Arian vs. Aryan

March 29, 2009

Arian – n. a follower of Arianism, which is the main heresy denying the divinity of Christ, originating with the Alexandrian priest Arius (c.250-c.336)

Aryan – n. 1 a member of a people speaking an Indo-European language who invaded northern India in the second millenium BC. 2 the language of this people. 3 (in Nazi ideology) a person of Caucasian race not of Jewish decent.

arian_band_albumOne of the first results that accompany the term Arian is the Arian Band from Iran.  Although the band’s website offers a link to an English band site, there isn’t anything on the English site, only on the Persian site.  Apparently, though, the band is something of an international sensation and certainly one of Iran’s best known bands.

A related note is that Iran is a cognate of Aryan and means “Land of the Aryans.”  These would probably be the Aryans referred to in the first part of the word’s definition.  Which makes me wonder if the Arian Band actually meant to call themselves the Aryan Band.  Or perhaps they intentionally misspelled their name to avoid association with the Aryan Nation.  Because I see little justification for naming themselves after a type of Christian heresy.  Who knows?  For Iranians, Arian is probably just an alternate spelling for Aryan.

Another common internet result is Dr. Sami Al-Arian, accused conspirator with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and subject of a 2007 documentary about his life in the U.S. before and after his trial.

aryanWhat is perhaps most commonly associated with the term Aryan is the concept of the Aryan Race, and organizations like the Aryan Nation, the Aryan Brotherhood and, in Canada, the Aryan Guard.  Most of you will know that the Aryan Race was made infamous by Adolf Hitler.  Personally, I find the ideology of these Aryan groups very offensive, but I found it very educational to visit their websites, in the sense that I now have a reliable source on which to base my opinions of that group.  I think knowing a little bit about them helps prevent us from being like them, in the sense that our opinion about them is not based solely on prejudices and hearsay.  But it makes me incredibly sad that there are people out there like that.  And they’re everywhere.  I’m so grateful we live in a nation where those kind of people will never be more than an annoying thorn in our sides.

And finally if you want to learn about Arianism, you can look here or here.  But unless you love religious history it will probably be very boring.  I couldn’t make it through more than a few paragraphs.