As usual, RPK has written well and in an interesting way, subtext included wakakaka. Yes, we could nitpick here and there but generally it flows well. However, there is a sentence that I believe won’t be accepted, that is, from an academic point. It’s likely to invite a red inked question mark (with lecturer’s comment: “you did not explain why!”) on the right hand margin of his paper.
I refer to the 3rd last paragraph which went as follows:
Had freedom of choice been allowed and had no one been forced to adopt the religion of his/her political masters, there is no guarantee that, say, Islam would be the dominant religion of the Middle East. Most likely the majority in the Middle East today would be Zoroastrians. The Nestorian/Coptic Christians plus the Jews of the Middle and Near East also faced persecution and were forced to embrace either Islam or the Roman version of Christianity.
The sentence is “Most likely the majority in the Middle East today would be Zoroastrians”!
In academic papers one can’t toss in an assertion like that without explaining why one believes so – in other words why does RPK claim such?
He could have stated, just as an example (with subtext included as well wakakaka):
Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Persia, which was the dominant superpower around 600 to 500 BCE, thus conferring enormous prestige on that belief and its practice.
Zoroastrianism was not unlike the Abraham-ic faith which subscribes to monotheism. But Zoroastrianism did not support monasticism, which (based on our experiences) was a plus for the religion, because that would have omitted the most powerful but insidious element and its corrupting influence in any religion, the priesthood/monkhood wakakaka.
Without priests introducing their man-make (not God’s) laws of ‘prohibitions and punishments’, it would have kept the religion uncorrupted, simple and of love (rather than fear) and thus a joy to embrace.
There were two practices in Zoroastrianism which put it on par with the more atheistic Buddhism, namely, there was to be no proselytizing, which today would have prevented many heartaches in Malaysia, nor was slavery permitted, which would have made Malaysians more considerate, caring or at least careful of how they treat their Indonesian maids, wakakaka.
The no-slave policy was why Cyrus the Great released the First Diaspora Jews who were slaves in Babylon, from their Babylonian lords and allowed them to return to Judah.
Bloke left such a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion through his Edict of Restoration, he is referred to by the people of the Jewish faith, as "the anointed of the Lord" or a "Messiah”, the only gentile so honoured by Jews as a Messiah, ever, and immortalised forever in the Bible.
"I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says Yahweh Almighty." - Isaiah 45:13, and
"In the first year of King Cyrus, Cyrus the king issued a decree: ‘Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained, its height being 60 cubits and its width 60 cubits; with three layers of huge stones and one layer of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. ‘Also let the gold and silver utensils of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be returned and brought to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; and you shall put them in the house of God.’ - Ezra 6:3-5
Without Cyrus' benevolence there won't any 2nd Diaspora or Israelis in this world. I suppose this explains why Zionist Israelis today are the ungrateful feral beasts they have become for wanting to bomb Persia (now known by its modern name, Iran); maybe they want to erase a 2,500-year old I.O.U, wakakaka.
The Israelis’ ingratitude is exactly like that of their hero, the adulterous murderous King David who deliberately sent his most loyal general, Uriah, to the forefront of the battle to be killed because he (David) bonked Uriah’s wife and made her pregnant while the poor soldier was fighting valiantly for his King.
Beasts reward generosity and loyalty with adultery, murder and deaths!
Cyrus the Great was a great bloke who respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered (remember, no proselytizing permitted in Zoroastrianism). He founded the Achaemenid empire, which was very successful in its centralized administration that worked to the advantage and profit of its subjects.
History tells us that Cyrus is well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy such that his influence is felt in both Eastern and Western civilizations.
Surely, with such a liberal religion under such an awesome and benevolent ruler, people of the Middle East, if they had the freedom of choice, would have willingly embraced Zoroastrianism, making the followers the majority in the Middle-East.
It would have screwed up RPK’s limit of 1000 words, but WTF, I enjoy helping him wakakaka.