The whole business with Asia Bibi has displayed the rank intolerance of the Extreme Muslims in Pakistan.
For a supposedly civilised country this has been an appalling display of intolerance and injustice.
What started as a minor dispute was escalated into a death sentence. Asia is a Christian and was working with in the fields Muslim women from her village. These women refused to drink from a water bucket that Asia had touched because they claimed it was now unclean. They demanded she convert to Islam and she refused. In the heated argument that followed they claimed she insulted the prophet Muhammad.
Asia was arrested under blasphemy laws and absurdly sentenced to death.
This is not the only travesty of justice. In 2009, politician Salman Taseer was shot dead by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, after he spoke out in support of Ms Bibi and openly condemned Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The…
We have no problem whatsoever in declaring that female circumcision is child abuse. If a parent allows their female child to be mutilated then most civilised people would shout loudly that it is wrong.
It does not matter if the parents erroneously believe that it is a religious practice.
Religious practices are not above the law.
Some religious practice declares that it is not only alright, but an absolute mandate from god, to take the life of a nonbeliever. It is never right.
Some religious belief declares that it is right for a wife to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.
Female circumcision is an abuse. It is wrong. It is illegal. It never should happen.
Neither should male circumcision be allowed. It is nowhere near as bad as female mutilation but it is the same principle. A child should not be subjected to such a mutilation…
There are a few forces in the World today who appear to wish to bring on World War 3, Kim Jong-un, Trump, Israel and the Fundamental Right and all should be countered for WW3 will, if it comes, will be apocalyptic for the majority of the Worlds population and to what end.
The World, today, may not be good place, but it is all our lives at stake and none should be lost due to the actions of the Warmongers, never today, tomorrow or anytime within the future.
And this is exactly what Christian Zionist millennialists like Tim Lahaie want.
Yesterday, Trump announced that he was going to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is what the Israelis have been demanding for years, but previous administrations have not given into them, because they were very much aware that this would set off a powder keg of rage and hostility across the Middle East. Jerusalem was taken from the Palestinians, and still contains a sizable Arab population. The Israeli nationalist right would love it to be the capital of their nation, but it is also claimed by the Palestinians.
There have been mass protests and riots against Trump’s decision all over the Middle East. RT yesterday put up this footage of Israeli squaddies or the police trying to put down protesters or rioters in Bethlehem yesterday.
And politicians from across the political spectrum have condemned…
So I do not wish to remove any religions from today’s world, but they all do need to reflect how their supposed original teachings or basic concepts relate to the world as it is now. None should debase the others and their followers need to act accordingly as tolerance and understanding of others points of view should be, always, the way forward.
The three Abrahamic religions started up way back in the dawn of time – in a time of medieval ignorance.
Judaism has its roots 3000 years ago.
Christianity 2000 years ago.
Islam 1500 years ago.
They originated in nomadic tribes of Arabs in a small area of the Middle East renowned for its many sects and religious fanatics.
They all claim that ‘God’ spoke to their originator when they were alone in a cave, up a mountain or in the wilderness – with no witnesses.
None of the originators wrote anything down.
The writings in the holy books were either accumulated from the prevailing genesis stories or myths or written down generations later from accounts passed down by word of mouth. Yet the adherents claim they are the exact word of God (despite the inconsistencies, obvious social context pertaining to that Arab culture, ambiguities and contradictions).
Our views are formed from the information we are provided with.
If we are constantly provided with news that is heavily slanted while claiming to be impartial then we are being manipulated.
How do we know what is true?
I’m aware that I’m in serious risk of doing this subject to death, but this needs to be said. I’ve put up several blogs featuring the videos of talks and interviews given by Israeli and American Jewish activists and historians – Ilan Pappe, Elizabeth Baltzer and Norman Finkelstein, laying bare the terrible history of Israel’s persecution and systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population. As I’ve repeatedly said, this is because of the smears against leading figures in the Labour party that they are anti-Semites, when they are nothing of the sort, and demonstrably nothing of the sort. Ken Leninspart, when he was leader of the GLC, was notorious and reviled for his anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia stance. And if you want to read what he has to say about anti-Semitism, it’s written down in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. He decries it as one of the worst forms of…
What changed Jewish attitudes to Israel was the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The Americans saw Israel very much as a kind of outpost of American interests in the Middle East, and identified its people with great American heroes like Davey Crockett, and the struggle of the Texans for independence from Mexico. There was an equivalence between Israel’s soldiers and the heroes of the Alamo. The Israelis were invested with all the heroic values Americans believed characterised themselves, and from it being unpatriotic to support the Israelis, it became the reverse. It was super-patriotic to support them.
Crucial to this was the Israeli claim to have practised ‘purity of arms’. Unlike Vietnam, where the Americans were losing and committing terrible atrocities, the Israelis were winning without committing massacres and other breaches of human rights. This record has gradually darkened as the wars between Israel and its Arab neighbours continued. The classic case…
It seems to me that human beings are psychologically hard-wired to relish ritual and pageant. We are enthralled and impressed by it. The ploys of fancy dress, high hats, big thrones and sceptres always work. We apply ourselves to ritual washing and ostentatious prayer, chanting, singing and reciting with gusto and find it reassuring. We take the ornate palaces, cathedrals and mosques as proof. We see the Castles, Palaces, and pageant as evidence of unassailable power.
We are gullible and easily duped.
The same tactics rarely failed in the past. The planet is festooned with abandoned pyramids, stone-circles and mounds that are testament to past religions that have blossomed and perished. Ruined castles, sacked fortresses and toppled statues are testament to power overthrown.
Religion is about power. We have a need to feel that someone is in control – ultimately god, but in the meantime the imams…
‘…………By Patrick O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy – English, Communications, Culture and Media at Nottingham Trent University
Atheism is so often considered in the negative: as a lack of faith, or a disbelief in god; as an essential deprivation. Atheism is seen as being destitute of meaning, value, purpose; unfertile ground for growing the feelings of belonging needed to overcome the alienation that dogs modern life. In more extreme critiques, atheism is considered to be another name for nihilism; a fundamental negation of existence, a noxious blight on creation itself.
Yet atheists – rather than flippantly dismissing the insights of theologians – should take them seriously indeed. Humans, by dint of being human, are confronted with baffling questions about meaning, belonging, direction, our connection to other humans and the fate of our species as a whole. The human impulse is to seek answers, and to date, atheism has been unsatisfactory in its response.
The shackles of humanism
Atheist values are typically defined as humanistic. If we look to the values of the British Humanist Association, we see that it promotes naturalism, rational debate, and the pre-eminence of evidence, cooperation, progress and individual dignity. These are noble aspirations, but they are ultimately brittle when tackling the visceral and existential problems confronting humanity in this period of history.
When one considers the destruction that advanced capitalism visits on communities – from environmental catastrophes to war and genocide – then the atheist is the last person one thinks of calling for solace, or for a meaningful ethical and political alternative.
In the brutal economic reality of a neo-liberal, market-oriented world, these concerns are rarely given due consideration when debating the questions surrounding the existence or non-existence of god. The persistent and unthinking atheist habit is to ground all that is important on individual freedom, individual assertions of non-belief and vacant appeals to scientific evidence. But these appeals remain weak when confronting financial crises, gender inequality, diminished public health and services, food banks, and economic deprivation.
Atheism, suffering and solidarity
The writings of atheist poster boys Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett do not offer solace to the existential and political realities of our world. In some cases, they can make them worse. Calls for reason and scientific inquiry do not offer any coherent sense of solidarity to those who suffer. The humanist might argue the world would be a far more progressive place if scientific values guided our governments. But the reality is that humanism, together with its ethical correlate of individual dignity, remains ineffectual when it comes to offering a galvanising purpose, or inspiring a meaningful sense of belonging.
The most pressing concerns facing humans are philosophical, and sometimes even metaphysical. Humans have genuine fears that life is excessively cheap, a sense that the collective good is waning, that political action is equivalent to apathy and cynicism, and that any solution to any political problem is the ubiquitous idea of the entrepreneurial human.
This is why atheism, if it is to be relevant, must shed its humanism. The future vitality and relevance of atheism depends on its ability to broaden its focus away from the validity of god’s existence and narrow concerns over individual freedom. Instead, it must turn to address questions about economic causality, belonging and alienation, poverty, collective action, geo-politics, the social causes of environmental problems, class and gender inequality, and human suffering.
Obviously, the best person to consult on the rapidity of climate change is the scientist. But these kind of appeals to science as a way of understanding the world around us must be supplemented by the core philosophical considerations of humans existing in the world, who grapple daily with the enormity of undeniable problems. Atheism needs to renew itself if it is to be considered relevant for the new century.
But this is not to say that atheism must embrace an insipid, watered-down spiritualism. Instead, we can look to a different breed of atheism, found in the work of continental, anti-humanist philosophers. For example, we can turn to Nietzsche to understand the resentments generated by human suffering. Meanwhile, the Marxist tradition offers us the means to understand the material conditions of unsustainable capitalism. Existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus allow us to comprehend our shared mortality, and the humour and tragedy of life in a godless universe.
There is a whole other philosophical vocabulary for atheism to explore. Both Nietzsche and Sartre observe a different atheism, one embedded in the context of genuine questions of cruelty, economic alienation, anxiety and mortality.
Atheism needs to be attentive to what it means to live with the consequences of violence, senselessness and suffering. The trouble with atheism in its more conventional guises is a nerdish fetishism for all things that work: what is accurate, the instrumental and the efficient. The trouble is, many aspects of our world are not working. Because of this, the atheist is in danger of being perceived as deluded and aloof from the violent mess of the real. Atheism, if it is to be vital, needs to reconnect itself with the more disturbing, darker aspects of the human condition. ……..’