Today we post a new article among those we permanently display in our margin list of Pages.
It is an essay dealing with the subject of envy – not of those who are rich, successful, privileged, or powerful, but of the opposite: those who have been, or are, deprived, oppressed, humiliated, tormented and persecuted.
It is titled The Envy of Suffering, and is written by Jillian Becker.
Here are two quotations from it.
The first is an example of victim envy:
In the early 1970s an American student told me that after being enrolled as a student in a Californian university in 1968, she had suddenly left and gone to Calcutta “in order to share the suffering” of the multitudes who had to live on the streets. I asked her how she had thought this would help them. She replied that the whole point was not to help them but to save herself from being “one of the privileged of the earth”. She “stuck it out”, she said, for three weeks, after which the American embassy had arranged for her to fly home.
The second is an observation on whole movements that have come into existence to remedy unreal victimization:
It can reasonably be supposed that there are few if any who actually want to be victimized. (Genuine victims are outside the scope of this essay and beside the point.) They want the role of victim, identifying themselves with a group that they claim is oppressed, or has been oppressed in the past. In America there are manifestly large numbers of women and blacks, for instance, who make this claim and choose this role.
The essay can be found here.
The Commentator reports:
The anti-Christian Islamist group Boko Haram, which has slaughtered thousands [of Christians] in the last decade, burst into a college dormitary in the early hours of Sunday morning and massacred dozens of [Christian] students with machine guns as they slept in their beds. Boko Haram wants to establish an Islamist state under strict sharia law in Nigeria, a country split almost evenly between Christians and Muslims. Early reports put the death toll in the latest Boko Haram attack at up to 50.
And this is from Reuters:
The gunmen, thought to be members of rebel sect Boko Haram, attacked one hostel, took some students outside before killing them and shot others trying to flee, people at the scene told Reuters.
“They started gathering students into groups outside, then they opened fire and killed one group and then moved onto the next group and killed them. It was so terrible,” said one surviving student … .
Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has intensified attacks on civilians in recent weeks in revenge for a military offensive against its insurgency.
Boko is pidgen English for “book” and so for “book-learning”. Haram means “forbidden”.
Several schools, seen as the focus of Western-style education and culture, have been targeted.
Boko Haram and spin-off Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-linked Ansaru have become the biggest security threat in Africa’s second largest economy and top oil exporter.
Western governments are increasingly worried about the threat posed by Islamist groups across Africa, from Mali and Algeria in the Sahara, to Kenya in the east, where Somalia’s al-Shabaab fighters killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Nairobi shopping mall a week ago.
Which Western governments?
Bodies were recovered from dormitories, classrooms and outside in the undergrowth on Sunday, a member of staff at the college told Reuters, asking not to be named.
A Reuters witness counted 40 bloody corpses piled on the floor at the main hospital in Yobe state capital Damaturu on Sunday …
How do governments show that they’re “worried”?
If they’re “worried” will they do something about it?
Has evolution ended with Homo sapiens?
On this question, Tom Chivers at the Telegraph reports a fascinating disagreement between Sir David Attenborough and Dr. Adam Rutherford.
We have chosen some excerpts. Read it all here.
Like every other species on Earth, Homo sapiens is the product of more than three billion years of evolution: random, blind changes put through the filter of natural selection, leading from one simple original form to all the startling variety of life we see around us. Humanity’s lineage split with that of our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, six million years ago, and our ancestors have been evolving separately ever since. In that time we have gone from short, robust, hairy apes – perhaps partly tree-dwelling and knuckle-walking, like chimps – to tall, gracile, naked humans. It has been quite a journey.
But is that journey over? It might be, according to Sir David Attenborough, who said … “I think that we’ve stopped evolving. Because if natural selection, as proposed by Darwin, is the main mechanism of evolution – there may be other things, but it does look as though that’s the case – then we’ve stopped natural selection.”
To support his case, he points out that, unlike any other species, we can use technology to keep ourselves alive until breeding age, when otherwise we would have died. Specifically, he points towards the vast improvement in infant mortality rates: “We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 95-99 per cent of our babies that are born. We are the only species to have put a halt to natural selection, of its own free will, as it were.” …
And what will happen next fascinates us even more. …
Attenborough … is suggesting something at once prosaic and startling: that human evolution ends here,that we are the final stop on the journey. You can understand his reasoning. After all, if we (at least in the affluent, technologically advanced West) can take even the most vulnerable babies, babies who would have died within hours of birth a hundred years ago, and keep them alive – essentially repair them so that they can live into adulthood and breed – have we not ended the cruel process of natural selection?
It’s not that simple, says Dr Adam Rutherford, a geneticist, author of Creation … “He is absolutely right that the selection pressures on humans have radically changed, … And he’s right that one of the most profound changes to those pressures is infant mortality rates. But that’s not really, in a pure scientific sense, how evolution works.”
The fact that certain evolutionary pressures have been reduced – for example, the requirement for a baby’s lungs to be fully developed and functional by birth, now that we can keep that baby alive on a respirator until its lungs are grown – does not mean that all of them have gone. “The robust answer to the question ‘are humans evolving?’ is: we don’t know, because the timespans are too short to make a judgment,” says Dr Rutherford.
While we can watch evolution happen in viruses and bacteria – or fruit flies, or mice – human generations are just too slow; even the longest-lived of us can only reasonably hope to see great-grandchildren. Our split with the chimps takes us back to our great‑times-250,000-grandparents.
We can look at our own recent history, though, and at our genes. Several studies have suggested that human evolution has actually speeded up, not slowed down, since the advent of agriculture in the last 10,000 years – an eyeblink in evolutionary terms. In the past few thousand years some humans have evolved the ability to digest milk, unlike any other adult mammals. …
“If you look at changes in the frequency of genes in a population, which is the true measure of evolution, then I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that we’re not evolving,” says Dr Rutherford. The question, of course, is how we’re evolving.
There have been various suggestions, of varying stupidity, up to and including the suggestion that we’ll evolve fatter thumbs to help us text. (“That’s called Lamarckism, and it’s just wrong. The Jewish people have been cutting foreskins off their boys for 5,000 years and one hasn’t been born without a foreskin yet,” snorts Dr Rutherford.) More obviously plausible hypotheses include the idea that our tendency to have children later in life will select against people who are unable to do so.
What won’t necessarily happen is that we’ll become cleverer, or in any arbitrary way “better”, than we are now. Evolution doesn’t work that way.
The 2006 film Idiocracy suggested that clever people are having fewer and fewer children, while stupid people are having more, so the future of humanity is one of everyone being thick. That was a joke, but it illustrates quite neatly that evolution is not a stairway to a glorious pinnacle called “humanity”; intelligence is not the culmination of evolution, it’s just one tool that works for one species at the moment, just as sonar works for bats.
If powerful brains become less useful in future, then we can expect them to dwindle away, like the eyes of cave fish – they’re expensive, energy-draining things, and natural selection is a brutal accountant.
And if we contemplate the intellectual quality of those who have risen in recent years to the commanding heights of political power and academic authority in the West as a whole, we might suppose that the decline of brain-power in the human species has already begun.
This description of what has now been found in the Kenyan shopping mall, after the attack by the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab which began on Saturday September 21, comes from the MailOnline:
Soldiers told of the horrific torture meted out by terrorists in the Nairobi mall massacre yesterday with claims hostages were dismembered, had their eyes gouged out and were left hanging from hooks in the ceiling.
Men were said to have been castrated and had fingers removed with pliers before being blinded and hanged.
Children were found dead in the food court fridges with knives still embedded in their bodies …
The horrifying details came yesterday as the first pictures emerged from within the wreckage of the building, showing piles of bodies left strewn across the floor. …
Lying in the rubble are feared to be the bodies of as many as 71 civilians who have been declared missing by the Kenyan Red Cross. …
Yesterday, soldiers and doctors who were among the first people into the mall after it was reclaimed on Tuesday, spoke of the horrifying scenes inside.
“You find people with hooks hanging from the roof,” said one Kenyan doctor … “They removed eyes, ears, nose. They get your hand and sharpen it like a pencil then they tell you to write your name with the blood. They drive knives inside a child’s body. Actually if you look at all the bodies … fingers are cut by pliers, the noses are ripped by pliers. Here it was pain.”
AS IF in response to our post of yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out against the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and other Muslim lands.
This is from a report of his interview with the BBC:
Islamist attacks against Christians in Muslim countries are creating an atmosphere of fear and creating martyrs of the faithful in exceedingly growing numbers, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in an interview with BBC Radio. …
The Most Rev. Justin Welby said that there had been more than 80 Christian “martyrs” in the last few days alone.
He was speaking about the suicide bombing of All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. Eighty-five people were killed and more than 200 injured in the bombing, which occurred after a Sunday morning service.
The Archbishop … added that Christians were also being singled out for violence in other Muslim-majority nations.
Christian communities which have existed “in many cases since the days of Saint Paul” are now under threat in countries such as Syria and Egypt, he said. …
He said that in many instances, turmoil in these areas of the world is caused by multiple factors including historical conflicts that have little to do with religion. But these factors cannot explain recent attacks on Christians in places such as Peshawar.
Tentatively, hesitantly, he touches on the possibility that the Christians are being persecuted and “martyred” because they are Christians:
“I think Christians have been attacked in some cases simply because of their faith,” he said. “I think it is true to say — and also in Peshawar — that we have seen more than 80 martyrs in the last few days. … [these Christians] have been attacked because they were testifying to their faith in Jesus Christ by going to church. That is outside any acceptable expression in any circumstances for any reason of religious difference.” …
He said British Muslim leaders were appalled by the attacks, as were Muslim leaders around the world.
Oh? Really? First we’ve heard of it.
So, as usual, the Christian religiously correct position to take when atrocities are being committed is to proclaim that the victims are martyrs, hallelujah! Not a word of moral condemnation of the murderers, even though it’s okay to speak of Muslim leaders being “appalled”. (Go on, Welby – name one, we challenge you!)
There you have it. “Resist not evil.” The core principle of Christian morality. Don’t try to stop the murders, the burnings, the tortures, the abductions … After all, you don’t want to jeopardize the gain in martyrs.
So does Welby offer no suggestions at all as to what might be done?
Sure he does:
“As Christians one of the things is that we pray for justice and particularly the issues around the anger that comes from this kind of killing,” he added. “But we are also called as Jesus did at the cross to pray for those who are doing us harm.”
Welby, who leads almost 80 million Anglicans around the world, said Christians have a duty to pray for their killers.
Don’t be angry, Christians. Take strong measures – get down on your knees and pray.
That’ll teach ’em.
Are the Christian churches doing anything about the bloody, growing, relentless persecution of Christians in Arab and other Islamic countries?
The Archbishop of Canterbury?
Some at least of the innumerable Christian denominations in America?
The primates of the Russian Orthodox Church?
Are priests and parsons at least preaching against it from their pulpits?
No report or even a rumor of any such sermon has reached our ears.
Why not, we wonder. And then we recall that Christians make a virtue out of being persecuted. But of retribution, judgment of the persecutors, stopping the evil – nothing. Maybe because their man-god, in a sermon on a mountain or a plain, reputedly enjoined them not to resist evil. Thus giving evil a completely free hand.
Surely the United States is doing something about it? At least objecting to it verbally?
What about diplomats and churchmen in the countries where the persecution is happening?
Never! No Western diplomat would risk being caught criticizing anything Muslims do. And Middle Eastern churchmen, who cannot help noticing the dwindling numbers of their flocks and even hear cries in the endless night of their consciences, have found ingenious ways to blame Israel – ie the Jews. It’s an old tradition that they’re comfortable with.
Try Googling the subject. Dig hard and you’ll find some crumbs.
You’ll find Pakistani Christians have protested recently over the massacre of some 85 of their number, killed coming out of church by a couple of Muslim suicide bombers. Some of the protestors have since been beaten up by their Muslim neighbors for daring to complain.
And you can, if you search, find reports of thousands of Nigerian Christians being killed by Muslims in regular weekend raids – and on some week days too. The Muslims – who are passionately against literacy – cut up their victims with machetes and throw small children on to fires. (See also our posts: Christians murdered by Muslims, March 9, 2010; Muhammad’s command, March 30, 2010; Suffering children, May 11, 2011; Victims of religion, October 16, 2011; Acts of religion in Nigeria revisited, October 16, 2011; Christians slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria, October 17, 2011; Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorists of Nigeria, November 10, 2011; More acts of religion in Nigeria, January 19, 2012; More Christians burnt to death by Muslims, July 11, 2013.)
What about those great humanitarians, the Communists, who fill Western universities and run a few countries? After all, the professed essence of their creed is concern for the underdog. But no, the butchery, the torture, the abduction of children – none of it bothers them. To their way of thinking, Christians can never be authentic underdogs. But all Muslims are, however rich and powerful many of them may be.
What about the media? At least the Christian media surely …?
Here’s a fine example from a Christian website. It starts off promisingly, but soon gets round to denying that the persecutions are due only to religious intolerance and explaining that the police who should protect Christians are unfortunately otherwise engaged; then seems to criticize Western Churches for find a Christian bright side to look on – the mistaken idea that converts can be won from among observers of the tortures and killings – but drops suddenly into pious reflections of its own.
I have been surprised that the media has actually covered many of the church burnings that have taken place. The reason that I am surprised is because in most of the uprisings and protests that have taken place throughout the Middle East, church burning and persecution of Christians has taken place without the media reporting on it. In Egypt’s case, the Muslim Brotherhood has used the crackdown on the protests as an opportunity to loot and burn churches and Christian businesses. The Daily Star, Lebanon’s English language newspaper said attacks on churches coincided with assaults on police stations, leaving most police “pinned down to defend their stations or reinforcing others rather than rushing to the rescue of Christians under attack”.
The reality is that the persecution in Egypt is just the most popular of a long list of these things happening currently all over the world. Statistics show that this year alone 163,000 people will die because of their faith. It is estimated that by 2025 that number could rise to 210,000 per year.
So they’re expecting a further increase in the productivity of this appalling industry? Is this an example of pessimism or optimism?
There is any number of reasons for persecution, and it is not just because of religious differences, although that usually plays a major role. Other reasons include politics, finances, anti-Western bias, and racism. Many times all of these issues are rolled up into one that supports the persecution taking place. There is also a disturbing myth among Western Christians that persecution causes the church to grow. In fact, since persecution in the country of Turkey began the percentage of Christians has dropped from 32% to 0.2%. Syria has seen a drop from 40% to 10%. Iran saw a drop of 15% to 2%. Persecution is something that will always be with the church and will even ramp up as the Great Commission comes to completion, but it is not good. Persecution is the result of a fallen world and a real enemy that must be fought against. This enemy is not flesh and blood, though, so our fight must take place in the heavenly realm through prayer.
Yeah, good idea. That always helps.
The atrocities that we are seeing on television should prompt us to fight the spiritual battle. We must first pray that God would be glorified. God is not surprised by what is taking place in Egypt. We need to pray that the believers and Christian workers there would have faith and use this as an opportunity to share the love of Christ with others. We also need to use this as motivation for ourselves individually to get better informed and learn about the persecuted church so that we would know how to pray. Lastly, I would challenge you to consider going to these places. There is nothing quite like a real, physical hug to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. It could be your visit and encouraging words that gives strength to the church to continue fighting the good fight.
So if prayer fails, a hug may do it.
There are a few honorable exceptions among journalists. Raymond Ibrahim, the Front Page Magazine columnist, and himself a Copt from Egypt, is keeping the record and writing regularly and fully about the subject. His articles are well worth reading.
And an atheist, Nat Hentoff, writes:
Largely absent from nearly all our sources of news and commentary is deep, continuing coverage, if any, of the horrifying massacres of Christians in Egypt and especially Syria and the burning down of their churches.
The world’s most prominent Christian, Pope Francis, has denounced the violence, but our media has mostly ignored him [on this subject] …
One of the few penetrating protesters of this violence is Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review:
For the first time in 1,600 years, they didn’t pray this past Sunday at the Virgin Mary and Anba Abraam monastery in a village in southern Egypt. Islamists firebombed and looted the monastery, which dates back to the fifth century. For good measure, they destroyed a church inside. They then announced that they would be converting the monastery into a mosque. (Egypt’s Anti-Christian Pogrom, Lowry, National Review, Aug. 20).
… And as for our president: “In his remarks after the bloodshed began in Egypt, President Barack Obama relegated his concern over the anti-Christian attacks to a three-word dependent clause at the end of one sentence.”
As for daily life in Egypt, Morning Star News reported that earlier this month, “a Coptic Christian girl walking home from a Bible class at her church was shot and killed … in Cairo by an unidentified gunman, human rights activists said.” The girl’s uncle, a church pastor, said “he didn’t know for sure if the shooting was religiously motivated but quickly added that violence against Christians ‘seems to be normal’ in Egypt now” (Coptic Christian Girl Shot Dead in Egypt, Morning Star News, Aug. 9).
Meanwhile in Syria, “the nation’s 2 million-plus Christians are caught in the middle of a Muslim war. Jihadist rebels threaten and kidnap them while coercing others to become Muslims. Government troops loyal to President Bashar Assad order them to fight the opposition or face death” (Christians are in the crosshairs of bloody Muslim wars in Mideast, Rowan Scarborough, the Washington Times, Aug. 1).
But in spite of all this, says John Hayward of Human Events, “the international community never seems terribly exercised about the persecution of Christian minorities. … The same advanced democracies that had agonized internal discussions about whether freedom of speech should be curtailed, in order to avoid offending Muslims, don’t seem particularly angry about the destruction of Coptic churches, and other Christian property. Egyptian mobs are targeting Christian property for destruction by writing Islamist graffiti on the walls.”
But, thankfully, there are still those who are angry and vocal about this violence toward Christians. One of these media commentators who persistently denounce the absence of sustained American outrage at this merciless pogrom is Michael Savage, host of the Cumulus Radio program “The Savage Nation”.
Meanwhile, in this democratic country, will our Congress’s cold indifference continue? And will the nation’s religious leaders and activists – not just Christians – be confronted by those they lead? Will they say something and try to save what’s left of those Christian minorities in Egypt and Syria? …
As for the rest of us, are there any street demonstrations coming in front of the United Nations? Or does the very idea of insistent involvement from the U.N. – its reason for being – provoke anything but sardonic laughter at the prospect that its members will do anything lasting at all?
An Egyptian court has ordered the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood and the confiscation of its assets.
The ban is a blow to the Obama administration which supported the Muslim Brotherhood while it was briefly in power in Egypt.
This CBN video shows that the administration consults Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and takes their advice, not only for policy towards the Middle East, but also for domestic policy. (We took the video from Creeping Sharia.)
While Muslim jihadists are still holding hostages in Kenya, having murdered some 68 men and women and children in a Nairobi shopping mall, their brothers in blood are marching down the streets of New York waving the flags of jihad and their wished-for caliphate.
It is called Muslim Day. The sworn enemies of the United States are allowed to celebrate it with parades.
Has there ever been a precedent for this in all history?
The video and the commentary are from Front Page by Daniel Greenfield:
Some are held by spectators and others by marchers in the parade meaning that the organizers of the parade had to approve marchers carrying Jihadist symbols. I can’t think of any other group that would be allowed parade around with blatant terrorist insignia in the city that those same terrorists attacked. ..
The black flag is the war flag and the white flag is the state flag of the Caliphate.
The Muslim Day marchers carrying the white flags are saying that they view themselves as part of the Islamic Caliphate and that they view New York as belonging to the Caliphate.
The Muslim Day marchers with black flags are waving an open declaration of war against New York.
These were the flags that were planted on American embassies on September 11 during the attacks. Now they are being carried openly in New York.
The Al-Liwaa, the Caliphate state flag, and the Al-Liwaa, the war flag, are making a statement that the marchers are with the army of Mohammed and are at war with the non-Muslim Dar Al-Harb. The House of War. America.
Muslim apocalyptic prophecies believe that armies from Afghanistan carrying the war flags will lead to their armageddon. These are The Black Flags From Khorasan.
Follow the link and hear the war chant of the troops of Muhammad.
Even by Religion of Peace standards it was an unusually bloody weekend, with nearly 300 people massacred by Holy Warriors in suicide attacks in Yemen, a funeral in Iraq [at least 70 killed including children], the shopping mall in Kenya [at least 62 killed including many children, 175 injured], and a double bombing at a church in Pakistan [more than 80 killed]. – from The Religion of Peace.
More than 500 civilians killed by the forces of Islam. And nothing is being done to oppose them.
It is not a clash of civilizations, as is often said: it is a clash of civilization with barbarism. But either civilization has not yet woken up to that reality, or it is conniving at its own destruction.
One story of the massacre in the Kenya shopping mall is of the barbarian warriors entering a children’s shoe shop, demanding that the children trying on shoes recite “the Shahada” – a tribal chant about their nasty god, set down as the opening lines of the Koran – and shooting dead those who could not. Bullets in the little bodies. They were not Muslims so they had no right to live, according to the creed of the Muslim barbarians.
Most reports agree that it is a group belonging to the Somalian terrorist organization al-Shabaab, affiliated with al-Qaeda, that carried out the massacre of shoppers and their children in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Among them are five Muslims from America, one from Canada, one from Finland, and one from Sweden. At the time of this writing there are still gunmen in the building on the loose, and they may be holding hostages.
Of the five from America, three are from Minnesota, and they – Daniel Greenfield reports at Front Page –
… were the subject of a propaganda recruitment video released by the organization Thursday. Titled The Path to Paradise: From the Twin Cities to the Land of Two Migrations, the nearly 40-minute post allegedly details the travels of Dahir Gure, Muhammad Al-Amriki and Mohamud Hassan to Somalia over 2007 and 2008.
In one segment, Al-Amriki, born Troy Kastigar, likened his experiences to being at an amusement park.
“If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here, this is the real Disneyland,” he said. “You need to come here and join us, and take pleasure in this fun.”
Pat Condell accuses feminists and Islam. We applaud.