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

hearnoevilislamist10

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

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

If this Koran gets burnt it could only be because – You Made Me Do It!

…Mohammad, the pedophile warlord with submissive and transvestite tendencies, met up with Jesus, the gay, black, communist right-man-in-the-wrong-place to engage in illicit sex with unclean animals… I pause here to look around; no-one seems to be bleeding, nothing seems to be burning, nobody’s pocket has been picked nor has their leg been broken; all that happened was that I wrote a sophomoric and idiotic series of statements about two religious figures, neither of whom has sent me any kind of complaint for my actions. My question to the blasphemy law proponents is this: What is WRONG with you guys?

 Human religious history reads like the development of a self-aware and , mostly, responsible young adult from a completely ignorant and self-centered infant. It is a story of tribes of humanity moving from stage to stage in our comprehension of just WHAT reality IS and WHO the hell WE are, and how do we relate to all the rest of it. IT is a story full of amazing examples of how primitive peoples can have grasped truths while too ignorant to even know why what they have written can still be said, even by science to be, on some level at least, true. We have also seen horrific examples of human wishes for things to be the “way they are SUPPOSED to be” ignoring all trace of the voice of God from within and causing misery upon misery in the name of “the Love of God“; it’s been a long, strange trip indeed.

In normal times and places people would describe me as a bit of a character and definitely of liberal views.In the areas of racial equality, sexual equality and the freedom of speech and religion I have always been on the quote ‘Liberal’ side of things. But as for the extremes of the leaders and their sheep – don’t put their words in my mouth, I am quite capable of putting my own foot there should the occasion arise!

My response to the latest assault on free speech by so-called Muslim people who have never had it, are uninterested in understanding it (which culd be said as equally about them regarding Islam as about free speech (religion for humans is supposed to be like the Pirate Code, less a set of rules than… guidlines) is simple. Let me wipe my feet on this book that used to be a Qur’an until you defiled it with your idolatry and then toss it on the fire to toast my kosher hot dogs.

Normally I would have no reason on the Earth to think of doing such a thing; it is the Islamist rioter’s idolatry that demands it to remind them that Allah has proscribed treating anything as though it is “the same” as Allah. To the beloved of God (Allah by your calling) it is not your holy book I spurn here, I “offend” against a stack of paper made trash by the actions of men who call themselves your fellow Muslims.

I have a policy of always being polite, except to those who demand it. The people who are easily offended and use their offense as a means to control others are usually the ones most in need of being “offended“, that they might have a chance to grow up and control their inner two year old. Especially since those are inner two-year old adults capable of building, and using, all sorts of weapons in order to “get their way“!

The Islamst rioters around the world are behaving like pre-Reformation Christians did but, without the built-in “leash” of Christianity’s  central text, narrative and central figure being all about love, peace and the humility and brotherhood of all humans before God… and about staying OUT of the unholy games of money and politics. Instead Islam has allowed itself to replace any feeling of human love and justice with the simple formula that what is commanded by Allah is mandatory if you wish to avoid committing a crime against God at the same time anything that is seen by the authoritative scholars (all long dead) to have be forbidden by the Islamic texts is forbidden. It is forbidden at any time, in any place and regardless of the humanly defined “moral” situation – unless, in some branches of Islam, the forbidden thing is done with a sincere desire in the heart of the otherwise, sinning Muslim to promote or protect Islam, Allah or the name of Mohammad. This holy principal was used to great effect by the atheistic Communists for their redefinition of the meaning of Pravda (truth) to “that which promotes the world Communist revolution.”

Islam is a rather un-unique religion in that it has been its heretics who have ‘enlightened‘ Islam over the course of the years, while Islamic fundamentalism has only acted to destroy the unity and harmony of societies of humans with differeing views in favor of primitive superstitions about God that have been abandoned long ago by virtually the rest of the religious world, barring a cult here and there.

My opinion? The only true prophet is the voice of God in your own heart; how well you are listeing in your life shows in your life and in your fruits. Not because you are “rewarded:” for “obedience” but because your understanding from God changes you into someone who does not need to ask what is right and what is wrong when they know the facts, it comes from within, not from the memory of a priest or Imam’s sermon.

Oh, Virginia, you will like this bit; In the pre-70 CE Judaism you would have still found a tendency toward the same sort of Shari’ah type system that the modern Islamsts seem to be clamouring for; but by 70 CE that tendency had already mellowed considerably; to the point where Pilate chided the Sadducee dominated alternate Sanhedrin for being lax in the enforcement in their world-famously harsh code of law. The Jews, LIke the Christians later and the Muslims soon (we all hope),  had mellowed over 4 thousand years or so as gloss after gloss, commentary after commentary and, yes, interpolation and insertion after interpolation and insertion changed their tribal superstition into a reflection of the shape of God within us all; they followed the trail of their central tenet: God IS Love/Love of God is All.

It started with Abraham and his using a wonderfully bald-faced baloney about rams and bushes and the ‘Voice of God ™‘ to explain his realization that to kill his son HOPING it MIGHT please God was simply not a ‘Godly‘ thing to do; but as he supposedly smashed the idols of his father’s shop, not because they were “evil things” but because they had come to be seen by the people as BEING the Gods instead of merely being a focus for a person’s attention on Godly thoughts. Idolatry is to act as though an idol IS a God in all ways. Surely it is a small step from there to see that this attitude obliterates the view of GOD from the “idolator’s” path? The Jews, the first ‘Judaic‘ Christians, Protestants (what do you think one of the main things they were ‘protesting‘ was?) Christians all have no argument with the basic idea that to place too much reverence in an image of a person (even Jesus) is ‘religiously-unhealthy’. At the same time all of these religions and sects have engaged in idolatry freely on one level or another, time after time.

In fundamentalist Islam we see a completely theocratic and intolerant, indeed by any other World Religion’s standard’s, a primitive tribal faith; structured not around a seaking of the Will of God but instead based around an almost pathological defense of Islam’s freedom from every other human religions’ burden: to constantly question and test its own faiths; to SHUT UP long enough for the small voice of God within us to tell their clergy what is faithful to the God of their worship, the one of their soul instead of the one that only lives in their scripture, and what is only their human failing to be more true to their own selfish desire than to what is right!

However, it is not all bad Virginia, all religions have the strength, as well as the weakness, of being the product of the human mind and soul; science has found that truth is not a possession you can keep to yourself, anyone with a sincere heart and mind can find it if they search with passion and humility.

It is all about how we use it. One of my earliest quibbles with the Christian Bible regarded the notion that a so called ‘perfect being’ was even capable of making a “wrong” choice (unless they were error about their actual data and the very trustworthyness of the source of that data; since Adam and Eve are also described as totally ‘innocent’ this would mean that they lacked all capacity for what we would call judgement and unable to label anything as “willfull mis-information provided by a source not sanctioned by authority as trustwrothy or untrustworthy.” Eve simply accepted the Serpent’s correction of Adam’s recollection of God’s warning, Adam could not judge between the two data sets and was going to fall back on procedure; why would a ‘perfect being’ of human intelligence accept the authority of the Serpent unless it were through mere ignorance that ANY voiced being that spoke to them might fail to speak the truth. It follows that God had either not warned them about the Serpent’s influence or, that they were at that time already “imperfect“. Either way I failed to see how they could have been ‘guilty‘ of anything!

What is the meaning of perfect if a perfect being cannot see that she should not be arguing the side of some random critter with a voice that has been hanging around, regardless of whether or not God had specificallly told her not to trust it; and a ‘perfect‘ Adam would know better than to let his mate’s opinion be the deciding factor when he himself rememberered God’s warnings; it should be noted though that God lied about the effects of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil since as the rest of the text makes clear that it is the SERPENT’s version that actually occurs (or is feared to be about to occur) by… but, oh my… this is another article in itself. It seems that it seems that the effect of Adam and Eve eating not only the Fruit of Knowlege of Good and Evil but also the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, by which Holy Combo-Smoothie they might live forever and Be As “WE” Are.

The point is that the God portrayed in the earliest parts of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions is either a liar or, far from the omnipotent, oniscient, omnibenevolent being humans conceived of 2,000 years ago; nor the individualized “entity” called the “creator” of the universe Who is also immanent and omnipresent that most faiths ascribe so form of to the word “Deity” today. The worst news though is for non-Monist religions: Quantum physics points to proof that All is One. Yes Virginia, people in white coats with huge intelects and no social lives have proven in repeatable experiments that …

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together“! – John Lennon

The nature of time as well defeats those who see God, or Allah or whomever as ‘outside‘ the universe; affecting but unaffected, indeed the very source of effect. If this were so then they would be unable to intervene, change, react or in anyway interact with their created universe for its entire internal “existence.” A God that is within the universe is therefore of the universe and so, if you believe in a God the can relate to you in any way then in the universe you belive in all that is, is inextricably part of God!

When you start to let this all sink in the very ideas of “blasphemy” or “heresy” become ludicrsrous. It hardly takes the wise observation of the ancients that if the Gods exist then it is for Them to decide what is blasphemy, and what fails to make the grade; it is also traditional in such religion’s for the Deity to identify the guilty, and to assign their punishement/retribution. It certainly is not the usual scriptural practice for it to to be the job of any random fool who calls themselves “faithful” to make God responsible for the “working out” of said un-annointed human being’s most personal, and often twisted, inner “issues” in the guise of “protecting” God’s honor!

If my actions offend God then I am sure that God will be fully capable of making my own life, and after-life, conform to God’s, not my own, idea of ‘justice’; anyone else can stay out of my face unless I get up in their’s!

If your relationship with God is threatened by someone else not holding your faith then you have no relationship with God, or Allah, or anything, you have put God in a box and attempted to control your Deity like a pair of shoes. If you think that God (or Allah) is somehow harmed by my words or actions, or that my words or actions could hinder God’s (or Allah’s) plan for humanity and the Earth one jot or tittle (biblical language: sorry but, confidentially Virginia, I am hoping it addds a sage-like air to this piece that might even survive my irreverent sarcasm) then it is they who are the ones commiting blasphemy by putting their own judgement before their Lord’s will for each moment of Creation!

Causing harm to property, people and livelighoods because you think Allah (or God), or Marx for that matter, is hurt and wants you to act like a spoiled two-year old with a machinegun is not a return to fundamentalism, nor is it an expression of the radical fringe of a religion. It is nothing more or less than a social/cultural version of having a disease like rabies in the family dogs.

When are the civilized Muslims in America and around the world going to stop waiting for a new scripture  (forbidden by Islam for anyone ever to write and that most Muslims do not even want) to come along and reform the social diseases within their religion and do it themselves? Can we be sure they want to? If they did then the Ahmadiyya, Sihk and Ba’hai would be thriving and growing faiths all across the Muslim world. In the real world all of them are subject to persecutions and pogroms in many Muslim nations, and are attacked secpond only to Jews by Muslims in the West (Christian are attacked too, just not as frequently or consistently).

A book is a book; holy books should be treated with great respect but, reacting with ANY kind of retaliation on the part of God blashphemes against any ‘holiness‘ you felt the book held if you take that path. If I burn a Qur’an or put dung on a Crucifix or use a statuue of Kali as a coatrack it will be because I used an object in a maner I saw fit that harmed no-one; in I say things about your God or Allah or Mohammed or Jesus or Hitler or any other deity that yo do not like then yo take that rage and give it to God, or Allah etc… You stole it from them to begin with, it is only fitting that you give it back and get on with demonstrating the positive aspects of yor fiaith to those, we might assume, you as a faithful son or daughter of whom you bloody well hope to CHOOSE to change to join your faith.

…so, as I was saying Mohammed and Jesus got out of the third bathhouse and met up with Rama and a few Clears. But I am telling you, the party didn’t get rolling until Lucifer started doing card tricks by pulling puppies out of Mohammed’s houri’s… umm, Virginia, isn’t it past your bed time?

If You are Not Playing Fair, God is Not on Your Side; Clergy are Not Excused from Honesty

hypocrite_fish

Today we have two examples, one from the Left and one from the Right, of people making blatantly self-serving attacks on their political opponents while attempting to cloak themselves in the sanctity of God.  This is partisanship at its most nauseating.

buddy_jesus

First let us examine the Leftist “religious” viewpoint:

Liberal Christians Give LESS to the Poor; Naturally We Must Expose The Conservative Reasons for Not Giving Enough! …HUNH?

I have often said that partisanship can make people believe anything about ANYTHING.  Here is a good example of someone so needy for rotten fruit to huck at his opponents that he “condemns” them for… what amounts to being BETTER at something than his own side!!!  To make matters worse he all but lies to do so, distorting basic facts and mixing and matching demographics at will to support his demonization of a group that has shown itself well able to expose its own demons; Conservative Christianity)  I just want to ask him one thing, who gored YOUR ox?

Richard T. Hughes

Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians — people who clearly honor the Bible — so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor?”

From the start this piece is off track, as Jesus preached to individuals and taught PEOPLE how He wanted them to live. He did not preach to nations or governments, He never left precepts for RULING a society.  The author actually seems to have bought into the heresy of the far-Right, Christian Identity folks; “Godly” society must be established BEFORE Jesus can return.

“Why Focus on “Conservative Christians”?

Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through “generosity” toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures — what the Bible calls “the principalities and powers — that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.”

Really? In my reality Jesus called for individuals to turn away from political structures and just GET ON WITH IT and feed the poor and live THEIR lives as their conscience commanded.   In fact He had harsh words for those who felt they could legislate morality into their “flock”!  He further advised in no uncertain terms that civil rebellion was NOT his way.

I also love the way the author dismisses out of hand the notion that actual ACTION to help REAL poor people, as opposed to working to create a government to force everyone to care for them, is somehow a lesser expression of Christian charity and Love.  You just Gotta love group-think Virginia!

“…Further, to claim (GDeW: You said before that it was correct, but now you call it a claim?) that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with.”

Are you following this Virginia? Conservative Christian give more to the poor but since neither Leftist nor Conservative Christians do enough in the author’s eyes, it is the CONSERVATIVES that must be brought to task…umm, yes, it is a bit silly. Lets see if our dear Mr. Hughes can pull it out at the end.

“It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another.”

I was unaware of the fact that it called for them to ignore their own faults and attack the other! You seem to be of a different opinion Mr. Hughes.

“Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus’ picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board — liberals and conservatives alike — fall woefully short.”

As a student of history I am well aware that pretty much all Christians of this day and age fall short of what the fist generation of “Chrestians” recognized as their own brethren.  That said, I do not know of any major branch, original or modern, that promotes the idea of Jesus’ preaching that you must work for a GOVERNMENT to be formed in the image of the Jewish vision of a Messiah Ruled Society before a person could be considered a follower of His.

“Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision.”

Given that your vision is one that you made up instead of finding it in the words of Jesus, I would say that it is just so you can use God as a weapon in your ongoing partisan attacks against your fellow Christians.

“First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are “Bible-believing Christians” who take the Bible seriously at every point.”

The passage above is a great example of a man so eager to demonize the opposition he does not even realize he is insulting his own side!  He is trying to hard not to “look mean” by calling Biblical Literalists byname that he implies that Liberal Christians do not believe the Bible seriously AT ALL.  Kinda makes you wonder why they would BE Christians if Hughes has them pegged rightly, doesn’t it?  Somehow I think that the average “Liberal” Christian deserves a bit more respect than that!

“ It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text — the biblical vision of the kingdom.”

First off,it is a central Biblical theme that you do not stand hypocritically on the Temple steps and denounce the sins of others before you have examined your own!  And you certainly do not do it by putting words in the mouth of the central figure of your supposed religion that support your political goals!

“The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists — those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others — who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world’s elites — themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.”

One wonders why Hughes doesn’t just do a piece on how televangelism corrupts preachers, given that he only lists the most controversial if not heretical of a class that polls have revealed to have about the same level of trustworthiness in the public eye as lawyers!  And even with that vetting for nuttiness I would bet that if you actually read their sermons you would find examples of these things; if you ignore Mr. Hughes’ fantasy about Jesus requiring His followers to build Socialist government institutions.

“To the contrary, these preachers have often gone out of their way to support the principalities and powers that oppress marginalized people. Various televangelists at various times, for example, have told the American people that God has chosen the United States for a destiny of dominance in the world, that Jesus’ followers should prosper and never be poor, and that Christians should rally to support America’s wars against the enemies of God. In a word, most televangelists of the Christian Right have preached a gospel that is radically antithetical to the biblical text, and by proclaiming this pseudo-gospel, they have discredited the Christian religion almost beyond belief. It is surely time to measure their preaching by the biblical vision of the kingdom of God!”

Am I confused Virginia, or did we start off this piece talking about how Conservative Christians giving more to poor folks really meant Liberal Christian were the cool ones? How did we get onto Televangelists? Many Televangelists are bad preachers = All Conservative Christians are failing their duty to God? Somehow, I do not think Mr. Hughes passed Logic 101.

“The Kingdom of God and the Common Good

… The kingdom of God is universal and those who promote that kingdom care deeply for every human being in every corner of the globe, regardless of race or nationality. But earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — embrace values that are inevitably nationalistic and tribal, caring especially for the welfare of those within their borders. And while the kingdom of God exalts the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, earthly nations inevitably exalt the rich and powerful and hold them up as models to be emulated. In fact, in the context of earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — the poor seldom count for much at all.”

Which is probably why Jesus preached to people and not governments!!!  So intent on his political goal is he that even while describing it, Hughes misses the point of Not Of This World!

“In light of that comparison, it must be obvious that when I speak of the common good, I don’t have in mind the American dream of a chicken in every pot or three cars in every garage or the American notion that freedom ultimately means freedom to shop. In fact, I don’t have in mind anything uniquely American at all. Instead, when I speak of the common good, I have in mind what the Bible envisions for all humankind — life and not death. But when the principalities and powers define the common good, they typically mean the good life for some, and the good life for some invariably means poverty, hunger, nakedness, and finally death for all the others.”

And this is probably why the Bible envisions this perfect society needing DIRECT INTERVENTION by God to come about AFTER we have messed it all up for the last time (not MY view, but the Bible’s), not Mr. Hughes and his buddies legislating their version of “morality” upon everyone.

“One final introductory comment: several who commented on the first article also questioned the accuracy of my claim that the biblical vision of the kingdom of God is really all that central to the biblical text or, for that matter, to what Christians call “the gospel.” But the Christian gospel always has two central components — the unmerited grace that God extends to us and, in response, the unmerited grace that we should extend to others. I John makes this point as well as any other biblical text: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I Jn. 3:16) That is as clear a picture of the kingdom of God as one is likely to find.”

It is simply astonishing to see someone hold up a black book and declare it to obviously be white!  It is just sad when that person does it for personal glorification and to put down their opponents. It is simply disgusting when that person does it using God.

Where, Mr. Hughes, does the Bible tell us to legislate that grace so our neighbor is forced to dispense it in exactly the measure WE define as acceptable?  Pardon me while I go get reacquainted with my breakfast.  The fact that all that poison was just “introductory” to your “point” put my stomach over the top.

beat1 

Now let us move on to the Right-Wing side of the Pew and see how a “conservative Christian” shows his love by lying and distorting everything he can in order to “Save” his sheep:

Traditional Values Coalition Opinion Editorial For publication on or after Wednesday, October 31, 2001

New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Expose Homosexual Lies

By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

… This legislation begins with this somber comment: “The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”

This introduction to S. 625 is filled with lies and half-truths about the nature of hate crimes in America-yet this bill is being seriously debated-despite the facts. The recently released FBI hate crime statistics for 2000 shed new light on what Ted Kennedy alleges is a “serious national problem.””

And now Rev. Sheldon will put his own lies and half-truths on the table as a counter-balance!

“Most Americans are tolerant and compassionate individuals who do not wish anyone to be harmed. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have exploited this compassion in the promotion of the idea of “hate crime” legislation. A “hate crime” law typically includes enhanced penalties against an individual for his negative thoughts when he committed a crime against a person who is part of a protected class. For example, a common thug who mugs a lesbian for her purse will receive a higher penalty for his anti-homosexual thoughts or motivations than if he had mugged a woman simply for her money.”

I have my doubts about many, if not most, hate crime laws, however lying about them does not help! Claiming the label Reverend and then proceeding to lie is “just not done”!

A hate crime law does not criminalize the thoughts of the thug who HAPPENS to mug someone who is a lesbian, they only apply if the lesbian is attacked BECAUSE she is a lesbian. If a person mugs two women, one of whom is openly lesbian, and then verbally insults that woman for being gay and kicks her in the face, all the while not harming the “straight” lady, they HAVE committed a hate crime in addition to the “regular” crime.  I fail to see that the basic idea of making crimes that are committed ONLY because of prejudice a special class is wrong.

“Homosexuals have been successful in getting many states and communities to add “sexual orientation” as a protected category under hate crime laws. This creates what amounts to “thought crimes” and unequal justice under the law for those not given protected class status.”

I can’t see why, if you are gong to have a hate crime law, why ANY definable grouping should not be included.  The whole idea of “hate crime”is of a crime that WOULD NOT HAPPEN if the criminal did not see the victim as “acceptable to attack” because of their race,religion, politics, sexuality or WHATEVER. IF someone attacked and beat someone for being a street mime it should be classed a hate crime.  “Normal” crime is impersonal,it is about transferring money or property from one who has it to one who wants it but, hasn’t earned it.  Committing a crime not for financial gain, but solely to satisfy an inner need to dehumanize ANYONE, is what the hate crime ideology is all about at its core.

“The FBI’s newly released hate crime statistics should be welcomed news to homosexuals. The latest hate crime numbers have been posted on the FBI’s web site. …The FBI hate crime statistics show the following: In 2000, there were a total of 8,152 hate crimes reported involving a total of 9,524 distinct incidents. Out of a total of 8,144 single-bias incidents, for example, 5,206 were racially motivated and 1,568 were bias crimes against a person’s religion.

The FBI says the most common hate crime was that of “intimidation” with a total of 3,294 cases. A person who was “intimidated” was a victim of profanity, racial slurs, or verbal threats by another individual. In short, a third of these hate crimes were non-violent and amounted to name-calling.”

One wonders  if the good reverend has ever been seriously harassed or taunted or threatened in his life! He blithely dismisses as mere name calling things as serious as multiple, physically aggressive and verbally hateful people trailing someone down the street telling them in graphic terms just what they plan to do to that person, their family and anyone who is close to them…Remember, these statistics only refer to those verbal acts that were considered by the FBI to be CRIMES!

Virginia, what do you think of a reverend who thinks that a truck load of rednecks trailing a black schoolgirl and taunting her with rape and assault on her family is “name calling”? Good girl, I can’t fault your instincts. But, you should not use language like that in public. Ladies have better use of their vocabulary than that!  To be fair it should be noted that he also probably considers 15 Muslim youths chasing and screaming threats at a Jewish kid half their size to also be “name calling.” The Rev. only promotes Equal Opportunity Callousness I am sure!

“…Overall, there were only 1,517 hate crimes of bias committed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation in 2000. It is likely that at least a third of these were intimidation or name-calling. The FBI gathered these statistics from 11,691 law enforcement agencies encompassing a total of 237 million Americans-or 84.2% of the entire population.”

Here is a good example of how partisans use statistics dishonestly.  The number 1,517 is called “only’ and then several much larger,but irrelevant, numbers are listed to further diminish it in the reader’s mind. The good Rev obviously does not expect his audience to stop and THINK about the numbers he has revealed to be a veritable gospel for American homosexuals.

1,517 out of 8,144 means that more or less one out of every five incidents of ”single bias” against ANYONE was about that person’s sexual orientation!  Almost TWENTY PERCENT!  And this is measured against all the bias incidents against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, men, old folks, young folks, Republicans, Democrats and whatever other groups you care to name!!!  TWENTY PERCENT of this type of crime is committed against gays?  And the Rev feels that gays should rejoice in this “Good News”?

“No compassionate American is in favor of someone being verbally or physically assaulted because of his sexual preferences, but neither should we be subjected to thought crime legislation that provides special legal protections to homosexuals not accorded other Americans. Criminalizing a person’s views on sexual behavior should not be a matter of federal law.”

I agree that EVERYONE should have protection against bias motivated crime. But, this does not give the morally-ambiguous Reverend the right to lie and say that criminalizing bias-based ACTIONS (that in themselves are criminal) is criminalizing a person’s VIEWS!!!

“Out of 11.6 million crimes committed against persons and property in 2000, only 1,517 were hate crimes directed at homosexuals-and a third of these were undoubtedly name-calling. This should be good news to homosexual activists, but it undercuts one of their primary objectives: The passage of federal hate crime legislation that will add homosexual behavior as a protected class status under federal civil rights laws.”

I guess that it is possible to admire the economy or language in the above passage, it is impossible to find morality in it. First the Rev pulls the TOTAL person and property crime number out (not the much smaller, but RELEVENT, single-bias number) and compares it to 1,517, next he applies his “name calling” dismissal to further reduce the importance of that number. Finally, he slaps homosexuals in the face by calling this number good news and uses the sum of his hypocrisy to “prove” that the numbers “undermine” the need for hate crime laws, ESPECIALLY regarding homosexuals!  Tums anyone?

“…The FBI’s recent statistics showing how few hate crimes were committed against homosexuals in 2000 are irritations that will undoubtedly be ignored by activists. The truth has undercut their claims of an epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals, but that won’t stop them from attempting to gain special rights under federal law for their preferred sexual behavior.”

I guess the Rev follows the old “Big Lie” theory; tell it with a straight enough face and tell it often enough, and people will believe ANY nonsense!  Notice how he tosses in the gibe implying that gays CHOOSE to be as they are!

Left or Right, it does not really matter. Those who seek power for power’s sake will show themselves as morally empty,no matter what “God” they claim to follow.

 

Christian Riots in Europe

Christians Outraged by Jesus Made out of Lego

April 12 (Associated Reuters) — Christians took to the streets all across Scandinavia today to protest the unveiling of a statue of Jesus made entirely out of Lego blocks.

Gangs of rioting youths threw paving stones and bottles, broke shop windows, set cars on fire, burned Israeli flags, and chased hapless Jews down side streets.

One angry demonstrator, dressed in an “I (heart) Jesus” T-shirt and wearing a cross around his neck, told reporters that Christianophobia must not be tolerated. “They can’t insult our Savior this way! There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, and we will not sit idly by while our Messiah is dishonored!”

He added, “I believe in free speech, but there are limits.”

The Swedish government assured the Christian community that the perpetrators of this cowardly act would be found swiftly and brought to justice.

Read it all by clicking on the title

Limbaugh’s Unrighteous Hold on Christian Right

(HH here: this article saves me the time of writing it. All I have to add is “What he said…”)

From the Washington Post
By Robert Parham | March 11, 2009; 11:19 AM ET

Rush Limbaugh told what he thought was a joke to a cheering crowd at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists and politicians. In his rambling remarks televised on FOX News, Limbaugh said that when Larry King died, he went to heaven and was met at the gates by Saint Peter. King’s one question was: “Is Rush Limbaugh here?”
“‘No, he’s got a lot of time yet, Mr. King,'” said Limbaugh, pretending to be Peter.
“So Saint Peter begins the tour,” said Limbaugh. “Larry King sees the various places and it’s beyond anything we can imagine in terms of beauty. Finally, he gets to the biggest room of all, with this giant throne. And over the throne is a flashing beautiful angelic neon sign that says, ‘Rush Limbaugh.'”
The audience laughed.
Limbaugh said, “And Larry King looks at Saint Peter and says, ‘I thought you said he wasn’t here.’ He said, ‘He’s not, he’s not. This is God’s room. He just thinks he’s Rush Limbaugh,'” said Limbaugh.The crowd erupted with laughter, applause and hoots. Conservatives thought it was hilarious that God would envy the rival deity named Rush Limbaugh. Not a boo, not a hiss, not a grumble was heard from the crowd.

While CPAC was a secular event, it was an event sponsored, supported and attended by Christian Right organizations and leaders. The CPAC program listed as co-sponsors: Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council and Liberty University’s law school. Exhibitors included the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Council and Regent University’s Robertson School of Government. Focus on the Family held a reception for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

No doubt, a lot of conservative Christians were in the room. Days later, no Christian Right leader has objected to Limbaugh’s claim to be bigger than God, a claim similar to what John Lennon said in 1966.
When Lennon said, “We’re more popular than Jesus,” Bible-belt Christians roared with anger. They burned Beatles records, banned Beatles songs on the radio and boycotted Beatles concerts. They tolerated no rival claims to the messiah. When Limbaugh uttered a parallel claim, those who see Christianity under attack offered no response. No cry of cultural hostility toward religion was heard. No demand for an apology boomed from pulpits. No boycott was launched.
Why is that?
Why is it that the Christian Right reacted with such reverence to a man who, through thinly disguised humor, disclosed his prideful self-perception and espoused a worldview that counters the biblical witness? Are they afraid of Limbaugh? Are they afraid of his followers who pack their pews?

What explains the fact that Limbaugh can speak untruthfully, and yet he goes unchallenged by conservative Christians? He certainly spoke untruthfully at CPAC when he said that conservatives did not see other people with contempt. Yet he exhibited contempt in his comments about Senators Harry Reid and John Kerry.
When Limbaugh asserted that President Obama “portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night,” that he wants to destroy the United States and that he was fueling “class envy,” his untruthfulness went unchallenged. Limbaugh claimed, “We don’t hate anybody.” Yet he proceeded to speak hatefully about Obama, defending his statement that he hoped Obama failed, which was hardly endearing speech.
If truth telling isn’t a conservative value, what about unbridled greed? Is greed a Christian concern? Limbaugh defended greed. He defended the conspicuous consumption and the corporate mismanagement of Merrill Lynch’s former CEO John Thain as a way to defend capitalism.

Limbaugh asserted the primacy of excessive individualism. Again and again, he preached a radical individualism–the rights of the individual are transcendent. Never did he advocate sacrifice for another or urge his audience to avoid the pursuit of one’s rights for the well-being of others.

Limbaugh’s agenda had no room for the parable of the Good Samaritan, perhaps no longer a valued Christian narrative. Is Rush Limbaugh’s agenda in sync with the moral values and vision of conservative Christians?

Given the thunderous silence of Christian Right leaders about Limbaugh’s worldview, one wonders if talk radio’s man of excessive individualism and political extremism has replaced the biblical witness as a moral compass.

Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.

God Hates Holland


(Head Heretic: So, I am reading my email yesterday and some person of limited experience pops off with this quote in response to my assertion that every religion, including Christianity coould and would attract a certain percentage of nutcases. Just like any ideology can and will. I mentioned the 700 club as a good place to get a look at the mentalist of the Christian supremacist in the warm and fuzzy mode. What was this genius of history’s response?

Emphasis mine:
“I watch the 700 club all the time. There is nothing totalitarian or remotely threatening about Christianity,
even the most fundamentalist strains of it.”

Now I would like to think that this person is simply ignorant but he goes on to assume I am some far Left Socialist anti-semitic…blah blah blah. The point is that I say there are SOME fools who use Christianity in a bad way and I am suddenly the attacker of an entire faith. Let me reiterate, ANYONE, Muslim, Christian, or Jew or ANYONE who thinks their ideology has NO evil people involved in it. Who think that somehow their sacred books protect them from hypocrites and power seekers is either profoundly and willingly ignorant or they are ONE OF THE SUPREMACISTS hiding in sheep’s clothes as they pursue their power games and ego trips.
Anyone who says there are NO dangerous groups associated with Christianity is just an evil soul themselves. Ditto Judaism, Islam, Buddhism Shinto Hindu WHATEVER ideology. Including Liberalism and Conservatism. ALL CAUSES CAN AND DO ATTRACT FUDGEHEADS!!!! Anyone who focuses more on the faults of others ideology’s and IGNORES the faults of their own has defaulted all moral high ground.

Critical Eye column by Perro de Jong

06-03-2009
Listen to Perro de Jong’s column

I’ve been trying to find out more about the funerals of the five Turkish passengers and crew who died tragically in the Amsterdam plane crash.

I imagine that the presence at those funerals of a bunch of big, burly Americans sporting sunglasses and cowboy hats wouldn’t exactly have gone unnoticed. Especially if they’d been brandishing billboards with the slogan “you are going to hell.”

So I’m guessing that members of the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t in the end travel from their headquarters in Topeka, Kansas to Istanbul, Turkey as they’d threatened to do in one of their pamphlets.

“Yes”, they said in the pamphlet, “we will picket their funerals in religious protest and warning. God hates the morally depraved and murderous Turkish Muslims.”

Cheering at funerals – particularly those of US soldiers who died in Iraq – is what Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, his wife Margie and their thirteen children became notorious for. It’s why documentary maker Louis Theroux once branded them “America’s most hated family.”

Filthy Dutch
But they’re nothing if not democratic: where the European Union is doing its damnest to keep Turkey out by hook or by crook, the Phelpses seem perfectly happy to welcome the Turks to their club of ‘people God hates’. Along with Americans, Swedes and of course with my fellow countrymen.

Actually, the Westboro Church was going to come to the Netherlands at first, to protest against the “morally depraved and filthy Dutch”. But then it became clear that no Dutch passengers had died in the plane crash.

So they had to improvise. Because the crux of the Phelpses’ unorthodox approach is that God’s will is made visible through the punishments He metes out. And what makes Him more furious than anything is tolerating homosexuality. That’s why “God Hates Sweden”, why “God Hates Turkey” and why “God Hates Holland.”

Actually, the Swedes even have their own website: www.godhatessweden.com. Which, if you ask me, is something of an insult. I mean, come on! Surely we’re more depraved here in the Netherlands than that bunch of Scandinavian goody two-shoes? Where’s our website?

Einstein
Anyway, it’s a philosophy…and as an avid student of quantum theory, who am I to discard it? For the scientists among you, the thing about quantum physics that irked the great Albert Einstein was that it’s so pragmatic it accepts just about any theory, however unlikely, as long as it is able to describe the facts correctly.

“God does not play dice” was Einstein’s famous retort. Ah, but the question is: has He been using the time he saves not playing dice to start wars and bring down planes?

And besides, it’s all terribly old hat really. I mean, God may hate Holland, but Allah beat him to it by at least eight years.

Holland Haters from Pakistan
I had to dig through my archives a bit, but let me quote to you from a letter that Radio Netherlands received back then. From Pervez Khan and Mohammed Hoffman, two Pakistani expats living in Germany who styled themselves “Holland Haters”.

“Dutch homosexuals and prostitutes of ‘Lying Radio Holland'”, the letter begins “immediately commence the course of a continuous barking like mad dogs against the Honourable Islamic Mujahideen and their glorious Jihad.”

The reasons – laid down in an exhaustive, eleven-point list – are that “nearly every Dutch woman is a prostitute and keeps a vibrator in the house”, “nearly every Dutch man is a homosexual” and “the dirty Dutch never shower and foreigners renting rooms are told that shower is only twice a week.”

I’ve often wondered what happened to good old Pervez. Thanks to a bit of creative googling I found out that these days, he and his wife are much too busy predicting the annihilation of India to concern themselves with such trifling matters as Dutch homosexuals.

Snubbed by Pervez Khan and ignored by the Westboro Baptist Church in favour of Turkey of all places. Somebody up there must really hate Holland…