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“All Muslims are potential terrorists”, “Islam is a religion of peace”, “the Religious Right is as bad as any terrorist”, “Islam is evil”, “Christian violence is worse than Islamic violence”. All of these statements can be seen, quite validly, by some people as blatant lies. On the other hand, depending on context, the opposite is true; all of these statements can be seen as arguably true. Put aside partisan reflexes and “certainty” for a moment and just ‘Imagine’ how such a paradox would be explained.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. That is not seen as too great of a tragedy by most of the people who make statements like these; the words are slogans or arrows aimed at an enemy, rarely are they sincere efforts to express actual thoughts, feelings or intents. In the light of this sad truth is becomes easier to see how pundits on all sides routinely conflate many effects, motives, natures and “reasons” in anything as dark and subtlety tangled as humanity’s tendency/habit/nature for killing other people “in the name of God”.

The two major elements in conflict in the statements in the first paragraph are:

  1. The nature of humans
  2. The nature of doctrinal scriptures in any particular human religion

“All Muslims are potential terrorists” – Actually, all humans with deep convictions are potential “terrorists”; it comes down to what moral choices a too rigid code of behavior “ordained by God” can put before a person. Anyone with a sincere understanding of the inescapable reality of “I COULD be wrong” is incapable of committing any great harm for their faith.

“Islam is a religion of peace” – Before I get hanged, drowned, burnt at the stake or pressed to death let me explain. The religious/semantic concepts here are familiar to both fundamentalist preacher and Soviet Commissar. In this case ‘peace’ is a word like ‘true’, (Pravda) that has one meaning to the speaker and another to un-indoctrinated listeners. The concept of “peace” in Islam comes down to everyone in reach being happily Muslim or inoffensively and impotently submissive to Muslims. It should also be pointed out that while the it’s scriptures consistently extol individual efforts toward peace, harmony and justice Christian doctrine, also based in scripture, does not even admit the concept of “peace” on Earth until after an apocalyptic Armageddon.

“The religious right are as bad as any terrorist” – O. K., but you have to ignore the massive social, cultural and scriptural differences that make the actual EXPRESSION of the “Our scripture says we are good and just to do (fill in the blank with the heinous crime of your choice), and there is NOTHING you can say or do to change that reality” attitude that many dogmatic religions share a difference between being a ‘pain in the neck’ and cutting someone poor f***’s head off.

“Islam is evil” – It certainly can be; so can total honesty, cheesecake and any given PTA. The one thing that pundits and apologists on all sides seem to selectively mis-remember is that even religions we do not like are protected by the 1st Amendment. Our dilemma, the problem that civil society OUGHT to be trying desperately to solve is how to dispassionately apply the Constitution so as to both preserve the 1st Amendment and rein in Islamic fundamentalists’ ability to “act out” in ways that “break someone’s leg or pick their pocket”. One part of any solution is that any and all laws and rules must be equally applicable and enforceable on any and all religious offenders of secular law who followed their faith into committing positive harm on another person.

“Christian violence is worse than Islamic violence” – That depends on where you are sitting. To the victims over the last 3 hundred years this statement is insultingly false. At the same time, when viewed through the lens of the expected attitudes, actions and reactions for someone desiring to be any accepted form of good Christian the statement is valid; any violence committed is a falling away from the strict path. The core texts of Christianity contain little to no material to stoke the fires of self-righteous human violence in the name of God; that even Christianity and Buddhism have violent pasts says more about human nature than about doctrines that seeks to transcend the darker parts of that nature. Islamic doctrine on the other hand is practically designed to be aggressively self-promoting in an earthly and social as well as religious sense giving freer rein to those who seek justification for their most evil tendencies.

Was that so bad? If anyone’s head exploded I either missed it or they fled to the lobby in time before their PC self-destruct countdown reached zero.

We have a problem people. Let’s stop pretending that we can only operate in the box, or out of the box; THERE IS NO BOX. There is reality, life and hope; patterns to perceive and problems to be solved.

America is not a zero-sum equation!

 

  1. S. Dear reader, did anyone notice that the terms conservative, liberal, progressive, democrat, republican, Obama, Palin, Sharpton, Limbaugh, MSM, Fox, tea bagger, left-wing and right-wing are missing from this piece?

It is almost as if, now tell me if I am wrong, as if those terms, those ‘boxes’, are useless in such a conversation. Who knows, they might even get in the way of first understanding actual problems and then solving those issues to the general satisfaction of reality, the Constitution and the public, (or republic if you are finicky) for which it stands.

With the Reaping of the Harvest of the Arab Summer Comes a Sowing of Real Spring for Islam

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As the bitter harvest of the “Arab Summer” is brought in there are signs that the seeds of a true Arab/Muslim “Spring” may already be sown.

Things are getting… interesting, Virginia; all is not as the talking heads (as opposed to Talking Heads, a Punk group in the 70’s – 80’s of truly original musical genius) would have us believe. It seems that not only have the people of Egypt tossed out the cleric-backed Morsi, they are turning a deaf ear to their imams’ efforts to “twist the population’s religious arm” to support the Muslim Brotherhood’s political influence.

Muslim Brotherhood’s bid to scapegoat Christians failing, say Egyptians

By Lisa Daftari

As their nation descends into violent chaos, Egyptians are increasingly blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, despite attempts by the Islamist group to scapegoat Christians and the military, according to several sources …

The Muslim Brotherhood has lost all sympathy with their points due to their violence,” said a Long Island, N.Y., Egyptian-American [visiting] in a Cairo suburb…”

The man, a Coptic Christian who asked that his name not be used until he and his family are safely back in the U.S…. arrived in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis last weekend, just days after Muslim Brotherhood supporters began clashing violently with security forces. Since then, nightly curfews, angry mobs and closed roads that cut off supplies to restaurants and groceries have made his homeland unrecognizable… The violence began when, more than a month after the military stripped President Mohammad Morsi of power and took him into custody, authorities cleared camps of protesters in Cairo.

Take note that it was only after a full month, when the camps of core protesters themselves were dispersed, was there any violence from the citizenry; they had rejoiced in the streets, and on TV during that month. This would lead one to believe that the violence is coming from a small (in relation to the population as a whole) core of Brotherhood supporters and will crumble swiftly unless given life-support by massive foreign intervention of some sort; both weapons/cannon-fodder smuggling and ‘sanctuary‘ in some nearby sovereign area come to mind.

That action prompted a violent uprising in which more than 1,000 people have been killed. Morsi, who(m) critics said had put the nation on a path toward Islamist rule, is now facing accusations of conspiring with Hamas to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising and complicity in the killing and torture of protesters outside his Cairo palace in December.

…Christian and Muslim … are solidly behind the military, which has been criticized by the west for its decisive crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

I am Muslim and I am against terrorism and I support the revolution [which ousted Morsi] and I support all the decisions of the Egyptian army forces,” …  “We love Egypt so much and we hope the foreign countries stop misunderstanding about us and the situation now in Egypt.”

The fact is that in Egypt, like in Iran the actual people of Egypt overwhelmingly prefer a more “enlightened” version of Islam despite being dominated, and often hoodwinked, by a “tiny minority of radicals“; I am referring to the Imams not terrorists, who are just the ‘useful idiots‘ the Imams use to steal power.

Even at mosques, the tide seems to be turning against the Muslim Brotherhood, according to one man who spoke from Cairo.

They gather around mosques, from five to 100 of them, to show they are important and the goal is to go and cut off the roads and rally to get more supporters,” he said.

Sometimes during Friday prayers, the sheikh wants to push people to support the Muslim Brotherhood, but modern Muslims are dominant and not deceived anymore with fake words that defending the Muslim Brotherhood is defending Islam,” he said.

One former jihadist and Salafist cleric who spoke to Mid-East Christian News said the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to focus anger against the nation’s Christian minority, which did not support Morsi, but was hardly alone in that stance.

The Brotherhood lost everything, politically and economically,” Osama el-Quossi told MCN. “They lost the citizens’ sympathy, so they used religion to gain support of ordinary people.

Methinks, Virginia that when yo add in the polls showing the vast lack of support for groups like CAIR and MPAC amongst the deen it looks like the clergy of Islam might be facing a “stockholder” revolt that will replace all the “board-members” with Imams who actually share the same reality that Muslims-as-people live with every day, and enjoy.

In sum; While Pakistan and Afghanistan are cultures long used to ongoing sectarian strife other nations like Turkey, Egypt and most of the more Eastern Muslim countries are seeing mostly problems fomented by power/money from outside their own borders and ethnic/religious groups. I want to make note though that Egypt’s record under Mubarak in its treatment of the Copts (the original Egyptian culture before the forced Arab cultural assimilation introduced by the invasion of Islam).

In fact, it seems that if President Obama had supported the grassroots revolt in Iran a couple years ago, and not thrown his weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood after Mubarak was ousted, we might already have seen a real Arab Spring; I have high hopes for the next 12 months though; the ‘Black Hats‘ (Imams) are starting to realize that the “townsfolk” (deen) all hate them, even if the ‘White Hats‘ (secularists) can be jerks themselves often enough. I can see their point; far preferable is the religious nut who is a total pain in the neck when compared to someone who wants to cut off your head.

To the Muslim world; Good Luck with your Enlightenment and Reformation, I promise you, it will be interesting.

Heretics Crusade Reviews ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

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Anyone not familiar with my writing, religion or my politics should read these articles first to avoid getting the wrong idea ab out how the author feels about Iran, Imams and the Iranian-on-the-street that is the REAL “Iran”.

This is a review of the excerpted introduction from ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

 I can’t wait to see the second volume, the one about ‘historical Muhammad’, to be followed no doubt by similar volumes on Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tse, the Rev. Moon and Bob Dobbs!

From the introduction I get the feeling that it should have been called the Charge of the Taqiyya Brigade! But, who is Reza practicing it against? Non-Muslims to confuse and convert, or Traditional Muslims to stay alive long enough to make a real difference; I can’t tell.

The only thing that is obvious is that B.S. plays a big part in this book; the introduction shows clearly both ignorance and dishonesty, while claiming pretensions of being objective analysis!

“… Palestine, the [Roman designation for the vast tract of land encompassing modern day Israel/Palestine as well as large parts of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon].”

Not really. The name was of Egyptian/Judaic extraction [peleshet] and meant ‘rolling’, ‘migratory’ or something close to that; it referred to the, mostly Greek-derived culture that had invaded and conquered the coastal region of what is now Israel and Gaza all the way back in the 12th century BCE! The name was only made official by Rome (explicitly done to attempt to reduce the Jewish peoples’ identification the ‘Nation of Israel’) in 132 CE; also, the name had referred at overlapping times to a number of distinctly separate  places in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago.

The area was known, and had been known for centuries as Judea, Samaria and Galilee! It wasn’t until 3 full human lifetimes had passed after Jesus vanished from the world’s stage when a final Jewish rebellion brought turned Roman patience with Jewish Nationalism into Roman vengeance; the designation “Palestine” was chosen by the Romans in much the same spirit that neighboring Native Americans chose to call a particular North American tribe “the Sioux” – It meant “snakes” in the local dialects, and did not refer to wisdom dispensing kind in Greek lore; they picked the biggest boogiemen from Jewish history; the new dirige Provinciae Romanae was to be called after the Philistine invaders who conquered much of the Jewish lands for a time in centuries past.

Of course the pesky locals, probably already a bit peeved at having some invading peoples’ name imposed on them by leather skirt wearing “sore winners” carrying swords and eagles, and not even having an ‘F’ sound in their language just called it Filistin.

Common-sense tells us that anyone, of any religion or race who is descended from people, of any race or religion other than ‘Roman Citizen’ who is/was ‘from’ “Palestine” is no more, or less a “Palestinian” than any of the others who fit that description!

The earliest labeling of the area as “Palaistinē” (Greek – Παλαιστίνη) in the 5th Century BC by Herodotus hardly fails to conflict with the fact that the same century saw the steady return of the Jews from Persia to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of The Temple!!! Can this be any less “indigenously legitimate” a name than when a Spanish-Catholic invader (somewhat resembling in his cultural mindset the Jihadists under the First Caliph)namedmy birthplace and home after a mythical ‘Utopia’ from a contemporary book written within a culture thousands of miles away.*

Only after WW I was “Palestine” made in any way official; by the British who inherited responsibility for making sure the local infrastructure did not collapse when the Turks followed the defeated Germans West leaving their former subjects and brother Muslims in the mandate regions to sink or swim, Insha’Allah.

The newly named ‘Palestinian Mandate’ included Israel and the entire area that was given by the British as a (useless) gift/bribe to the Arabs for their own; we call it Jordan.

Despite some non-Muslim xenophobes trying to make a mountain out of that mole-hill it is irrelevant if the local Arab-culture Muslims cannot even pronounce the Roman-applied name; after all the Muslims are invaders too!

It certainly does make a difference though that that the word Palestine or Filastin appears 0 times in the Koran but, no fewer than 250 times does the Hebrew/Egyptian peleshet appear in the Jewish Tanakh.

Will the rest of your book be so generous to prides and prejudices of the religion you follow in other matters?

* Personally, I think it is cool be born and grow up where ‘our’ name was never a real place with a history, good or evil, until Californians made it real; we show cultural signs of our good fortune as American Californians in escaping much of the burden of guilt from slavery era, the Civil War or for displacing the natives simply because by the mid 1800’s the Spanish had already managed to more-or-less commit “benevolent” genocide by “saving the Natives’ Souls.” [i.e. forcing the natives into from their villages into “Missions” to be prayed over, worked to death and decimated repeatedly by various plagues as the over-crowding, bad sanitation and malnutrition weakened them and the “good Fathers” eliminated ancient cultures from Argentina to Oregon.]

Only after all that was over and done did you find Americans in large numbers braving the immense and dangerous crossing of the deserts and mountains west of the Mississippi into this magical land.

Americans soon outnumbered the Spanish, elbowing aside the Spanish; who were napping while the Indians and peasants worked only a little faster than they starved.

The Spanish, called “Missionaries”, and “Dons” were well dressed and drowsily stylish yet completely merciless against non-Catholics and peasants. These slave-holder/feudal Lords from Spain might just have been exhausted; it is not easy overseeing more than a hundred years of stagnation, native depopulation while regularly putting down revolts by sullen, despised-by-the-Spanish and always-about-to-rebel locals of mixed-blood called campesinos.

An embarrassing loss here, a cannon-shot there and California, now part of the United State of America could finally ‘get out of 2nd gear’! Of course, we STILL can’t won’t ‘Drive 55’!

 “the first-century Jewish revolutionary party known as the Zealots, who helped launched a bloody war against Rome”

What prompted the name of your book? WHY do you tar the Christian messiah with the filthy brush of a group he rejected in no uncertain terms when offered the chance by Simon to lead 50,000 fanatical warriors in taking Judea back from Rome? I will NOT put my earnings in your pocket to read the rest but, so far it seems no more than the usual taqiyya and dawa-based “narrative”!

You do know that the ministry of Jesus followed to its extreme the interpretations and philosophy of the Pharisee religious faction (expounded on at length in Jesus’ own lifetime by the beloved rabbi Hillel); the most devout stood aside during the defense of Jerusalem because they believed that a divine punishment had been ordained to the Jewish nation that must be accepted for a renewal of their ancient “covenant” with God? And you call Jesus a follower of the philosophy of Zealotes?

“He was a man of profound contradictions, one day preaching a message of racial exclusion (“I was sent solely to the lost sheep of Israel”; Matthew 15:24), the next, of benevolent universalism (“Go and make disciples of all nations”; Matthew 28:19); sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9), sometimes promoting violence and conflict (“If you do not have a sword, go sell your cloak and buy one”; Luke 22:36)”

Good Lord Man! I left Christianity because of its internal contradictions and such but, your interpretations of these passages are out of context, reinterpreted in your favor, seemingly with overt hostility. The only consistent message I ever found through the fog of two thousand years of political expedience by various sects bear no resemblance to your “interpretation”! This “profound contradiction” is hardly realistic; it is not any kind of objective scholarship I recognize!

Let me break it down for you…

1 what mystery regarding the difference between ‘I’ (me, myself, one person, one lifetime, one ministry, one goal) compared to ‘you’ (his followers, disciples, and later generations, broader goals) carrying his mission from a “saved” Judaism to other peoples is confusing you here? Isn’t’ that EXACTLY the way Mohammed is supposed to have done it; didn’t he only spread Islam to Most of Arabia and leave his followers to carry it to other nations? In English this is usually called hypocrisy.

I would say that you are misrepresenting even the “good” half of your pseudo-paradox regarding Jesus and pacifism!

sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9)”

In what language does call for unconditional anything, except Love for God? Jesus never advocated, he even refuted, the idea of unconditional non-violence; what mattered was if God was being followed or defied; the invocation and limits of violence were always tightly defined to avoid trespassing against “God’s Will” if their faith “called” them to do violence when required. He whipped the corrupting and religiously illegal money-changers from the forecourts of The Temple but, he most certainly did not storm in with a gang and start lopping off heads! That behavior is reserved for Friday evenings in certain Middle Eastern and South Asian countries!

As one raised in the faith by believers I saw NONE of what you are talking about even though eventually I left the religion for other reasons; in fact, as far as I saw it, read it, was taught it and saw it practiced, most of Jesus’ advice, his ministry and his teachings were aimed at an individual’s relationship with God; he wanted a city of saved souls, not to save the soul of a city, culture, nation or anything of that sort! In fact, he is recorded as advising those inclined to “get involved and save the world” to spend more time ignoring Earthly distractions and favored people, individuals all, living a Godly Life™. He certainly never promoted or promulgated any new societies, governments or states, nor did he promote the making of new laws to “make people be godly”! Do you even remember his treatment of the woman at the well, of the Roman Centurion wanting a sick servant who was absent healed by faith alone, the old non-Jewish woman he favored in ways he never favored any Jew? BZZZT, try again!

You also get it wrong on the “sword verse”, that is defensive based advise because of supposed fore-knowledge, a prediction of an overwhelming and swiftly approaching conflict, not an incitement to start cutting off people’s heads!!! He was even right in is prediction; within a hundred years Jerusalem had been destroyed by war!

The problem with pinning down the historical Jesus is that, outside of the New Testament, there is almost no trace of the man who would so permanently alter the course of human history. The earliest and most reliable nonbiblical reference to Jesus comes from the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (d. 100 C.E.). In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem.

Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus.”

So? Mohammed has even less! His name was also a title back, it is certainly possible that Mohammed also might have been mentioned a total of zero times in the Qur’an!! Do I think there was one man that we know as Jesus? I don’t know. Given that I am not Christian it has little importance to me. I am also not Muslim so, being able to put his existence in doubt is no more important! His teachings are the parts that mattered, not what fools made them into decades, centuries, millennia later!

I think it seems more likely than otherwise there was a radical Rabbi named Yeshua but, I am not so blind that I failed to have noticed that all four gospels contradict each other; it seems so far that your book is more an of an undercover defense of Islam than any kind of realistic critique regarding the existence or ministry of a man moderns call Jesus of Nazareth!

Oh, you did know, scholar that you are, that many Jews thought, and think that “the Messiah” already came and freed them… from the Persians… long before Jesus was born. Or that there are from three to five different versions of “The Messiah” and may, or may not, manifest combined in one, or more people? You can call yourself a Christian scholar if you must, I would disagree but, you certainly lack much understanding about Judaism of the time or about Judaic theology before the 1st Century.

Paul may be an excellent source for those interested in the early formation of Christianity, but he is a poor guide for uncovering the historical Jesus.”

Well what do you know! We agree on something!!!! Though I regard Paul more as the heretical Greek hijacker of Christianity than as one of its founders! Of course that doesn’t protect you from the fact that Islam is on even shakier ground; it was a  member of a family hostile to Islam from the beginning, a gentle soul… a family that had constantly sought to do to Islam just what Paul did to Christianity; this is the tree that fruited a Caliph. Then he just happened decide to oversee the destruction of all versions of the Qur’an in conflict with his tribe’s version.

And there is worse! If ‘Muhammad’ is being used in the Qur’an as a title, instead of a name, well  then Mohammed the man was ignored by the main source book of the religion he is supposed to have founded.

I guess you can write about any religion you like but, it would be nice if you refrained from bearing false witness when doing such a thing!

Simply put, the gospels tell us about Jesus the Christ, not Jesus the man.”

How can you write that and claim honest scholarship, even noting that there were a lot more than the “Four Gospels ™” which do show Jesus the man; even the Final Four give us glimpses… Just one example here; the Biblical story about the wedding with the water and wine was likely talking about HIS wedding to the third Mary (Did you forget Mary the Hairdresser?) the Magdalene. In the time of the reign of Tiberius it simply was not possible to be a Jewish Rabbi of any sort without being a married man; marriage was considered a religious duty to anyone with pretense to being devout. It would be similar to an openly gay drag queen trying to start up a preaching circuit at Southern Baptist churches in 1972 Alabama; ‘Minister’ is not one of the names they would call him! Nor could Yeshua have been able to be treated as a Rabbi, even a radical one, if unmarried. Only a segment of the Essenes preached celibacy and even they “married”!

“a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine”

That statement is about as bigoted and misleading as if I wrote a book claiming  “many Indian leaders were caught up in the turmoil that swept over New Amsterdam in 1374”, but never mention that there was a long established nation of Native Americans called the Iroquois there until about 200 years after that date!

“The plaque the Romans placed above Jesus’ head as he writhed in pain—“King of the Jews”—was called a titulus and, despite common perception, was not meant to be sarcastic. Every criminal who hung on a cross received a plaque declaring the specific crime for which he was being executed.”

Half right! The Romans were not caught up in the Messiah game; I believe the word gravitas would help define the distinction. In the book King Jesus Graves puts forth a very convincing argument that Jesus possibly WAS the actual “King of the Jews” by right of inheritance at the time of his arrest… one telling point is that the Romans would have called him a pretender or usurper of the title, not just declared him King of the Jews as his “crime”; it would be like a court convicting a forger while calling them a “’mint owner’ instead of making the crime as charged “making false coinage’!

“That image alone should cast doubt upon the gospels’ portrayal of Jesus as a man of unconditional peace almost wholly insulated from the political upheavals of his time. “

Where do you GET these interpretations? He is portrayed as being HOUNDED by zealots on all sides who wanted political power even his own disciples constantly earn his rebuke on this matter!!

“The notion that the leader of a popular messianic movement calling for the imposition of the “Kingdom of God”—a term that would have been understood by Jew and gentile alike as implying revolt against Rome—could have remained uninvolved in the revolutionary fervor that had gripped nearly every Jew in Judea is simply ridiculous.”

This is getting boring! What is ridiculous is that you seem to have missed the fact that his popular support drained away, and the mob turned against him when he FAILED to do what you just claimed he DID, namely attempt to “impose” a political kingdom that would free the Jews from Rome! Rather he told them the struggle was useless, Jerusalem was self-doomed and that HIS kingdom would not be “of this world”… or you can go on mixing up the characteristics of five different Messiahs until you have the mixture that fits your prejudices. You already admitted that only ONE gospel was written by anyone that was even alive, let alone a companion of Jesus, son of Mary, when all of this was supposed to have occurred.

Thus began the long process of transforming Jesus from a revolutionary Jewish nationalist into a peaceful spiritual leader with no interest in any earthly matter. That was a Jesus the Romans could accept, and in fact did accept three centuries later when the Roman emperor Flavius Theodosius (d. 395) made the itinerant Jewish preacher’s movement the official religion of the state, and what we now recognize as orthodox Christianity was born.”

Do you just make it up as you go? Rome was being torn apart by the conflict between a growing Christianity and the established pagan priesthoods; he saw the Christians’ zeal and growth. And he coldly chose the faction he thought would win anyway; the idea was for ROME to win back some stability in a conflict that looked about to tear the Empire to shreds.

It happens. I have dealt as many if not more ‘Evangelistas’ as I call them than you probably have. As for me, I would say that even more often it is the pseudo-devout who do what you seem to be doing; see people not of your own faith (which has an even more fogged origin and a founder virtually invisible for over a hundred years after he  is supposed to have lived. Islam is on at least as shakily grounded as Christianity when even Muslims cannot agree on who is and who is not a ‘real’ Muslim even within the Sunni and Shiite sects; all conflicting faith is “the enemy”, is competition.

You can read a million books and collect a hundred degrees I do not seeing you getting over the bar labeled “scholar and historian” until you can see the humble fallibility that ALL humans are subject to; unfortunately you seem to  have too little honor to refrain from bearing false witness against those who are not “of the body” if there is some thread of hope you might be “winning” converts by damaging your self-declared enemies’ common bonds with deceit, stratagems and bald-faced lies instead of debating in favor of a theology built from honesty and love. No, I am not saying that Christianity is that theology… True theology is mostly about what happens between ONE person and God; ALL organized religions are, at best, social clubs crossed with support groups; at worst they are the Taliban, the Inquisition, “peaceful Buddhist sects” warring against each other unto extinction… Are those the kind of “godly” compatriots, the brand of co-religionist you seek?

“If we expose the claims of the gospels to the heat of historical analysis, we can purge the scriptures of their literary and theological flourishes and forge a far more accurate picture of the Jesus of history. Indeed, if we commit to placing Jesus firmly within the social, religious, and political context of the era in which he lived—an era marked by the slow burn of a revolt against Rome that would forever transform the faith and practice of Judaism—then, in some ways, his biography writes itself.

The Jesus that is uncovered in the process may not be the Jesus we expect; he certainly will not be the Jesus that most modern Christians would recognize. But in the end, he is the only Jesus that we can access by historical means.
Everything else is a matter of faith.”

 And that was only the introduction?

Guy DeWhitney on Government by Heretics Crusaders

My ideal of government:
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.Guy DeWhitneys Heretics Crusade

Forget Faith in Jesus or Mohammad – I Believe in Bugs Bunny

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One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.

Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!

Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.

It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…

The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.

Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.

Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!

In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.

Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.

Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!

If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!

Calling Yourself Liberal and Religious won’t MAKE You a Good Person

PartyPlayFairDemo

Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:

First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…

Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.

Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind.  This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.

 Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity.  They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.

 They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came.  Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!

 In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!

 The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights.  Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.

This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means.  A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it.  Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries.  But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.

  In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”

But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”

 It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.

 Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.

Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).

 We all admit that Conservatism is designed to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.

 But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!

When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.

 Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.

 Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society  a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.

And…

Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!

 Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by “good” people?

The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.

Theocratic Reformation from Judaism to Islam – Christians 4: Jews 5: Muslims: 0

jesusgunnedOk, we can all agree that Pat Robertson was a dork of stellar magnitude, and the Phelps Family are supernovae in that particular area called theocracy.

 That said, before we submerge a crucifix in urine let’s give the Abrahamic tree a second look, and examine the fruit it has borne.

The Jews never had a drive to spread over the Earth. Their scriptures taught them that certain lands were given them by God; so they took them, enough said, this was 6,000 years ago after all. But after that they lost any territorial ambitions. But, the Persians and Romans proceeded to push them this way and that; being rather fanatical, they pushed back. After the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the Judean Diaspora the centuries have seen Judaism become a religion withdrawn into itself. Having lost the arrogance of the Temple but retained the Love of God and intellectual tradition they became a creative yeast in their host cultures.

gotjewsb

The Jews never expected to take over the world; at most they expected, and some maybe still expect that the world will join them. Not by the sword, but by the Love of God. One of the best aspects of the Jewish religion is its focus on the Love of God and a Love for God in each moment of a person’s life.

But along came Jayzus!

Things started out ok, Yesuah merely echoed and extended the teachings and philosophy of Hillel. It expanded organically and gently; converting mostly people otherwise considered “unworthy” of membership in one of the more respectable religions, then into the idle upper-class (often by way of religiously adventurous wives discontent with being the ornament on a rich man’s arm.

 But then Paul and Constantine came to deal the Judaic Chrestians, and then, later, the mild original “Greek”, a double death-blow of politicization.

St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

After several centuries of defending themselves from the fanatically imperialistic Islam Christianity began to model all sorts of the worst of the Islamic “innovations” in religion and took on an expansionist, aggressive attitude of its own.

But, it is inherent in a religion mostly based on the teachings of Jesus that every now and then people would remember what their religion was supposed to be about. Christianity may have done much more good during those periods than it did evil during its more cognitively-dissonant times.

Since the Enlightenment the swings of the pendulum between arrogant fanaticism on one hand, and humble servitude to God on the other seem to have gotten gentler. Christianity also seem centered more and more toward the liberal side of the equation; i.e. Fred Phelps, not Qaradawi.

Christianity may one day even manage to have more people who follow it for the right reasons than fools-in-lambs-clothing who use religion in unhealthy ways, or merely for social reasons.

Christianity has a core in its teachings and scripture that is there for all to see; one of Love. It today can be, and always has been, a potentially dangerous religion (I.e. Fred Phelps, Torquemada) but is not inherently so by the structure and teachings of its chief scriptures.

I do think that, despite the quantum jump that The Enlightenment enabled in society’s evolution, Christianity has shown a definite tendency to speed humanity’s growth due to the focus of many of the faithful being on Jesus’ ministry rather than the “died for your sins” part.

buddy_jesus

Now, about Islam.

tolerantislamIslam teaches much about peace and love. There are verses equal to any in the other Abrahamic writings. I will not comment here about those who feel it was the work of someone passingly familiar with both religions. But Pat Robertson did get one thing right; Islamic theology IS inherently aggressive.

The Islamic scriptures consist of three parts:

The Qur’an, the Sunnah –basically a biography of Mohammed’s life, and the ahadith – stories about Mohammed from people who knew him. If you read it all it is clear that there can only be peace when everyone has submitted to Allah.

Even the most fanatical religion tends to mellow over the years; people are basically families, people who want to live and work and laugh and have the space to find God before they die. Even individuals attracted to a “religious” life for evil reasons can be shocked to learn that Love of God and Love BY God can blossom in their hearts; that is the core of any religion.signe

Islam unfortunately is working uphill in the all so human battle against hubris while trying to find truth. But, by having such an aggressive set scriptures; by having so much to draw from that feeds the darker hungers of man, Islam will, I believe spend more time orbiting around radical aggression before submitting finally to that peace and love that is God, is Allah.

Islam is inherently dedicated by its self-declared scriptural doctrine to naturally one day  rule the world by TAKING control of it and forcing Dar al-Harb(‘House of War’) (Non-Muslim controlled regions) into Dar al-Islam(‘House of Islam); then all people will be free, in the Islamic view, to “choose” the “right” religion.

Sadly, it is not hard to justify all sorts of atrocities on infidels (non-Muslims) with the Qur’an; by contrast there are very few Samaritans or Philistines around for Jews or Christians to use their scripture as an excuse to start a pogrom against.

In Islam it does not matter that reformist Imams do not support something. In fact it is literally forbidden in Islam to use your ‘conscience’ as a guide in a religious dilemma; the only proper way to get an answer is to ask the proper authority, and then submit to the “truth.”

In Christianity, the violent books and verses are all somewhat shielded by being in the OT and considered to be superseded by the Love of Jesus when any conflict occurs. Islam does not have a NT to mellow its hard edges, though it does recognize the concept of abrogation (what a prophet says later is ‘rock’ to the ‘scissors’ of any earlier pronouncements or doctrines).

lil-kim-burqa

This makes “insulting” Islam dangerous at times in the modern world of high tech, and horrific weapons that you can make in your garage.

Solutions

butcherinnameofislamI mostly find it sad that the bulk of Muslims are not more vocal about denouncing their radical Brethren in both the private and the public arena. It is every person in the world’s duty to restrain the fundies of all aggressive religions until they grow up. Until a religion’s devout – highest clergy to clueless souls just born in it – recognize to their core’s that it is ok to DIE because of your religion but, that it is NEVER anything but evil to use religion as an excuse to KILL, that religion should be watched, and kept on a leash in polite company.

Islam has yet to show that it can stay grown up. They are younger though, lets give them time…but, keep the rolled up newspaper ready to smack their noses if they sh*t on the rug. We have too many permanent stains from Christianity and its messes; AND the Islam’s’ earlier messes. Of course Christianity STILL pees on the floor now and then. We just have to be patient and rub their noses PROMPTLY in their messes; but, we don’t have to worry about them eating the neighbor’s cat anymore.

I am not too PC to call a club a club (well, I can’t say spade anymore can I?); religion can be very wonderful but, people need to get over their BS and realize that the basic code of ethics that most religions have can also be formulated by simple common sense and an understanding of psychology and social dynamics. Go read a little about Neuro-Linguistic Programming and such. Real secular morality is what the world needs, not the Fascist pretend kind, only then can religion truly flourish; when we get over all this bickering on who is actually the only ones in touch with the “ONLY source of Morality™”; which they cannot even prove exists.

Faith is the problem; submission to something you do not feel yourself is the problem. Beliefs have reasons, sometimes bad ones but, reasons that can be ‘reasoned with’; faith has no reason therefore the most reasonable argument does no good, your head still rolls on the floor.

Have faith in Jesus of Mohammed; I will Believe in Bugs Bunny!bugslastsupper1

CNN Cheers on Hamas as They Make Their Own Children Bleed!

We All Saved! CNN has put out a FAQ on Hamas and Israel and their conflict! World Peace is IMMANENT!

Problem:

That FAQ was actually almost MOSTLY objective; but boy is that ‘mostly’ a big one!

Did you notice Virginia, that the author left out the fact that after Hamas won enough of the Gazan elections to control the Strip they violently and illegally ejected all non-Hamas persons of authority from their positions and made Gaza a virtually independent HAMAS territory; while the West Bank remains controlled by a somewhat pseudo-democratic mix of Fatah and Hamas and others?

Their violent conversion of political dominance into dictatorial control in Gaza puts a very different spin on a lot of things that have happened since then!

The author might as well put on a sweater declaring “Hamas, Hamas! RAH! RAH! RAH!”

The tone of the language used about the Palestinians is very neutral, objective and non-judgmental while the language used to describe the actions of Israelis is full of prejudice and filtered through a bigoted lens.

Some Examples

Four years after the last major conflict in the region, Israel and Hamas are once again on the brink of war in Gaza. So what is the group, and what does it hope to achieve by its rocket attacks on Israeli targets?

A psychologist might find it amusing to note that usually, when insider describes something like their political, criminal, or terrorist group for the most part they refer to them with terms like “the group” rather than the more formal names used by outsiders such as “the Catholics” or “the Smith’s” or “the Bronco’s.

Terms like “the Church, “the family” or “the team” are reserved (mostly) for group’s with which the speaker likely self-identifies. Yet here Hamas is referred to as “the group.” It is as though a member of a new Christian cult explaining to you what “the group” was about as opposed to someone telling you about “the Moonies” –  a term that a non-Moonie would use to explain “that group” as opposed to “The Group“; just saying.

After failing to mention any of Hamas’ more ‘unsavory’ activities in the years since its founding the author goes on to say:

Hamas’s refusal to recognize the state of Israel is one reason why it’s been excluded from peace talks. In 1993…

Then it never mentions the bombings, rocket attacks, and relentless television propagandizing on the Palestinian people by Fatah and Hamas; the “FAQ” even fails to notice the recent Palestinian government dedication of a public square in celebration of the mother of several suicide bombers. A woman who expressed the wish that all of her sons would die killing as many Israeli civilians as possible; that occurred in the “moderate: West Bank

Later on we have this gem, remember Virginia that virtually all of the Muslims you see on TV declare that ‘Jihad’ and ‘Holy War’ are not at all the same thing!

However, the founding charter of Hamas, published in 1988, called for jihad, or holy war, and marked a decisive split with the Muslim Brotherhood’s philosophy of nonviolence.

After the FAQ gives paragraph after paragraph of “facts” simply stated regarding Hamas’ actions (All reported in the most neutral tones, whether good or heinous but focused almost solely on the positive) we get this kind of tone about the Israelis:

Israel also accuses Hamas of using civilians in Gaza as a “human shield,” and the territory’s schools and hospitals as a cover for military hardware…”They bury their military infrastructure inside civilian areas,””

Given that everything in the sentence above is an established fact about the tactics Hamas uses regarding civilians, hospitals and children it is hard to understand the sudden change in tone from the Hamas description earlier in the ‘FAQ‘:

Hamas has sections dedicated to religious, military, political and security activities. It runs a social welfare program, and operates a number of schools, hospitals and religious institutions. It also has about 12,500 security personnel.

The FAQ reads like it was written half by an actual moderate seeking to explain facts on the ground and half by an actual member of Hamas; then some utterly clueless CNN suit chose which to include in the limited of space they had for this piece; this FAQ explains nothing but the need for people to go out and look at information for themselves to decided who did what to whom in each case.

GO ISRAEL!

 

Who is Right vs. What is Right: Finding Solutions Instead of Being Part of the Problem

Heretics Crusade by Guy DeWhitney

I actually see a sea change happening in the West regarding Islamic aggressions. It will most certainly still be a long and twisted road but, I do think that it is inevitable that the Western ways will prevail.

The total flip-flop of governmental concerns regarding potential violence from Islam and Christianity in the eyes of the law is utterly insane. It only makes sense to formulate an objective, constitutionally sound, policy/strategy for identifying and dealing with all ideologically driven extremist groups that might pose a threat to anyone’s life, limb or property.

Unless we wish to dispose of the First Amendment we must always forbid to the government the ability to say “This is a real religion but, that one is false” or we will quickly find that one denomination/trend in theology has become dominant. I for one would rather keep my freedoms, even if it is a harder road.

The best test I have ever seen for identifying worrisome religious groups is

‘THE Advanced ISAAC BONEWITS’ CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME’

I have edited it a bit for space and clarity…

In order to utilize the frame, assign each item a value from 1 to 10 points, with 1 being “Low” and 10 being “High“. Religions with total scores towards the high end of the scale are more than likely un-healthy groups for anyone.

1. Internal Control:
Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members.

2. External Control:
Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior.

3. Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s):
Amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations;…

4. Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members:
Amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts.

5. Dogma:
Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” …

6. Recruiting:
Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones.

7. Front Groups:
Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden.

8. Wealth:
Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members.

9. Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s):
Amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners.

10. Sexual Favoritism:
Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s).

11. Censorship:
Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).

12. Isolation:
Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers.

13. Dropout Control:
Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.

14.Violence:
Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s).

15. Paranoia:
Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories.

16. Grimness:
Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

17. Surrender of Will:
Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

18. Hypocrisy:
amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain.

From the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (or ABCDEF) v2.6 © 1979, 2001 by Isaac Bonewits

As near as I can tell, with the most generous of judgment possible, normative Islam. scores 140!

With an objective test such as this it is possible for law enforcement to merely point to a high score when asked about why a certain religious community is being monitored for actual criminal activity; it worked it Ireland, the key is to enforce it strictly and enforce it strictly across the board!

http://hereticscrusade.com
Ideas instead of Ideologies!