Especially prominent figures and concepts in Ethiopian Christianity

Yes there is Mary, Jesus. and the (Monophysite) Trinity, but beyond that literally every day I hear about the following from a very religious populace:

King Solomon

Queen of Sheba

The Ark of the Covenant: “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant, or Tabot, in Axum. The object is currently kept under guard in a treasury near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. Replicas of the Axum tabot are kept in every Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church, each with its own dedication to a particular saint; the most popular of these include Mary, George and Michael.”

St. George, slaying the dragon, he is prominent in church paintings.

Days of fasting, 55 a year, and thus Ethiopian restaurants are very good for vegetarians and vegans.

Addendum: from the comments, by Yves-Marie Slaughter:

55 is only the number of days of fasting during Lent, prior to Easter.

Total number of fasting days for a ‘normal’ Christian per year, would be closer to 155…

A monk may fast more than 200 days a year.

By the way, pork is prohibited altogether.


It's interesting that pork prohibition is mentioned in a matter-of-fact way. I don't see any liberal outrage anywhere against pork prohibition in many parts of the Middle East or prohibition of dog/cat meat (de facto if not de jure) in many parts of the West - particularly Australia where it is de jure).

It is only when it comes to India, that there is a great deal of liberal outrage against cow vigilantism, and outcries of fascism upon every stray incident of violence involving cow slaughter.

This is despite the fact that the India allows beef consumption (if not cow slaughter) in nearly all parts - much against the wishes of 70-80% of its population.

"and outcries of fascism upon every stray incident of violence involving cow slaughter."
Oh, God.

> O, God.

I think you mean "Holy Cow!"

Most liberals are completely indifferent to this issue.

Really? I see and hear from many outraged liberals everyday (poor me!), but so far I've never seen one outraged specifically about the situation of cow-killers in India...

I now have a doubt. Is that the real Shrinkanthk? He has been impersonated recently. It sounds like a Thiago's message transposed from Brazil to India. The message I answered as if it was serious could be from any playful connoisseur of the main commenters on this blog...

Haha. That was me.

But am serious - if you read the West's coverage of the Modi regime, one of the things that seldom misses mention is - cow vigilantism, and stray incidents of violence - which have always happened throughout Indian history.

The reality is different. You can still enjoy beef steak in most parts of India. Without any fear of reprisal. And this is allowed very much against the wishes of 70-80% of the population, who would like beef to be prohibited, or remain a very rare thing (like for instance dog or cat meat in UK or US).

The angst in India is precisely because the wishes of the people are not deferred to by the powers that be. And the politicians can't do without the Muslim vote

Dog eating is legal in 43 of the 50 USA states.

That's the de jure position.

Nevertheless it is a rare thing to eat a dog. if it were to become common due to a minority influx, I am sure there will be an outrage.

"every stray incident of violence involving cow slaughter"

Wondering what "every stray incident" is a euphemism for? Google the three words India, beef, and lynching,

Let's spell it out: lynching is murder and an affront to rule of law. That's what any remotely civilized person, right or left, should object to.
It should be obvious to the slowest child that this is a separate issue from meat bans.

Sure. But a lot of these murders are communal clashes which have been a problem in India ever since the first Mohammeddan landed on Indian soul in 8th century. Beef is merely a trigger point.

Sure law needs to be enforced and the guilty punished. But these violent incidents are indicative of the deep communal tensions that exist, and less about beef per se.

"ever since the first Mohammeddan landed on Indian soul in 8th century": typos can carry such profound truths.

Yes, he's asking why people are more upset about people committing serious violence against people who kill cows instead of people who don't kill pigs. What kind of batshit question is that?

shrikanthk you are right, banning pork consumption should cause as much outrage as banning consumption of beef. What disturbs me is the way you seem to underplay, if not endorse, lynching of people by Hindu fanatics even on mere suspicion of possessing beef.

I never endorsed any lynching. The incidents you refer to are communal incidents.

Careless - many of those incidents of violence are a result of a majority that is frustrated at the law of the land not reflecting their ideas of right and wrong.

The apostle Matthew supposedly preached in Ethiopia. The gospel of Matthew is considered the most Jewish of the canonical gospels (I know, it contains the most antisemitic line - "His blood is on us, and on our children"), but new testament scholars all agree that Matthew (not actually written by the apostle Matthew) is the most Jewish (it has the same structure as Torah) of the gospels. But, Ethiopia's most important medical center is named for St. Paul, who took the gospel to the Gentiles, rather than Peter or James (who preached a Jewish version of Christianity in which Gentile followers would be Law observant). Paul not only did not insist that Gentiles observe Jewish Law, he preached that Gentiles who did would be denied Grace. So go figure. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Christianity thrived in Ethiopia even after being surrounded by a sea of Islam.

The 55 days a year thing is interesting

Even in US, the Seventh Day Adventists church advocates vegetarianism if I am not mistaken. I think adherents to that church include Ben Carson and Heidi Cruz.

There also used to be the tradition of encouraging vegetarianism on Halloween day if I am not wrong.

Unfortunately these vegetarian impulses in Christian culture have not been encouraged by mainstream Christianity. Because of which vegetarianism in the West sadly remains a "liberal" obsession with no takers from the Right.

A strict Orthodox adherent will spend over 100 days a year abstaining from meat. A lot of monasteries are vegetarian but probably as much for utilitarian reasons--livestock are another layer of complexity--as religious ones.

It's unfortunate that mainstream Catholic and Protestant sects have not encouraged this at all.

In fact religious Episcopalians or Calvinists in US are likelier to defend meat eating than agnostic hippies in NYC of SFO.

That's unfortunate. Christianity has not been at the forefront of improving lifestyle choices - with its stance of indifference towards alcohol, smoking, meat eating, among other things.


Laugh away Thiago.

But it is precisely this attitude of indifference towards life choices that will be Christianity's death knell.

If Christianity needs to compete with Islam in the 21st century (and I must say it has competed very very badly so far), it has to go beyond its obsession with Bible, and monotheism, and shed its one-track mind.

It has to transcend theology and become a force for moral change on the ground. Defend marriage. Defend austerity. Defend family life. Defend temperance. Re-discover its puritan spirit.

Don't merely become a tribal identity. Islam will vanquish Christianity if the latter remains just a political label as opposed to a genuine force in people's daily lives.

Yep, worshipping animals is essential for a life well-lived. That is why India is... India.
I, myself, prefer moral teachings, such as the Golden Rule, not superstition. It is Satan who taught man to worship animals and planets and the Sun. There is only one God, the Lord.

Golden Rule is the most overrated thing in world religion!

Christianity HAS TO transcend the Golden Rule.

Golden Rule is merely Step 1 in religion. It is basically atheistic Hobbesian philosophy that has infiltrated many religions. And that's fine.

But Religion is about answering the eternal questions and defining the "virtuous" life - which goes way beyond the Golden Rule.

Stopping at the Golden rule is to not realize the immense power Religion has in shaping human lives.

Thank you, but I prefer Civilization. I care more about human beings and how they are treated than about cows or idols.

Satan is not the real God. It is written: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven".
"The Bible clearly says, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD."

Prophet Bandarras wrote, "The new King rises, he already roars", predicting the rise of an one-world Christian regime.

"it has to go beyond its obsession with Bible, and monotheism, and shed its one-track mind."
Why accept the Truth and worship the One God? One can worship this decil today, that decil tomorrow, worship cows the day afer tomorrow... I, myself, prefer the Truth, though.

And I say this as a well wisher of Christendom.

I am a Hindu, sure. And Christianity is far from my favorite religion. But I do believe Christianity can be a greater force for good than Islam. And Christianity has to win the battle against Islam in its erstwhile heartland - Europe.

I argue at length with people that Christianity needs to offer more than pure ideation. The more successful creeds are ones that help to smooth out the sharp corners of life for their adherents, like the Amish, Hasidim and Mormons. After all, as I point out, everybody says give alms, attend worship, and be godly. But there is a lot of resistance to operational justifications for religious practice in the West, given the (largely) Protestant emphasis on "salvation thru faith," so adherence to and ability to explicate doctrine gets over-emphasized rather than actually helpful things: raising a barn, introducing marriageable young men to marriageable young women and enrolling them in patronage networks, etc.

Always enjoy your comments sir.

The emphasis on practice has to come back. I like the Mormons. They are among the healthiest communities in US. And I credit their religion for it.

Practice is what makes a religion relevant. Sans Practice, there is nothing to religion. You can cry hoarse about "one God" as Thiago does. But it means nothing.

"You can cry hoarse about "one God" as Thiago does. But it means nothing."

It means EVERYTHING!! It means the Truth, not superstition. The doctrine given to us by the real God, not idols. One just has to remember that the West gave Civilization to the East. Even now, the East have to imitate the West (as Satan imitates the Lord). Even India must pretend to have rule of Law and be a democracy instead of letting people kill one another to see who will be the God-King.

I would rather die than worship Satan.

Catholics emphasize practice and have so across the years. Many cultural Catholics that don’t really practice the faith don’t but they are pretty much Catholics in name only.

"Catholics emphasize practice and have so across the years."
Not of cow-worshipping, Paganism and Satanism! The Church clearly teaches that "Whence it came to pass, that the Heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1, 3), when that blessed fullness of the time was come (Galatians 4:4) sent unto men Jesus Christ, His own Son who had been, both before the Law and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law and that the Gentiles who followed not after justice might attain to justice and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God had proposed as a propitiator, through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25), for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world (I John ii, 2)." It is different from Heathen practice as the day is different from the night.

There is nothing Hindu about vegetarianism. In fact the book "The Myth of The Holy Cow" by Jha even argues that beef eating was common in ancient India even among the ancient Hindu sages. I am sure you are familiar with the Hindu holy book the Rigveda. Not only does it call for sacrificing horses in the sacred fire, it even says the priest should eat the flesh once it is well cooked. The Hindu apologist Swamy Vivekananda, who is the inspiration for the present day Hindu fundamentalists who misunderstand him, was a champion of meat consumption.

Wrong. Hinduism, like most things, has evolved since the time of the Rig Veda.

Vegaterianism is an ideal in many HIndu traditions, and in vast swathes of Hindus society for atleast 2000 years. If not more

False. Liberalism has been the greatest good to humanity and the globe at large. It, not Christianity or Islam, will lead the world to salvation. The Abrahamic Faiths have brought slavery, inquisitions, sharia law, dark ages, crusades, jihads, colonialism, imperialism, etc. Liberalism has brought prosperity, rationality, science, and has been a true light to the world. Nothing wrong with having a personal faith as long as it is personal but running a society that favors one's personal faith has doomed societies time and again (see present day Middle East for an example).

A Liberal rightly says "Nothing wrong with having a personal faith as long as it is personal but running a society that favors one's personal faith has doomed societies time and again". In fact, there is nothing wrong in saying "my God is the only true God". The problem is usually such a creed eventually has, as a corollary, " you too should worship only my God and I will make you do so if you don't fall in line".

I am no longer a practicing Hindu but I should concede that one good thing about Hindus is that except for a few ( but disturbingly more and more vocal and influential ) fanatics, they don't care what you believe. They don't even care if you say you are an atheist. The scholar of Hinduism Wendy Doniger says that when Hindus address a particular deity as the only one deserving of worship, it does not mean excluding others since the same thing is addressed to other deities also by the very same devotees. It is a an expression of strong devotion.

Aldous Huxley says in his "Perennial Philosophy" that faiths which proclaim their divine incarnation is the only one have a history of faith elated intolerance and violence compared to faiths which accept the possibility of many incarnations, like Hinduism does.

You fit the stereotype of a "liberal, non practising" hindu. I am a conservative yet non-practising Hindu.

I am not a strong believer nor a practitioner myself. But I am a conservative. And I do believe societies need the guiding hand of tradition without which they turn degenerate and decadent.

Western Europe is pretty rich today, And it has been godless for about 50 years now. Thats nothing on a historical scale. This civilization that has taken 3000 years to build (starting with Mycaenean civilization till date), will crumble if the continent remains godless for few hundred more years.

Mark my words.

Hallelujah! History has ended! Prepare for the eschaton, ye non-believers!

"Unfortunately these vegetarian impulses in Christian culture have not been encouraged by mainstream Christianity."

I prefer indoor plumbing, thank you.

But isn't it a traditional catholic rule that you're not supposed to eat meat on Fridays? This was certainly the case in France (though probably never fully respected, especially among the wealthy and powerful people), and even when I was a child there (three decades ago), no meat was served in the public schools I went to on Fridays.

One day a week makes for 52 days a year. Add other fasting days in the pre-eastern period (the carême) and you easily get more than 55.

"But isn't it a traditional catholic rule that you're not supposed to eat meat on Fridays?"
As far as I know, fish is OK.

In Portugal, the tradition is that you should not eat meat only in Good Friday.

Traditionally Catholics fasted on Wednesday and Friday. Overtime it became more common to practice this only Friday. What made up the fast was rather heterogeneous across space and time however. Today, Catholics are to abstain from meat on all Fridays but per some countries bishops conferences (like the USCCB) offer that the faithful can substitute that for other pious or charitable acts.

Note that Catholics were also to use to money (or food) they didn’t consume on the Wednesday and Friday fasts to the poor.

I once visited a DC Ethiopian restaurant with a Muslim friend. We checked with the waitress to make sure that nothing we ordered had pork. She was scandalized -- "Of course not, we are Christians!"

The reason you don't see Protestants, especially mainstream Protestants like Lutherans and Presbyterians, espousing religious vegetarianism is because rebelling against Catholic fasting (especially during Lent) was such a high profile thing during the Protestant Reformation.

In Zurich, Switzerland, the early Calvinist reformer Huldrych Zwingli formally broke from the Catholic Church by bringing sausages to church and handing them out to his congregation during Lent. He followed it up by authoring the treatise "On Meats" in which he essentially called meat a gift from God that can be enjoyed by any Christian at any time.

I visited Zurich several years ago, and outside of Zwingli's cathedral there was a stand selling street food, all of which contained meat. I became very excited and took a picture, and the Muslim immigrant manning the meat stand did not understand why I was so excited or the significance of where he was selling meat.

55 is only the number of days of fasting during Lent, prior to Easter.

Total number of fasting days for a 'normal' Christian per year, would be closer to 155...

A monk may fast more than 200 days a year.

Total number of fasting days for a 'normal' Christian per year,

A Christian of the modal type is a Latin-rite Catholic, who is subject to only a scatter of days during the liturgical year wherein fasting is required or even recommended.

I think you are conflating ‘fasting’ and ‘abstinence’ (at least wrt Roman Catholocism). Although, to be fair, there are also days of fast _and_ abstinence.

No, I'm not and I've discussed that elsewhere. I'd have to go check the calendar, but IIRC, you fast before reception (and that can be as little as an hour) and you fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fasting rule before reception used to be more severe, but you're not required to receive every week.

There are only 40 days in Lent.

I think he is confused and counting the total number of days. Traditionally, in the East, people generally fasted for 40 days, Monday through Friday, but not on Saturday or Sunday, thereby making Lent last for eight weeks. In Rome and the West, people traditionally fasted for six weeks, Monday through Saturday, thereby making Lent last for six weeks.

The Orthodox fast for Easter is 42 days (6 weeks) plus 6 days (holy week) plus 7 days (a less strict fast before the 42 days). There is a 40-day fast before Christmas, and other shorter fasts throughout the year.

Days of fasting, 55 a year, and thus Ethiopian restaurants are very good for vegetarians and vegans.

Vegetarian and vegan cuisine is for times of abstinence, not fasting. Byzantine-rite precepts on Lenten observance incorporate over 50 days a year of fasting, abstinence, or fasting and abstinence.

I was under the impression that most Ethiopian Christians were miaphysites...

I have been to Ethiopia several times and love the country. In my experience there is no pork to be found in the country. Not quite true, because I have heard some Germans started a pork farm for export purposes. Interestingly pizza hut just opened in Addis Ababa and it will be interesting to see if the ingredients include pork products.

“Queen of Sheeba” is the best Ethiopian restaurant in Manhattan.

"Yes there is Mary, Jesus. and the ... Trinity": were you gently poking fun at popular Christianity, Mr C?

With Ethiopian Christians taking their faith seriously, what role might the historical Christian recognition of "poverty" as an intrinsic human condition play in Ethiopian policies domestic and foreign?

(Region of Religion?)

What's Being?
.It's Not Thing!
Be Human, Do Humane: This is in the Theology of the Ethiopian Elders. It's more than Orthodoxy: For them, Monophysite is less than Tewahido.

The Church, as it's Official Designation implies, is based on Mia-- not Mono--Physite Dogmas.
The "Tewahido" part is different from (maybe, difficult to make explicit for) others (including Christians of Many Denominations)

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