Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Palm Sunday and the start of Easter week

April 9, 2017

It’s Palm Sunday and the start of Easter week. We shall be attending a concert of Bach’s St. John Passion for musical rather than religious reasons.

I have written about the Bible story before.

The Easter timeline suggests Judas was eliminated

The Gospel of Judas – found in the 1970s and dated to 280 AD – is considered a Gnostic text and is not accepted as being part of the Bible.

….. Consider the timeline of Holy Week in the Bible story.

  1. Day 1: Palm Sunday: Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem with all his apostles, riding humbly (?) on a donkey. Spends Sunday night at Bethany a little to the east of Jerusalem at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
  2. Day 2: Monday: Returns to Jerusalem. Along the way he curses a poor fig tree because it had failed to bear any fruit. The tree withers. He enters the Temple to find it filled with money changers (forex dealers since the Temple only accepted Tyrian shekels) and merchants selling animals for sacrifice. He chases them out with much ado. He returns to Bethany to spend the night.
  3. Day 3: Tuesday: Jesus returned to the Temple in Jerusalem and played hide-and-seek with the priests who challenged his authority and tried to apprehend him. But he evaded them. In the afternoon he and his disciples climbed the Mount of Olives and he made prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem. He spent the night again in Bethany. Matthew reports that Judas negotiated his deal with the Sanhedrin on this day.
  4. Day 4: Wednesday: The Bible is silent about this day. It is presumed Jesus and his disciples stayed in Bethany and took it easy.
  5. Day 5: Thursday: Jesus sent Peter and John to “prepare” (presumably to reserve it as well) the Upper Room in Jerusalem (The Cenacle) for the Passover feast which would begin at twilight and continue on Friday. At twilight he washed the feet of his disciples and then began the Passover meal – the Last Supper. He prophecies that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples – which they each in turn deny. He identifies the traitor as being Judas by giving him a piece of bread soaked in the dish and as soon as he does so,  “Satan enters Judas” (?). From the Upper Room they all went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, late that evening, he is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the Sanhedrin and taken to the home of Caiaphas where the Sanhedrin Council have gathered.
  6. Day 6: Friday: Early on Friday morning, Judas is found dead. By the 3rd hour (9 am) the trial of Jesus has started. He is found guilty and forced to carry his cross to Calvary where he is crucified. By the ninth hour (3 pm) he is dead. Around the 12th hour (6 pm) his body is removed from the cross and is laid in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.
  7. Day 7: Saturday: The tomb is guarded by Roman soldiers all through the Sabbath day until dusk (12th hour – 6 pm). When the Sabbath ends, his body is anointed and prepared for burial by Nicodemus (himself a member of the Sanhedrin Council which found Jesus guilty).
  8. Day 8: Sunday: Early on Sunday several women went to the tomb and found it open and Jesus missing. He “appears” to five people during the day providing “proof” that he has been resurrected.

…….. 

It is not surprising that the Gospel of Judas is not accepted within the Bible. For that would mean that Jesus had orchestrated his own capture. Poor Judas. He may have just been a dupe chosen by Jesus to be the scapegoat. But if he knowingly sacrificed his life and accepted being remembered in perpetuity as the “betrayer” of Jesus, his was probably a very great soul.


 

Indian Hindus are genetically racist

March 28, 2017

Hindu matrimonial advertisements are littered with “fair”, “very fair”, “tall”, “beautiful” and the like, but also with the bizarre “innocent divorcee” and ” clean shaven Sikh”. There are always enough clues to specify caste, if caste and sub-caste are not specifically named. Often the classified ads are classified by caste.

from scoopwhoop.com

The ad can be very specific and require a “convented girl” (which is someone educated at an english-medium school originally started by nuns – a “convent”) like this one from a Brides Wanted classified.

Typical conversations within families could well include:

“You can marry anyone you like, as long as he is from the community” (“community” means sub-caste) 

“You can marry anyone you like, as long as she is not Muslim”

“If she is a gora you will be divorced within a year” (“gora” actually means red but is a euphemism for pale-skinned)

“Even an Indian Muslim rather than an African”

“But she’s so dark, (so short), (so homely), (so well built) … ….”

“Not an Assamese (Sikh), (Punjabi), (Tamil), (Bihari) …………..  “

So I was not very surprised at this story today:

Times of India:

  • In keeping with the stereotype that “Nigerians sell drugs”, residents of a Noida neighbourhood want Africans to move out
  • Locals alleged one of the foreign students sold the drugs to a Class 12 boy who died of an overdose
  • Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister Adityanath this morning promised a “fair investigation”

Five people were arrested today in connection with the assault on four Nigerian students yesterday, Noida police said, according to ANI. “Police have arrested 5 persons. FIR registered, action will be taken accordingly,”said Daljeet Chaudhary, assistant director general (law and order), to ANI. 
One of the assaulted students spoke to the media today. “We asked people around for help, but not one called the police. Even our college did not help,”the student said.

Racism is not just endemic among Indian Hindus, it’s genetic.


 

Primordial belief

January 13, 2017

Take all our conscious thoughts about ourselves and the world around us to be either in the realm of knowledge or of ignorance. Take also that what lies in the space of knowledge is true. Then what lies in the space of ignorance may be true or false or both or neither. It is only within the space of ignorance that a “belief” can exist where that “belief” is then a possible truth. Take also that “science” is the process by which some of the “beliefs” within the space of ignorance are shown to be truths and thereby come into the space of knowledge. Knowledge is transferable between humans only if the recipient “believes” that the person transmitting the knowledge is transmitting the truth.

Much of what I take to be “knowledge” is not actually known to me but which I take to be known to others and part of the body of “human knowledge”.  I take the earth to be an oblate spheroid, not because I have personally observed that, but because I “believe” the many humans who have made the observation and brought that “true” statement into the body of human knowledge.

Most of what we therefore consider to be “our” knowledge is actually somebody else’s knowledge and not “known” to ourselves. However our belief in these persons leads to us claiming that knowledge as our own as being part of the body of knowledge available to humanity. The longer some statement has been within the body of knowledge, the stronger is our belief in that statement. Most of our actions are based then, not on our own personal knowledge, but on the belief that whatever lies within the body of knowledge of humanity is true.

But it strikes me that there is an assumption, a belief, which underlies every thought, every perception. This “primordial belief” is in fact implicit in every living thing. In fact it is so intrinsically intertwined with life that it may well be a part of the definition of what life is. This “primordial belief” is that the flow of time is unhindered and that a future exists. I breathe because there is future to breathe for. I cannot know when I take a breath that there will not be another one. Every living thing – a cell, a microbe, a virus, a tree or a human –  does what it does because there is a future (explicitly or implicitly) it believes it can live in. Even the very last breath I take will be taken in the belief that there will be another one to come. A belief in my future is existential.

A belief in a future is inherent in life. There can be a future without life (and there probably will be), but there is no form of life which does not have an implicit belief in its own future.

So every conscious mind (and that includes atheists, agnostics, religious fanatics, scientists and even economists) has this primordial, fundamental belief that a future exists. That, that future exists, can not be within the space of knowledge. All religions exist in the space of ignorance. But long before any of the “beliefs” they adopt comes the primordial belief that every living thing has  – that it has a future.


 

A “moderate” Muslim wishes more people had died in the Russian air crash

December 27, 2016

It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that there is something in Islam – or the practice of Islam – which inherently engenders hatred of all infidels.

This story is about the sick hatred in the head of the LA Director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations.  Of course the story is set in California and needs to be somewhat discounted also for mental instability. Needless to say that this “moderate” Muslim is an Executive Board Member of the California Democratic Party.

Political Insider:

Hussam Ayloush, an executive board member of the California Democratic Party and executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of CAIR, publicly announced that he wished more people had died in the Russian military plane crash that claimed 92 lives on early Christmas morning. 

“I’m sad about the crashed Russian military jet,” Ayloush tweeted, before pivoting to a dark, twisted joke wishing the plane had more people on it. “The TU-154 could have carried up to 180 military personnel instead of just 92,” he happily declared.

Here was Ayloush’ message …

Hussam Ayloush on Twitter: “I’m sad about the crashed Russian militar…
archived 25 Dec 2016 21:34:01 UTC

The Russian plane was transporting more than 60 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a well-loved army choir and dance troupe that performs folk music and popular songs.

There were no survivors in the crash.

Ayloush deleted his post after learning that the disaster had claimed the lives of non-military members.

Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/russia-plane-crash-democrat-wishes-more-civilians-died/#ixzz4U13bjzxo


 

ISIS has given up on the Caliphate and is focused on terror attacks in Europe

December 21, 2016

After Berlin, I recalled this broadcast on Swedish Radio just a few days ago. It would seem that the reverses they have suffered in Iraq and Syria and even Libya have caused a shift of focus within ISIS. A shift away from their dreams of establishing a Caliphate within their lifetimes to creating a parallel, segregated, Islamic population in Europe. Their focus has shifted from directing their European supporters to travel to the front line in the Middle East to instead, implementing terror attacks wherever they happen to be; in place, in Europe.

The Berlin terrorist is still at large. And so are many others – plucking up the nerve to kill indiscriminately. Berlin will be followed by other Islamic, Sunni Muslim, terrorist acts. Islamophobia is not the cause but the inevitable consequence. But a healthy dose of Islamo-skepticism – and amounting to terroristphobia – is absolutely necessary if Islamic terrorism is to be neutralised.

Swedish Radio:

As the Islamic State loses territory in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the group’s propaganda changed. The terror group  no longer invites their sympathizers to go to war. Reporter Fernando Arias is in conversation with Robert Egnell, a Professor at the National Defence University, about the terror group’s propaganda.

“It is too early to say what the effects are of the IS reversal of its propaganda”, says Robert Egnell. According to Robert Egnell propaganda has been important to recruit for the Islamic State and what they call their Caliphate. But now the propaganda has changed, he says, and points to three major differences with earlier:

  1. it has reduced in scale over the past year,
  2. it is more concerned with calls to take the fight where one is, and
  3. the positive images of the Caliphate has almost disappeared.

“It’s about being able to show a positive image that can attract. Previously, it has been the Caliphate and the dream of a better life, but it is difficult to show such images today when all the media coverage points to the contrary, and instead must then create success through terrorist attacks and publicise them” said Robert Egnell.

Several intelligence services report that fewer are travelling to Syria and Iraq, but we have yet to see the final effects of the reversal of IS propaganda on terrorists in place in Europe, according to Robert Egnell.

“We have had an increase of attacks in Europe, but it probably can not be linked so directly to just the propaganda, but it can probably rather be linked to a new IS strategy to focus on Europe”, he says.

Is it such a great difference that that people are now encouraged to carry out attacks at home instead of traveling to Iraq and Syria?

“Yes, it’s a very important distinction, and it is perhaps something to hope for. The threshold is much higher for committing acts of violence in the home country compared to follow a new dream of the Caliphate. This provided a kind of positive appeal to a certain type of people, and now there is only death and destruction (in the Caliphate). In a society they have grown up in, one can hope that the threshold (to act) is significantly higher than making the trip down to Syria and fighting for some ’cause’ “.

But the Caliphate dreams are certainly shrinking.

Shrinking Caliphate dreams

Shrinking Caliphate dreams


 

It is not Islamophobia that is the problem

December 20, 2016

Yesterday, again, a number of Sunni Muslim terrorists killed indiscriminately.

Berlin. A Pakistani or Afghan asylum seeker in Germany, hijacked a Polish registered truck, killed the chauffeur and then drove into the crowd at a Christmas market killing 12 and injuring around 50 people.

It isn’t reported but it is fairly obvious that the terrorist identified himself as a Sunni Muslim.

BBC:

An articulated lorry has ploughed into a busy Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48. Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said “many things” pointed to a deliberate attack. Police said on Twitter that the lorry driver had been arrested, and that a passenger died from his injuries. The market is at Breitscheidplatz, close to the Kurfuerstendamm, the main shopping street in the city’s west. Almost 50 people are in hospital and at least four have suffered serious injuries.

Security sources cited by the German news agency DPA said that the driver of the truck was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan who had arrived in Germany in February. Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel said a suspect believed to be the person driving the vehicle was picked up about a mile (2 kilometres) away from the crash site, near Berlin’s Victory Column monument, and was being interrogated.

Turkey: The Russian Ambassador was killed by a Turkish policeman shouting “Allah is Great” and other Aleppo related slogans.

It isn’t reported but it is fairly obvious that the rogue policeman also identified himself as a Sunni Muslim.

BBC:

Video of the event shows Mr Karlov making a speech when gunshots ring out. Eight bullets are said to have been fired. The camera pulls back to show a smartly dressed gunman, wearing a suit and tie, waving a pistol and shouting in Arabic and Turkish.

He can be heard yelling “don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria” and uses the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great). He is said to have died in a shootout with police soon afterwards, but details have not been given.

The gunman after the attack in Ankara

The attacker shouted about Aleppo and Syria  – image AP via BBC

Islamophobia is certainly the consequence of Islamic terrorism and without the Sunni Muslim fanatics it would have no reason to exist.

But Islamphobia is not the problem.


 

Time to stop pretending that Islamic terror and ISIS have nothing to do with Islam

November 19, 2016

The paranoia about being considered Islamophobic now often leads to the abandonment of common sense. To be Islamophobic is not politically correct. That Islamic terrorists constitute a small number of all Muslims is obvious. But it borders on inanity to extend that to the claim that the terrorists have nothing to do with Islam. It is the concepts – sometimes medieval – contained within Islam which are currently providing the motivation and the justification for self-styled imams and “teachers” to spread the disease. They infect thousands (maybe millions) of immature and vulnerable minds and convert them into barbaric killers. To absolve – in these instances – Islam of being the source of the problem is to be naive. No doubt outdated values contained in Islam are being exploited but they are being exploited by Muslims to brainwash other Muslims. And that itself has something to say about Islam. There is no doubt either that the brainwashed  – who are also Muslims – are vulnerable and somewhat deficient in critical judgement. But that does not mean that Islam is not involved.

Anybody under 25 who claims to be a follower of any religion has of course been brainwashed into that belief as a child. Right now, among all the religions, Islam allows the creation of more terrorists than any other religion.

It is not often that I find the Archbishop of Canterbury in agreement with my views, but in this case he seems to have applied some of his common sense:

The Telegraph: Claims that the atrocities of the Islamic State have “nothing to do with Islam” are harming efforts to confront and combat extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.

Religious leaders of all varieties must “stand up and take responsibility” for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith, the Most Rev Justin Welby said.

He argued that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively. 

It follows calls from a series of high profile figures for people to avoid using the term Islamic State – also known as Isil, Isis and Daesh – because, they say, its murderous tactics go against Islamic teaching and that using the name could help legitimise the group’s own propaganda.

But the Archbishop said that it is essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem. ……

His comments came during a lecture at the Catholic Institute of Paris, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Of course the Archbishop did not say much about the fact that the vast majority of all Catholics and all Anglicans are brainwashed into following those religions as children by their parents.

I wonder what would happen if parents did not force children to follow a particular religion. Over 99% of all who claim to have a particular religious belief have been forced into that belief as children.


 

Rivers of blood in Dhaka

September 14, 2016

Eid in Dhaka.

From the Dhaka Tribune:

Pouring rain coupled with animal sacrifices all over the city have created a strange and disturbing scene.

As forecast by the meteorological office, Eid morning on Tuesday began with shower that continued intermittently into the evening. Despite the pouring, Dhaka’s citizens went to say their Eid prayers in the morning and sacrificed their animals. As rainwater built up on the roads of Dhaka and flooded many areas of the capital it got mixed with the blood to create an unusual and gory scene; it appeared as though there were red rivers running across the city.

Citizens have strongly criticised the two city corporations in charge of cleaning the sacrificial waste for this situation.

(Images from Dhaka Tribune)

dhaka-1

dhaka-2


 

France has closed 20 radical mosques and over 100 more could be closed

August 2, 2016

Not all mosques harbour the radical preachers who infect the vulnerable with the murderousness virus. But some certainly do. Not all madrassas are totally focused on brain-washing impressionable and malleable young minds into the state of would-be terrorists. But some are. Not all radical mosques and madrassas are financed from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. But some certainly are.

After Paris and now Nice, France has had enough. Since December, 20 mosques and prayer halls considered radical have been closed. Over one hundred more are on the list fpr closure. Banning the foreign financing of mosques and prayer halls is now being considered.

Rfi: 

French authorities have shut down around 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam since December, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday. “There is no place … in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don’t respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women,” the minister said. “That is why I took the decision a few months ago to close mosques through the state of emergency, legal measures or administrative measures. About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others.”

…….. There are some 2,500 mosques and prayer halls in France, about 120 of which are considered to be preaching radical Salafism, a strict Sunni interpretation of Islam.

……… Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week that he would consider a temporary ban on foreign financing of mosques, urging a “new model” for relations with Islam.

Cazeneuve confirmed that authorities were working on a French foundation for Islam which would guarantee total transparency in financing of mosques “with rigorous respect for secular principles.”

In December 2015 Al Jazeera reported that 160 mosques had been identified and could be closed.

Al JazeeraFrance is likely to close up to 160 mosques in the coming months as part of a nationwide police operation under the state of emergency which allows places of worship that promote radical views to be shut down, one of the country’s chief imams has said. 

Following news that three mosques have already been closed since the November 13 attacks on the capital, Hassan El Alaoui, who is in charge of nominating regional and local Muslim imams and mediating between the imams and prison officials, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that more were set to be shut.

“According to official figures and our discussions with the interior ministry, between 100 and 160 more mosques will be closed because they are run illegally without proper licenses, they preach hatred, or use takfiri speech,” he said.

The majority of Muslims in France are Sunni and while some are clearly sympathisers and supporters of the Taliban and ISIS and Al Qaida, and even of Boko Haram and Al Shabab, the majority of Sunnis are not. But as Felix Marquardt, a Parisian Muslim and cofounder of the al-Kawakibi Foundation, which works towards Islamic reformation puts it:

“It hardly comes as a surprise to me that there are mosques that absolutely deserve to be closed in France,” he told Al Jazeera. ….. “There was a world view [being preached] that was quite worrisome. I’m talking about the politicisation of Islam. I’ve heard some speeches that tend to promote the notion among Muslims present that Islamophobia is organised by the French state, that somehow non-Muslim French people are against the Muslim minority.” …….. “The link between people committing barbaric acts throughout the world is that they think of themselves as Muslim. As long as Muslims refuse to look at that honestly…I think it’s not very serious intellectually and dubious morally and it’s shocking this point is going to keep on coming.”

Image result for Paris mosque closed

image from Al Jazeera


So, why is brainwashing of children perfectly acceptable?

July 19, 2016

Yesterday a radicalised, 17 year old, Afghan refugee, armed with an axe and knives, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, went on a rampage on a train in Würzburg, Germany. He wounded 4 seriously and injured many others and was shot dead.

It seems that “freedom of religion” includes the fundamental right to brainwash children. It is not only allowed but is encouraged. Is it then surprising that a radicalisation epidemic is now raging? There is very little “freedom” here.

children - catholic Erbil image catholicnewsagency

catholic refugee children in Erbil image catholicnewsagency

children - islamic kidergarden Austria - Getty images

children – islamic kindergarden Austria – Getty images

children - hindu image The Hindu

children – hindu image The Hindu

children -buddhist school Thailand image -The Guardian

children -buddhist school Thailand image -The Guardian

Most people are not prone to radicalisation. But having been brainwashed as a child does make for good preparation.

Belief, and religions, only exist in the “Space of Ignorance”. Any true belief ought to be the result of a cognitive-emotional process followed by every individual. It is hardly true belief when it is force-fed to children long before they have reached emotional or cognitive maturity.

What is not knowledge is ignorance. Religions only exist in the Space of Ignorance


 


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