Moderate Abrahamics Bluster but do Nothing

talk is cheapThe news is full of moderate Muslims and Christians, as well as backtracking radicals, deploring the assignment of harm by Boko Haram to Islam. “That’s not Islam. That’s not my Islam.”  That would be fine but what is Islam? They insist they know yet whenever any attribute is assigned to Islam some group somewhere says that’s not Islam. I’d really like to know what we’re talking about when we talk about Islam. Otherwise it’s just a ramshackle collection of sects and cults that just do as they please and call it Islam–Islam cannot even define itself other than banal and incoherent generalities meaning anything to anyone.

How many people, sects and countries, have to avow their abusive acts as religiously-based righteousness before moderates accept their religion is a problem, too easy to distort?

Catholicism isn’t much better as even the Vatican has said they have such loose control over their leaders and members they couldn’t have possibly done much better dealing with their flagrant sexual abuse issues, much less the many other abuses that no doubt occur, which we don’t even hear about since pedophilia is such sensational news and such caustic abuse. I mean laundering funds, pyramid schemes of donations, and just banal casual abuse typical from those having too much power. The new pope apologizes but also says he has no real power. How can he apologize unless he had some say in it? Just more hand wringing, pointless prayer, and verbal appeal.

These moderates of all abrahamic religious ilk and most others bluster but do little. They will send a few people, make a few threats, and go on with their own business. There’s no money in Nigeria, no one really cares. The  best thing that will come of it will be a good movie like the genocide in Rwanda inspired. Christian evangelicals will flock to Nigeria hoping to convert many sure that their religion is superior to Islam replacing outright abuse with hidden abuse as Christians are so want to do.

If the moderates deplore the extremists and fundamentalists so greatly why do they not control their members?

Seems like the point of a religion is to make people and the world better. From what I can see, what is evidenced, it allows renegades and petty dictators free reign under an umbrella of goodness and spiritual law. It has no means of policing itself. God or Allah certainly hasn’t shown up to help.

What will the moderate Islamics and Muslims do to stop the violence of their self-avowed members?

They can’t ostracize them as everyone must be a Muslim. Apostasy is worse than the worst infraction–death before apostasy. And leaving the group means there is no control whatsoever. They can’t seem to fight this as they fall all over themselves accommodating them thinking that tolerance of their abuse is righteous because peace is what they want and peace means ignoring violence but for exhortations. All of these religions need a new modern prophet, a new modern bible or koran, a new word of law that actually does good, is coherent. A canon of sacred text that isn’t so damned contradictory and vile that one can do anything and find literal and figurative support.

They have no interest in policing others because then they wold have to police themselves and that would be a criticism of Islam, other Muslims without authority–Christianity, the same. While the Hadith and local law are certainly used to allow near any deviation they are not used to stop near any deviation. The koran will be battered about in translation errors. The violence will continue. The moderates will pray and talk to the media  and like pissing into the wind it will only make them look more stupid and ineffectual.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

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Why Islam is the Issue when Discussing Islam

moderate_muslimIt’s getting so popular now for moderate (?) Muslims to say “not like us,” or “they aren’t good Muslims.” Just what is a good Muslim? Hell, what is a good Christian? What is a good atheist? I am not even sure “what is a good tractor mechanic?” Huh, really? A good tractor mechanic is one who can do their job–fix the tractor, do it when promised, and charge a fair price.

Why is it so hard to evaluate religious mechanics?

What are the means of evaluating a religion, a religious person? It seems obvious what we do with a tractor mechanic. Why is it so hard to evaluate the religious?

The have no standards of excellence. They have no spec sheet that is clear, concise, and able to be revised. There are no standards of a good religion by which to compare and evaluate.

It’s all in the mind and can have no evaluation because there’s nothing there to evaluate but one’s own perception, regardless of how reckless or wild? No, in spite of god or a revelation if such beliefs made us better we would adopt such phantasms. Or at least make recommendations allowing for variance due to personal freedom, so long as harm to others is absent.

5 Facts Islamophobia Deniers Just Don’t Get”

1. No, Islam is not above criticism — it never was and never will be — and neither are Islamophobia deniers

Really? Islam is like all other religions that insist they are true regardless? Only if one denies the religion can it be criticized. That there is a Vatican that attenuates the pope doesn’t mean the canon-bible can be criticized. Just because some parts of a sacred text allows doubting doesn’t deny that other parts don’t. Let’s just evaluate the texts openly by all and see the free for all. Hell, whether the prophet comes from one brother or another incites insane violence.

Since Islam does allow local courts and rules it does by tolerance allow blasphemy laws and all the rest. If you want some sort of local rights should they be able to disavow the most important and basic tenants of the big religion. What you’re saying here is Islam is so renegade it can’t modify local deviance even at its most immoral.

2. The ones denying Islamophobia are often the ones creating it most.

Prove that fear of Islam is unnecessary. Show us how people who follow Islam are better able to live in peace. Show us that it is at least a bit more successful than not having a religion in making people better. Let’s just study it and do the math. If it is shown to be the best at morality then maybe I’ll join or at least praise. Until then it’s just another renegade religion running havoc over the world.

3. We get it. Some Muslims over use the Islamophobia label.

I don’t so much care if an oppressed people make random remarks against their oppressor. I do care when bullies say they are oppressed. Civility is appropriate while addressing greater concerns. Mocking may be necessary but again in the right arena. I write a mean word but I insist on politeness in public.

4. There’s a right way and wrong way to point out something isn’t Islamophobia.

The wrong way is to deny its existence? I definitely think there is Islamophobia. Usually by wing nut right wingers who haven’t a clue what Islam or the Koran are but just hate others. By studying a religion, its tenants, practices, and results one can evaluate a religion, any religion. At that pojnt recommendations may be made. One can say smoking is bad for you because the Book of Mormon says so or one can do studies that show smoking causes cancer. The first is nonsense and the second is legitimate. Why? Smoking was being castigated by Mormons before they even knew whether it had health benefits of not–it was a call to Protestant deprivation and had nothing to do with health.

I know we’re all just people. But isn’t the point that religion is a tool to make us better people, which can be evaluated.

5. Islamophobia deniers are just as skewed as those who overuse the term.

Yep we’re all biased. So lets get a crew of our best minds out there evaluating religions and their effects on society. Whatever they decide we’ll take as best practice. Are you willing to change your mind? Or is the only real possibility isolation, separatism, and competition on the wrong level?

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Sunday Saints

two popesThe world got two new Catholic Saints today. Aside from the Vatican’s penchant for idolatry, a savvy political move most likely unappreciated by the early writers of the bible much less Christ himself as described, it was a popular event with millions out for the party. Proving once again the people love a party with pomp and circumstance, now, in these hard times, even more with less pomp and more circumstance. A tale of two churches made one.

John XXIII is a hero to many liberal Catholics for his Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s, which sought to open the church to the modern era. John Paul II is a hero to many conservative Catholics — not only for his anti-Communist heroism and personal charisma, but also because of his resistance to liberalizing elements of the church.

By pairing their canonizations, Francis sought to de-emphasize their differences, many analysts said, in the service of trying to reconcile divisions within the church and finding consensus as he prepared for the meetings, known as synods, centered on the theme of family.

Aaah, the pope. He’s a good pope, a pope for the people. Well unless you’re female or male wishing to do a little family planning and reproductive control in which case you’re committing “unspeakable crimes.”

“Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn,” the pope said.

So wanting to actually choose to have a child is a result of succumbing to secularism? Really? So unless a women is in a constant state of pregnancy, preparation for pregnancy, or nursing as long as she can in the hopes of not being pregnant, or simply giving up sex since fellatio, sodomy, and masturbation are all forbidden she, he, it, they are secular? How about if they just aren’t Catholic? I forget there is no other church but Catholicism–like all the other churches they think they’re the only ones up there. Allow abortion you must be secular, atheist, because you’re not Catholic. No wonder historians get it all wrong.

Once again our pope puppy, the friendly pope that pees on you when held close, proves that one is an atheist unless a bona fide Catholic in good practice.

I never knew we were such a large group. That would be billions now. I wonder if the others know. I can’t wait to tell them–hey, you’re not a good Catholic. No, you’re not even a Catholic but a secularist, an atheist. If only atheists new how easy it was to swell their ranks.

“Let us remember the words of the Second Vatican Council: From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

Nice. He uses a liberal pope’s politics to demand a conservative position. He’s so confusing. But how would I know when my spouse was conceiving? Oh yes, I forget. Every act of sex is considered an act of conception. That’s why sex is sacred. It’s actually a mimicry, transmorgriphication, of the union to god. Just like those Greeks having gods have sex with mortals. And we thought those Catholics were different.

It’s not surprising the Vatican wasn’t so worried about pedophilia. Abortion is an unspeakable crime. That sounds pretty bad. Must be worse than pedophilia since that’s just men mentoring boys or some such thing related to propinquity. Oh yes, the new pope welcomes homosexuality as long as they don’t practice it or tell anyone. But abortion is an unspeakable crime?

Be careful  not to hold this pope too close. He gets so excited and friendly he may pee on you by accident. He is awfully cute though.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Christ’s Suicide and Easter

christ's suicideMy daughter returned from a trip with friends and had to listen to christian radio on the way. She lost interest in Easter; it’s about suicide! Our family had to somehow recover it as a spring holiday. An excuse for feasting, lots of protein, consuming our last home raised ham, curried tofu, green beans, potatoes, and being together as family.

Why would churches be against suicide except for a prophet who claims to be the son of god? How could it be a suicide if Christ knew he would be alive anyway? How is suicide bad if the next world is with god as claimed? How would he be giving up his son if he knew he would become alive or if there were some sort of autonomy-connection-awareness within the triune god? Wars and ostracism have been committed based on the appealed veracity of these distinctions. It’s also why faith of immortality cares less about the truth of it but rather the hope for it. It can’t possibly make sense and that’s its value. To be beyond reason. You can’t easily argue the absurd from within.

The meme that Christ desired to be crucified to redeem the sins of all humans is the cornerstone of christian faith for most. It is what separates the old from the new testament. In order to redeem the Judaic text, the old testament, and not blame Jews for allowing Christ to be killed, Christ has to allow himself to be killed in passive suicide. This has many troublesome issues only the faithful can support. It would have been much less interesting if Christ had stabbed himself to death. The grotesque images of Christ bleeding on a cross resonate deeply. Far beyond the merit of the act. Yet suicide is contagious and becomes its own problem.

The act of living may require more courage than suicide. But for the sake of a good story Christ had to die and the church needed a Paul to create and spread the memes. It is the idea of sacrifice that counts and not how much sacrifice it really is. Confabulating son and father, mortality and immortality, just adds icing to the cake. Think of how a small gesture like taking out the garbage, or doing the dishes, or working late adds to a relationship. Once trusted the gifts need not be so great.

Just how courageous was Jesus? Most men and women would give up their life for their families. Soldiers routinely give up their lives for the group or just for the idea of bravery and courage, to be boldly brave. Terrorist attacks show how individuals will risk all to save the group when if they were passive they most likely would not be harmed. Again and again we have examples of how people will sacrifice themselves for others they do not even know, strangers even.  It’s hard to know who really is a stranger; we all know more strangers than friends and family now.

Would you kill yourself for six friends, 10, 20, 100 or 1,000? If you knew you could stop global warming would you commit suicide? Would you let yourself go when the lifeboat is too full to hold even just one more or would you swamp the raft? Would you jeopardize your life on a  Everest climb by attempting to rescue another disabled climber?

Over and over I hear and read of stories of bravery and courage where the degree of cost, the importance of success, are far less than that of Jesus. If what he believed was true his suicide was a no brainer and hardly merits slight respect. I would bet that nearly everyone would commit suicide if they knew they were saving their entire community. The real question is who would not commit suicide for their family of life?

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Pope Pushes Chastity to Prevent AIDs

tv preview networkPope Francis pushes chastity to prevent AIDS. This clumsy and impossible admonishment is only possible by someone who hates sex, has never or rarely had sex, and has been chaste all of his life. It is as stupid as telling fat people they just need to eat fewer calories. It’s that simple; the elitist bullshit, why can’t you do it, I did. 

A Mormon coworker of mine, an engineer, thought human spontaneous combustion, human lightning strikes, and AIDS were a god’s exacting punishment for homosexuality. Eventually medical staff showed AIDS was prevalent in heterosexual relations as well though controversy abounds. In spite of Africa’s rich pre missionary heritage of bisexuality, actually omnisexuality since beastiality was also common, homosexuality became a single-issue political cause for bigotry. Would that those missionaries were rotting in hell. Arrest them all now for crimes against humanity.

Pope Francis continues this legacy of hating anything but the missionary position with your wife and no birth control for them either. His advocacy to prevent AIDS is a transparent attempt to control all sexuality and promote the “quiverful” movement. A rabid breeding to death of humans hoping to double the Earth’s population every few decades–not to mention the harm to women from constant pregnancy and child rearing. More soldiers for god. And god will appear and tell you when to stop?

Conservatives have said that voting for a president because they are black or a woman is bigotry or racism, reverse bigotry so to speak. But people often vote based on a single issue: abortion, a war, economics, environment, civil rights, or gun control even. Name your favorite cause. The pope has said it’s more than homosexuality, birth control, and abortion but that’s his typical double-speak of saying one thing today and then saying another tomorrow retracting the first.

It’s clear the pope’s favorite cause is chastity except in marriage and then it’s breed until the woman becomes barren and then feel cursed because she is.

Many non-Catholic health care workers advocate condoms as an important weapon to fight the spread of the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The Vatican opposes condom use because church teaching forbids contraception.

For the pope it is more important to ensure no birth control than to save lives. The legacy lives on.

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said male prostitutes who intend to use condoms might be taking a step toward greater responsibility. The Vatican insisted Benedict wasn’t justifying condom usage to prevent HIV’s spread.

Since the pope has no belief in a modern prophet until Christ returns to rapture us after murdering the rest, one has to wonder at the sanity of the entire administration. Even 98% of his sheep use birth control. But that matters little since 100% of us are marked by sin.

It just doesn’t matter whether your Christian, Jewish, or Muslim this idiotic and hateful and Earth destroying immorality would be enough to be my single-issue for which I would not only leave these religions but consider them life-long enemies of humanity. Just too monstrous to be a part  of.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.fronteirsofreason.com

Christians Steal Credit for Western Civilization

jesus warriorWilliam Lane Craig’s odious argument claims the West has been secular for 500 years. Bart Ehrman’s new book “How Jesus Became God” claims the declaration that Jesus was God created Western Civilization. Peter Watson’s new book “The Age of Atheism, (A play on the series “The Story of Civilization” and its volume, the ‘Age of Reason’”) says “God is Dead” was the real beginning of atheism.

It is also popular to say the dark ages weren’t dark, the middle ages were a fun time of growth and innovation, and god is dead. Huh? He seems pretty alive everywhere judging by the number of religious conflicts and theology in the world. Maybe we’re reaching critical mass and poof? Religion held us back.

woman warriorIndeed by right of conquest it would seem the sword of god is far more than words but steel itself, apparently half-naked and aroused too–must be the invisible armor. That is how David knew he would defeat Goliath. Get god on your side and you will become the civilization  conquering all.

Though they pleasure themselves by saying Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall…” was atheistic propaganda Gibbons was a convert to Roman Catholicism!

Mostly they further the new christian-apologist mantra.

What’s reason got to do with it?

In their feeble attempts to rebrand, rehistoricise, and revision intent they promote revelation above science and reason as being the source of civilization.

The most likely reason for the expansion of the peoples of the fertile crescent has much to do with its ability to grow vast amounts of grain and large animals, as well stated  in “Guns, Germs, and Steal” by Jared Diamond. Much of city-state downfall is due to overpopulation and too heavy an infrastructure. But these could have been ameliorated if reason and empiricism were prime and not revelation.

The slow return and recovery to reason as best bet after the debacle of Constantine has been both promoted and castigated by atheists and non atheists. Most science-type people were religious by law or not but they sought reason and science to know god’s word and world. When the data made god small they followed instead of

Might makes right and our god is right. We just don’t know why.

Igodly armort is wise to remember that Constantine conquered all of the known world. As most conquerers do who are trying to maintain overreaching conquest he utilized religion to coalesce warring diversity and tribalism.

Constantine a life-long pagan eliminated the gnostics, the growing greek orthodox, and settled the faction-building debate on the godliness of Jesus with the Nicene meeting and had killed anyone who disagreed, making Christianity the law punishable by death or extradition. He was just an average example.

The great libraries of antiquity were burned or neglected to rot. How is this love?

joan of arcThe slow awakening to reason of a somnambulant dark-middle ages theocracy, unable yet to fight the really big wars, was due to returning to Aristotle at first, later Plato, and finally humanism–Greeks and Romans.

Revelation gives motivation to kill  but not information to live.

The zeal to create a rational proof of god that was immutable to evidence failed. And while they sought self-validating formalism (something Godel couldn’t even accomplish) the scientific method was rolling on creating technology that actually helped alleviate the average life rate of 25 years during feudalism. A duration far worse than most antediluvian forager societies.

Revelation rarely saved anyone’s life but killed many.

The ubiquity of variance in theology and technology of city-states shows well there is no natural progress to revelation-based epistemology and even technology is dependent on the environment in which the city-state grows.

I credit Paul (Saul) and St Augustine far  more for the state of christian theology than any kind of Jesus. That they are excused for their theocracy, love of punishment, and admonition to spread the good news, whether others liked it or not, because they believed in love and compassion is pure bullshit.

“The body doesn’t matter. Let them die.” A most christian notion.

women god and armorWhile christians love to say the sword in Jesus’s mouth (revelations) is allegorical to the holy ghost or wisdom to god the rest of the image (verbal and otherwise) is all blood, anger, death, and destruction and it does’t look  allegorical at all.

Jesus was a warrior until namby-pamby god-is-love types reinvented christianity.

Nor is Christ love. Modern theocrats are rightly pissed because they know christianity is about conquest with a long history of conquest far beyond economic need.

Here is Christ dressed as Roman warrior from 6th century mosaic (Archbishop’s Chapel, Ravenna) standing on a lion and a snake.

christ as warrior

Does this look like a loving Christ?

christ warrior king

Here is a Mongolian warrior wearing christian armor.

mongolian christian

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com