Conservatives Like to Steal the Thunder of Liberals

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Poor RIchard Dawkins. All that he did Virginia, was to note, as an interesting statistic, that Trinity College, Cambridge faculty and alumni have more Nobel Prizes than all the world’s Muslims despite many inflated “facts” floated about regarding the awesome contributions to modern society of an apocryphal “golden Age” of Islam; the quality of the Muslim claims are typical of all conservative partisans!

Though the conservatives like to take credit 100 or more years later, it is the liberal thinkers that seek, and bring, the progress; meanwhile the conservative-minded act as a ‘brake’, ideally keeping things from going too far, too fast. However, allowing conservatives too much control has only ever led only to stagnation; letting the Left dominate always to chaos, then tyranny, which eventually becomes itself “conservative” and stagnates – lather, rinse, repeat.

I am sorry Virginia but, I fail to see anygood choice‘ there for the majority of us, the moderate minded – the true 99%.

The problem is partisanship. If people of disparate thought let cooperation originally intended to improve opportunity and quality of life for the nation as a whole; individuals, families and up; to do this despite corruption, stupidity and social ills that are apolitical & endemically human turn into a rivalry for control society is at a point when it really doesn’t matter which side “wins” when you look at how much the society inevitably loses.

Reality = “I tend to be conservative in my actions and reactions as a personal policy/character trait

B.S. = “all major political & social issues should be decided by solidly conservative minds”

“New Perspective of ‘Jihad’ in Christianity and Islam” Just More ‘Narrative’?

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Here is a hard question Virginia; when does ‘selling‘ cross the line into ‘conning‘, when does a ‘pundit‘ or ‘proponent‘ become a propagandist?

 There was an an article in my inbox this morning by Craig Considine on Huffington Post that begs the question; is it a good‘ article, or just another attempt promoting a ‘Big Lie‘?

 I have always believed that to lie, distort, cast aspersions or avoid full disclosure of questionable sources in order to “win” a debate (or followers) is inherently dishonest, and at least partially, invariably damages the strength of any argument that the ‘less-than-honest‘ pundits put forth.

 Any reasonable person can see that when it becomes generally obvious that this kind of dishonest “argument” is acceptable and indispensable to an organization or pundit’s persuasive arsenal the only possible effect on non-committed minds, as well as the ‘opposition‘ is to take away any reason they might have to consider the actual thoughts or ideas lurking behind the libel, hype and spin; the credibility of all of their arguments and positions become suspect.

 This piece by Mr. Considine; is he intentionally doing a whitewash or, does he merely accept inaccurate and, or misleading information he has been fed by those who know better but only want to “win“?

Come Virginia, let’s look at it piece by piece; we shall attempt to differentiate the bog, fog and quicksand from what is truly solid ground.

Politicians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences and websites to criticize the term “jihad” as a form of Islamic supremacism, oppression, and violence. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, argue that “jihad” refers to a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Viewing the term “jihad” though these frameworks alone, however, would be playing into the hands of extremists who forego the other elements encompassed by the term “jihad.”

Take note Virginia of the typical partisan technique: lumping all conceivable “opponents” into one conveniently disposable lump. Note also the author’s bearing of false witness as he conflates everyone against the advance of Islamic Supremacism with a tiny minority against those individuals who are labeled as Muslim!

At the very same time Considine comes off as though he is doing a ‘whitewash‘; it is indisputable that the definition he tells us is promoted for “jihad” by “Muslim extremists” is exactly the same as the declared interpretation of the word accepted and defended by all of the Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence; who set doctrine and dogma for the Ummah; Yes, Virginia, both the Sunni and the Shiite Schools.

Not one thing he says in that paragraph is technically untrue but, when you look at what is unsaid, what is distorted or maligned, and the paragraph becomes more an example of artful lying than of an honest attempt at communication.

But, Wait! There’s MORE!” said the used car salesman…

In Islam, “jihad” has several different components, which include personal struggles, such as the struggle against an addiction; social struggles, such as the struggle to become tolerant of others; and occasionally a military struggle, if and when necessary in self-defense. When asked, “What is the major jihad?” Muhammad replied: “The jihad of the self (struggle against the personal self).” Contrary to the rhetoric and misinformation about “jihad” in anti-Islam networks, Muhammad did not say that the violent struggle was the most important form of “jihad.

Contrary to its being one of the most quoted “hadith” by Islamist apologists I can’t find it in any orthodox collection of ahadith! The only place it seems to be found is in a book published posthumously but, only in the completely re-edited 2nd edition:

Forty Hadith:

An Exposition on Forty Ahadith Narrated through the Prophet and His Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them

Second Revised Edition
by
Imam Khomeini

Translated by:
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i

Published by:
Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
(ABWA)
Tehran, IRAN

Table of Contents:

Introductory Note

About The Author

Childhood And Early Education

The Years Of Spiritual And Intellectual Formation In Qum, 1923 To 1962

The Years Of Struggle And Exile, 1962-1978

The Islamic Revolution, 1978-79

1979-89: First Decade Of The Islamic Republic, Last Decade Of The Imam’s Life

Introduction

Purpose Of Writing The Book

Hadith 1
First Hadith: Jihad of The Self

Hadith 2
Second Hadith: Ostentation (RIYA’)

Hadith 3
Third Hadith: Self-Conceit (‘Ujb)

Hadith 4
Fourth Hadith: Pride (Kibr)

Hadith 5
Fifth Hadith: Envy (Hasad)

Hadith 6
Sixth Hadith: Love Of The World

Hadith 7
Seventh Hadith: Anger (Ghadhab)

Hadith 8
Eighth Hadith: Prejudice (‘ASABIYYAH)

Hadith 9
Ninth Hadith: Hypocrisy (Nifaq)

Hadith 10
Tenth Hadith: Desire And Hope

Hadith 11
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-Seeking Nature

Hadith 12
Twelfth Hadith: Contemplation (Tafakkur)

Hadith 13
Thirteenth Hadith: Trust In God (TAWAKKUL)

Hadith 14
Fourteenth Hadith: Fear of God

Hadith 15
Fifteenth Hadith: The Believer’s Trials And Tribulations

Hadith 16
Sixteenth Hadith: Patience (Sabr)

Hadith 17
Seventeenth Hadith: Repentance (TAWBAH)

Hadith 18
Eighteenth Hadith: Remembrance Of God

Hadith 19
Nineteenth Hadith: Backbiting (Ghibah)

Hadith 20
Twentieth Hadith: Pure Intention (Ikhlas)

Hadith 21
Twenty-First Hadith: Thankfulness (Shukr)

Hadith 22
Twenty-Second Hadith: The Aversion For Death

Hadith 23
Twenty-Third Hadith: The Seekers Of Knowledge

 

Hadith 24

Twenty Fourth Hadith: The Classification Of Sciences

Hadith 25
Twenty-Fifth Hadith: Satanic Insinuation

Hadith 26
Twenty Sixth Hadith: The Pursuit Of Knowledge

Hadith 27
Twenty-Seventh Hadith: Prayer And Concentration

Hadith 28
Twenty-Eighth Hadith: Meeting God

Hadith 29
Twenty-Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel To ‘Ali

Hadith 30
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability Of God, The Prophet, And The Imams

Hadith 31
Thirty-First Hadith: The Kinds Of Hearts

Hadith 32
Thirty-Second Hadith: Conviction In Faith

Hadith 33
Thirty-Third Hadith: Wilayah And Works

Hadith 34
Thirty-Fourth Hadith: The Station of The Faithful Before God

Hadith 35
Thirty-Fifth Hadith: God And Man, Good And Evil

Hadith 36
Thirty-Sixth Hadith: The Attributes Of God

Hadith 37
Thirty-Seventh Hadith: The Knowledge Of God

Hadith 38
Thirty-Eighth Hadith: The Meaning Of God’s Creation Of Adam In His Image

Hadith 39
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Good And Evil

Hadith 40
Fortieth Hadith: Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid And Some Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid

A Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid

A Hint Concerning Bismillah

A Brief Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of The Noble Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid Until The Words ‘Alimun Bi Dhatis-Sudur

Conclusion

Prayer And Epilogue

The Table of Contents of the posthumous 2nd edition (Even the 1st Edition was published after the death of the author) has a curious addition that is found nowhere in the TOC of the original, or anywhere else it seems; it is also of note that the names of the translators is the same in each edition though the publisher and city in Iran in which it was published changes:

 Forty Hadith

An Exposition on 40 ahadith narrated through the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt
by
Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
Translated by:
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i
Published by:
Al-Tawhid
Qum, The Islamic Republic of Iran

Here is the original Table of Contents:

 Part 1

First Hadith: On the Tradition of the Forty Ahadith

Part 2
The Second Hadith: On Riya’

Part 3
Third Hadith: On `Ujb

Part 4
Fourth Hadith: On Kibr

Part 5
Fifth Hadith: On Hasad

Part 6
Sixth Hadith: Love of the World

Part 7
Seventh Hadith: On Anger (Ghadab)

Part 8
Eighth Hadith: On `Asabiyyah

Part 9
Ninth Hadith: On Hypocrisy (Nifaq)

Part 10
Tenth Hadith: On Desire and Hope

Part 11
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-seeking Nature

Part 12
Twelfth Hadith: on Contemplation (Tafakkur)

Part 13
Twelfth Hadith (Contd. From the Part 12)

Part 14
Thirteenth Hadith: On Tawakkul

Part 15
Fourteenth Hadith: On the Fear of God

Part 16
Fifteenth Hadith: On the Believer’s Trials and Tribulations

Part 17
Sixteenth Hadith: On Sabr

Part 18
Seventeenth Hadith: On Tawbah

Part 19
Eighteenth Hadith: On Remembrance of God

Part 20
Nineteenth Hadith: On Ghibah

Part 21
Twentieth Hadith: On Ikhlas

Part 22
Twenty First Hadith: On Shukr

Part 23
Twenty Second Hadith: On the Aversion for Death

Part 24
Twenty Third Hadith: Of the Seekers of Knowledge

Part 25
Twenty Fourth Hadith: On the Classification of Sciences

Part 26
Twenty Fifth Hadith: On Waswas

Part 27
Twenty Sixth Hadith: On the Pursuit of Knowledge

Part 28
Twenty Seventh Hadith: Prayer and Concentration

Part 29
Twenty Eighth Hadith: On Liqa’ Allah

Part 30
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to ‘Ali

Part 31
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to `Ali

(Contd.)

Part 32
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability of God, the Prophet, and the Imams

Part 33
Thirty First Hadith: The Kinds of Hearts

Part 34
Thirty Second Hadith: On Conviction in Faith

Part 35
Thirty Third Hadith Wilayah and Works

Part 36
Thirty Fourth Hadith: The Station of the Faithful Before God

Part 37
Thirty Fifth Hadith: Of God and Man, Good and Evil

Part 38
Thirty Sixth Hadith: On the Attributes of God

Part 39
Thirty Seventh Hadith: On the Knowledge of God

Part 40
Thirty Eighth Hadith: The Meaning of God’s Creation of Adam in His Image

Part 41
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Of Good and Evil

Part 42
Fortieth Hadith: On Exegesis of Surat al-Tawhid and Some Verses of Surat al-Hadid

THe first hadith in the 2nd edition is not in Bukhari, it is not in Muslim; it is not in any  collection of ahadith that I could find mention of yet appeared in the 2nd edition of a dead man’s book, and is now used constantly to reassure non-Muslims that “holy war” has no part in “mainstream Islam” or was ever a major part of the concept of ‘jihad‘!

Even Google is in on the game…

If you put the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ into the Google Translator you will find that in a large number of languages Google simply spits back the transliteration of جِهَادُ for that language… in other words in English, German, Japanese, Latvian, Russian, Spanish and most of the others ‘jihad’ means ‘jihad’!

Ah, Virginia, that is not the end of the tale; it seems that Google missed a few. Here are the ones I found with translation instead of transliteration:

Dutch:

جِهَادُ = heilige oorlog

Heilige = Sanctified (St.)

Oorlog = War

جِهَادُ = (in Dutch) Holy War but, Google is still determined to keep most other peoples in ignorance; if I translate the Dutch phrase ‘heilige oorlog’ directly to English it declares that it means ‘jihad’!

Tamil:

جِهَادُ = இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர்

இஸ்லாமியர்களின் = of Muslims

புனித = Sanctified (St.)

போர் = war

புனித போர் = Holy War

If you put the whole phrase in then Google says that a translation of the Tamil phrase is… You guessed it…

இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர் = Jihad

Vietnamese

جِهَادُ = chiến tranh Hồi giáo and that chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad (in English)!

Word by word translation shows this however…

chiến = wizard

tranh = competition

Hồi giáo translates as Mohamadenism but Hồi translates as steam and giáo as lance; I may be lacking a Phd. in language but, I get something like “supernatural or divine competition of the ‘explosively expanding and dangerous’ ‘spear-people’”, um… Virginia does that sound like it means ‘Holy War’ to you? Certainly I think that a long and historically peaceful relationship between the two groups, Vietnamese and Muslims,  is contraindicated when the Vietnamese phrase for Islam translates as ‘steam lance’!

Of course here in politically correct Google-Land if you translate the whole Vietnamese phrase into English, well Google again gives the transliteration of the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ ‘jihad’ instead of any attempt at translation.

chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad

The hype in America and abroad over ”jihad” has brought me to consider the term through a Christian perspective. In this piece I seek to do two things — explore how forms of ”jihad” are present in Christianity and pinpoint different ways of looking at ”jihad” in Christian and Islamic texts. Doing so can help find common characteristics of “jihad” so that Christians and Muslims can build bridges of mutual understanding and tolerance.

The kicker Virginia is that the hadith has been declared unreliable pretty much by all Islamic authorities world-wide!

The entire article is in a similar, “who me, honest?” vein; including the following paragraph containing another hadith confirmed to be not only unreliable, but  fabricated (emphasis added):

In the Quran (58:11), God raises in rank “… those who have been given knowledge.” Muhammad also emphasized knowledge in a hadith, or saying of the Prophet, in which he said that “Seeking knowledge is a must for every Muslim, male or female, from cradle to grave in any part of the world.” Muhammad also stated in another hadith that “the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” Christians and Muslims, therefore, share a similar “jihad” in terms of their obligation to seek out knowledge and apply that knowledge in good faith for the betterment of humanity.

Sorry Arianna, your “pundit” pranked you; how much did you pay Craig for a politically correct fantasy pretending it is an informative article?

Virginia, it goes to show that it is best to ferret out the original information first, especially when that information is spread by a partisan in support of a partisan position.

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?

What Non-Western Civilization?

Taliban-women

Is there anyone who can tell me just which part of modern world civilization is Non-Western?

If it came about in the last 300 years, and general world-wide opinion is that it is “civilized” then it came from the West; deal with it people! IT is not about race or the color of anyone’s skin, it is about CULTURES; some are structured in healthy ways, others , um… are not.

I believe that the source of the West’s almost incomprehensible loss of the will to keep the more unruly cultures on a leash (or at least penned up) is related to the fact that we have won the war, the struggle from animals to civilization; the rest is just tuning and tweaking and finding the best ways to do this civilization game. If the world were ‘civilized’ as a whole there would be no need for war or armies or bombs; but only part of the world is civilized and our own civilized “sensibilities” tell us that it is not “nice” to fail to “be nice” to those unfortunate cultures that still have a lot of growing up to do. And so we allow the idiots to blow themselves and others up, rape, pillage and commit genocide – all in the name of being “civilized”!

How is it a civilized act to allow barbarism to flourish? It isn’t; it will not eve produce stability. Ask the Romans; ask the British.

We in the West walk a fine line; on the one hand we must protect and hold on to our hard-won prize: the dignity and honor of the individual based on their own life instead of their family,tribe, nation or race. On the other hand we must not shy away from swift and effective actions to contain the un-civilized while their cultures slowly grow up in their own time.

I have always felt it was a form of racism to ascribe every problem and ill suffered by the second and third world to the first world; those places all were, in Kipling’s words, “dog’s breakfasts” of cultures to live in long before any ‘white man’ came to interfere with the quaint native ways.

It was Western culture that came, not a color of skin. And everywhere it has gone, the individual has seen the length, prosperity and stability of their lives increase dramatically; at the cost of most of the “old ways”, the majority of which where of questionable psychological value to begin with! Anyone who disagrees about some cultures being more messed up (none are perfect, by a long shot) had better be prepared to come up with a “good” reason why some primitive tribes to this day retain a rite of passage to manhood that includes the child/man performing, willing or not, ritual fellatio on an older man in order to protect the younger one from “the overwhelming power of the female”! I am not sure about you, but I just can’t go along with forced sex with minors in the guise of a religiously vital ritual of passage, and I hold some fairly heretical notions about what a sexually healthy society would look like!

Sex is one of those “tweaks and tunings” I spoke of that Western society needs to work on; oh boy do we need to work on it! But, that hardly means we in the West (the role models of civilization) should be so timid about being settled in our minds on the basics: non-Western ways of treating women as a class, and personally, quite simply suck.

Check out this attempt at a defense of non-Western views toward women.

The whole bazaar mentality of “narrative” is also questionable; it is not who makes the loudest, most emotional yet traditional argument first who wins, it is the guy who goes over and counts the mules teeth and knows the facts.

I close with my update of Kipling; all I did was take one word, and translate from what it meant then to the word we would use to show what Kipling was really saying.

Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to naught.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the Westerner’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Finally remember that I consider Japanese, South Koreans, and much of India etc., to be “Western” before you light your straw-men.

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.

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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.

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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).

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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

He Said, She Said.

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She stood at the kitchen counter slicing food for dinner while he watched her from his perch on an old wooden stool with green legs that he took with him wherever he went. He smiled as he watched her and played with some magnetic balls on the table with one hand while the other rubbed his neck.

He was dressed in his usual comfortable jeans with an old, homey t-shirt with an out-of date political slogan emblazoned on the front. His socks were rather loud, an argyle in fact, but warm and comfy on his tired old feet. Freshly bathed and groomed, as groomed as a naturally almost hairless man need be, he seemed cheerful but troubled.

She noticed his hand on his neck, a sure sign of tension, and asked “Is something bothering you Dear?” in a voice that left no doubt in a hearers mind that she felt nothing but affection for the old man before her.

“I am not bothered.” He replied, “…just don’t get it.”

Long training at keeping a perfect poker-face kept the hitch fro her voice, this conversation had been repeated many times before; she prayed, as much as it hurt her, that it would be repeated many more… or something like that.

“Do you need to get it?” she asked, trying a new approach.

“Well, no, I guess I don’t.” He re-lied, “I mean it is not like it is something bad I want to get, I like that you take such good care of me, treat me so nice.” He smiled at her, “Just don’t get it. It is not like I help you, I like it here but I don’t understand why I don’t have to work like the people on the television.” He shrugged, guess if I don’t get it I might stop doing what I am doing to deserve it.” He paused for so long she thought he had drifted into other thoughts. “ I wouldn’t like that.” He finally said softly, and went back to smiling and playing with the Buckey balls as she fought back sudden tears.

She tried, but she could not leave him in uncertainty, not because it might build up into a “bad day”, but because she loved him, and wanted the rest of his life as happy as possible, he deserved that much. “You have already earned it!” she said with warmth, you … used to be a person who helped many people understand things, you gave to others, and you wanted nothing but to love them all.” She faltered, “You ‘did that which you should have done and you did not that which you should not have done’. Don’t let it worry you; it makes me happy to make you happy, period, o.k.?”

He smiled brightly, “okay!” he said. There was a short silence, then, “But, why are you crying now?” he asked with his eyes welling up in sympathetic response. “Because I am sad I cannot give you back what it was that earned all this for you.” She said waving at the home around them. “And why I am here with you; I always will be.”

He said with a smile in his eyes, “I am happy, and I love you ‘Baby Girl’.”

He paused.” why do you like that name, anyway? You are an old woman, well, 60 at least!” He pondered. “Maybe, I say it because it tastes right in my mouth, ‘Baby Girl’!”

“But,” he said, “If I did good things, and we have all this because of it, isn’t that a good thing?” “And I don’t want to be that again if it means having to make my head hurt and worry, like you do.” He looked uncertain. “I really did all that stuff that you do… and real good?” He grinned, ‘Oh, the horror’ he said in a mocking voice,” I am the lucky one. I like simple. I must have won a prize or something”

Rinsing some glasses to cover her emotions she then turned and smiled at him. “Don’t worry about ‘getting it’ anymore, that is my job now, your job is to be my husband, and to be loved.”

She wiped her hands on the dish towel. “If you can wait a few minutes on dinner I need to go to the ladies room, I will be right back.” He nodded brightly, engrossed in whether a fly would find the escape of an open window; without seeming to look he swatted her on the bottom as she passed, and her pace quickened though she smiled; he began making bets with himself about the fly in different accents, his worries gone.

She made it to the bathroom and managed to lock the door and even run some water in the sink to cover the noise before she began to cry, but dinner was late that evening; he did not mind, he had found a re-run of Dancing with the Stars to critique.

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!