Israel/Persia and the tragedy of monotheism
The conflict between Israel and Iran has forgotten the way in which monotheism came into existence in a dynamic hybrid of Israelite and Zoroastrian strains, blended during the Exile (some make the Persian contribution critical), and yet, sadly, becoming a closed ethnic cult of post-Exilic nationalism.
One of the reasons for Islam, surely, was the attempt to reset the balance and free monotheism from its Isrealite covenentalism.
Both parties at this point should ask if they will burn out these religions and leave them as toxic remains. The core of monotheism was supposed to be universal, but this simple achievement was, and still is, unachieved.
The Axial Age: Religion, macro and micro
The phenomenon of the Axial Age shows us the solution to the riddle of evolution, but instead has produced a whole series of false interpretations. The only way out of the morass is to consider our frequency hypothesis taking the data as a set of discontinuities in a timed sequence. Then we must carefully study the differentiation of effects in different cultures. It is not a ‘common philosophy’ applied in different ways, but parallel transforms of source areas. To try and find a common denominator as an ‘Axial Age’ philosophy won’t work. We see contrasting opposites and a balance of diversities, increasing the future potential of the system. The ‘evolution’ of religion is powerfully illustrated in the way a ‘macro’ effect takes up the streams of religious culture and amplifies them, in two cases, India and Israel/Persia, into what will become materials for world religions. The Indian case is especially significant because a tradition of great antiquity, the so-called Jain, remorphs on schedule into Buddhism, in the wake of the terminating sequence of teertankers, concluding with Mahavir! The sudden coalescence of Persian and Israelite monotheisms at the conclusion of the Axial interval (by our measure) is a spectacular effect, leaving sociological casusation theory far behind. As the Isreaelites well knew there was a higher dimension to what befell them.
It nonetheless remains the case that Archaic Greece, our putative source of modern secularism (but in a flowering of polytheism as ‘art religion’), is the clearest exemplar of the Axial effect. Its massive cluster of innovations coming in and going out with a spookily exact schedule is far more ‘miraculous’ that anything portrayed in the primitive Old Testment. The riddle of Christianity and Islam show a beautiful resolution as Axial Age seeds come to full bloom in the ‘middle period’ of our sequential series.