Catholic is not necessarily a practicing Catholic but is “Catholic” only in opposition to “Protestant”, a Lebanese Christian is not necessarily a practicing Christian, but is Christian only in opposition to the Lebanese Muslims who have been threatening the existence of the Christians ever since the Muslim Arabs invaded Lebanon in the 7th century, drove the Phoenicians-turned-Christians from the seacoast into the mountains where they hid and maintained their faith and traditions.
When the Jewish sect known as “Christians” seized power in Rome around 300 AD and imposed their religion on the Roman Empire, the Romans who occupied Lebanon for nearly 500 years forced us Phoenicians to convert to Christianity and embarked on eradicating every aspect of Phoenician culture which they deemed inferior, barbaric and pagan. Our temples became churches, our gods were baptized: Baal became Yahweh, Adonis became Jesus, Ishtar became Mary, and all the way down to all the little gods that became disciples and saints. So we gradually ceased to be Phoenicians as we mutated into Christians. Once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Church became a tyrannical dictatorship, a clone of what we know today in the Muslim religion as Daesh, ISIS, or the Islamic State: radical, barbaric, extremist, murderous, violent, etc. . Whereas Christians were persecuted prior to Emperor Constantine (who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire), it was now the turn of the Christians to persecute non-Christians. Look up what those early Christian bishops did to the mathematician and astronomer Hypatia of Alexandria, and you’ll get a flavor of Christian love.
The Romans, who practiced human sacrifice in their religion, became condescending and racist toward the Phoenicians who were part of the Empire here in Lebanon. The Phoenicians, like most human cultures of their time, practiced human and animal sacrifice. In their efforts to forcibly convert people to Christianity, early church leaders began attacking Phoenician culture on the ground that human and animal sacrifices made to their gods were abhorrent pagan practices. But what is the crucifixion of Jesus other than the apex of human sacrifice, with the same objective as all sacrifices in all human cultures, namely to “save his people and bring them redemption”? Ancient cultures sacrificed animals and humans to appease the gods. They often chose a goat (or a virgin woman), metaphorically dumped on it all their sins, and either killed it or sent it to wander in the desert to die, for the purpose of cleansing themselves of their sins. Hence the term “scapegoat”. Isn’t this why Jesus supposedly was killed? In the Christian narrative, didn’t God dump humanity’s sins on his son and sacrificed him to cleanse humanity of its sins? Isn’t Jesus the ultimate scapegoat? Doesn’t this belief trace itself back to the biblical account of Abraham and his aborted sacrifice of Isaac? Hasn’t this practice been humanity’s universal way to shirk personal responsibility for one’s actions, supposedly by unloading it on someone else who is then sacrificed and take my sins with him? If the Christian religion is a revolution, as is claimed by its adherents, it may have been a revolution against the Roman occupation, but in terms of the code of morality, it was nothing more than a continuation of the same barbaric beliefs held by preceding cultures and religions.
From the early European perspective of the Romans, the opprobrium and chastising aimed at the Phoenicians because they practiced human sacrifice is nothing short of an early form of European anti-semitism. As they became the recipients of the new Christian religion that migrated from the Near East to Rome, the Romans became more royalists than the king himself, and tried to assign their own barbarity to those who had given them Christianity.
I ask our contemporaries not to place “Lebanese Christian” on a par with “American Christian”. The label of “Christian” to a Lebanese is a passive qualifier; it does not mean that the person is a fundamentalist or devout or practicing Christian. In their daily lives, Lebanese Christians are by all definitions pagans; they sometimes attend church on Sunday and worship statues and shrines, but they implement none of the claimed Christian beliefs in their daily lives. I am a Lebanese Christian by birth, but I have deliberately discarded that kind of religion from my life. Since the country of Lebanon is based on religious identities, I have no other way to distinguish myself from other Lebanese except by my otherwise unwanted label of Christian. The day when Lebanon becomes a civilized place where religions are dumped aside, I will become a Lebanese, and only a Lebanese, without qualifiers.
There are no proselytizing Lebanese Christians running around the world trying to convert people. In fact, we live with Muslims on a daily basis, and while Muslims and Christians periodically go at each other’s throats, no one tries to convert anyone because the hostility is not grounded in dogmatic religious differences. Over the centuries, other Christians in the Near East kept their ethnic identity – we speak of Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Armenians, etc… who maintained their pre-Christian identities after converting to Christians. Similarly with most European ethnicities: The Irish remained Irish, the French remained French, etc… as they became Christians. For some reason, the ancient Lebanese lost the “Phoenician” ethnic identifier (Phoenician refers to seacoast resident, seafaring traders of the Tyrian red-purple dye extracted from the Murex shell). It eventually mutated into “Lebanese” (inhabitants of Mount Lebanon) when our Phoenician ancestors fled the seacoast from Christian Roman (Byzantine) and Muslim Arab occupations to find shelter in the highlands of Mount Lebanon.
Though the vast majority of Americans are Christians by birth, the term “American Christian” has nowadays become confined to a specific group of people known today as “evangelicals”: Active proselytizing ultra-conservative missionaries, fighting what they call “liberal” rights (women’s, abortion, civil rights, gay rights, etc.) and generally hailing from the southern US states where the ignorance inherited from the early English peasant settlers remains untouched. The ultimate objective of the evangelicals is to make the US a “Christian nation” when the constitution outlaws religion in the public sphere. Which is why the evangelicals have teamed up with the ultra-orthodox Zionists to make Israel a “Jewish nation”, a trait they both share with radical Muslim fundamentalists who want to turn many countries into “Islamic Nations” like the Iranian theocracy.
In their ignorance, those American Christians have no idea that they are the last in the long series of Christian sects that kept mushrooming ever since the rebel rabbi Jesus of Palestine mounted a failed revolt against the Roman occupation. They think they are the ones who discovered Christ and are trying to convert the world (not only non-Christians but also other Christians) to their brand of the religion, when the opposite is true. In America, you have Methodists, Adventists, Evangelicals, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Jehovah’s witnesses, Quakers, Lutherans, Calvinists, Mormons, Amish, etc., all of whom are protestant American sects constantly trying to convert each other and other people. It’s like a primordial soup of barbarian idiots who keep spawning new sects, such that a few of them one day gave up trying and declared themselves “unitarians”, i.e. they believe in everything and nothing at the same time: An à-la-carte supermarket of religions where you pick and choose whatever beliefs you like. So American! Mormons in fact added a new book to the Bible, an adorable but imbecilic arrogance! Evangelicals are active missionaries and just like Muslim preachers invading the west, they are on a campaign to convert everyone everywhere to their brand, and in doing so they are altering the politics of many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and dumbing down people with more regressive American-type beliefs. That is why in every hotel or hospital room around the world, you’ll find an American bible sitting in the top drawer by the bed “donated” (how christian is that?) by the Gideons, another emanation of American missionary protestantism who can pay their way into your own bedroom. Obviously, they are in bed with corporate America and try to subject the world to the “American way of life”, which is a phrase for the way of life of a fat, bearded, white redneck, meat-eating, moon-shining inbred Appalachian who drives a pickup truck, gets drunk on Friday evening, and occasionally mows a lawn.
As the world is sinking into violence, and Lebanon is on the verge of a civil war, I ask westerners not to believe the ignorant or insidious propaganda that portrays Lebanese Christians as some right wing fundamentalist Christians trying to forcibly convert others. In fact, Lebanese Christians are by far the most liberal community in the country, when compared with the Lebanese Muslims who have for the most part turned into radical Sunni (Saudi followers) or radical Shiite (Iranian followers) militants. In contrast, Lebanese Christians look to Europe and the western world for their political and social references, even though they still remain backward and conservative in many aspects of their lives. For example, Muslims try once in a while to ban alcohol sales in their regions, or mount attacks against liquor stores owned exclusively by Christians. But tourists flock to the Christian regions of Lebanon because there are more freedoms there than in the more austere and depressing Muslim regions, which is why the Muslims find it hard to separate themselves from the Christians; they want them because they bring money and reputation, but they also want them as hostages they can parade to the world and pretend to be “tolerant”.
During the 1975-1990 War, Lebanese Christians were tagged as extremists by the generally ignorant and hostile western media that favored the extremists of the other side, namely the left-wing-Muslim-Syrian-Palestinian coalition that fought the Christians with massacres, shellings, kidnappings, and terrorist bombings. In the end, the Christians survived but lost the war and were badly bruised.
Today, Lebanese Christians remain the last bastion of free liberal Christianity in the east. The Muslims – led by the Shiite terror organization affiliated with the theocracy in Iran – have taken power since 1990 and have led the country into the abyss in which it finds itself today: an economy in shambles, collapsed state institutions, political stalemates, etc. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, when the Christian president had the powers that every president has in any presidential-parliamentary system, the country was prosperous, liberal, cosmopolitan, open to all cultures. Then the Muslims convinced a credulous and blackmailed West that the Christians were dictatorial Fascists like Somoza, Pinochet, Stalin, Franco, Hitler and others, bent on tyrannizing their fellow Muslims when only the President was Christian, sharing power with a Sunni Prime Minister and a Shiite Speaker of Parliament. When the Muslims took power in 1990 and the Christians became a “tolerated” (Dhimmi) community, the country fell into corruption, Islamic radicalism, ultra-conservatism, and is right now into a total economic and social meltdown. Under the Christian-led administrations of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the country had all the features of a successful liberal democracy that attracted investments, and had a functioning infrastructure and a booming economy based on tourism and agriculture. Indeed, Lebanon was a donor country: In 1954, it gifted Holland 1 million dollars after a major flooding event (according to the former ambassador of Holland in Beirut) and loaned India a few million dollars.
When the Muslims took over in 1990, they invited God to take charge because Islam is based on surrendering everything to the Big Zombie in the Sky, including one’s free will and personal responsibility. Since God is a somewhat capricious manager of public affairs, everything began collapsing. Today, the Muslims continue to reject Lebanon as their ultimate national identity, just as they refused to join Lebanon when it became independent in 1920. They are divided between the Shiites who want Lebanon to be an Iranian satellite, and the Sunnis who want it to be a Saudi satellite. The Christians don’t want Lebanon to be anyone’s satellite; they have no identity reference other than their own. They want the country to run like any genuine democracy: within the constitutional bounds, free of corruption, and subject to international norms and laws. They want Lebanon to be sovereign over its entire territory and borders, after the Muslims surrendered it to the Syrian regime.
For example, Lebanon has now been without a president for the past two months. Parliament elects the president, and the President is by custom and constitution a Christian. But through their victory in 1990, the Muslims politically castrated the president into a figurehead without any real authority. Led by the Shiite Speaker who is a Syrian puppet, Parliament is convened every week. The Christians show up and vote for candidates, while the Muslims attend the first round of voting (requiring a 2/3d majority) and drop blank votes instead of a name. Since no candidate crosses the 2/3d threshold, an immediate second round (with a 51% majority) should be held according to the constitution. But the Speaker, backed by the Muslims who withdraw from the assembly just before the second round and kill the quorum, adjourns until next week when the same masquerade is repeated. Why? Because the Muslims, who relied for three decades on the Syrian occupation to bring their own puppet presidents to office, have lost the legislative elections last May and do not have the majority to elect their own candidate. Fearing an anti-Syrian, anti-Iranian, independent president, the Muslims are obstructing the election of a president, and are calling instead for “dialogue”, i.e. a backroom deal over a puppet president. They reject the democratic process and want what they call a “consensus” president, i.e. a weak, ineffective president who will cower to Hezbollah, Syria and Iran like Michel Aoun did during his 6-year term.
Thanks to American-Saudi help, the Lebanese Muslims defeated the Christians in 1990 and transferred the prerogatives of the Christian president to the Sunni Prime Minister and the Shiite Speaker of Parliament. But these victories are never enough: With Muslims, it never ends, you give them an inch, and they want the whole nine yards.
Also, please do not compare the plight of Lebanon’s Christians under Islam to the plight of Israel’s Jews under Islam: The Christians of Lebanon have always been in Lebanon since the birth of Christianity, they never left, and they never needed to “return”. Unlike the European Israelis who are recent converts (17th-18th century) to Judaism, and who pretend to an unfounded genetic link with the ancient Hebrews upon which they claim ownership of Palestine. Contrary to the lies propagated around, when the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD, they did not chase the Hebrews out of Palestine. As hard as Israeli scientists have tried, they have never found any historical, genetic, or archaeological evidence suggesting an en masse displacement of the Jews of Roman Palestine after 70 AD (or for that matter any evidence of the exodus from Egypt as related by the garbage in the Bible). The Hebrews stayed in Palestine, and just like their neighbors the Phoenicians, they were forcibly converted to Roman Christians first, and then a couple of centuries later they were again converted to Islam when the Arabs arrived. Which means that the so-called Jewish Israelis of today are in fact European Christians who converted to Judaism and who are today murdering the original Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who had become Muslim Palestinians.
Posted by Hanibaal at 10:30 AM/
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