The Islamic world is not in good shape today. Muslims lose wars, have bad governments, produce little in science or engineering or other fields, and generally do not produce successful societies. And even worse, Muslims in the West are often corrupted by modern culture. What can be done?
My answer is simple. Copy what works. Islam today lacks a strong sense of community. Where is a strong sense of community found? I have found it in Mennonite churches.
I believe that the key to Mennonite success is in their organization. There is nothing wrong with Islam as a religion, the problem is in organization. So one can take Mennonite principles of organization and apply them to Muslim communities.
The purpose of this post is to encourage Muslims to at least investigate this. Visit a conservative Mennonite church and judge for yourself. You can find a church here:
For more on Mennonites, read:
Please remember that the purpose of this visit is to learn about Mennonite organization, not religion. Learn how they maintain a strong community and avoid corruption from modern culture.
Here in El Paso where I live, I plan to start regularly visiting the nearest Mennonite church which is here:
My plan is to go to the mosque for Fajr on Sunday and then drive to the church.
How can one be highly organized in complete and almost total isolation? the highest litmus test of an entities organizational ability is at the level of an empire or a multi-continental state, how many empires or states have the Mennonites constructed?
Organization is tested on a mammoth scale when people of different races, denominations, religions etcetera come together and then succeed in building up civilizations. Mennonites, by living in obscure locations and shunning the outside world(even if it is modern culture) take away the basic tenement of organizational acumen...and that is the ability to stay on course despite massive gigantic challenges. Do please watch this video:
I have watched that video which attempts (and fails) to be anti-Mennonite. I have also visited many Mennonite churches myself before I looked into Islam, so I know how they really are.
My view is that the highest litmus test for a society is durability, not size. The Mennonites pass this test.
I view the modern world as basically pure evil, so I am thrilled to see even tiny communities that are good. I don't think about empires. The Mennonites have to be rural because of a basic flaw in Christianity which is an obligation to love everyone. This is impossible because modern people are completely unlovable, so Mennonites can only maintain the delusion of universal love by avoiding real modern people. Orthodox Judaism doesn't have this problem since they view non-jews as animals, so they can maintain a distinct culture around modern people. A Muslim community could take a middle position and just view modern people as misguided, not to be loved or hated, but just to serve as examples of what not to do.
I wrote a much longer post than the one I posted above, but didn't post it because I just wanted to invite people to see for themselves. But I think the reasoning is relevant to your objections, so I will post it below.
The Islamic world is not in good shape today. Muslims lose wars, have bad governments, produce little in science or engineering or other fields, and generally do not produce successful societies. Why?
I will use Christian history to answer. Islam today is similar in many ways to medieval Christianity. In medieval Christianity, faith was strong but society was weak. It was the Reformation that made Christianity strong, so let's consider how this happened.
When people today speak of "reformation", they think it means reducing religion and increasing liberalism. This is absolute nonsense that reflects historical ignorance. The Christian Reformation strengthened religion, making people more religious. There were a number of aspects to the Reformation.
The Reformation was a reaction against the Catholic Church. One aspect of this was to reject the innovation in religion made by the Catholic Church and to emphasize the study of scripture. In this respect the Reformation was similar to the Wahhabi movement in Islam. If this aspect was the key to Christian success, then the Wahhabis would have achieved similar success. Since they didn't, I don't believe that this aspect is key.
Another aspect of the Reformation was a change in the organization of religion. The Catholic Church was centralized and corrupt. It had large cathedrals. So the Reformation went in the opposite direction. It was decentralized with small churches. This caused the small churches to become meaningful communities. It is my opinion that this was the key aspect to Christian success. This opinion is partly based on the book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism which describes how these churches worked. This opinion is also based on my personal experience with Mennonite churches.
Religions are started by prophets. A prophet clearly makes a good leader and his community grows. Governance is not a problem since it can be entrusted to the prophet. In the case of Islam, the people who took over after the prophet died were generally good people who led well. This kept the community strong which allowed it to grow. But growth eventually destroys the community because human communities simply don't scale up well to a large population. Corruption increases, trust decreases, and the sense of community is lost. This happened in Christianity and in Islam. The only solution is to form small communities within the religion where trust and sense of community can be re-established. The Reformation did this in Christianity.
But within the Reformation, there were various approaches to this decentralization, so we can compare them and see how well they did. The two main movements in the Reformation were the Protestants and Anabaptists. The Protestants were more individualistic, speaking of a "priesthood of all believers". And they rejected hierarchy, so each church was largely self-governing. The Anabaptists were less individualistic and they implemented a bottom-up hierarchy where churches voluntarily joined together to form conferences which then governed the churches in the conference. The Protestants were more successful initially and they produced much of Christian success. But they were also more easily corrupted in their religion, so they have mostly become part of the disaster of modern Western culture. In contrast, the Anabaptists managed to maintain their religion and not be corrupted by modern culture. I consider their churches to be among the strongest communities in the world today.
Applying this to Islam would mean a reformation in organization, not in religion. No change is needed in the religion of Islam. Even the mosques can remain large and serve as centers of religion since they are not centers of corruption as Catholic churches were. But within the Muslim community, Muslims can organize themselves into small groups comparable to Anabaptist churches.
In reply to this post by fschmidt
Why do they bring shoes into a place of worship, I mean how can one walk on shit in the same shoes and then pray to God in a similar dirty disrespectful manner...coming back to the point on Mennonite organizational acumen, the world has more than 7 billion people now, unless you are looking forward to an Armageddon, we have to involve all in order to move forward and therefore to me Islam seems to be the best choice because it has (despite some of its adherents turning out to be a big disappointment) managed to get people of all regions/races/ethnicities/languages together on a singular platform, this allows it is to define the evil in modern society and yet continue to successfully keep a large majority of its adherents out of that evil loop while continuing to be productive members of that particular society.
Mennonites by virtue of being a radical homogenous Christian community have been left with no choice but to either assimilate into the broader modern evil phenomenon created by their own other Christian counterparts or seclude themselves into a life of rural oblivion...and that cannot be a good thing for this word called “ORGANIZATION”.
Wearing shoes indoors is just the European custom. They avoid the floor, so it isn't unclean.
Humanity has always moved forward by a moral minority. The majority of humanity has been immoral throughout history. I see no reason to expect this to change. So the goal should be another productive moral minority. Right now this doesn't exist.
Why do you call the Mennonites "a radical homogenous Christian community". Since each Mennonite church makes its own rules, the Mennonites span the spectrum from very liberal to very conservative. They also welcome any converts, so in theory they can have people from anywhere. In practice not many people convert, so this leaves them ethnically homogenous.
I explained why conservative Mennonites have to seclude themselves here. This is because of a flaw in their religion, not in their organization.
“Humanity has always moved forward by a moral minority.”
I agree with you but this time around, it is the moral Minority of Prophet Muhammed PBUH that got it right and why? Because the moral minority of prophet Jesus PBUH has erred gravely by proclaiming him as God(Nawuzubillah), do remember that any minority or a majority that worships God in the form of a human( be it Jesus or Rama or Buddha or some other so called divine bloodline) is not a moral authority anymore because God simply cannot be defined by any physical(earthly/temporal) contours.
I call them radical because they are going back into the past and trying to rejuvenate a dying faith that has given us the evil modern system we see today...remember that the pathway will still lead to the same destination because the start (direction) they took was wrong in the first place.
> On Nov 25, 2018, at 3:42 PM, fschmidt [via Mikraite] <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Humanity has always moved forward by a moral minority.
I don't think that being in religious error makes one immoral. The main religion in Japan is Shinto which is based on spirit worship. And Japan is the most moral country that I have seen so far. Reformation Christianity produced quite a good culture from around 1500 to 1900. The Mennonites are just trying to hold on to that culture. I think that it is true that the religious errors inherent in Christianity make it more difficult for them to maintain morality, but I don't fault them for trying.
Anyway, this thread isn't to promote Christianity. This thread is to promote the Mennonite organization which is independent of religion and can be applied to any religion. The only way to fairly judge this is to visit a Mennonite church. Anyone who is interested in doing this can let me know and I will arrange it.
“I don't think that being in religious error makes one immoral.”
Morality and ethics came out of religion...and religion is a “pathway” towards the higher goal, what pathway you choose will determine your ultimate destination especially on a civilizational level. The Japanese have an exceptional discipline and a highly dedicated attitude towards social progress, Shintoism came out of Buddhism and is a variant of it, to say that they are the most moral people is an aberration especially if you talk to people in China or Korea or the island communities in South-East Asia who refuse to emulate or copy any of the Japanese culture/social achievements. Japan has some of the highest suicide rates, some of the lowest birth rates as well as a tendency to keep glorifying their nation as an epitome of superiority even after suffering from a demographic decline that is unprecedented in history.
One can learn from anywhere but the most important thing is to unlearn the wrong things that we have learnt.
Sent from my iPhone
> On Nov 25, 2018, at 9:33 PM, fschmidt [via Mikraite] <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I don't think that being in religious error makes one immoral.
You are right, I need to correct my statement: "I don't think that being in religious error necessarily makes one immoral." In other words, some errors are evil and do make one immoral. But some errors are untrue but not evil, and those don't make one immoral.
Every culture has its flaws, but by the standards of the modern world which is quite evil and degenerate, the Japanese are way above average. I would put the Mennonites higher. But neither culture is ideal for me.
I don't think that unlearning the wrong things that we have learnt is enough when faced with a new situation. For example, you can't master math just by unlearning wrong things, you actually have to learn new things. Islam is facing a new challenge that needs new approaches. This challenge is the challenge of practicing religion in exile. Islam briefly faced this in Mecca at the beginning, but with such a strong leader as Muhammad, it could be faced easily. But from the time of Medina to the rise of the Christian West, Islam basically existed in Islamic nations. This is no longer true. Even Middle Eastern countries with Muslim populations can't really be called Islamic since they are ruled by corrupt dictators who don't care about religion. So for all practical purposes, Muslims everywhere are living in exile. And there is nothing in Islamic history or even in the Quran to give guidance on how to do this effectively.
Judaism and Christianity have strong experience with living in exile, so Islam should learn from these other religions. I have studied these religions and I think the Mennonites offer the best model. I plan to visit the closest Mennonite church on December 9 to learn more.
“can't really be called Islamic since they are ruled by corrupt dictators who don't care about religion.” I absolutely agree with you, all the so called Muslim countries have a majority Muslim population but in essence their governments and justice system are far far away from what Islam is really about.
One must try to learn from wherever something positive can be learned from and therefore learning from the Mennonites might be something to look at diligently...however I believe that the Sunnah of prophet Muhammad SAW when he lived under a constant threat in Mecca is a very good example to follow for Muslims in exile.
> On Nov 29, 2018, at 4:46 AM, fschmidt [via Mikraite] <[hidden email]> wrote:
> can't really be called Islamic since they are ruled by corrupt dictators who don't care about religion.
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