Here are some excerpts from my partially completed notes on our west Africa trip, in preparation for my teaching assignment this fall:  course:  discussion of the quadrennial report produced by NIC and CIA on Global Trends 2030 Alternative Worlds; Joe

***** Carole and Joe took the West Africa Trip to round out our understanding of the world situation. *****  We have about 100 pages of notes that we are trying to digest to make an entertaining summary of our trip and all the wonderful people we met. *******

The African trip fits perfectly into a course on NIC Global Trends 2030 that Joe was asked to teach this fall.   *******

The voyage was a mind altering experience for us; changing some of our beliefs and reinforcing other beliefs.  For example, Joe now believes that Islam is indeed the greatest of belief systems; Mohamed got it right!  [Greatest in the sense of fervor and effectiveness and sustainability.]

We spent six weeks in Africa on the National Geographic/Lindblad expedition ship - Explorer with 120 passengers, average age about 70, ************.

The young black people are handsome and attractive. Many had perfectly formed teeth; who provides the dental care?  The young people were engaging, smart, energetic, entrepreneurial and friendly.  Those people we talked with seemed spiritual in persona, especially the educated Muslims.   It was said by our on-board experts that Blacks are Christian or Muslim by day, but animist by night.  Many tribal cultures like the Celts were pagan, animistic: (little people, spirits in animals, plants, in the forests and pools, and inanimate objects); and that Caribbean Voodoo was a byproduct of animism and Catholicism.   *******

Islam is growing because it is easier to become a Muslim than a Christian for reasons only partially detailed here. But black Islam behavior differs in practice from Arab Islamic culture.  The Koran (Qur’an) describes a cosmic way of life with lots of vague and often contradictory rules; the mullahs are lawyers; so in many cases, it is not too complicated – you can’t eat pork and you must pay 2.5% to take care of the poor.

Other times it gets quite complex and fuzzy.  Remember, Islam is cosmic polity controlled at the local level; there is no papacy.

Islam describes a brotherhood, a culture, a way of life, a civil and ecclesiastical and military polity at the “local” levelThere is no Pope, but instead: lots of theatres and players; so it is easy to take a “Boston Marathon” incident and generalize to blaspheme the Muslims.  The”Hate Islam” propaganda the USA is founded on mis-disinformation.  The USA did not start as a cosmic polity; church and state were separated; many branches of knowledge were compartmentalized within legal and now politically correct boundaries.  The 11,500 people killed annually in alcohol related accidents are not described as Christians or Jews, but rather drunks and/or victims.

Christianity (which is wonderful from my personal perspective as a once would be novice Trappist [OCSO] monk,  with 16 years of high quality catholic schooling, and hundreds of hours of private theology tuition)  is dogmatic and ritual based, created by theologians and guarded by priests who are not lawyers.  For example, the Trinity describes a mind boggling theology, not easily intellectually accessible to pagan, animists or of any practical importance in their daily living.

Christianity as we know it today in the USA is not a way of life; it is neither tribal nor cultural; nor is it a political block; there is no Catholic vote.  “Tis individualistic: “me and my creator.”  Many Christians will disagree with this description; claiming they practice their religion as a group and as a way of life. However, most Christians do not practice within a Christian culture but rather in a social milieu; . t’is not possible!;  the exception being religious orders. The USA is an inexorably growing  as a pervasive secular culture.  This argument does not apply to  Judaism, Mormonism or Opus Dei which are very strong cultural belief systems. 

It would seem that a fair way to assess the cosmic Islamic culture is to compare it with the emerging secular culture in the USA which is a growing cosmic polity shielded more and more by political correctness and weak rule of law.

When one compares violence in an Islamic culture with violence in a secular culture like the USA, the statistics are actuarially entirely favorable for Islam.  Islamic violence is dwarfed by the secular violence in the USA: murders, rapes, abortions, suicides, deaths as a result of criminal and illegal activities. About 3% of Americans have spent time in prisons; the highest percentage in the world.  Secularism is more violent than Islam by a factor of at least 1000 to 1.  Some would argue that abortion is non-violent.

Religions not rooted in a cultural milieu will wither; consequently Islam will continue to grow inexorably faster, but not quite exponentially faster, than other belief systems.  Global Trends 2030 also sees Islamic terrorism fading away; perhaps paving the way for Islamic non-violent global domination.   Certainly, in the absence of competent governance and rule of law, which pervades most of the world, people turn to religion or NGOs.  Another important factor is the surging economy of Turkey which is now ranked about #17, and could emerge in the top 10 economies by 2030 and as a leader in a new Ottoman empire.   Today about 23% [CIA World Fact Book] of the world is Muslim; by 2050 we should expect the Islam to be the majority belief system.

Global Trends 2030 sees Islamic terrorism being replaced by “other” terrorist organizations with WMD technology at their beckoning. Counter-terrorists experts see the terrorist threats contained.

Global Trends 2030 speculates whether the modern liberal order will survive.  One could argue that in the years beyond 2030, the ultimate confrontation will be cosmic Islam versus cosmic secularism. (Parenthetically, it is interesting to note that Islamic countries have low [favorable] GINI coefficients.)


Brophy Sunday 30 June 2013 - 08:47 am | | Brophy Blog

two comments

Dick Hester
Dick Hester, - 30-06-’13 12:38
Thomas J. Scott
Thomas J. Scott, - 01-07-’13 12:01
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