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Superwomen within religious contexts

07 Sep 2015 20:39 #44072 by j2001
[Spoilers about The Da Vinci Code]

Every once in a while I watch The Da Vinci Code. It's my guilty pleasure.
I know it's not a very popular movie, and was panned by critics. But I love its lighting, its pace, its locations, its soundtrack, I love Ian McKellen's performance and boy do I love Audrey Tautou in this particular film with her lovely French face, hartwarming smile and - finally - adult woman haircut.

But the main reason that constantly draws me to this story is the inherent sexiness in the idea of having a young, beautiful woman as the only living descendant of Jesus Christ. The character of Sophie Saint-Clair is the human being that is the closest to divinity, maybe even capable of miracles. In the movie/book, she heals Robert Langdon's claustrophobia with her touch. She is shown to be God's favorite when doves and light distract her killer allowing her to get away.

I know it's not like being Supergirl or a Velorian, but maybe it's just this soft, almost realistic approach that makes her so sexy to me. Even without super strength or super powers, she makes me want to kneel before her.

In general, what I like is this connection between a historical religion and a (super)woman. By drawing her background from historical roots and not just pure fiction, she's closer to reality and thus a more vivid fantasy. Greek gods are so overused I think they lost their appeal, and they are far too distant from our current society anyway. On the other hand, Christianity still holds a huge amount of followers in the very countries we live in, thus making the mix between the Holy Bible and a superwoman fantasy a much more taboo, fascinating idea -- maybe even an offending one, though I hope this is not the case.

What do you think about merging actual, contemporary religion(s) with our beloved superwomen?

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07 Sep 2015 20:57 #44073 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

j2001 wrote: [Spoilers about The Da Vinci Code]

Every once in a while I watch The Da Vinci Code. It's my guilty pleasure.
I know it's not a very popular movie, and was panned by critics. But I love its lighting, its pace, its locations, its soundtrack, I love Ian McKellen's performance and boy do I love Audrey Tautou in this particular film with her lovely French face, hartwarming smile and - finally - adult woman haircut.

But the main reason that constantly draws me to this story is the inherent sexiness in the idea of having a young, beautiful woman as the only living descendant of Jesus Christ. The character of Sophie Saint-Clair is the human being that is the closest to divinity, maybe even capable of miracles. In the movie/book, she heals Robert Langdon's claustrophobia with her touch. She is shown to be God's favorite when doves and light distract her killer allowing her to get away.

I know it's not like being Supergirl or a Velorian, but maybe it's just this soft, almost realistic approach that makes her so sexy to me. Even without super strength or super powers, she makes me want to kneel before her.

In general, what I like is this connection between a historical religion and a (super)woman. By drawing her background from historical roots and not just pure fiction, she's closer to reality and thus a more vivid fantasy. Greek gods are so overused I think they lost their appeal, and they are far too distant from our current society anyway. On the other hand, Christianity still holds a huge amount of followers in the very countries we live in, thus making the mix between the Holy Bible and a superwoman fantasy a much more taboo, fascinating idea -- maybe even an offending one, though I hope this is not the case.

What do you think about merging actual, contemporary religion(s) with our beloved superwomen?


Methinks you might be stepping into perilous territory. A superheroine who is the daughter of Greek or Norse gods doesn't offend many people. The comics have done it a hundred times.

But a superheroine who is the descendent of Jesus Christ, and perhaps has some of his powers, would be something VERY different. Same goes for Mohammed.

In contrast, the Norse religion is barely alive (a handful of Asatru followers) and I've never heard of anyone who still worships Greek gods. But the three Abrahamic religions take sacrilege very seriously. Way worse than current politics, which singed me a little on my Naturnick story.

I would advise you to stay far away. Robert Langdon danced pretty close to the fire in his books, and took a lot of shit, and he didn't invoke any kind of special inherited powers.

Shadar

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07 Sep 2015 21:03 #44074 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Superwomen within religious contexts
Never seen the movie but that seems to like handling it pretty well.

Your right that Greek Stuff is overused a lot as is Norse Myth to a large degree. Same with ocasional Chinese indian, African or Native american myth that do it to. this can be done well(and i like the Series Viona thats on here that tries it). I

However what you ocasionally see is for lack of a better word Christian Mythos or escathlogy used more or less the same way. Angels and Demons may not be greek gods, but in comicbooks like in Spawn, Preacher or Lucifer can function more or less the same way. Its an edgier take on it, yes....but it still kind of the same idea when it comes to superheros. You saw this all the way back in the golden age with the original Black Widdow, or in the 70s with Ghost Ridder-but really this is to me the 90s in comics.

(i wrote last year a script for a Black Widdow movie(which is in the public domain, and had some fun with it as its a specifically Jewish mythos which isn't seen that often in movies)

and some of them are good, but its not functionally that diffrent. .

Of course Most of these stories tend to avoid actually having god or Jesus be an active character- something you see the devil, but in the Marvel comics for example they go out of there way to say that its not really him. So the idea of a character that exists as something that is bigger then a space in the sky with white clouds-is tricky.

This is seperate of course from a religious character which i think can be pretty neat. I wrote Phoniex of the ashes, which is the story of a Muslim superheroine, and also last year wrote a Script for a Nightshade movie which i played with the idea-"okay lets make a modern christian movie as an ubergirl story" which i think worked better then i thought it would. Playing around with powerful characters who have to deal with things more powerful then themselves...that can be intreting stuff.

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07 Sep 2015 21:14 #44075 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

castor wrote: Never seen the movie but that seems to like handling it pretty well.

Your right that Greek Stuff is overused a lot as is Norse Myth to a large degree. Same with ocasional Chinese indian, African or Native american myth that do it to. this can be done well(and i like the Series Viona thats on here that tries it). I

However what you ocasionally see is for lack of a better word Christian Mythos or escathlogy used more or less the same way. Angels and Demons may not be greek gods, but in comicbooks like in Spawn, Preacher or Lucifer can function more or less the same way. Its an edgier take on it, yes....but it still kind of the same idea when it comes to superheros. You saw this all the way back in the golden age with the original Black Widdow, or in the 70s with Ghost Ridder-but really this is to me the 90s in comics.

(i wrote last year a script for a Black Widdow movie(which is in the public domain, and had some fun with it as its a specifically Jewish mythos which isn't seen that often in movies)

and some of them are good, but its not functionally that diffrent. .

Of course Most of these stories tend to avoid actually having god or Jesus be an active character- something you see the devil, but in the Marvel comics for example they go out of there way to say that its not really him. So the idea of a character that exists as something that is bigger then a space in the sky with white clouds-is tricky.

This is seperate of course from a religious character which i think can be pretty neat. I wrote Phoniex of the ashes, which is the story of a Muslim superheroine, and also last year wrote a Script for a Nightshade movie which i played with the idea-"okay lets make a modern christian movie as an ubergirl story" which i think worked better then i thought it would. Playing around with powerful characters who have to deal with things more powerful then themselves...that can be intreting stuff.


A superheroine who is devoutly religious is one thing. Don't see a problem there, at least until she dispenses justice per the fundamental tenets of the religion. But Marvel has a modern Muslim girl as a superheroine, but I don't believe her religion is the basis for her powers.

But following up on your Robert Langdon reference, a superheroine who is Jesus Christ's (or Mohammed's) actual descendent and inherited her powers is a radically different concept. That's where I thought you were trying to go.

Shadar

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08 Sep 2015 02:02 #44078 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

shadar wrote:

castor wrote: Never seen the movie but that seems to like handling it pretty well.

Your right that Greek Stuff is overused a lot as is Norse Myth to a large degree. Same with ocasional Chinese indian, African or Native american myth that do it to. this can be done well(and i like the Series Viona thats on here that tries it). I

However what you ocasionally see is for lack of a better word Christian Mythos or escathlogy used more or less the same way. Angels and Demons may not be greek gods, but in comicbooks like in Spawn, Preacher or Lucifer can function more or less the same way. Its an edgier take on it, yes....but it still kind of the same idea when it comes to superheros. You saw this all the way back in the golden age with the original Black Widdow, or in the 70s with Ghost Ridder-but really this is to me the 90s in comics.

(i wrote last year a script for a Black Widdow movie(which is in the public domain, and had some fun with it as its a specifically Jewish mythos which isn't seen that often in movies)

and some of them are good, but its not functionally that diffrent. .

Of course Most of these stories tend to avoid actually having god or Jesus be an active character- something you see the devil, but in the Marvel comics for example they go out of there way to say that its not really him. So the idea of a character that exists as something that is bigger then a space in the sky with white clouds-is tricky.

This is seperate of course from a religious character which i think can be pretty neat. I wrote Phoniex of the ashes, which is the story of a Muslim superheroine, and also last year wrote a Script for a Nightshade movie which i played with the idea-"okay lets make a modern christian movie as an ubergirl story" which i think worked better then i thought it would. Playing around with powerful characters who have to deal with things more powerful then themselves...that can be intreting stuff.


A superheroine who is devoutly religious is one thing. Don't see a problem there, at least until she dispenses justice per the fundamental tenets of the religion. But Marvel has a modern Muslim girl as a superheroine, but I don't believe her religion is the basis for her powers.

But following up on your Robert Langdon reference, a superheroine who is Jesus Christ's (or Mohammed's) actual descendent and inherited her powers is a radically different concept. That's where I thought you were trying to go.

Shadar


BTW this has been done, a woman getting her powers as she's a dependent of Christ....

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalena_%28comics%29
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08 Sep 2015 03:45 #44079 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Superwomen within religious contexts
Jesus, five years before THE DA VINCI CODE! Wonder if Dan Brown swiped the idea....

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08 Sep 2015 13:22 #44081 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

shadar wrote: Methinks you might be stepping into perilous territory. A superheroine who is the daughter of Greek or Norse gods doesn't offend many people. The comics have done it a hundred times.

But a superheroine who is the descendent of Jesus Christ, and perhaps has some of his powers, would be something VERY different. Same goes for Mohammed.

In contrast, the Norse religion is barely alive (a handful of Asatru followers) and I've never heard of anyone who still worships Greek gods. But the three Abrahamic religions take sacrilege very seriously. Way worse than current politics, which singed me a little on my Naturnick story.

I would advise you to stay far away. Robert Langdon danced pretty close to the fire in his books, and took a lot of shit, and he didn't invoke any kind of special inherited powers.

Shadar


I think there's one more element to evaluate here: in many ancient religions the idea of gods, monsters and humans' bloodlines intermingling was rather common. Almost all the indo-european religions features some tale of heroes having a divine (Hercules) or monstrous (Beowulf) forebearer, this is due to two elements: on one hand the gods and monsters were depicted having the same feelings of humans, albeit on a different scale; on the other many of these tales were crated to legitimize the role of a lineage or group to dominate. This second element seeped into Christianity with the idea that kings were anointed and legitimized by God.
The big issue here is that in the Abrahamic religions the idea of a divine offspring is considered downright blasphemy. The case of Jesus is somewhat difficult because he's supposed to be not an offspring of God, but rather God itself incarnated -- and there is really some deep theological shit here. While the Islamic religion consider Jesus to be one of the great prophets of the Islam -- often placing him immediately under Muhammad in order of importance -- he's not consider divine in nature at all.

Given what above I think that theming a character based on elements of Abrahamic religions would be something really hard to do properly. Having characters with a deep religious background is fine (I tend not to do it, but I'm an agnostic in RL), having a character with divine ascendancy is a risk.

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09 Sep 2015 08:53 #44097 by j2001
Replied by j2001 on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

shadar wrote: But a superheroine who is the descendent of Jesus Christ, and perhaps has some of his powers, would be something VERY different.


Yes... that's kind of the point :D

Two considerations.

First, I realize that the average western citizen wouldn't like something like this in the least. But that's Dan Brown's problem. A story about a superwoman inheriting her comic book powers from one of the main religions in the world would likely stay within the realm of this community, and that's what I would like to know more about. Screw the general public, would you feel offended by it? Would your own sensibility consider it blasphemy?

Secondly, it doesn't seem very flattering for our superwomen to be allowed to descend from Greek gods because no one worships them anymore. I think we love them enough to have them deserve to be linked to current gods.

When we have stressful days, we seek figurative shelter in superwomen (stories, comic books, pictures, etc.). We spend a good deal of our spare time reading, writing or thinking about our heroines. We try to catch glimpses of them in the real world (e.g., a woman lifting something, or towering over a man). We even have an articulate, established lore (i.e., the Aurora universe).
It seems to me we already treat them as our current gods.

*

Woodclaw wrote: Given what above I think that theming a character based on elements of Abrahamic religions would be something really hard to do properly. Having characters with a deep religious background is fine (I tend not to do it, but I'm an agnostic in RL), having a character with divine ascendancy is a risk.


It sure is a risk, but I also think that would be where the fun lies. I wanted to know if others here have ever thought about stories stemming from this concept.
If I'll ever write a story again I would definitely toy with it. I can't think of an ultimate superheroine without a link to ultimate godhood.

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09 Sep 2015 21:36 #44099 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Superwomen within religious contexts
I find it curious that you're still talking about this as a theoretical concept of "what if someone based a heroine's powers off of being related to Christ".

As I said, it's already happened at least once in a comic. It's also happened in books a few times (read more than one of a female descendent of Christ, one I'm blanking on the title of... damn it memory -- I can sort of see the cover and I read it around reading Good Omens so it's likely early 90's). It's not a new concept that Jesus might have had descendents, rabbi's are supposed to have family and kids..... (though there is some historical comments to unpack in that IIRC).

Not to mention it's in the plot of Dogma (which did ruffle some feathers). Dogma also predates Dan Brown's novels...like the comic and the other book I read. Dan was late to the game.

I do find it interesting that I can't think of a book about a MALE descendent of Christ, but I know of at least three stories about female ones...And i'm pretty sure that I should remember 3-6 more, but I'm blanking on them, and a few other comics (grrr! I'm SURE there are more). (VERY surprised that Supernatural hasn't done this one yet.)

I don't remember a huge reaction to Magdalena, but it could easily be something I missed -- admittedly, not Marvel or DC, so many don't know her, and she'd slide under the radar. OTH, she's part of the Witchblade/Darkness milieu, and it's been a TV Show, an anime, and a long running comic.... it's not like the characters world was unheard of, or her comic.

But if the wrong person hears about something, they'll wig out. Sadly, in some ways 2015 America is worse for that sort of thing than 1999 America. There's now a professional industry about the nonexistent "War on Christmas" and drumming up the idea that Christians are being persecuted. So something like this is gist for that mill.

OTH, there isn't anything inherently religiously offensive about the idea either. It fits with the Dogma and doesn't contradict the Bible, the Bible just doesn't talk about this. Though that doesn't mean anything, people will get offended even if there isn't a rational reason to not too. (All sort of people, for all kinds of things, don't have to single the Christian religion or it's mythos out)

But it seems like a perfectly valid idea for a story. Not one I'd ever write, but a valid idea for a story.

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09 Sep 2015 22:02 #44100 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

TwiceOnThursdays wrote: I find it curious that you're still talking about this as a theoretical concept of "what if someone based a heroine's powers off of being related to Christ".

As I said, it's already happened at least once in a comic. It's also happened in books a few times (read more than one of a female descendent of Christ, one I'm blanking on the title of... damn it memory -- I can sort of see the cover and I read it around reading Good Omens so it's likely early 90's). It's not a new concept that Jesus might have had descendents, rabbi's are supposed to have family and kids..... (though there is some historical comments to unpack in that IIRC).

Not to mention it's in the plot of Dogma (which did ruffle some feathers). Dogma also predates Dan Brown's novels...like the comic and the other book I read. Dan was late to the game.

I do find it interesting that I can't think of a book about a MALE descendent of Christ, but I know of at least three stories about female ones...And i'm pretty sure that I should remember 3-6 more, but I'm blanking on them, and a few other comics (grrr! I'm SURE there are more). (VERY surprised that Supernatural hasn't done this one yet.)

I don't remember a huge reaction to Magdalena, but it could easily be something I missed -- admittedly, not Marvel or DC, so many don't know her, and she'd slide under the radar. OTH, she's part of the Witchblade/Darkness milieu, and it's been a TV Show, an anime, and a long running comic.... it's not like the characters world was unheard of, or her comic.

But if the wrong person hears about something, they'll wig out. Sadly, in some ways 2015 America is worse for that sort of thing than 1999 America. There's now a professional industry about the nonexistent "War on Christmas" and drumming up the idea that Christians are being persecuted. So something like this is gist for that mill.

OTH, there isn't anything inherently religiously offensive about the idea either. It fits with the Dogma and doesn't contradict the Bible, the Bible just doesn't talk about this. Though that doesn't mean anything, people will get offended even if there isn't a rational reason to not too. (All sort of people, for all kinds of things, don't have to single the Christian religion or it's mythos out)

But it seems like a perfectly valid idea for a story. Not one I'd ever write, but a valid idea for a story.


The challenge with Christian views on this is that, unlike most other religions, Jesus isn't a prophet like Mohammed (or as Jews and Muslims view Jesus), but to Christians he IS God, manifested in the flesh. The whole Trinity thing. If his descendent was flying around performing super feats, then she would be God too. That could get out of hand quickly.

You do make a very good point about Christian sensitivities today. Christians feel persecuted and have become highly attuned to being slighted or criticized now. They had much thicker skins ten years ago when they didn't feel threatened. Just means that stories along your suggested line might freak some people out, and there are really whacko types (like the ones that blow up abortion clinics, etc) out there.. The way "news" works today, one person posting some inflammatory comments with a link back to SWM could cause a firestorm in religious or conservative media. A little publicity is great, but a lot isn't. So don't assume this would only be viewed in this community.

I do agree, however, that this community would probably handle it fine. But it might not stay here.

Shadar

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10 Sep 2015 20:13 #44109 by five_red
Replied by five_red on topic Superwomen within religious contexts
It's not as if Warner Bros are above making the link between superheroes and Jesus. The Man of Steel movie was specifically marketed at Christians, using a promotions company that specialises in reaching Christian audiences. The comparisons of Superman to the Christian messiah caused quite a kerfuffle at the time in some comicbook quarters, as Superman's creators were both Jewish.

CNN: Superman: Flying to a church near you .
Telegraph: Man of Steel gets box office boost from Superman's God-fearing fans

But the mind boggles at a female superhero based on Jesus. Presumably the Lex Luthor role would be taken by Richard Dawkins, an evil genius set on enslaving the world with his use of evidence and science? And sooner or later she'll have to face off against the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. :laugh:

I think the way to get away with such an idea would be to associate it with an obscure or offshoot branch of Christianity. I'm pretty sure you could avoid any potential wrath from Bill O'Reilly if you claimed (for example) the Jesus in question was the Mormon version. You might annoy the LDS, but I'm told their standard tactic when they disapprove of something is to tut loudly and then ignore it.

(For an interesting text on the current fetish for playing the victim card in modern Western Christianity, check out Candida Moss' book The Myth of Persecution -- she's a Catholic, btw.)

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11 Sep 2015 20:21 #44133 by j2001
Replied by j2001 on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

TwiceOnThursdays wrote: I find it curious that you're still talking about this as a theoretical concept of "what if someone based a heroine's powers off of being related to Christ".

As I said, it's already happened at least once in a comic.


I apologize I didn't address your post earlier :)
You're right, according to her Wikipedia page Magdalena is the descendant of Jesus Christ just like Sophie Saint-Clair is in Dan Brown's novel.
It's a comic I didn't know about (my comic-book knowledge is actually kind of nil) and one that I will surely look into, so thank you :)

Still, this is the list of her powers according to Wikipedia: (...) the innate ability to see into the human heart and show people the error of their ways (...) wields the Spear of Destiny, the spear that pierced the side of Christ, as a weapon against demons and evil magic.

Ok that's cool... up to a certain point. That looks like a character that could indeed live within a mainstream story, but it's hardly enough for fetish fantasies like ours. I was actually thinking of a more "traditional" superheroine, and by traditional I mean imbued with "real" superpowers like superstrength, flight, heat vision, powers to rival Supergirl at the very least. Wouldn't you love the female descendant of Jesus Christ to be able to freeze the oceans with her breath, the strength of her pinkie enough to split the Earth in two?

Perhaps I'd go even more overboard. I'm afraid that being a descendant of Jesus Christ could make our superheroine too much of a do-gooder. You know, descending from the paragon of good that JS is supposed to be.
What if instead of descending from the son of God she is God's daughter? She's not a hand-me-down messiah, she's the first and only child of God. The God of the Old Testament, mind you. The daughter of a God capable of slaughtering all the firstborns of an entire country to prove his point. A revengeful, bitter superheroine infused with limitless powers.
I'd love that.

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11 Sep 2015 21:34 #44139 by earllechec
Replied by earllechec on topic Superwomen within religious contexts
While not female based, AMC is working on an adaptation of the graphic novel series "Preacher" where the main character is bestowed with the super power 'voice of God'. The source material had absolutely no problem diving face first into the heretical and/or blasphemous.

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12 Sep 2015 00:52 - 12 Sep 2015 00:55 #44140 by brantley
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Has the religious right ever gone after Dan Brown or the Magdalena comic (which latter I'd never heard of before reading about it here)?

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12 Sep 2015 20:49 #44147 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

brantley wrote: Has the religious right ever gone after Dan Brown or the Magdalena comic (which latter I'd never heard of before reading about it here)?

--Brantley


Depends on what you mean by "gone after". Brown has received a lot of criticism for his books from Christians. But nobody has sentenced him to death or whatever, unlike S. Rushdie and his writing about Islam. Christians might be thin skinned these days, but they don't officially declare a Fatwa or whatever. Those days ended a few hundred years ago for Christians.

Of course, there are Christian whackos who kill people eat abortion clinics, but that's individual criminality rather than the organized effort of religious leaders sending their people out to kill.. Only the Muslim seem to continue the practice of officially trying to kill those who insult the prophet. A throwback to the old days when everyone did that in the name of religion.

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12 Sep 2015 21:52 #44148 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Superwomen within religious contexts

shadar wrote: Depends on what you mean by "gone after". Brown has received a lot of criticism for his books from Christians. But nobody has sentenced him to death or whatever, unlike S. Rushdie and his writing about Islam. Christians might be thin skinned these days, but they don't officially declare a Fatwa or whatever. Those days ended a few hundred years ago for Christians.

Of course, there are Christian whackos who kill people eat abortion clinics, but that's individual criminality rather than the organized effort of religious leaders sending their people out to kill.. Only the Muslim seem to continue the practice of officially trying to kill those who insult the prophet. A throwback to the old days when everyone did that in the name of religion.


The issue with the Islam is that there's no central authority on religious matters, but each and every imam is equal in authority and it's up to the faithful to decide which one to follow. Clearly this choice requires a rather significant measure of knowledge and discernment, which isn't universal among humanity as a whole. As a result is far too common that an integralist imam, being more outspoken and radical, to gather a more evident support. This is hardly unique to the Islam, given the existence of certain radical preachers across the spectrum of the various christian faiths.
What's unique to the Islam is that Mohammed was both a religious and political leader during his life, this caused a merging of political decrees and spiritual teachings that creates a great deal of complications across the Islamic world since -- with the glarring exception of Turkey -- the Qur'an is the base of the lay law as well.

Given all of that this thread is rapidly shifting toward a very unsafe territory. I'm not against religious debate, but it's very easy to say the wrong thing, so I would suggest to be very careful from now on.

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