First Nations, ancient Israelites, and fundamentalists

First Nations, ancient Israelites, and fundamentalists? As they used to sing on Sesame Street,

One of these things is not like the others; / Two of these things are kind of the same.

Jewish Atheist has kindly consented to host a guest post written by me. It begins from a premise that I’ve been mulling over for a while now:  First Nation communities share a lot of traits with the ancient Israelites:

  • communitarian (not individualist) orientation;
  • tribal organization;
  • ruled by elders;
  • focus on ownership of land as crucial to survival and community identity;
  • traditional wisdom and mores expressed in narrative (not propositional) form.
  • traditions passed down orally. (Indian communities still rely on the oral transmission of their most important traditions, even today.)
  • the way of life involved preserving the practices of the past.

With respect to the last bullet, I explained that First Nations’ origin stories inculcate not only a mindset but also a way of life. The stories look backward, and the way of life involves preserving the practices of the past.

In Israel, the prophets introduced a future-oriented perspective. But even then, the prophets continued to point Israel back to its origins in the Exodus.

On Jewish Atheist’s blog, I argue that First Nations have a starkly different mindset than that of fundamentalists. And what about the ancient Israelites? They probably shared the First Nations mindset, not that of fundamentalism.

As I said, Two of these things are kind of the same …. Check out the whole post on JA’s blog, if you’re interested.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jamie
    Aug 12, 2007 @ 12:57:45

    I was wondering why you’d disappeared for over a week, but now I see that post must have taken quite a while to write. No wonder you were MIA!


  2. Stephen
    Aug 12, 2007 @ 13:42:51

    I was camping with my kids for three nights. But I have a blackberry … so even on vacation, I was busy drafting and editing that post. JA and I had talked about it before I left for the campground.


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