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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

A superb short article by Anthony Esolen at Touchstone Magazine’s Mere Comments blog:

It is a commonplace among our ruling class that religion is irrational and inherently divisive, fostering hatred of one group for another.  On the rationality of religious faith, Christian philosophers and theologians have long spoken, and I am not going to repeat their arguments here.  It is the supposed tendency to divide and to foster hatred that puzzles me.

Let us leave Islam out of consideration, and the largely defensive wars waged by Europeans against Islamic aggression.  Where are the religious wars in human history?  Name them.  Not Greece against Persia, not Athens against Sparta, not Rome against Carthage, not the Germanic invaders against Rome.  Where are all the religious wars?  In the Middle Ages, the Church, in lay movements such as the Truce of God and the Peace of God, served to restrain the violence of the ruling class.  Yes, medieval city warred against city, but the warfare was not religious, nor was it inspired by religion when in the late Renaissance, Catholic France under Richelieu cast her lot with the Protestant Scandinavians against their common foe, the Hapsburg empire.  That Thirty Years’ War is the best candidate for a truly religious European war, and it is no doubt the one remembered most keenly by the philosophes of the eighteenth century.  But England continued to war against France, not over religion but over control of various colonies.  Name, one after another, every war waged by England, France, Spain, Germany, or Italy from the Thirty Years’ War until the present, and you will find much bloodshed, but not because of religious hatred.

I look at the last hundred years, and see hatred wherever a European people has turned away from its Christian heritage, to exalt some idol in the place of God.  Look at Albania, that miserable nation.  Look at the gulags in the Soviet Union, or the forcible elimination of Confucian piety under Mao’s cultural revolution.  How many millions of people died of starvation in the Ukraine under Stalin, while the ruling class in America, represented by the liar Walter Duranty, looked demurely away?  How many people of both parties in America, people of the ruling class again, whose religious faith was rather in “progress” than in Jesus Christ, looked benignly upon the rise of the nationalist Hitler, and praised his clear grasp upon the problems of population and eugenics?  How many people of that same ruling class still give Mao a free pass, or forgive the dictator Castro for his excesses now and then?  Spanish Catholics are loathed for having favored the nationalist Franco rather than the communists in the Spanish civil war — and what were they supposed to do, when the communists were murdering priests and nuns, as they had done shortly before, in Mexico?

There’s more …

And are safer in Western countries than in any Islamic country.

So says Muslim woman Raheel Raza, formerly of Pakistan:

The Pakistan ambassador gets up and leaves in obvious annoyance that a woman should be allowed to speak to him in this way. It would never happen in Pakistan!

She makes the same point, that she would not have the same freedom of expression in her country of birth.

Nor are Muslims victimised in the West. So, she says, they should stop whining and get on with being responsible citizens.

Incidentally, I am thoroughly fed up excuses for muslim violence which are based on claims of oppression and provocation by the West.

The simple fact is, the Koran and the example of Mohammed both encourage violence against unbelievers.

The usual response to this fact from islamic leaders and appeasers is to deny that it is so.

Then when examples from the life of Mohammed are given, and verses from the Koran and the Hadith, the claim is made that it is not fair to point the finger in this way, because the Koran and the Bible are morally equivalent since the Bible also includes verses which incite violence.

This is either dishonest or ignorant.

The Bible tells the story of God’s revelation of himself to a small desert tribe, who initially undertood him through their own culture and modes of thinking and acting, which were typical of the time.

Gradually, as the Jews understood the nature of God better, and the nature of their relationship to him, they were led from ‘an eye to an eye’ (meaning measured and comparable response to injury – already an improvement on existing law) to ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you.’ (Matt 5:44)

In the Bible, the later verses of love and forgiveness overwrite the harsh verses of a thousand years earlier.

The Koran is exactly the other way around. It takes a small group of desert dwellers, and leads them from the savage temperament of their time, into even deeper savagery and cruelty.

The later verses of violent aggression overwrite the early verses of reluctant tolerance.

The Koran undoes the Bible. They are not morally equivalent.

In an address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to members of the Nicean Club at Lambeth Palace a couple of days ago. (The Nicean Club is a group of Anglicans who seek to strengthen relations between Anglicansim and the Orthodox churches.)

Why do the Churches, both East and West, still remember the Fathers of the Nicean and later Ecumenical Councils with such gratitude? Why are the great theologians of the past, the opponents of heresy, revered in the East as ‘great universal teachers and saints’ and in the West as ‘Doctors of the Church’?  Because throughout the ages the Church believed it to be her principal task to safeguard the truth. Her foremost heroes were those confessors of the faith who asserted Orthodox doctrine and countered heresies in the face of new trends and theological and political innovations …

All current versions of Christianity can be very conditionally divided into two major groups – traditional and liberal.  The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ‘traditionalists’ from the ‘liberals’. Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models and the Church should become appropriately ‘inclusive’ to recognize alternative behavioural standards and give them official blessing. Some try to persuade us that human life is no longer an absolute value; that it can be terminated in a mother’s womb or that one can terminate one’s life at will. Christian ‘traditionalists’ are being asked to reconsider their views under the slogan of keeping abreast with modernity …

… we feel that many of our Anglican brothers and sisters betray our common witness by departing from traditional Christian values and replacing them by contemporary secular standards. I very much hope that the official position of the Anglican Church on theological, ecclesiological and moral issues will be in tune with the tradition of the Ancient Undivided Church and that the Anglican leadership will not surrender to the pressure coming from liberals.

It is a longish address, but well worth reading. I doubt many Anglicans will.

Cor!

Language warning:

He is right to be angry. Why aren’t more people?

There is plenty to be angry about.

Sorry about another horrific video. This is sickening.

But when the world is appalled by the pastor of a tiny church threatening to burn a few copies of the Koran and then not doing so, and when even talking about doing so is enough to cause riots in which people are killed, and yet this kind of monstrous cruelty goes unremarked, we are in deep trouble.

On this day, September 11, Muslims burn US and UK flags outside the US embassy in London:

Other choice lines include ‘Queen and country go to hell!,’ ‘Burn, burn, USA!’

I think I agree with the loutish looking guy who appears near the end and tells them they are scum who should go back where they came from.

Interesting how placid the police are – they never express frustration or irritation as these loons trot out the usual nonsense: the US and UK are murdering Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are there because they  hate Islam and want the wealth of those countries.

It astonishes me that Western political leaders still so absolutely and blindly refuse to believe what Muslims themselves say: that they want democracy to burn, that Allah will kill the kaffirs.

If someone says he intends to kill you and your family, and destroy everything you hold dear, how many times do you let him try before you believe he is serious, and do something to stop him?

Back in NYC, the mainstream media report ‘duelling protests’ as they try desperately to give the impression that as many people turned out to support the ground zero mosque as to oppose it.

Not a chance. It was more like 2000 to 40,000.

Jeremiah 6:14 ‘They have made light of the wounds of my people, saying “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.

Whether we like it or not, war is upon us.

Democracy and reason have an implacable enemy in Islam – these are the words of its leaders.

Many of that enemy now live amongst us, and believe, because their holy book tells them so, that the pretence of friendship, lies and violence are all acceptable methods of bringing about the ultimate victory of Islam.

We can choose to be Chamberlain or Churchill. But we can no longer cry “Peace, peace.”

What is wrong with the world?

A pastor in a tiny church decides to burn a few copies of the Koran because he believes it is evil.

This causes international outrage and threats of violence, and these responses are considered perfectly understandable.

If Pastor Jones had decided instead to burn a few Muslim children, like these Muslims decide to burn a few Christian children, would that have been better?

Before you click to watch this video, with these monsters shouting Allahu Akbar as children burn, be warned, this is horrible.

So where is the international outrage? Where are the questions about what kind of book is considered by its readers to justify this sort of behaviour?

It is likely Youtube will remove that video as being offensive to Muslims (!). If so, I will upload the video in flv format.

Or, to be more accurate, one Australian export, Sheikh Feiz Muhammad.

Feiz Muhammad, a former Sydney boxer, now Muslim teacher, has called for the execution by beheading of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. And for that matter, anyone who insults Islam. Or the prophet. Or that funny tea cosy he’s wearing on his head.

You can hear the lecture, in perfect Australian, on the website of Dutch newpsaper De Telegraaf.

So no, dear Australian ABC news, De Telegraaf is not reporting it has a recording, or claiming it has a recording of Shiekh Feiz. It has a recording. And you can listen to it.

News. Accurate reporting. Remember that?

Of course Wilders is a racist, a firebrand, making a fuss about nothing, and makes a living out of stirring up trouble. Anywhere there is trouble involving Muslims, it is someone else’s fault. If he just kept his mouth shut, he wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

After all the Sheikh says on his own website, for all to see, that Islam in its true form is only a religion of Peace and not violence.

So how could he call for anyone to be beheaded? It doesn’t even make sense.

Well, there was the whole Undercover Mosque thing. But that wasn’t fair. The imans didn’t know those people were there.

So to recap: Geert Wilders says Islam is violent and irrational. Representative of Islam says it isn’t, and anyone who disagrees should be killed.

Right.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah, the party of Allah, has placed 15,000 rockets on the border of Israel.

Israel’s ambassor to the US, Michael Oren:

.. said the rockets also have bigger payloads and are “far more accurate” than those fired four years ago.

“In 2006, many of their missiles were basically out in the open, in silos and the Israeli air force was able to neutralize a great number of them,” Oren said.

“Today those same missiles have been placed under hospitals, and homes and schools because Hezbollah knows full well if we try to defend ourselves against them, we will be branded once again as war criminals,” he added.

And back at the ranch…

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, which sponsors Hezbollah, says the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are pointless because there will never be any peace while Israel exists, and are even more pointless because the filthy Zionist entity will soon be wiped off the map anyway.

A tribute to those who suffered so horribly during the siege at Beslan.

If you have the stomach for it, and you should, Pam Geller has more detail on what happend at Beslan.

Not all Muslims are evil. Most are decent, kind, generous.

But as long as Mohammed – murderer, torturer, rapist, pedophile – remains a moral exemplar, as long as groups of Muslims rape and torture and murder in the name of the prophet and their faith, and as long as Muslim leaders decline to speak out plainly, unequivocally, publicly, against acts of terrorism, Islam will be regarded with suspicion.

From anti-jihad site the Religion of Peace:

Ramadan 2010 Scorecard
 

Day 14In the name of
The Religion
of Peace
In the name of
All Other
Religions
Terror Attacks 860
Dead Bodies3790

And this picture:

Ramadan 2007 Scorecard

 Does anyone still not think there is a problem here?

And just to make what should not need to be stated absolutely clear, I don’t have a problem with muslims. I have two I count as friends – a Turkish man and an Indonesian woman.

She is more serious about her faith than he. She fasts, prays, keeps Ramadan, does not eat pork or lobster. But when I asked her to name a few things in the Koran she found especially inspiring, she could not answer. Eventually she admitted she had never read it.

I have.

Neither of my two muslim friends, it seems to me, have any real idea what their religion teaches.

A problem with muslims? No. A problem with Islam? Yes.

And for those who insist there is no moral difference between Islam and Christianity, because of, say, the Spanish Inquisition, it might be worth remembering the number of people killed every year in the name of Allah is greater than the number of people killed after being handed over to secular authorities by the Spanish Inquisition in its entire 350 year history.

That count of jihad murders does not include the deaths that would have occurred had numerous other plots and attacks succeeded.

Even if Christianity had been as bad a thousand years ago as Islam is now (and it wasn’t) why on earth would that be a reason not to take the present threat seriously?

And not radical islamists?

Given that Sarah is an attractive, powerful, intelligent woman who is successful in her own right and has challenged and beaten corrupt men and corporations?

And that she doesn’t believe, for example:

  • Women are inferior to men.
  • Women should have fewer rights and responsibilities than Larry the Cable Guy.
  • Women count for one-half of a dude in giving evidence in a court of law.
  • Women should be horse whipped if they ever make their husband feel like a dork.
  • Victoria’s Secret Miraculous Bra (with extreme level 5 cleavage) makes God angry.
  • Women can’t say squat in regard to whom they’ll marry, what they’ll wear, where they’ll live, or whether or not they can divorce their cheating and/or abusive husband.
  • Girls can be wed beginning at the ripe old age of frickin’ nine.
  • Women should be cool with hubby having a couple of hoochies or female slaves on the side.
  • Women, on the pretext of “honor,” should be locked up, isolated and unable to have a girls’ night out at Mango’s on Ocean Drive.

While radical islamists do believe those things, and are earnest about putting them into practice, to the point of killing people who disagree.

It’s a mystery.

I am not normally given to swearing, but honestly, for f&#%’s sake.

As if you needed another one, reason number 126,475 never to go into an Anglican church again.

Gay vicar, 65, to ‘marry’ Nigerian male model half his age.

According to the article, they met and fell in love at a Christian conference in Togo.

And don’t they look lovely together:

Gay vicar to marry male model

Gay vicar to marry male model

Really, for f&#%’s sake.

The early years of the coming decade will be the last few years of life for many Anglican parishes in the Western world.

Those parishes, some supported by legacies or property income, are home to the last of a generation which would already be gone if it were not for the extraordinary increase in life expectancy for ordinary men and women over the last 100 years.

It is a generation which has failed in its most fundamental calling – the call to pass on the faith to the next generation.

But then, why would a parishioner encourage his children to worship at an Anglican church, or invite her friends?

What inspiration or encouragement has there been in the liberal (in the worst sense of the word) agenda relentlessly imposed for the last forty years?

Or from bishops and other clergy outrightly denying the words of Christ and the teachings and example of the apostles, espousing every popular cause from women priests to gay marriage and global warming, but unable to talk about sin and forgiveness?

Or from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who cannot bring himself to suggest that sharing the Gospel with Muslims might be a good thing, but claims that sharia law is inevitable in Britain because some people ‘do not relate to the English legal system.’

Excuse me? Then why are they there?

But despite everything, the church is capable of taking a stand, and the church bells still ring out to call the faithful to action.

Sorry, what action?

To support the UN talks on bio-diversity. Of course.

This is Shaznaz Bibi. A muslim women who was not sufficiently docile.

Shaznaz Bibi, Muslim Woman

An isolated incident? There are more photos in an article called Terrorism that’s Personal.

Since 1994, a Pakistani activist who founded the Progressive Women’s Association to help such women “has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.”

The article makes the point that terrorism is not a distant political movement. It is real murder, mutilation, and horror for millions of men and women.

Today also brought news of a couple stoned to death in Afghanistan.

It is all very well to say that these events are not representative of Islam, which is a religion of peace, yada yada yada.

But religions are a reflection of those who founded them. Jesus was gentle, forgiving, truthful, giving, respectful in all his relationships.

Mohammed was a serial murderer and rapist, a torturer who had sex with a nine year old girl when he was fifty-four.

These comments from a Muslim website are typical of the veneration given to him by Muslims:

… we look to divine guidance in order to define for us good manners and character, exemplified by the Prophet, as God said:

“Surely, you (O Muhammad) are upon a high standard of moral character.” (Quran 68:4)

God also said:

“Indeed in the Messenger of God you have a beautiful example of conduct to follow…” (Quran 33:21)

Aisha, the wife of the noble Prophet, was asked about his character.  She replied:

“His character was that of the Quran.” (Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawud)

The Koran authorises violence against women, Mohammed exemplified violence against women, including the rape of women captured in war.

So how is disfigurement, rape and murder contrary to the ‘real teaching of Islam?’

If the Quran and the example of Mohammed are not the real teaching of Islam, what is?

And if this violence is wrong, a defaming of Islam, where are the protests and outrage from real Muslims at this misrepresentation of Islam, on a scale anything like the vengeful wrath expressed over the cartoons of Mohammed a few years ago?

Ben-Peter Terpstra points out that it is much easier to make up your own Jesus if you have no idea who the real Jesus was.

In fact, if you have never read the Bible at all, and you are talking to other people who have never read the Bible, and have no intention of doing so, you can say what you like without fear of contradiction. Or at least, confident that your worthless opinion has as good a claim to respectful consideration as anyone else’s worthless opinion.

A few years ago I was arguing (politely) with the wife of a Sydney clergyman about the real presence of Christ in the eucharist.

‘But that’s just your opinion,’ she said, meaning that her opinion, or that of anyone who agreed with her, had just as good a claim to truth.

My argument was that this was not just ‘my opinion’ but what the church had taught unanimously until the 16th century. I know the scriptures on this fairly well, and some of the early church fathers. I quoted from John, Paul, and a few 2nd century letters and sermons.

Her response was ‘Well, I don’t care. I know what’s right.’

That was the end of the discussion, of course.

But for liberals (I mean the Labor kind) it is diversity, discussion, the journey, that is important. More important than the truth. Actual objective facts get in the way.

Ben-Peter writes of the Bible:

And that’s why Labor hacks despise it. Don’t teach the New Testament – and the next thing you know Jesus is a vegetarian feminist, driving a hybrid with a pro-gay marriage sticker. Or the Old Testament is just a mean patriarchal manifesto.

If you can make Jesus in your own image, you can claim him (or her, after all, who really knows) for your cause.

So the last thing you want is people reading the Bible, and finding that far from being enlistable in the latest cause de jour, Jesus’ life and words, with their claim to be eternal and objective, demand a response of repentance, a life of serving His cause.

Of course you can always pretend to read the Bible, and talk about ‘the trajectory of the Scriptures,’ which means that Jesus seems to have been an all right sort of bloke, so we can be confident that if he had known what we know, and been as clever we are, he would have thought the things we do.

But once we have allowed ourselves to encounter the real Jesus, making him in our own image is no longer an option. The choice we have is to remake ourselves in His.

According to Monday’s Australian:

The peak UN body in climate change has been dealt another humiliating blow to its credibility after it was revealed a central claim of one of its benchmark reports – that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 because of global warming – was based on a ‘speculative’ claim by an obscure Indian scientist.

The 2007 IPCC report included a claim made several years earlier in New Scientist by Syed Hasnain.

Hasnain’s claim was not subjected to any checks. The IPCC did not refer to any other glaciologists before publishing it, nor did they talk to Hasnain.

At the beginning of this year Hasnain admitted the claim was an off the cuff remark made in a telephone interview, and that it was not based on any research.

Nonetheless, Hasnian’s off the cuff remark became a central plank of the IUPCC’s 2007 report. The chief writer of the relevant section, Professor Lal, followed the WWF, which had picked up the original New Scientist story, in claiming the predicted glacier melt was ‘very likely.’ In IPCC parlance, that means a likelihood of greater than 90%.

All this on the basis of no research whatever.

Glaciologists including Julian Dowdeswell of Cambridge University say the claim is inherently ludicrous – no possible level of warming could result in that level of melting – and asked how such an egregious error could have appeared in the report. Professor Lal has admitted he knows nothing about glaciers.