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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Compelling posts from elsewhere

Republicans support free speech on the internet, will the party across the aisle agree?!!!!! The votes will be cast and all will see....LaShawn explains.

Big Lizards posts an excerpt of a movie file worth downloading and watching as Dr. Wafa Sultan kicks Islamofascist butt...

" The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists.

15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people.

The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies.

This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

People who say things like "The problem is one of theocracy. Theocracies of any kind are dangerous" are either deliberately ignorant or deliberately misleading. The world has seen that Islamofascism is evil personified in killer mobs, suicide murderers and fanatically dangerous leaders.

Evangelical Outpost asks, Does God Live In The Gaps?

"So what then does “God of the gaps” mean? The phrase, according to chemist Craig Rusbult, actually encompasses four different views based on distinctions between a “science gap” (a gap in our current scientific knowledge) and a “nature gap” (a break in the continuous cause-effect chain of natural process) that may or may not be bridged by miraculous-appearing theistic action."

Raiders of the Lost (Noah's) Ark
- If the guys at The Officer's Club have it right, the clamor for an expedition will begin. "A new, high-resolution digital image of what has become known as the "Ararat Anomaly" is reigniting interest in the hunt for Noah's Ark."

The rumors and pictures concerning the possible wreckage of the Ark resting in the snow and ice atop Mt. Ararat have persisted for years, but the government of Turkey has yet to clear the way for an expedition to determine whether there is actually the wreckage of a big wooden ship on the mountainside. Stay tuned...


Juggling Mother said...

"Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies"

ummm, did you miss the history lesson on the crusades by any chance?

And did communism completely pass you by?

Most religions have killed non-believers, pillaged & damaged holy buildings & raped & murdered women and children during their history.

that has got to be one of the most ludicrous (and racist) statements I have ever heard!

oriolebird38 said...

"People who say things like "The problem is one of theocracy. Theocracies of any kind are dangerous" are either deliberately ignorant or deliberately misleading. The world has seen that Islamofascism is evil personified in killer mobs, suicide murderers and fanatically dangerous leaders."

So, how is that statement ignorant or misleading? Excuse me if I don't follow this line of reasoning:

The world sees that Islamofacism is evil personified in....--> therefore, "all theocracies are dangerous" is misleading or ignorant.

Get over yourselves here. Just about every religion, certainly yours and mine, has done terrible things to those of another religion. Hell, after the First Crusade, the knights slaughtered just about the entire populace of Jerusalem. Violence to non-believers is generally just a common part of religion. Hence, all theocracies are dangerous.

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Anonymous said...

"Now that our men had possession of the walls and towers [of Jerusalem], wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared with what happened in the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, you would not believe it. Suffice to say that, in the Temple and Porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgement of God that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers [mostly Jews who had taken refuge there], since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies. The city was filled with corpses and blood."
From Raymond d'Aguilers,  Historia francorum qui ceprint Jerusalem.*

Of course, some folks couldn't wait until they got to the City of Peace. In fact, why bother going to the Holy Land at all, when you could slaughter unbelivers closer to home?

"Setting off in the early summer of 1096, a German army of around 10,000 soldiers led by Gottschalk, Volkmar, and Emicho, proceeded northward through the Rhine valley, in the opposite direction of Jerusalem, began a series of pogroms which some historians call "the first Holocaust" . . .

. . . In parts of France and Germany, Jews were perceived as just as much of an enemy as Muslims: they were thought to be responsible for the crucifixion, and they were more immediately visible than the far-away Muslims. Many people wondered why they should travel thousands of miles to fight non-believers when there were already non-believers closer to home.

The crusaders moved north through the Rhine valley into well-known Jewish communities such as Cologne, and then southward. Jewish communities were given the option of converting to Christianity or be slaughtered. Most would not convert and as news of the mass killings spread many Jewish communities committed mass suicides in horrific scenes. Thousands of Jews were massacred, despite some attempts by local clergy and secular authorities to shelter them. The massacres were justified by the claim that Urban's speech at Clermont promised reward from God for killing non-Christians of any sort, not just Muslims.

To be fair, " the papacy abhorred and preached against the purging of Muslim and Jewish inhabitants during this and future crusades," - good for them! - but unfortunately "there were numerous attacks on Jews following every crusade movement."

And while, as we see, some religious leaders tried to control the violence, as time went on, that restraint faded. Don't forget the bloody Albigensian Crusade, which was directed against heretical Cathars in southern France, helped start the Inquisition, and in large part was basically a land grab..

On the other hand, if we Jews had just had IEDs in the late 1st century, we would have driven the Roman imperialists into the sea. And then probably blown each other up. You know the word "zealot"? Nowaday's it's basically a synonym for "fanatic," with the possibility (but not certainty) of violence for a cause. The historical Zealots were an interesting bunch:

"The Zealots were opposed to Roman rule and sought to eliminate it by violent means. [And note that the war was a struggle for both political and religious independence. The Romans never quite understood why those odd monotheists kept freaking out whenever they made perfectly reasonable demands regarding the imperial cult.] Their activities included raids on Jewish settlements and eliminating Jewish collaborators, as well as inciting the Jews to fight Rome and each other if necessary.

. . . In the Talmud, the Zealots are also called the biryonim meaning "boorish" or "wild", and are condemned for their aggression, unwillingness to compromise to save the living survivors of Jerusalem besieged by the Romans, and blind-militarism and are blamed for having contributed to the demise of Jerusalem, the secondJewish Temple and of ensuring Rome's retributions and stranglehold on Judea.

. . . One particularly extreme group of Zealots was also known in Latin as sicarii, "daggermen" . .. because of their policy of assassinating Jews opposed to their call for war against Rome. "

And remember Hanukkah? Lovely holiday, little candles, spinny tops, etc.? It actually celebrates the Maccabean insurgency:

"In 167 BCE, a Jewish priest, Mattathias, started the revolt against the Seleucid overlords of Judea by refusing to worship the Greek gods and slaying the hellenistic Jew who stepped up to worship the idol in place of Mattathias. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness. After Mattathias' death about one year later, his son Judas Maccabaeus led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucids . . "

And it's not just the monotheists, either. In 1992 a giant mob of Hindu nationalists demolished the Babri mosque in Ayodhya (they wanted to build a Hindu temple on the site). After destroying the mosque, they went after the journalists, and after that they went on to destroy Muslim homes and property. India exploded in a frenzy of sectarian rioting, leaving more than 2000 dead. Ten years later one of the groups involved in the '92 incident started agitating again for a Hindi temple on the site (since that's where Ram was born, you see!). When a train of activists returning from Ayodhya was attacked and at least 58 people killed, a wave or rioting spread through Gujarat, leaving perhaps 2000 people - mostly Muslims - dead.

Melville was right when he said that "we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.""

The question is why some religions have largely stopped killing folks and all (for the time being, anyway), while others, including Islam, are still being perverted in this fashion. The answer would seem to lie, as looking over the handful of examples above might suggest, at least in part, in historical and political factors. But that's no fun, is it?

I don't know if theocracies of any kind are dangerous. I mean, a Unitarian Universalist theocracy . . . which kinda makes its own point:any religious group that would have a reasonably safe theocracy is probably never going to seek one.

Although medieval Islamic theocracies tended to have a fair degree of religious tolerance by the standards of the day - at least towards Jews and Christians, anyway. isn't it ironic?

* A counterpoint to this sort of mindless slaughter was St. Francis' trip to Egypt literally in the middle of the Fifth Crusade.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

Dan S.

"not just Muslims." marks the end of that long quote, by the way. Forget to close it. And it shoud be Hindu temple, not Hindi temple, unless it suddenly started speaking . . .

Anyway, I got distracted. What I wanted to write about was that Evangelical Outpost post about the God of the Gaps (GOTG) argument. The guy completely misses the point. The fourfold classification is interesting but irrelevent: GOTG isn't about existence (is God in the gaps? Or in the Gap? Where would Jesus shop?) but about knowledge. If we don't know how something happens, we shouldn't just say "Goddidit!" As the 19th evangelical who created the term said (quoted in the post)
"When things are known, that is to say, we conceive them as natural, on Man’s level; when they are unknown, we call them divine—as if our ignorance of a thing were the stamp of its divinity. If God is only to be left to the gaps in our knowledge, where shall we be when these gaps are filled up? And if they are never to be filled up, is God only to be found in the dis-orders of the world? "

What causes lightning? For most of human history there was no apparent natural cause (although the term doesn't entirely make sense in a pre-scientific context). For the ancient Greeks and Romans (as with other folks), lightning was explained by mythology. Later Christians believed that demons/the Devil/witches sent storms, which then seemed to become or merge into the less baroque belief that God caused storms.

Then Frankin invented the lighning rod and - in Boston, anyway - all hell broke loss:

"In America the earthquake of 1755 was widely ascribed, especially in Massachusetts, to Franklin's rod [snicker]. The Rev. Thomas Prince, pastor of the Old South Church, published a sermon on the subject, and in the appendix expressed the opinion that the frequency of earthquakes may be due to the erection of "iron points invented by the sagacious Mr. Franklin." He goes on to argue that "in Boston are more erected than anywhere else in New England [snort], and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God."

Three years later, John Adams, speaking of a conversation with Arbuthnot, a Boston physician, says: "He began to prate upon the presumption of philosophy in erecting iron rods to draw the lightning from the clouds. He railed and foamed against the points and the presumption that erected them. He talked of presuming upon God, as Peter attempted to walk upon the water, and of attempting to control the artillery of heaven."

As late as 1770 religious scruples regarding lightning-rods were still felt, the theory being that, as thunder and lightning were tokens of the Divine displeasure, it was impiety to prevent their doing their full work . . . for some years theological sentiment had to be regarded carefully. In Philadelphia, a popular lecturer on science for some time after Franklin's discovery thought it best in advertising his lectures to explain that "the erection of lightning-rods is not chargeable with presumption nor inconsistent with any of the principles either of natural or revealed religion.""

(- from a 1896 book about science vs. theology by Andrew Dickson White. It goes way overboard, and in fact created or disseminated a number of myths about evil religion attacking science (he was quite a quote miner, really), but as far as I can tell these very specific claims - that America saw some religously-based opposition to lighning rods - seem to be correct (the claim that the Church opposed them isn't, however). Anyone interested might find a more accurate account in Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America - haven't read it yet.)

But assuming this account is correct: forget about how such a GOTG philosophy could, in the right circumstances, stifle scientific investigation. Think about what it does to religion's image! What wonderful ammunition for folks going after either religion's excess, or religion itself.

The post's author goes on about how every time we close one gap, another opens up (we discover evolution, but then have to deal with how DNA formed - a bit garbled, but ok . . .). The obvious response is that as gap after gap proclaimed to be proof of God turns out not to contain Him after all (at least, not in this quasi-pagan always touching and interfering way), it starts sending a certain message . . .

Believers can, of course, go on indefinitely seeking God in darkness and ignorance, and cursing the light of human knowledge. Or they could choose another way. (See, for example, that Ken Miller essay I keep linking to - has anyone read it? (especially anyone who isn't already sympathetic?)

-Dan S.

radar said...

Letters, we have letters!!!

I have been fortunate enough to have escaped the tornadoes that hit our area, we had nothing happen of note except having a fence blown down.....and losing our internet connectivity.

I first lost connections on Friday for part of the day when the first storm came through. Then Sunday was bad and I had no connection from Sunday night until Monday afternoon. I had also taken the weekend "off" from the blog so that Hawkeye had the forum. But I have returned to an absolute hail of missives! Wow!

You will all be glad to see my next posting...a bit later tonight.

radar said...

By the way, the Crusades was a WAR!!!!! Islam was slowing taking over in Europe and whereas there were atrocities (commonplace in warfare during those times) this was not in any way related to the cruel and evil acts of terrorism associated with Islamofascists today. It has nothing to do with race. I haven't dogged arabs, I have identified the culprits as Islamofascists. It is a death-dealing ideology I am against, not a skin color or heritage.

highboy said...

The Crusades is the only example one can pull from history as an example of Christian fascism. Problem is, Muslims started out killing, and have never stopped killing that way ever since. I don't care what happened back then anyway, it is not Christians today that are flying airplanes through skyscrapers, it is not Christians bombing Paris to Hell and back, it is not Christians gassing and torturing thousands of Kurds. It is Muslims. Period.

Anonymous said...

radar: "By the way, the Crusades was a WAR!!!!! "
They sacked Constantinople, too. The Christians, that is. Very bad manners.

Highboy, read your history. And you know that Crusades is plural, right?

"it is not Christians gassing and torturing thousands of Kurds. It is Muslims."
Saddam, if course, was a secularist. But more importantly, he was an evil bastard.

" it is not Christians today that are flying airplanes through skyscrapers."
That's true. (Although most Muslims aren't, either.) As I wrote above, the important question is why we get this sort of religious distribution of violence. Just going "Islamofascism"! is too easy. Why does the ideology this roughly glosses gain adherents? That's what we need to know, so we can stop it.

And why is everybody abusing the term fascism in this way? (not that it doesn't deserve it!) It used to be just us leftists who overused it until it was drained of all analytical usefulness. I blame Hitchens. It's not helpful really - it smushes things together that may well be connected, but without any clarification of how . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...


We have a darned good idea why they do it, it is in the Koran and it is taught by Imams around the world. Islam teaches that muslims must take over the world by any means, including force. They are not too great in their treatment of women and children either, are they?

But beyond that, there are always those who use religion to ascend to and keep political power. Saddam was able to use religion to great advantage, although he actually was a secularlist.

Meanwhile, whereas most muslims are not flying airplanes into towers, an awful lot of them are blowing up innocent people by other means and they are doing it every day. Every day....think about it. If Christians, or Mormons, or Buddhists were blowing people up every day what would the world be saying?

Bottom line, terrorists are evil and they would be evil no matter what their religion or heritage. Right now in the muslim world kids are being brainwashed from a very early age, many of them being prepared to be terrorists with the approval of their parents and their society. Reason has little chance of making an impact where the authorities are the ones running the asylum and they are the ones fomenting the evil.

Juggling Mother said...

"We have a darned good idea why they do it, it is in the Koran and it is taught by Imams around the world"

you should try reading the koran, it says nothing of the sort! The commentaries are a completely different matter.....

radar said...

""We have a darned good idea why they do it, it is in the Koran and it is taught by Imams around the world"

you should try reading the koran, it says nothing of the sort! The commentaries are a completely different matter....."

Sorry, Mrs. A. Read in Sura 9:29-31 or 9:123 or 5:36-38. Muslims are called upon to engage in Jihad against non-muslims, especially against Christians and Jews.

Mohammed, in the Koran, also called upon Muslims to lie in order to best an opponent, win an argument or seduce a woman and especially to take advantage of Christians and Jews.

Islam seeks to dominate the world. You only need to listen to the Imams, who will quote from the Koran itself at times as they urge the faithful to spread Islam by the sword. Here is an excerpt from ANSERING ISLAM

"As such, Islam grants radical Muslims a mandate. It is a mandate to change the existing society into an Islamic society. This isn't about building a few mosques for the needs of Muslim congregations, or schools, or a few cultural centres. It is to make Islam supreme, and thus dominate every aspect of society. This is not only the desire of fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden, but, from their teaching, preaching and publications, would seem to be the desire of a large number of Muslims all over the world.

One such document, authored by Khurram Murad as far as back as 1980, was entitled The Islamic Movement in the West. The late Khurram Murad was then the head of the Islamic Foundation with branches around the world. He outlined his Islamic revolution and the blueprint of how to bring it about in the West.

On page three of his document he posed the question: ‘What is an Islamic movement?’ He goes on to answer: ‘An Islamic movement is an organised struggle to change the existing society into an Islamic society based on the Qur'an and the Sunna, and make Islam, which is a code for en-tire life, supreme and dominant, especially in the socio-political spheres.’

Further he says: ‘The idea of the Islamic movement is inherent in the very nature of Islam.’ The chilling fact is made clearer by saying: ‘It is not necessary to give any arguments about this here but innumerable Qur'anic verses amply bear it out, like those laying down the concepts and objectives of Jihad.’

You can find some of the Qur'anic verses that Murad quotes: Sura 9.19-21, 40; Sura 48.28; Sura 2.216 says: ‘Fighting is prescribed upon you, and you dislike it, but it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows and you know not.’ "

highboy said...

Yes, I did read my history, and you'll notice the "s" at end of "Crusades." It is still the only example anyone has to try in vain to compare Christianity to Islam. The Koran, by the way, as radar has pointed out quite well, is rather explicit in its instruction on killing infidels. I'm pretty sure 10:9 is a good example as well. But in case you think the verses radar posted are being taken out of context, feel free to read the whole book. One could take a verse here and there from the Bible to advocate the same thing, but no one is, because the proper context of the Bible is evident against murdering anyone who will not believe, whereas the context of the Koran is evident in its instructions regarding murder.

" Saddam, if course, was a secularist. But more importantly, he was an evil bastard."

A point of agreement!

oriolebird38 said...

i think this clearly supports that the problem is a theocracy which manipulates the Quran and Islam for their own evil agendas. This line is my favorite:

"Islam expressly prohibits the killing of non-combatants, civilian women, children and the eldery, during war."

There are many things about Islam that I do not agree with and that is why I am not a Muslim. But as long as you brand Muslims and Islam as evil, I will be in opposition.

highboy said...

"Islam expressly prohibits the killing of non-combatants, civilian women, children and the eldery, during war."

Wikipedia is not a valid source on this discussion. The Koran is the final authority on all things Muslim, and it is there that you will read the truth. The entire religion is founded on violence, which one can see after a bit of objective research. It was in the name of Allah that Muhammed, the founder of this religion, ransacked caravans and slaughtered the passengers repeatedly over a number of years. Try matching that up with the so called "prohibition" of the killing of innocents during war.