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

hypocrite_fish

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“!

But is Moderate Fanaticism That Much Better?

stoning-iran

I just read what has to be the most actually moderate piece of writing by a Muslim who is not under fatwa for apostasy!

The piece in question is on Dr. David Liepert’s blog; Liepert seems to be a devout Muslim who also wishes to see reform toward a more humane model, but in his "liberality" there are some land mines of dogma that can blow his whole claim of moderation out of the water to Western minds.

This is the first piece I have read by a non-persecuted-minority Muslim that is honestly self-critical of Islam or any of its practices.  Not one word about how it is the fault of Westerners that we "perceive" heinous things that just aren’t real, not one bit of blame for evil Zionists causing emotional turmoil and riot to break out in otherwise peaceful peoples; but then there are the little bits that tell us that the good Doctor has not let go of the supremacist aspects of traditional Islam at all!

"Islamic punishments for “adultery” have been in the news a lot lately, but it looks to me like the real crime is nothing but barefaced misogyny. First off, it’s always the women being punished, which begs the question, “Where are the men?” But then you have to ask how stoning became part of the “Islamic” punishment for adultery in the first place, when lashing is what the Quran commands. Asking that question opens a whole different kettle of fish entirely.""

This is one of those parts I spoke of: Dear Doctor Liepert, I am SO glad that a woman will ONLY be lashed, maybe hundreds of times, instead of being stoned, this makes me feel SO much more open to the idea of all Muslims as Godly people who seek only peace. This argument might fly with Muslims, but with non-Muslims you just make your situation worse; Westerners reject ALL pain-inflicting cruelty in "judicial" proceedings… ALL!  You also fail to mention the several and sundry Hadithi that support the idea of stoning as being Islamic but was "misplaced" when the Quran was codified. Why? No one can agree.

"Strangely enough, stoning for adultery isn’t mentioned in the Quran at all. The practice was common in the Middle East because it is the prescribed punishment in both the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible in Leviticus 20:10, and Deuteronomy 22:22.

Modern day Christians like to pretend otherwise, but Jesus (peace be upon him) didn’t change that. In fact, he told his followers:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5: 17

So Christians who want to play the “my faith is better than your faith” game really don’t have a leg to stand on. However, what Jesus (pbuh) did was command, “Let he who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Which made executing the punishment problematic. But then, Mohammad (peace be upon him) did him one better.

One better? I am not even a Christian, and I can see the flaw in that argument!

Jesus told the adulteress "go, and sin no more." That is, in my opinion, a hundred times "better" and more merciful and "godly" than if Jesus had called out the whip boy and had her given a hundred stripes. By the way, anything over 40, in those days, was considered equivalent to a death sentence; infection, dehydration and all that you know… Oh, and while we are on the subject, if Muslims "revered" Jesus so much why is this verse totally ignored by Shari’ah? For that matter why did Mohammed ignore ALL of the verses about mercy in the OT and NT, and all of the verses and Hebrew and Christian commentary about Love of God being behind the Law and being of greater import than mechanically enforcing the letter of those laws? Other than a few injunctions about prayer I find these attitudes missing entirely from the Quran and aHadith.

"The Quran is quite clear. From the Suran called An-Nur, meaning, “The Light”, verse 2 states:

The woman and the man guilty of fornication, flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of Believers witness their punishment."

Okay then! Personally I go with Hillel when he says that it is no sin to break the Law to fulfill the Higher Law of God’s Love. So, to violate the Sabbath to do a good deed for a neighbor is upholding the higher law… It seems Mohammed did not appreciate the Hillel approach

That means Muslims should have stepped it down a notch. However, they actually stepped it down all the way, because two verses later came the command:

"And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes: and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors.

That’s right. The Islamic punishment for accusing someone of adultery without proof is almost as bad as the punishment for the crime.

Doctor, are you unaware of the commandment in the Jewish and Christian religions that forbids bearing false witness?  This is hardly anything original with Mohammed.

Where do we go from here? I’ve read the Hadithi in question, where stoning was invoked under Muhammad (peace be upon him), and one thing is clear: Muhammad (pbuh) hated stoning. Two of the tales recount transgressors obsessively confessing, and Muhammad (pbuh) doing everything he could to try and prevent them from making their confessions! But even Muhammad couldn’t change God’s laws.

So, do you feel that Christians and Jews are somehow LESS devout than Muslims because they are not willing to subordinate their God(Or Allah)-given compassion at the command of a Priest (Imam)? The history of the rabbinical movement and the Hillel school of Pharisaic thought dominate Judeo/Christian ethics!

So instead he prayed, and AlLah change His laws himself, and I think that’s where today’s Muslims should take our lead: There are even tales of a verse that commanded stoning for adultery that miraculously disappeared, making God’s intent very clear. Out of Love for His Messenger, AlLah Decided He Hated stoning too.

It’s horrifying. In the Muslim world, women are being flogged, stoned and killed for being raped, for being pregnant, or even simply for being caught out without their headscarves because men have “tweaked” the laws so far away from AlLah’s intent and the earliest Muslims practice that they do the opposite of what those laws were meant to do. This, from the religion that first declared men and women equal before God, and first created a society that truly had equal justice for all.

Personally, I’m horrified by how far we’ve fallen from the path, but I’m still hopeful, because of God, and Muhammad (peace be upon him).

There is a reason why we have the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is a complete book, but it was revealed into a changing world. To understand the message, you need a deep knowledge of history, context and exactly what any particular Ayah did to the Ummah the day it came. If you don’t have that, then for God’s sake ask someone who does before you go killing someone! Because what Muslims are doing out of ignorance is nothing less than an abomination.

Here we go again! Are you saying that if your "authority" says "ok, you have it right, in this case you are allowed to kill them all and let Allah sort ’em out", that this is ok with you? And you have problems with Christians who have done the same thing 3 to 5 hundred years in the past, but not a problem when done by Muslims, as long as they have properly consulted their Imam???

My solution? Non-Muslim and disaffected Muslim “reformers” are calling for Muslims to change Islam so that it’s more like the modern world. Instead, we need to change Islam so it’s more like it was the day it began.

But Doctor, what about the Islamic Supremacism in the Quran? What about overthrowing all man-made governments in order to "free" the world to "choose" to realize they were "born Muslim"? What about all that disparity between men and women and their rights and duties?

Because actually? All the rights, and freedoms, and justice regardless of race, creed or gender that the modern world love so much, our world owes to Muhammad (peace be upon him) the man who brought them into the world first. AlhamdilAllah!

Now that is just silly!  Go read Lysistrata my dear, Doctor.  For that matter Roman Citizens were of all races and religion’s! The only thing that mattered was citizenship, if you had it you were a "Roman", if you didn’t you were not.  Also, it is not sexual equality to be forced to only live out the local social "norm" for your sex as though it is divinely mandated.

If this is the best that "moderate" Islam" can do the rank and file need to replace their leadership with men with hearts instead of calculators of sin and punishment.