Jesus and Mohammed: a view from the year 3000

by Luke Muehlhauser on August 11, 2010 in General Atheism

Historian Michael Hart is best known for his ranking of the 100 Most Influential People in History.

He also wrote A View from the Year 3000, a book written under the name “Arturo Kukeni, a descendent of Michael Hart.” The book pretends to be a new ranking of the 100 Most Influential People in History, written from the year 3000. Thus, it contains many invented people of the future, such as Chang Po-Yao, inventor of brain replacement surgery, and Pridi Thanarat, a revolutionary who averted the world’s descent into global dictatorship.

A short chapter on each figure describes, from the view of the year 3000, their impact on world history. Even a thousand years from now, “Arturo Kukeni” ranks Jesus at #8 and Mohammad at #9.

Here is his view of the influence of Jesus from the year 3000:

Since there are few Christians left in the world today, some people may feel that Jesus should not be accorded such a high place in this book. But the religion which he founded had so many adherents, for so many centuries… that the only question in my mind is whether I should have ranked him even higher.

…Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jesus… are his ideas concerning ethics and morality. Naturally, he accepted the Golden Rule, which was an accepted part of the Jewish religion of the day (and has remained so).  But to this, Jesus added some truly remarkable ideas, including:

But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

and

Ye have heard… thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thing enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you…

(Whatever one may think of these ideas, they are certainly not obvious, and they stamp their author as a most original thinker.)

…At first, [the new skeptical philosophy of the later Enlightenment] had few adherents, but their numbers steadily increased. Just as Christian civilization had once replaced the classical civilization of Greece and Rome, so Christian civilization was gradually replaced by “Western civilization.” By the late twentieth century, although the majority of the population of Europe and America were still Christian, many of the intelligentsia were not. The result was a culture war… By the end of the twenty-third century the new philosophy had triumphed, and since then Christians have never comprised as much as one percent of world population.

In its heydey… critics complained that Christianity was for many centuries an intolerant ideology, and that it caused many bloody wars and cruel persecutions (a remarkable result considering the obviously pacifistic ideas of Jesus).

These criticisms are true, but they are far from the whole truth. Christianity was also responsible for a large number of very beneficial political and social reforms. For example, it was in Christian Europe that slavery was first abolished, and it was because of Europea influence that slavery was abolished in the rest of the world.

…Christianity has long since ceased to have any political influence. However, for over a millenium and a half it had enormous political effect, and throughout that time it profoundly influenced the personal lives of one-quarter of the world’s population. All in all, that young Judean who was executed thirty centuries ago – a young man who had no money or political power, and who left behind no writings – must still be considered one of the most significant figures in history.

And, his view of the influence of Mohammad from the year 3000:

The prophet Muhammad was the founder of Islam, one of the world’s great religions. Although Islam is of minor importance in today’s world, for roughly fifteen centuries it was a major force in human history, and there were periods during which the Moslems… outnumbered the adherents of any other religion.

…At the time of Mohammad’s birth [in 570 A.D.] the Arabs were a backward people, dwelling on the fringes of the civilized world. However, they quickly learned from the more developed nations that they conquered, and by 800 A.D. the Arab empire was not merely the largest in the world, it was also the most prosperous and culturally advanced…

Eventually, though, Arab civilization declined. By 1200 A.D., the Moslem world was stagnating culturally, while European culture was advancing rapidly… By 1900, the Moslem world had fallen far behind Europe: so far behind that many parts of it had become European colonies…

…The results of the relative inflexibility of Islamic thought were profound. In the long run, the Christian world was far better able to adjust to changed circumstances and to adopt new social and political arrangements when needed. It was the Christians who first abolished slavery, and who first granted equal opportunities for women; it was in Christian Europe that modern democracy developed, and it was in the Christian world that modern science and mathematics were created.

Today, of course, we live in a highly secularized world, and few people belong to any organized religion…

The process of secularization eventually engulfed the entire world; however, it started in Moslem lands about 150 to 200 years after it began in Europe [and] by 2050 Christianity had declined so severely that Islam had become the leading religion in the world.

Moslems were jubilant over this turn of events, but their joy was short-lived. In the interval 2050-2200, Islam declined just as rapidly as Christianity had in the previous century and a half.

It was difficult for me to decide where Mohammad should be placed in this book… for fifteen centuries the religion he founded intimately affected the lives of a sizable fraction of the world’s population, and was a major factor in political developments as well.

On the other hand, Islam has had little residual effect on the culture of the modern world. Neither in science, nor politics, nor art is the modern world much affected by Islam, whereas it continues to be affected (albeit indirectly) by Christianity. That is the main reason why I have concluded that Mohammad… should be ranked lower than Jesus.

Fascinating perspective.

The full list from the year 3000, by the way, is this:

  1. Chang Po-Yao (2213-living): inventor of brain-replacement surgery (“pseudo-immortality”)
  2. Miklos Szabo (2216-2283): inventor of brainwashing machines
  3. Pridi Thanarat (2358-2540): leader of the rebellion that averted world dictatorship
  4. Rukmini Gopal (2370-living): inventor of reversible sex-change operations
  5. Isaac Newton (1642-1727): physicist, mathematician, astronomer
  6. Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468): inventor of printing with movable type
  7. Euclid (c. 300 B.C.): mathematician
  8. Jesus Christ (6 B.C. – 30 A.D.): founder of Christianity
  9. Mohammad (570-632): founder of Islam
  10. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895): germ theory of disease, innoculation
  11. Mauni Nkato (2196-living): political philosopher who designed the constitutional system for world government that has survived since his day
  12. Ts’ai Lun (c. 105 A.D.): inventor of paper
  13. Miguel Carranza (2274-2413): first president of United World Federation
  14. Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.): political and moral philosopher
  15. David Katzenbaum (2042-2095): formulated the most basic laws of physics
  16. Gautama Buddha (563 B.C. – 483 B.C.): founder of Buddhism
  17. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794): father of chemistry
  18. Liu Mei Hua (2063-2135) & Wang Mei Lin (2069-living): medical researchers on methods to avert aging
  19. Sayyid Shirazi (2407-living): reformed the United World Federation in the wake of the Thanarat rebellion
  20. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506): explorer who brought Europe to America
  21. James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879): formulated basic laws of electromagnetism
  22. Harrison Stevens (1997-2088): invented nuclear fusion
  23. Canta Luis Alvarado (2745-living): holovision writer/producer; greatest artist of all time
  24. Albert Einstein (1879-1955): theory of relativity
  25. Charles Darwin (1809-1882): theory of biological evolution by natural selection
  26. John J. Maxwell (2076-2163): builder of the first space colony
  27. Lisa Kolb (2022-2121): inventor of soma, the first pleasure drug with no addiction or negative side effects
  28. Kim Won Lee (2316-2571): first planetary engineer; terraformed Mars for human habitation
  29. James Watt (1736-1819): inventor of the steam engine
  30. William T.G. Morton (1819-1868): inventor of modern anesthesia
  31. Sue Ellen Green (2018-2109): cured cancer
  32. Jean Crozet (1958-2029) & Jacob Levine (1955-2055): invented the artificial heart
  33. Mika Kivikoski (2221-living): invented techniques for large-scale control of the weather, and launched the first program of weather control
  34. Tabora Maunga (2304-2540): World General Coordinator, attempted world dictatorship that was averted by Pridi Thanarat
  35. Robert Alan Cooper (2175-living): developed techniques for transferring information directly from a computer into a human brain, and from a human brain into a computer.
  36. Takeo Tanizaki (2038-2108): pioneer of nanotechnology
  37. Antonio Delgado (2123-2894): developed the “revised neo-classical synthesis” in economic theory
  38. Sara Chindwara (2520-living): greatest novelist of all time
  39. John P. Eckert (1919-1995) & John W. Mauchly (1907-1980): inventors of the computer
  40. John Kaszewski (2028-2160): inventor of personal robots
  41. Wilbur Wright (1867-1948) & Orville Wright (1871-1912): inventors of the airplane
  42. Mona Stein (2487-living): greatest musical composer of all time
  43. Mikhail Bronstein (2040-2090): inventor of first efficient solar cell
  44. Harold Bjornson (2036-2099): discovered how genes determine the physical form and function of an organism
  45. Aristotle (384 B.C. – 322 B.C.): influential ancient philosopher
  46. Jalal Uskudar (2201-2481): devised the constitutional provisions and rules that prevented brainwashing techniques from being used to establish a dictatorship
  47. St. Paul (4-64): co-founder of Christianity
  48. Francis Crick (1916-2004) & James Watson (1928-2016): discoverers of the structure of DNA
  49. Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976): innovator of quantum mechanics
  50. George Washington (1832-1799): leading figure in the creation of the USA, one of the most important nations in the history of the world
  51. Stuart Stromboli (2238-2347): first to apply the political ideas of Nkato & Uskudar, paving the way for the constitutional system that has survived to this day
  52. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543): modern heliocentrism
  53. Adam Smith (1723-1790): first great economist
  54. Uno Thaik (2286-living): collaborated with Sayyid Shirazi in reforming the United World Federation following the Thanarat Rebellion
  55. Ernst Rutherford (1871-1937): launched nuclear physics
  56. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658): overthrew the monarchy in England, leading to modern democracy
  57. John Dalton (1766-1844): innovator in chemistry
  58. Michael Faraday (1791-1867): researcher in electromagnetism, and inventor of the electric motor and electric generator
  59. Stella Ricardo Garcia (2369-living): greatest architect and landform architect
  60. Shih Huang Ti (259 B.C. – 210 B.C.): conquered and unified ancient China, instituted sweeping reforms
  61. Edward de Vere (1550-1604): greatest playwright of all time, known as “William Shakespeare”
  62. Leonardo Pagliaroni (1255-1307): invented spectacles
  63. Kaku Sarabashi (1972-2060): established first human colony beyond Earth, on the moon
  64. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): innovator of modern science and the scientific revoluation
  65. Krishna Patali (2011-2082): founder of Pataliism, political head of India, instigator of the only war where nuclear weapons were used extensively
  66. Mingadongu (2727-living): greatest visual artist
  67. William Harvey (1578-1657): innovator in physiology
  68. Hatta Sumbawa (1989-2052): developed first effective and convenient method of weight control
  69. Yang Cheng Shi (2368-living): influential moral philosopher
  70. Pythagoras (c. 500 B.C.): ancient philosopher and mathematician
  71. Shukri ben Abbas (2144-2202): unified Arab states
  72. Mugali Singh (2316-2701): developed techniques for cleaning the oceans of severe pollution, and implemented them
  73. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630): discovered the laws of planetary motion
  74. Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937): inventor of the radio
  75. Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922): inventor of the telephone
  76. Sung Bai (2767-living): conquered the entire planetary system about Tau Ceti (11.3 light-years away)
  77. Thomas Edison (1847-1931): leading inventor of the age of electricity
  78. Kamaladevi (2615-living): popular and influential author and screenwriter
  79. Linda Albert Stack (2499-living): World General Coordinator for 16 non-consecutive terms
  80. Constantine the Great (280-337): emperor of Rome, converted the Roman empire to Christianity
  81. David McPherson (2079-2612): prominent epistemologist
  82. Moses (c. 1200 B.C.): major Jewish prophet
  83. Banta Ujiji (2410-living): innovative cook
  84. Chao Li Pang (2059-2155): innovator in cosmology
  85. Guo Qingzhao (2110-living): originated the SAGE language, allowing computers to make reliable translations between natural languages
  86. Mitsu Hamamoto (2031-2084): developed first usable system of psychokinesis
  87. Lin Fu Shing (2506-living): popular holovision producer
  88. Alexei Simagin (2111-2540): formulated presently accepted theory of history and social change
  89. Karl Marx (1818-1883): founder of scientific socialism
  90. Wu Li Kao (2710-living): mathematician
  91. Dani Baklanova (2802-living): greatest poet of all time
  92. Ghenghis Khan (1162-1227): military leader
  93. Thomas Arvane (2082-living): inventor of workable cryonics
  94. Augustus Caesar (63 B.C. – 14 A.D.): first emperor of Rome
  95. Tsung Shang (2112-living): artificial intelligence innovator
  96. Roberto Ferruchio (2047-2086 and 2240-living): greatest game designer in history
  97. Chu Shih-Li (2064-living): inventor of holovision
  98. Shu Gungwu (2709-living): philosopher who solved the mind-body problem
  99. Li Lu Wang (2372-living): captain of first successful interstellar expedition
  100. Baba Al-Khalid (2647-living): singer and most popular actress of all time

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacopo August 11, 2010 at 4:14 am

‘Edward de Vere’? Instead of Shakespeare?
That’s the equivalent of adding someone like David Irving or Peter Duesberg to the list in terms of taking crazy ideas seriously.

Otherwise, it makes for fascinating reading.

  (Quote)

Contrararian August 11, 2010 at 4:16 am

I don’t want to diss Jesus (what kind of monster doesn’t love Jesus!), but I’m not sure I can agree with Hart on the “originality” of his teachings. Weren’t the Cynics arguably there first? Interesting piece, tho.

  (Quote)

Steve Maitzen August 11, 2010 at 5:08 am

A fun excerpt to read, but only that. Futurists have about the worst track-record of accuracy you can imagine, right up there with the National Enquirer’s psychic predictors. But that doesn’t chasten them. Apparently, 990 years from now English will be indistinguishable from the English of today, even down to the idioms (cuz those never change). After all, the English of today is indistinguishable from Anglo-Saxon. The only safe prediction: futurists will turn out to be mostly wrong.

  (Quote)

nate August 11, 2010 at 6:10 am

The guy who invented spectacles had a bigger influence than Marx? srsly?

  (Quote)

J. Quinton August 11, 2010 at 6:24 am

But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

and

Ye have heard… thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thing enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you…

(Whatever one may think of these ideas, they are certainly not obvious, and they stamp their author as a most original thinker.)

What’s interesting is that Jesus didn’t “invent” this concept. It was already in the Hebrew Bible. Paul uses this same concept in one of his epistles, curiously not quoting Jesus:

Romans 12:17-21

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Prov. 25:21,22 )

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The “love your enemies” concept was already in the Hebrew Bible. And Paul also argues to love your enemies and for some reason doesn’t quote Jesus.

  (Quote)

Duke York August 11, 2010 at 6:50 am

What, Darwin is only at 25?

  (Quote)

Shane August 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Duke, I had a WTF moment with that too. Darwin’s insight has arguably been more influential than that of, say, Pasteur. Or even Jesus or Mohammed for that matter (give it time!). A fun sort of list, but pretty random.

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Steve,

Agreed.

  (Quote)

Jeff H August 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Lol, I think I would find it disturbing to come up with dates of death for some of the people still currently (2010 that is) alive on the list. I also like that a significant number of them born after 2100 are still living and are therefore anywhere from about 600 to 900 years old. That’s a nice touch :)

  (Quote)

Desperately Seeking August 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Jesus proclaimed the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God. He may have identified himself as the “son of man” who would be instrumental in the coming, and he certainly assigned himself a high place aiding God in His rule in the transformed world to come.

jesus’s ethics maybe would have been appropriate to the new Kingdom and to this world as the Kingdom was breaking in on it, but are not appropriate to the world as we know it. Hence Jesus’s ethics as he imparted them can scarcely be appropriated by men and women in the world they know.

The religion of Jesus was a variant of Judaism, apocalyptic, a religion for the End Time. But the times of this world have not ended, hence Jesus’s religion is not one that men and women of this world can adhere to.

Paul (#47) proclaimed a religion of the End Time as well. But he also construed Jesus to have risen from the dead, a token of his status as a divine being who would return (Paul thought soon) and bring the Kingdom of God in tow. His religion spread with rapidity and established a presence such that by the 4th century a Roman emperor was converted and made Paul’s religion the empire’s.

Since Jesus’s religion is believed by nobody today and Paul’s by two billion, Paul’s ranking should be higher than 47 and Jesus’s lower than 8.

  (Quote)

Ajay August 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Um, where is Luke Muehlhauser on this list?

  (Quote)

dc-agape August 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm

17. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794): father of chemistry

and

57. John Dalton (1766-1844): innovator in chemistry

Totally awesome!!! Some one who understands the importance of my favorite topic.

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 12, 2010 at 12:32 am

Beautiful article on Death, Atheism and religious epistemology.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/damon-linker/76925/the-most-pressing-question

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

G’Disraeli,

Good link. I’ll include it in my next News Bits.

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

Jacopo,

I know, kinda weird. But check it out – there’s a new movie coming out that runs with the Oxfordian theory: Anonymous. Directed by, of all people, Roland Emmerich!

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

In reading up a bit more on the Shakespeare authorship question, I came across this awesome quote by Justice Scalia:

My wife, who is a much better expert in literature than I am, has berated me. She thinks we Oxfordians are motivated by the fact that we can’t believe that a commoner could have done something like this, you know, it’s an aristocratic tendency… It is probably more likely that the pro-Shakespearean people are affected by a democratic bias than the Oxfordians are affected by an aristocratic bias.

  (Quote)

dgsinclair August 12, 2010 at 10:19 am

A more likely scenario, assuming Jesus does not return first, is like this:

Europe descends into Islamic wars where martial law has to be imposed to contain violence.

The US has a Christian revival partly spurred by growing Islamic violence.

China becomes largely Christian and brings democracy and freedom across Asia and even into the middle east.

I think that the author is projecting his WISH that the world becomes more secular, but seriously, I don’t see that happening at all, because secularism creates a vacuum into which either christianity or islam will rush (or temporarily, paganism and spiritism, but people soon see the emptiness of those), and you better pray it isn’t Islam, whose ‘golden age’ may be greatly exaggerated. Mostly, Islam brings the end of education and progress.

  (Quote)

Jacopo August 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Oh man. It seems to me that if you have a crazy idea, one of the first things to do is make a movie about it and make a load of people who’ve never really thought about the issue come to some crazy conclusion that they’ll likely believe for life. The way to get rich these days is not to start a religion. Now, the way to get rich is to support some bizarre theory of some kind or another and you’ll find a load of contrarians who will revel in believing it.

It is crazy that the film will get far more viewers than an actual scholar on the issue, like Shapiro (if you’re interested in this, incidentally, he’s the first guy to read), will get readers. There are far more interesting issues in Shakespeare authorship – like the different influences brought to the table in the plays which Shakespeare collaborated on with playwrights like John Fletcher, or the historical context within which he (co)wrote his plays.

  (Quote)

Jacopo August 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Also, as you’ve been happy to have this sort of thing pointed out before, I should mention that ‘playwright’ has a ‘w’ in it (you’ve missed the ‘w’ out in your description of de Vere/Shakespeare).

:)

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Ah, thanks: fixed.

  (Quote)

Luis Roman August 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Where’s the theory of everything on this list?

  (Quote)

danielg August 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm

G’DIsraeli, thanks for the hitchens link. I’m following his commentary and progress with interest, and not a little sadness. He doesn’t talk about his brother’s faith much during this time, but I guess being private about family is understandable.

I wonder if his brother will write another book, perhaps a bio of his brother.

  (Quote)

Freethinker August 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Wait, the philosopher who solved the mind body problem was born like 500 years after brain transplants and uploading human minds to computers became common? What kind of dumbasses are these future people?

  (Quote)

Freethinker August 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm

How could he leave Bill S. Preston and Ted Theordore Logan off the list? The music of the Wyld Stallyns will bring an end to war and poverty, align the planets and bring them into universal harmony allowing meaningful contact with all forms of life, from extraterrestrial beings to common household pets.

Ryan Secrest should probably be on the list as well.

  (Quote)

Luis Roman August 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Where’s the technological singularity???

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Hart didn’t see it coming. :)

  (Quote)

smb12321 August 16, 2010 at 4:45 am

Most posters miss the point entirely. It’s not whether Jesus was original (he wasn’t) or if Marx should be more highly rated (he shouldn’t). Worst, it’s not a measured, scientific tome carved in stone (loved the English language – lol). Rather, it’s fiction – one man’s thoughts on what a human in the year 3000 might image. No one knows the future but it is nice to contemplate. Enjoy the book (if you can find one) and leave the arguing for another day.

  (Quote)

Steve Maitzen August 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

Enjoy the book…and leave the arguing for another day.

Good luck getting this crowd to go along with that! :)

  (Quote)

axon March 19, 2011 at 4:36 am

u ve wirtten mohammed to be next to jesus, is it true of other way round.

  (Quote)

Danial June 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Excuse me, the editor of this website please change the part saying “prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is the founder of Islam” actually he is not I am a Muslim and i know that Islam was here since the first man walked the earth. So if you could please change that description of Muhammad. It should be that he is the last and final prophet in Islam and that he was the man that Allah (SWT) sent down the Holy Quran to.

  (Quote)

Anti-Danial August 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Danial, oh please STFU!

  (Quote)

imp August 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

AD: no, Danial is right, Islam was here since the beginning – it started with the fall of Satan! >:)

  (Quote)

GoB December 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

10 people left of this list that should have been here.

1. Timero Shojo (2444 – 2762) started the “Neo-Crusades” that wiped out many religions
2. Dmitri Hergova (2954 – current) allowed man to travel faster than light
3. Vanessa Huiler (2145 – 2384) – invented the “Huiler Wormhole”
4. Graham Theodore Bhyen (2456 – current) colonized the asteroid belt
5. Tiana Beltrez (2654 – 2876) and Joanna Beltrz (2679 – alive) sisters who made contact with intelligent life outside of our solar system
6. Xic Vwanveunito (2233 – 2276) liberator of the Confederate States of Jenanta, one of the most important nations on this planet
7. Adolphine Brehya (1998 – 2087) philosopher
8. Quincy Leglas (2555 – 2602) first man who communicated with his anti-form
9. Sierra Tyo (2134 – 2212) ended the Neo-Crusades
10. Frank Byler (2457 – 2504) musician

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment