Posts Tagged “Religion”

Pakistani security officials clash with supporters of the Movement in Service to the Finality of the Prophet, a religious group, in Islamabad on Saturday as the government tries to disperse protesters who have blocked the main highway for days. (Sohail Shahzad/EPA/EFE/REX/Shutterstock, via Washington Post)We all know Pakistan is home to a lot of militant Islamists. The country has stern laws against anti-Islamic blasphemy, and it’s the place where a hundred thousand people turned out to mourn the Islamofascist assassin of one of their state governors. Pakistan’s pervasive, extremist Islamism once again reared its ugly head, as the Washington Post reports, in the wake of convictions after a mob murdered a university student almost a year ago (Archive.Is cached article):

When an anti-terrorism court sentenced one man to death and 25 others to prison terms Wednesday in the slaying of a student last year in northwest Pakistan [cached], the ruling was meant to send a strong warning that murder in the name of defending Islam would not be tolerated.

But the court’s decision immediately triggered large, angry protest rallies by religious groups in the area, along with homecoming celebrations for those acquitted of the mob beating and shooting death of Mashal Khan last April. Banners welcomed them as heroes of the faith.…

The movement, led by clerics from Pakistan’s largest and generally peaceful Sunni Muslim sect, has swelled since November, when a protest they staged in the capital, Islamabad [cached], ended with the federal government capitulating to their major demands and calling in army leaders to negotiate.

Really, the government of Pakistan is doing what it always does in cases like this: Surrendering to its people’s childish, irrational, violent Islamism. And that’s the reason Pakistan has become a bastion of Islamist extremism; its government won’t really press the issue, discipline their own people and force them to grow the fuck up already. Instead, they indulge the infantile rabble, because they haven’t the fortitude to deal with the inevitable backlash.

Will Pakistan’s One of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, via Assyrian Information Management military do anything about this? I don’t expect it. This is the same military that let none other than Osama bin-Laden live for years just under a thousand yards from their own equivalent of West Point, without ever having offered any explanation for how that happened.

As for blasphemy Lars Vilks Muhammad cartoon, via Gawker being a crime that must be punished with death … well, that’s just fucking ridiculous. Blasphemy is no crime at all, because it never harms anything. (Except maybe for believers’ feelings.) Islam won’t be damaged just because there was a non-believer on a university campus. It won’t be damaged if someone burns a Qur’an. It won’t be damaged if people draw cartoons of Mohammad. It simply won’t. Islam will continue on, as it always has, in spite of anyone’s “blasphemy.”

As I always do when blogging about the topic of murderous anti-blasphemy rage among Muslims, I’ve decorated this post with a couple added blasphemous graphics … just to tweak any infantile Islamofascists who might happen to see it. Boo hoo hoo, little babies. Book hoo!

Photo credits: Top, Sohail Shahzad/EPA/EFE/REX/Shutterstock, via Washington Post; middle, Jyllands-Posten, via Assyrian Information Management; bottom, Lars Vilks, via Gawker.

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Conquest of Jeusalem (1099)I’ve blogged a lot about the movement I call “the Great Neocrusade” … an effort to remove Islam and Muslims from the US (and for many of its followers, to eradicate it from the planet after that). I’ve noted that, as of a couple years ago, it became an openly violent movement, with people being attacked over it (sometimes by mistake). Attacking people because they’re Muslims is, of course, not really new, but it did pick up a bit after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

Well, the anti-Muslim violence is still going on. As KOLD-TV reports, it manifested recently in Tuscon, AZ (Archive.Is cached article):

A man is in custody after allegedly attacking a group of Muslim women in Tucson, city police said.

The Tucson Police Department said Manuel Lewis, 44, was arrested Sunday, Jan. 14 at an incident outside of the Starbucks on University Boulevard.

This attack appears not to have been Lewis’s first ride on this rodeo:

We’ve been told this has happened before – that Lewis specifically shouted derogatory comments nearby at Sinbad’s Restaurant, a middle-eastern food establishment in the area.

As I’ve said pretty much every time one of these stories pops up: Look, I get it. There is such a thing as Islamist terror. Muslim extremists have done a lot of terrible things. Oh yeah. I know all about it. I definitely don’t dismiss it. But, with that said … violent rages against those who’re part of a religion whose extreme members have also been violent, just doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s time for Americans to grow the fuck up already and stop lashing out at every Muslim they come across. Sure, Islamist terrorists are dangerous … but on average, Americans are in far greater danger from ordinary sociopaths, than they are from Islamist terrorists. As horrific as their attacks are, there are lots of other dangers that deserve much more attention.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Michelangelo, Creation of Adam 04I find myself constantly amazed at the asinine bullshit that religionists throw around, in their continual effort to justify their irrational, illogical, and absurd beliefs. The Las Vegas concert massacre a week ago has produced yet more of it, but to be honest, none of this idiotic tripe is new. In fact, I addressed it five years ago after the Aurora, CO massacre — and it wasn’t new, even back then.

The bullshit I’m referring to is the desperate attempts by followers of Abrahamic religions to continue believing in a creator-deity who’s simultaneously omnipotent (i.e. having the power to do anything at all), omniscient (i.e. having knowledge of all that can ever be known), infinite (i.e. having a presence everywhere possible), eternal (i.e. unchanging, having all of these qualities throughout time), and benevolent (i.e. desiring that there be no evil or suffering).

The reality of it is, given the universe humanity has found itself in, it is logically impossible for such a creator-deity to exist. That’s Im. Poss. Ubb. Bull. It simply cannot be so. It just cannot.

That harsh reality didn’t stop the Religion News Service from publishing yet another round of laughable absurdity intended to “make sense” of this (Archive.Is cached article). This insipid crap inspired me to take my earlier blog post on this subject and render it into a static page on my blog. The bottom line, as I explain there and in an older article on my Early Christian History Web site, is that — logically — the Abrahamic deity can only be malevolent in nature. No other option is viable. I’m sure it will pain many of his/her/its followers to be told that … but too bad, so sad for them, that’s just how it is! Wanting it not to be so, and devising all manner of irrational theodicies that say otherwise, cannot and will never magically change that reality … no matter how fervently anyone wishes otherwise. It’s no more viable than insisting that the sky isn’t blue or water isn’t wet.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Pacifier for newborn, 2015-07-12Christians love to claim believing in Jesus makes them better people … considerate, compassionate, upright, helpful, moral, etc. I’m sure a lot of them think this is true — but it’s not. If it were, a country with upwards of 85% Christians ought to have virtually no crime and no destitution, but obviously that’s not the case. And if it were the case, we wouldn’t have the phenomenon of couples killing their own children (or just as bad, purposely allowing them to die) because of their faith in Jesus.

This is something I’ve blogged about a number of times, and as horrible as it is, it keeps happening. The Detroit Free Press reports on one example of it having recently happened, in Michigan (Archive.Is cached article):

A Lansing woman refused to seek medical treatment for her newborn daughter even after a midwife warned that the infant’s jaundice could lead to brain damage or death, a police detective testified last week in court.

The mother told the midwife her baby was fine, and that “God … makes no mistakes,” the detective said.

Two days later the infant was dead.

The woman, 30-year-old Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, 36-year-old Joshua Barry Piland, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The article tells the story of how this happened. The baby was born apparently healthy, but the next day was different:

But when the midwife saw the baby on Feb. 7, her assessment changed.

Abigail appeared jaundiced, and the midwife advised Rachel Piland to take the child to a pediatrician or an emergency room, Scaccia said. “She told Piland the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for.

“Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes,” Scaccia said. “She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine.”

The child didn’t improve. Piland “went to listen to sermons” rather than call for the help her midwife had recommended. After the child died according to a Lansing detective:

“They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her. Joshua continued to massage Abigail, attempting to get her good air. Both Josh and (Rachel) reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.”

This couple is involved with some kind of non-denominational Bible school called “Faith Tech Ministries,” which has had nothing to say about this incident.

This couple put their love for their Jesus above their love (if one can call it that) for their own infant daughter. We need to stop already with the claims about how wonderful faith is, and stop treating it as admirable. Obviously, in this case — and in many others — it wasn’t wonderful at all, and no one should admire faith that extreme.

Oh, and before anyone says “Not all Christians think that way,” guess again! Their own holy scripture relays the story of a profoundly righteous man — the legendarily-holy Abraham himself — who’d been willing to sacrifice his own son to his deity YHWH. Not only is this story found in the Old Testament, it’s upheld in the New Testament as proof of Abraham’s sanctity and faith:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. (Hebrews 11:17)

And in the gospels, Jesus himself calls for parents and children to turn on one another, over him:

For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. (Matthew 10:35-36)

Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

For better or worse, even Christians who aren’t cruel enough to kill their kids for Jesus, cannot disavow the notion — deep within their religion — that faith in God is to come before all else, even one’s love for one’s own children. That principle lurks within their faith, whether or not they wish to admit it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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In this Saturday, March 29, 2014 file photo, Aziza Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving. Saudi Arabia says it will allow women to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom. The kingdom, which announced the change on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)I’ve blogged many times about Saudi Arabia’s obvious misogyny. Among the ways Saudis repress their women is by making it illegal for them to drive. The Kingdom is the only country on earth that has such a restriction.

It’s a ridiculous restriction that Saudi clerics claim is required by Islam, but no other Islamic country has anything like it, which suggests this probably isn’t the case. They say it’s about “respect” for women (?). One of those clerics, a rather high-ranking one, even claimed that driving was physically harmful for women. That, of course, is a fucking lie … but he said it, and I’ll bet a lot of Saudis believe it.

Well, times are changing, even in the incredibly-reactionary Kingdom. As the Associated Press reports via Religion News Service, the Saudi prohibition on women driving, will soon be lifted (Archive.Is cached article):

Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to grant women the right to drive in the conservative kingdom marks a significant expansion in women’s rights, but activists said Wednesday it is also only the first step in a long list of demands for equality.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving, and nearly three decades ago women first began agitating for the right to drive, at times facing arrest for their protests and for getting behind the wheel.

The lifting of the ban, which comes into effect next summer, is the most dramatic step yet in a campaign by the king’s son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to modernize the kingdom. The young royal has been promoting change as needed to boost the country’s economy and ease international criticism, but he risks a backlash from powerful clerics from the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

It’s all well and good, I guess, that the monarchy is behind this rule-change, but it’s far from immediate, and it’s sure to be resisted, as the article mentions:

Almost immediately after the news broke, an Arabic hashtag on Twitter was trending that said: “The women of my house won’t drive.”

I can only hope things will continue improving for Saudi women.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali.

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WTC smoking on 9-11Update: Since I first posted this, another instance of Moore’s “massacre theology” has come to light; please see below.

I’ve blogged a few times already about Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore, who’s famous for having been thrown off that state’s Supreme Court twice for judicial misconduct, as a result of his dour and angry Christofascism.

Never one to be ashamed of anything he says he does in the name of his Jesus, Moore is running for US Senate this year. So far, he’s doing very well — which shouldn’t be surprising, Alabamans sure love their Christofascists.

During a speech in a church (where else?) earlier this year, as CNN reports, Moore engaged in some disaster theology (Archive.Is cached article):

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore suggested earlier this year that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks might have happened because the US had distanced itself from God.

Moore, a hardline conservative running against fellow Republican and incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a runoff primary race, made the comments in February during a speech at the Open Door Baptist Church, a video reviewed by CNN’s KFile shows.…

“Because you have despised His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … therefore this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instance,'” Moore said, quoting Isaiah 30:12-13. Then he added: “Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose breaking came suddenly at an instance, doesn’t it?”

Moore, continued, “If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25, ‘there should be up on every high mountain and upon every hill rivers and streams of water in the day of the great slaughter when the towers will fall.’ You know, we’ve suffered a lot in this country, maybe, just maybe, because we’ve distanced ourselves from the one that has it within his hands to heal this land.”

Later in the same speech, Moore suggested God was upset at the United States because “we legitimize sodomy” and “legitimize abortion.”

CNN goes on to explain that Moore is hardly the first militant Christianist to play this particular game. Rather famously, the late Jerry Falwell and Marion “Pat” Robertson did so, just a couple days after the attacks (cached). And Moore himself had previously said the same thing.

The tendency of sanctimonious religionists to use catastrophes in this way, claiming they’re God’s way of getting people to do what they (the religionist, that is) wants, is truly hideous. Essentially they’re admitting their deity is nothing more than a cosmic terrorist — no different, really, than the terrorist who struck London earlier today (cached). I’m not sure why people actually want to worship a cosmic terrorist, and not only give in to his/her/its demands themselves, but force the rest of humanity to do so as well — but clearly they do.

And that, I’m afraid, is the problem here. This kind of talk is only going to help Moore’s campaign for Senate. There are a ton of people in Alabama, as well as the rest of the country, who love hearing that their deity is an almighty cosmic terrorist, and who will conclude that Moore is a righteous and holy man for having said so. We live in a dangerous country, folks. Very dangerous!

Update: CNN’s Kfile continued delving into Moore’s past material, and uncovered another example of his raging “massacre theology” (cached):

“We are losing the acknowledgment of God, and I’m standing here talking, to Christians and Pastors, and I’m telling you we’re losing the acknowledgment of God,” Moore said, before reciting several verses from the Old Testament book of Hosea that deal with lack of knowledge of God.

“You wonder why we’re having shootings, and killings here in 2017? Because we’ve asked for it,” Moore said. “We’ve taken God out of everything. We’ve taken prayer out of school, we’ve taken prayer out of council meetings.”

Moore lies, of course, when he says that “we’ve taken God out of everything.” No such thing has happened —
anywhere in the US. There’s still plenty of God all over the country. And he fucking well knows it, too. (Hat tip for this update: Friendly Atheist.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Jesus weptBelieving in their supposedly omnipotent, infinite, omniscient, yet benevolent creator-deity has tied followers of the Abrahamic religious tradition in logical knots for centuries. It’s difficult to look out at a world full of needless suffering and wanton evil and decide it was all designed, built, and is currently presided over by an almighty being who also disapproves of evil.

It’s a conundrum that led to any number of theodicies, or rationales intended to reconcile this logical conflict. All of them, however, fail the test of logic — even the vaunted and oft-spoken-of “free will” theodicy. Despite the utter failure of all known theodicies, Abrahamic believers nonetheless doggedly continue trying to justify believing in the illogic of a supposedly benevolent, omnipotent deity whose creation is rife with needless suffering and tons of unnecessary evil.

I just heard about a sterling example of the laughable extremes they’ll go to in order to rationalize this brazenly illogical concept. As Mediaite reports, Houston megapastor Joel Osteen recently came up with something so ridiculous, that it defies description, and is as sadly pathetic as it is hilarious (Archive.Is cached article):

During his televised sermon today, Osteen seemed to reference the storm that devastated huge swaths of Texas and Louisiana. And the way the preacher told it, hurricanes like Harvey are just God’s way of saying you can take a great and life-altering tragedy.

Bringing up a biblical story involving Jesus and his apostles sailing across a lake during a hurricane-like storm, Osteen said that Jesus didn’t wake up during the squall because he knew they could handle it. “If they were all going to die, he would have gotten up without them having to wake him up,” he exclaimed.…

“The reason it may seem like God is not waking up is not because he’s ignoring you, not because he’s uninterested, it’s because he knows you can handle it,” he stated.

Osteen added, “Take it as a compliment.”

The people of Houston, and other places, should “take it as a compliment” that a hurricane flooded their homes and businesses, and even killed some people — the death toll is up to about 60 as I type this (cached)? Seriously!? How the fuck did Osteen even say something that ludicrous with a straight face?

The irony here is that what Osteen said makes perfect sense, given the premises posed by the Abrahamic religious tradition. It follows naturally from the position that there is a creator-deity who’s all-powerful, all-knowing, yet who chooses (for unknown reasons) to allow horrific things to happen to people. It’s an unavoidable conclusion … given all of that. If the idiocy of such a statement doesn’t wake Abrahamic believers up to the obvious absurdity of their beliefs, then I guess nothing will.

P.S. That’s the second time in just a few days that a Texan dealing with Hurricane Harvey has said something so asinine as to force me to tag a post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.” What in hell is wrong with the Lone Star State, anyway (aside from the tragedy of the hurricane)?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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