Date: Mon 30 Dec 2002 - 05:48:36 GMT
I concur with Keith Henson's analysis of Wahhabism as a virulent
offshoot of Islam, and add that Deobandi is another, less well known,
virulent offshoot. The question arises, however, to what degree ANY
"new" religion is an offshoot of existing forms (Christianity, from Judaism, Islam and Mormonism from Christianity, etc.), although Zoroastrianism is also in that mix. Some religions also seem to be syncretistic blends of two major pre-existing forms, particularly Buddhism (Hinduism and Taoism) and Sikhism (Hinduism and Islam), and one wonders how the 'offshoot' theory deals with such examples. If course, Hinduism finds its own roots in Jainism. The origins of the Bah'ai faith are interersting, too, as it seems to be an offshoot that is LESS virulent and more peaceable than its predecessors. Another question is whether Protestantism was more virulent in its beginnings than the pre-existing Catholic faith from which it sprung, if Shi'a was in the beginning more virulent than Sunni Islam, and where to place the Druse. It certainly seem that an overarching model of religious mutation/selection/evolution is indeed possible, but such a model is likely to be much too complex to be completely explained by a 'virulent offshoot' theory, although such a theory would remain a major component of any possible model.
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