What's a Heathen?
ccording to the American Heritage Dictionary, a heathen is "one...that does not acknowledge the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam." What this definition doesn't include is the repercussions of such a label. For centuries the heathen has been the other religion. To Christians, the nation of Islam was heathen. The Jews called everyone Gentiles, and the Mohammedans called everyone infidels. As Joseph Campbell put it, " Mythology is someone else's religion." Destruction, war, rape all in the name of factions of the selfsame god. And yes, the god of Islam is the same as the god of Christianity which is the same as the god of the Jews.
All three religions accept the god developed out the Israeli desert. The first "god" of the Israelites was Azazel which literally means "Strength of God". Some time just prior to the Biblical (Talmudic) writings, the god portion, El, began to take the lead with Azazel becoming merely an acknowledged presence. All three religions accept most of the first five books of the "Sacred Scriptures" with little variation other than what color Abraham's shirt was. It's after this point that they start diverging.
Having established that in the core essence, these three are one, the definition can be supported that any party which maintains a religion, spirituality or philosophy not in conjunction with nor derived from this core must therefore be a "heathen."
For centuries this has been a derogatory term. Capital punishment has been carried out merely on the basis of such a label. Manifest Destiny used just this divisional line to conquest the "New World." Centuries of blood shed and pain based on the prejudicial bias that if one was a heathen, one had no morality. An exploration into how this bias has affected the course of human development on the individual level and on a more global scale will be the subject of future essays.
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