Turkey’s massacre of the Armenians 1

Yesterday, April 24, 2015 was the 100th anniversary of the day the (Muslim) Turks started to massacre the (Christian) Armenians.

This is from History.com:

Most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the [start of the] massacre. …

On April 24, 1915, the Armenian genocide began. That day, the Turkish government arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. After that, ordinary Armenians were turned out of their homes and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert without food or water. Frequently, the marchers were stripped naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped dead. People who stopped to rest were shot.

At the same time, the Young Turks created a “Special Organization”, which in turn organized “killing squads” or “butcher battalions” to carry out, as one officer put it, “the liquidation of the Christian elements”. These killing squads were often made up of murderers and other ex-convicts. They drowned people in rivers, threw them off cliffs, crucified them and burned them alive. In short order, the Turkish countryside was littered with Armenian corpses.

Records show that during this “Turkification” campaign government squads also kidnapped children, converted them to Islam and gave them to Turkish families. In some places, they raped women and forced them to join Turkish “harems” or serve as slaves. Muslim families moved into the homes of deported Armenians and seized their property.

In 1922, when the genocide was over, there were just 388,000 Armenians remaining in the Ottoman Empire.

That is to say the territory that had been the Ottoman Empire – defeated by the allies in the FirstWorld War, and subsequently broken up and terminated. 106

 

Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”

We quote the words  of Aurora Mardiganian.  The documentary film Auction of Souls (1919), from which this still is taken, was partly based on her memoir, Ravished Armenia. She described being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war). She managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified. 

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Starving Armenian children being teased with a piece of bread by a Turkish official during the Armenian genocide, 1915

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circa 1915: The bodies of Armenian children who were massacred in Turkey during the First World War. (Photo by Armin T. Wegner/Getty Images)

circa 1915: The bodies of Armenian children who were massacred in Turkey during the First World War. (Photo by Armin T. Wegner/Getty Images)

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Posted under Armenians, Christianity, genocide, Islam, Muslims, Turkey by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 25, 2016

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Atheism for brunch 4

The much respected magazine, National Geographic, carries in its latest issue an article on atheism. It is titled: The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion.

The author is Gabe Bullard. He writes:

There have long been predictions that religion would fade from relevancy as the world modernizes, but all the recent surveys are finding that it’s happening startlingly fast. France will have a majority secular population soon. So will the Netherlands and New Zealand. The United Kingdom and Australia will soon lose Christian majorities. Religion is rapidly becoming less important than it’s ever been, even to people who live in countries where faith has affected everything from rulers to borders to architecture.

But nones [those who are affiliated with none of the religions] aren’t inheriting the Earth just yet. In many parts of the world — sub-Saharan Africa in particular — religion is growing so fast that nones’ share of the global population will actually shrink in 25 years as the world turns into what one researcher has described as “the secularizing West and the rapidly growing rest.” (The other highly secular part of the world is China, where the Cultural Revolution tamped down religion for decades, while in some former Communist countries, religion is on the increase.)

Yes. And devout Muslims are pouring into Europe by the million: an extraordinary event that will entirely change the character of Europe, but which Gabe Bullard does not seem to have noticed.

And even in the secularizing West, the rash of “religious freedom bills” — which essentially decriminalize discrimination — are the latest front in a faith-tinged culture war in the United States that shows no signs of abetting anytime soon.

Within the ranks of the unaffiliated, divisions run deep. Some are avowed atheists. Others are agnostic. And many more simply don’t care to state a preference. Organized around skepticism toward organizations and united by a common belief that they do not believe, nones as a group are just as internally complex as many religions. And as with religions, these internal contradictions could keep new followers away.

These are not “divisions”. There never was a solid phalanx of non-believers that could split apart. These are different opinions. That is all.

“Keep followers away”? “Followers” who want a cut-and-dried non-believing ideology that they can accept holus-bolus as the religious accept the doctrines of their faiths? Absurd!

If the world is at a religious precipice, then we’ve been moving slowly toward it for decades. Fifty years ago, Time [magazine] asked in a famous headline, “Is God Dead?” The magazine wondered whether religion was relevant to modern life in the post-atomic age when communism was spreading and science was explaining more about our natural world than ever before.

We’re still asking the same question. But the response isn’t limited to yes or no. A chunk of the population born after the article was printed may respond to the provocative question with, “God who?” In Europe and North America, the unaffiliated tend to be several years younger than the population average. And 11 percent of Americans born after 1970 were raised in secular homes.

Scientific advancement isn’t just making people question God, it’s also connecting those who question. It’s easy to find atheist and agnostic discussion groups online, even if you come from a religious family or community. And anyone who wants the companionship that might otherwise come from church can attend a secular Sunday Assembly or one of a plethora of Meetups for humanists, atheists, agnostics, or skeptics.

The groups behind the web forums and meetings do more than give skeptics witty rejoinders for religious relatives who pressure them to go to church — they let budding agnostics know they aren’t alone.

But it’s not easy to unite people around not believing in something.

It’s also totally unnecessary.

“Organizing atheists is like herding cats,” says Stephanie Guttormson, the operations director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation, which is merging with the Center for Inquiry. “But lots of cats have found their way into the ‘meowry’.”

Guttormson says the goal of her group is to organize itself out of existence. They want to normalize atheism to a point where it’s so common that atheists no longer need a group to tell them it’s okay not to believe, or to defend their morals in the face of religious lawmakers.

But it’s not there yet.

Why does anyone need a group to tell them that it’s okay not to believe in something they don’t believe in? But we accept that there are such people, and so agree that the group should “organize itself out of existence”.

The article then goes on to discuss who the atheists are in terms of race (fewer blacks than whites, it says), the sexes (fewer women than men, and the predominance of white men a manifestation of “privilege”).

Of course no one can possibly count the atheists of the world. We get Third World commenters on our Facebook page who tell us that they have to keep their atheism secret for fear of persecution and even death.

Gabe Bullard calls the distribution he alleges a “problem” of “diversity”.  His article is right up to date with its fashionable lingo.

To do him justice, he does quote one atheist – Mandisa Thomas, a black woman – saying that “the demographics of nones don’t accurately reflect the number and diversity of nonbelievers; it just shows who is comfortable enough to say they don’t believe out loud.” And:  “There are many more people of color, there are many more women who identify as atheist.” And: “There are many people who attend church who are still atheists.”

The cheeriest part of his article is this:

Compared to past campaign seasons, religion is taking a backseat in this year’s U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump is not outwardly religious (and his attraction of evangelical voters has raised questions about the longevity and the motives of the religious right).

But then he goes on:

Hillary Clinton has said “advertising about faith doesn’t come naturally to me”. And Bernie Sanders is “not actively involved” in a religion. … Aside from Ted Cruz, the leading candidates just aren’t up for talking about religion.

Apparently he does not recognize that Leftism is a religion. It is THE secular religion. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both devotees of it. Bernie Sanders could be fairly called a high priest of it. They are as piously Leftist as Ted Cruz is Dominionist.

Bullard ends on a jocular note:

For all the work secular groups do to promote acceptance of nonbelievers, perhaps nothing will be as effective as apathy plus time. As the secular millennials grow up and have children of their own, the only Sunday morning tradition they may pass down is one everyone in the world can agree on: brunch.

We hope so.

What have atheists said about the article?

Atheist Jerry Coyne writes at his website:

National Geographic publishes article on atheism and secularism, but descends into Authoritarian Leftism and slanders against Harris and Dawkins

Well, it’s time to cancel your subscription to National Geographic — if you still have one. For a while it’s been turning into a religiously-infused tabloid rather than the educational nature/anthropology magazine that I loved of yore. In several posts I’ve documented its increasing tendency to coddle religion … and it’s only going to get worse since the magazine was taken over by Rupert Murdoch.

Now the magazine has hit its lowest point yet, polevaulting the shark in a new piece by journalist Gabe Bullard, The World’s Newest Religion: No Religion. While starting off as a decent bit of reportage about the rise of nonbelief and secularism, it suddenly descends into slander and clickbait, highlighting the “privilege” of nonbelief, the dominance of atheism by white males, and accusations that the “leaders” of atheism (whom they name) are misogynists.

And there is a comment made at Patheos which we like, although we very seldom agree with its Leftist atheists on anything except atheism itself.

The comment is made by Terry Firma. (He goes on, however, to say what he likes about the National Geographic article.)

He writes:

I wonder if any serious major publication would refer to people who don’t play sports as athletes, but that is essentially what NatGeo is doing here. Atheism is no more a religion than off is a TV channel, than being bald is a hairstyle, and than not-collecting-stamps is a hobby. People who assert that atheism is a religion either haven’t given it much thought or are trying to get a rise out of atheists.

Nicely said.

Bernie and Francis, co-religionists 1

Bernie Sanders, whether he likes it or not, is a Jew. And as he is a man of the Left, he doesn’t like it.

The Jews – UNIQUELY – are both a nation and a religion. Yet it is not only possible but common for Jews to be one OR the other. Converts to Judaism are obviously of the religion but not of the nation. Many Jews – probably a majority of Western Jews – who are of the nation by birth, are not religious.

Perhaps it would be better to speak of the Jews being “a people” rather than a nation, as a Jew’s legal nationality might be American, or British, or French etcetera.

Bernie Sanders is of the Jewish people. And for two millennia his people were despised, humiliated, robbed, tortured, murdered individually and en masse by the Christian powers – longest and most atrociously by the Catholic Church. (Except in America.)

For a while, between the early 19th century and the mid-to-late twentieth century, many of the educated Jews of Europe and Russia put their hopes for relief from persecution in the new religion of Communism, in which (its theorists claimed) there would be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, neither rich nor poor: for all would be one in the utopia of the Communist state.

But where Communist utopias were established in the twentieth century, Jews found they were not welcome. That should have told them that Communism would not save them. But many Jews who realized that the Lenins and Stalins of the Communist faith could not be relied on to treat them much better than had the Christians, were yet unwilling to give up the utopian Communist dream. Some Jews had realized this early on, so tried forming their own Communist party – the Bund. But as a separate group what could it achieve? A society in which there would be neither regrettably-still-sort-of -Jewish Jew nor absolutely-no-longer-Jewish Jew, neither bond Jew nor free Jew, neither male Jew nor female Jew, neither rich Jew nor poor Jew: for all would be one in the utopia of a Jewish Communist … What? Where?

Other Jews,  who could think better, decided to work to regain the ancient Jewish homeland in the Eastern Mediterranean region of the Ottoman Empire, and establish an actual state on real territory. They were the Zionists. In 1948 they achieved their state, their safe haven at last, on real territory that had been part of their ancient homeland.

Those Jews who, despite being unwanted, remained faithful to the Communism imposed on Russia and Eastern Europe, stuck to their abjuration of their Jewishness, the peoplehood as well as the religion. So did – and do – most of the Communists of Jewish descent everywhere in the free world.

As Communists often object to being called Communists since the Leninist-Stalinist utopias of Russia and Eastern Europe collapsed in poverty and criminality, we will call them Leftists for the rest of this article. Bernie Sanders is a Leftist.

Meanwhile, the Jews’ ancient persecutor, the Catholic Church, has selected a leader, Pope Francis, who is also a Leftist. He has found it possible to join the new religion without leaving his old one. He owes this achievement to his fellow Latin American priests, who spun the antithetical dogmas of secular Communism and Triune-God-worshiping Catholicism together in such a whirl of words that they came out of the Synthesizer as one substance, inseparable. And the stuff, the thing, was named “Liberation Theology”.

It is Leftism. The Pope is a Leftist, like Bernie Sanders.

For Leftists, their Leftism trumps all. No appeal to loyalty, history, precedent, reason, logic, decency, or common sense can move them. They want there to be neither black man nor white man, neither civilized nor savage, neither citizen nor illegal alien, neither CEO nor minimum-wage-earner, neither one sex nor any of the others, but all to be one in the global Communist mystic egalitarian low-carbon-emission utopia ruled by themselves.

To acknowledge and strengthen their brotherhood in the Kingdom of Means-Justifying-Ends, Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis shook hands on April 16, 2016.

Dirty laughter 4

Another Sunday, another cheerful laugh at religion.

From Evil Bible:

Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian

10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

– You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women and children, and trees!

6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering.  And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving”.

3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers.  You consider that to be evidence that prayer works.  And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

Speaking of heaven and hell, how do Christians explain that souls in heaven are blissfully happy while other souls are in endless unrelenting torment in hell?

If they claim that the Saved feel Christian pity and compassion for the Damned, that would qualify the bliss, surely – bringing it well short of perfection.

So are the Saved Souls in an eternal state of Schadenfreude as they watch or imagine the Damned writhing in perpetual agony?

 

(Hat-tip for the link to Stephen Sterne)

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 10, 2016

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Atheism: a private conclusion 1

Here is a Christian conservative‘s statement about atheists:

It’s often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name (as the officially atheist, now deceased Soviet Union demonstrated). Else why would atheists be so adamant and aggressive about their beliefs? Not only do they choose not to believe in God, or even a god, but they demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology and purge all evidence of the (Christian) religion from the public square.

The passage comes from The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.*

Commentary:

It may be “often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name”, but the frequency with which the remark is passed doesn’t make it either true or intelligent. NOT believing is not believing-in-another-way, any more than NOT smoking is smoking-in-another-way.

We would agree that Communism is a kind of religion. We would also agree that the dogma of Communism often excludes belief in a divine being.(Not always.”Liberation theology” is Communism taught by Christian priests who have married St. Paul to Karl Marx.) But it does NOT follow that the non-belief is identical with the Communist faith, or is the essence of it, the vital active ingredient that generated all that was wrong with the Soviet Union.

Though all atheists might be “adamant” about their non-belief  (just as all believers are adamant about their belief), very few are aggressive about it. Of the millions of non-believers in the free world, how many “demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology”? I’ve never met or heard of one who does. And “submit” to what “ideology”? There are some in America who demand that public displays of Christianity be removed from the public square. And a very silly demand it is too. A small number of silly atheists in America insist that if crosses or Christmas “nativity” scenes are placed on public sites, they should have the right to put some atheist symbol or tableau beside them. A symbol or tableau is then hastily invented, having meaning only for the inventors, none whatever to other atheists.

Because: Atheism is NOT a religion, or an ideology, or a system, or a tradition. It has no symbols or rituals. It has no orthodoxy or heterodoxy.

Atheism is a decision, made by individuals. A private conclusion they draw from thought. It’s a denial of dogmatic claims that they find have never been proved, seem to them unprovable, absurd on their face, and ever more absurd the more they test them against observation, experience, learning, coherence, intuition, taste, and common sense.

 

*Encounter Books, New York, 2015. Our quotation comes from page 136.

Religion is the problem 5

… not the solution.

As if the world were not being rocked by a war of religion, Dennis Prager writes at Townhall that there is not enough religion in America:

The most profound thinkers in America are conservative. There are, of course, bright liberal and leftist thinkers, but I can’t think of one who approaches the depth and wisdom of the best conservative writers and thinkers. What liberal historian, for example, approaches the understanding of life and history that author Paul Johnson has exhibited in his many works of history? Who on the left matches psychiatrist/writer Theodore Dalrymple’s insight into the underclass? What left-wing columnists understand human nature, the state of mankind, or contemporary America as do George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Thomas Sowell, or many of the leading columnists at publications such as National Review, City Journal, Commentary Magazine or the Wall Street Journal?

I write this to make it clear that my admiration for the leading conservative writers, columnists and thinkers is deep and abiding.

Ours too. We have no quarrel with anything he has said so far (though we admire the Catholic writer, Paul Johnson, with a little less enthusiasm than he does).

There is, however, a “but.”

The vast majority of leading conservative writers, just like their liberal colleagues, have a secular outlook on life. With few exceptions, the conservative political and intellectual worlds are oblivious to the consequences of secularism. They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.

Maybe because it is not “godlessness” that has led us to disaster, but godfulness – most obviously the godfulness of Islam.

Most leading Republicans and most of the wealthy donors to the Republican Party — in addition to virtually all libertarian politicians and think tank scholars — are either uninterested in the death of Judeo-Christian religions and values in America and the West, or they’re OK with it. They think that America can survive the death of God and religion, that fiscal and other forms of conservatism without social conservatism can preserve America.

First, to use the hyphenated term “Judeo-Christian” is to link two things together that are opposed to each other; an ideology of justice and an ideology of anti-justice.

Judaism’s highest value is justice, usually called “righteousness” in its bible. Unfortunately, many an instance of what the pious men of old considered to be “righteous” or “just”, is not easy to reconcile with the idea of justice that we, the heirs of the Enlightenment, understand it to be. But as an ideal it could not be bettered, or even matched – except by the ideal of freedom.

Christianity was a revolt against Judaism. It substituted love for justice as the highest ideal. It commanded “Resist not evil”. It preached forgiveness, self-sacrifice, self-abasement. It condemned “the sin” but “not the sinner” – absolving him of responsibility and rewarding him with love and forgiveness. Anti-justice. Anti-Judaism.

Our ideals – freedom, reason, justice – were bequeathed to us by the Enlightenment; that brilliant dawn that dispelled the terrifying intolerant rule of religion. Why do Christians pretend that Christianity does not have a cruel and bloody past?

Dennis Prager seems to think of those old religions as really nice, sensible, polite, well-dressed, well-spoken, well-washed, well-exercised, clean-cut, all-American, common-sensical codes of morals. They are not, and they never were.

It shows how effective the secular indoctrination in our schools and media has been, that even the majority of conservative thinkers are not only secular themselves, but seem to have no idea how much of the American civilization rests on religious foundations.

We wish we could believe him that “the majority of conservative thinkers are secular”. Maybe the majority of the best of them are, but there are dozens of opinion writers in the conservative ranks who write continually about God. This Christian Conservative website, Townhall, provides endless examples. (We read it every day and find sound conservative views in it too.)

They don’t seem to understand that the only solution to many – perhaps most – of the social problems ailing America and the West is some expression of Judeo-Christian faith.

Which expression would that be?

He finds one.

Do the inner-city kids who study the Bible and go to church each week lead wasted lives, join gangs, bear children out of wedlock or commit murder? …

Probably not most of them. Which is good, of course. But the implication that there is no way other than by religious instruction they they could be raised to live their lives well, is not defensible.

And why do secular conservatives think so many affluent and well-educated Americans have adopted left-wing dogmas, such as feminism, socialism, environmentalism and egalitarianism as their religions? Because people want to – have to – believe in something. And if it’s not God and Christianity or Judaism, it’s going to be some form of Leftism. Why are evangelical Protestants, theologically conservative Catholics, Orthodox Jews and practicing Mormons almost all conservative? Because they already have a religion and therefore don’t need the alternate gods of leftist faiths, and also because Judeo-Christian religions have different values than leftist religions.

We agree that “feminism, socialism, environmentalism and egalitarianism” are religions. But not that “if it’s not God and Christianity or Judaism, it’s going to be some form of Leftism”.

It doesn’t have to be. We are living proof that one can be an atheist and believe in all the values of conservatism: individual freedom, the rule of law, small government, a free market economy, strong defense, and the political wisdom of the Constitution. But freedom to us means freedom from the tyranny of any orthodoxy – which excludes every church. And we add reason to our high values – and that excludes every religion.   

When these conservatives – people who revere the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence – read the founders’ assertion that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”, do they believe what the founders wrote? Or were they just echoing the irrational religious beliefs of their time, as people on the left believe?

Although on this point we might be in agreement with something the left believes, yes, we do think they were “just echoing the irrational religious beliefs of their time”. Well, not exactly echoing them – more modifying them. They were (at least some of them) skeptical men, men of the Enlightenment, who thought that though a god must have created the universe, he thereafter declined to have anything more to do with it (which is what “deism” means – and they described themselves as “deists”).

When these conservatives see the components of what I call the American Trinity – the words “liberty,” “In God We Trust” and “e pluribus unum” inscribed on every American coin – do they regard “In God We Trust” as no longer necessary?

Yes.

President John Adams warned: “Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion … our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Do secular conservatives think he was right or wrong?

Partly right, partly wrong. Moral, yes. Religious, not necessarily at all.

The problem is not that most leading conservative thinkers are secular; it is that they don’t seem to understand that a godless and Judeo-Christian-free America means the end of America, just as a godless and Judeo-Christian-free Europe has meant the end of Europe.

If Europe had not been marinaded in the self-destructive morality of Christianity for two millennia, would it now be letting in hordes of its worst enemies in the name of “compassion”? Would it be accepting the prospect of its subjugation by Islam without resistance? Would it let its young girls be turned into sex slaves by Muslim criminals without objecting for fear of hurting the Muslim criminals’ feelings? Would it be abandoning freedom of speech (an Enlightenment value) out of deference to a dogmatic, intolerant, savage religion?

No. Europe is dying of Religion, not of Reason.

And yes, America could too.

Posted under Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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Jesus just another sun god? 1

For a little Sunday fun, here’s a video demonstrating that Jesus Christ was one of the ancient sun-gods.

Though it was published in 2008, we found it only recently.

We cannot vouch for every “fact” asserted in it being true, but we enjoyed watching it.

(For our own view of “Jesus Christ” see the essay by Jillian Becker, The Birth and Early History of Christianity, listed under Pages in our margin.)

Posted under Christianity, Religion general, Theology, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 3, 2016

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The Western tragedy 1

In an article on the suicide of Europe, containing much we agree with, the excellent and erudite Victor Davis Hanson writes at the National Review:

Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.

And it is that point in particular that we want to discuss.

But first – the important points he makes:

Because of what Europe has become, it now has few viable choices in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism. Its dilemma is a warning to Americans that we should turn away from a similar path of national suicide. 

After suffering serial terrorist attacks from foreign nationals and immigrants, a normal nation-state would be expected to make extraordinary efforts to close its borders and redefine its foreign policy in order to protect its national interests.

But a France or a Belgium is not quite a sovereign nation any more, and thus does not have complete control over its national destiny or foreign relations. As part of the European Union, France and Belgium have, for all practical purposes, placed their own security in the hands of an obdurate Angela Merkel’s Germany, which is hellbent on allowing without audit millions of disenchanted young Middle Eastern males into its territory, with subsequent rights of passage into any other member of the European Union that they wish. The 21st-century “German problem” is apparently not that of an economic powerhouse and military brute warring on its neighbors, but that of an economic powerhouse that uses its wealth and arrogant sense of social superiority to bully its neighbors into accepting its bankrupt immigration policies and green ideology.

The immigration policies of France and Belgium are unfortunately also de facto those of Greece. And a petulant and poor Greece, licking its wounds over its European Union brawl with northern-European banks, either cannot or will not control entrance into its territory — Europe’s window on the Middle East. No European country can take the security measures necessary for its own national needs, without either violating or ignoring EU mandates. That the latest terrorist murders struck near the very heart of the EU in Brussels is emblematic of the Union’s dilemma.

As far as America is concerned, a fossilized EU should remind us of our original and vanishing system of federalism, in which states were once given some constitutional room to craft laws and protocols to reflect regional needs — and to ensure regional and democratic input with checks and balances on statism through their representatives in Congress. Yet the ever-growing federal government — with its increasingly anti-democratic, politically correct, and mostly unaccountable bureaucracies — threatens to do to Americans exactly what the EU has done to Europeans. We already see how the capricious erosion of federal immigration law has brought chaos to the borderlands of the American Southwest. It is a scary thing for a federal power arbitrarily to render its own inviolable laws null and void — and then watch the concrete consequences of such lawlessness fall on others, who have been deprived of recourse to constitutional protections of their own existential interests.

Europe’s immigration policy is a disaster … Europeans — for a variety of 20th-century historical and cultural reasons — often are either ignorant of who they are or terrified about expressing their identities in any concrete and positive fashion. The result is that Europe cannot impose on a would-be newcomer any notion that consensual government is superior to the anarchy and theocracy of the Middle East, that having individual rights trumps being subjects of a dictator, that personal freedom is a better choice than statist tyranny, that protection of private property is a key to economic growth whereas law by fiat is not, and that independent judiciaries do not run like Sharia courts. It most certainly cannot ask of immigrants upon arrival that they either follow the laws of a society that originally made Europe attractive to them, or return home to live under a system that they apparently rejected.

All good so far. Then:

I omit for obvious reasons that few present-day Europeans believe that Christianity is much different from Islam, and apparently thus assume that terrorists might just as well be Christians.

But he hasn’t omitted it, has he? A bitter regret has stepped quietly into the article and lingers by the door – a regret that Europe has (broadly speaking) abandoned its religion.

He goes on, cogently again:

… In Europe, immigrants are political tools of the Left. The rapid influx of vast numbers of unassimilated, uneducated, poor, and often illegal newcomers may violate every rule of successful immigration policy. Yet the onrush does serve the purposes of the statist, who demagogues for an instantaneous equality of result. Bloc voters, constituents of bigger government, needy recipients of state largesse, and perennial whiners about inequality are all fodder for European multicultural leftists, who always seek arguments for more of themselves.

Which is the case in America too. As he says:

The same phenomenon is with us in the United States … [where] importing the poor and the uneducated expands the Democratic constituency. …

The Western therapeutic mindset, which maintains that impoverished immigrants should instantly have what their hosts have always had, trumps the tragic view: that it is risky, dangerous, and sometimes unwise to leave one’s home for a completely alien world, in which sacrifice and self-reliance alone can make the gamble worthwhile — usually for a second generation not yet born.

Demography is Europe’s bane. One engine of unchecked immigration has been the need for more bodies to do the sorts of tasks that Europeans feel are no longer becoming of Europeans. …

Again that is also true of America.

But more curious is the reason why Europe is shrinking — the classic and primary symptom of a civilization in rapid decline.

Europeans are not having children for lots of reasons. A static and fossilized economy without much growth gives little hope to a 20-something European that he or she can get a good job, buy a home, have three children, and provide for those offspring lives with unlimited choices. Instead, the young European bides his time, satisfying his appetites, as a perpetual adolescent who lives in his parents’ flat, seeks to milk the system, and waits for someone to die at the tribal government bureau. After a lost decade, one hopes to hook up with some like soul in her or his late thirties.

And –

The last eight years in the U.S. have seen an acceleration of the Europeanization of America’s youth.

Socialism … insidiously takes responsibility away from the individual and transfers it to the anonymous, but well-funded, state. … Why seek children and the honor of raising and protecting them when the state can provide all without the bother and direct expense? Why have a family or invest for the future, when the state promises a pleasant and politically correct old-age home?

Without a Second Amendment or much of a defense budget, Europeans not only divert capital to enervating social programs, but also have sacrificed any confidence in muscular self-protection, individual or collective.

Even postmodern nations remain collections of individuals. A state that will not or cannot protect its own interests is simply a reflection of millions of dead souls that do not believe in risking anything to ensure that they are safe — including their own persons and those of their family. Finally, Europe is Petronius’s Croton. It does not believe in any transcendence as reified by children or religion. If there is nothing but the here and now, then why invest one’s energy in children who live on after one dies? Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.

Europe’s perfect storm is upon us. A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort. In the Middle East, the fundamentalists are growing in numbers, and they most certainly do believe that their own lives are nothing in comparison to the Phoenix-like resurrection of their Caliphate and the sensual pleasures in the hereafter that will reward their martial sacrifices in the here and now. Of all the many reasons why immigrants to Europe so often dislike their generous hosts, the simplest may be because they so easily can.

… It would take another St. Jerome (“All were born in captivity and siege, and do not desire the liberty they never knew. Who could believe this?”) to chronicle the Western tragedy.

As a general rule, whatever Europe is now doing, we should do the opposite — for our very survival in an increasingly scary world.

So, an article saying much that needs to be said.

But we come back to this: Europe “does not believe in any transcendence as reified by children or religion. If there is nothing but the here and now, then why invest one’s energy in children who live on after one dies? Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.” And: ” A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort.”

His argument is that Europeans now do not think, or feel, or believe that there is any larger purpose to be served than the achievement of their own private personal ambitions and pleasures; no goals beyond their own individual lives worth putting their energies into. Previous generations believed they had a posterity in their children, the continuation of their families; and/or in the immortality of their nation; and/or in a spiritual afterlife.

And that is true. They did.

Then their nations were taken away from them, blended into a monstrous political entity called the European Union. What Frenchman, or Italian, or Englishman will ever say: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead/ Who never to himself has said/ This is mine own, my native … European Union”?

And what of their losing the desire for descendants? That’s harder to explain. In addition to the fading away of marriage, the dread of the expense of children, the shrinking from the emotional risk of entering into the responsibilities of relationships, there is a much larger source of discouragement; what one might call a cosmic despair: our knowledge of global doom. By “global doom” I don’t mean “global warming”, but the certainty that this world in which we exist and act, will one day itself cease to exist. It may be only in about 3 billion years that the final doom will come upon it, but go it will, for sure.

Whether or not those explanations are the right ones – perhaps among many others  – it is a fact that Europeans are not having enough children to ensure the survival of their nations, even if they were to take back national sovereignty from the bureaucratic dictatorship of the EU.

This means they are discarding the future, as individuals and as a bridging generation between their nation’s yesterday and tomorrow. And because they have no future to work or build for – what have they to defend? So when another culture, a savage culture that arose and remains in the ignorant Dark Ages and knows nothing of the physical destiny of this planet, invades their continent, and increases with many children, and believes that making war ensures their endless and dominant continuation on earth and immortal happiness after death, there is nothing effective standing in its way. No one to bar the gates. No one to fight back. The imaginary spokesman of the dying European culture with no stake in the future says, “Come in, if you want to. Take what you want. Do as you will. I won’t be around much longer to know or care what happens here.” (“A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort.”)

Hanson suggests that the Europeans’ discarding of the future, and consequent abandonment of the greatest civilization the human race has ever attained, is not only tragic – which it is – but also immoral. He implies this by adding to the causes – familial, national – that kept European Man going for centuries, the cause of religion. He plainly considers it a highly desirable thing that human beings should believe that their time on earth is not the whole of their existence. He believes in an afterlife as formulated in Christian doctrine. The quality of that afterlife for each individual may depend on how the individual Christian behaves in his earthly life. Hoping for heaven, he will be good according to the precepts of his faith. (Now that is true of Catholics, whose church allows that good works as well as “the grace of God” can bring one to heaven. But many Protestant sects, most notably Calvinists and Lutherans, teach that only God decides your eternal destination, and he does that even before you are born, so what you do can make not a jot of difference to the iron ruling. The only encouragement such churches offer the faithful is that if you live dutifully, obedient to the commandments of your God, you will be perceived as a person destined for heaven, and thus perceived, you may live in hope.)

One way or another, Christianity – Hanson seems to assume – helped Europeans be strong in defense of their inheritance, prolific in procreation to ensure their posterity, and above all continent in their appetites for the hope of heaven.

And that may very well have been true. But we deny that lack of religious belief now is a cause of the self-inflicted doom of Europe. It seems plain to us that lack of interest in this life  – beyond personal attainment and pleasure – is at work.

Atheism does not assume that “ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be”. Some atheists might assume it, but there is nothing about atheism that logically involves any such assumption.

Atheists are more likely to strive harder in this life to know, to achieve, to build, to love and hate, defend and attack, as well as to think and enjoy, than those who believe that their final, greater, and possibly happier destiny is in another world. Atheists who learn and build are very likely to want descendants to continue their discoveries, further their achievements, and add to their works, since only those they beget and what they bequeath will survive their death.

By that reasoning, atheism could have been the salvation of Europe. We might propose that far from the loss of Christianity dooming the European nations, it is the legacy of Christianity as self-abasement, non-resistance to evil, the choice of self-sacrifice, and the love of martyrdom that has primed Europeans through their inherited moral culture to let this death happen to them. And if that is so, what we are seeing is the logical end of Christian history in the age of science.

But as the Christian religion peters out in disbelief, its acolytes perish unresisting at the hands of other – passionate – believers. 

Now if only Muslims could be persuaded to abandon their faith, their belief that they must conquer and subdue all others and gain an afterlife in paradise …  what then? Europeans might still be dying out, but at least not in agony and  terror.

Against jihad, not quite all you need is love 6

Seems it’s too late to stop fear by marching against it! Who would have thought?

The Belgians, being full of love for all mankind, planned to do it – and then realized it might not work. It might even attract more terrorism.

The Pope says use love to stop terrorism. But the Belgians are not totally convinced he is right.

Katie Hopkins writes at MailOnline:

So let’s just get this straight.

A peace march in Belgium was cancelled over fears ISIS could use it to launch another attack on Brussels.

Belgium security forces decided a March Against Fear, however topical, would be ill-advised because the fear is grounded in truth, and marching isn’t going to make it go away.

This is a bit like the people who say they are standing up to terror by continuing to use the underground. They are not actually standing up to anything. There is no real show of defiance. Everyone is scared to death.

In truth, they are gambling on the old adage lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Or for a more modern twist, suicide bombers never target the same subway twice in a week.

But if you live in jihadi central, that’s a pretty risky bet to place.

In place of the March Against Fear, a few pro-migrant groups turned up at the Old Stock Exchange in Brussels to watch mourners light candles for the dead, and shove a bit more leftie clap-trap down their throats, reminding them that irregular migrants are good people at heart and the last suicide bombers were actually home-grown, so not technically migrants at all. So that’s ok then.

In response, a group of anti-immigration protestors gathered at the Place de la Bourse to unfurl an anti-ISIS banner and vent their frustration at the direction in which the self-styled capital of Europe appears to be heading. …

The March Against Fear was cancelled because there was too much fear, and a riot broke out because the police objected to a peaceful protest.

There are a few things I notice around these incidents in Europe;

  • Firstly, the anti-immigration protestors are always referred to as thugs. The language around them is universally ugly, despite the fact they are protesting against the very people who think it is acceptable to detonate themselves next to small babies wearing suicide vests filled with nails and shrapnel.
  • They are called the far-right and lazy associations are made between them and Hitler. Even though in the UK it appears to be Labour supporters who have issues with Jews.
  • Clearly Nazi salutes have no place in modern Europe. No one wants to see violence against the police, stones thrown or graffiti. But if you look carefully, trouble-making groups on the left such as No Borders build a far more subversive brand of trouble.
  • The dreadlocked gangs of migrant-lovers, turning a blind eye to the destruction of Europe, are never referred to as the far-left. They are affectionately called anarchists, as if they are teenage boys, experimenting with Death Metal and living raw vegan.
  • Despite absolutely no police response to terrorists … or marauding migrants … their rapid reaction to the presence of a handful of PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West] overwhelming.

In Cologne, 150 officers were sent to police the migrant attacks on women on New Years Eve, resulting in 676 criminal complaints being filed. In comparison, 1700 riot police with water cannon were sent to stop a subsequent PEGIDA march through the city.

Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable to turn the water cannon on nationals, determined to stand up for their country and culture, it is never acceptable to criticise migrants, terrorists or extremists planning attacks.

It seems to me there is a yawning gulf between the treatment and reporting of the far-left and the far-right, and and even bigger chasm between nationals and migrant populations, who lack respect for the culture they have joined.

The left are so busy kowtowing to the rights of those who have chosen to join our culture, the right has lost the freedom to defend the culture they have chosen to join.

The police have an almost magnetic attraction to events which offer predictable policing – such as a PEGIDA March through a city centre, but are incapable of defending people from the actual threat of terror we all feel.

People talk about the rise of the far-right. I fear the dominance of the smug, self-centred left  … is far more threatening and far more real.

And the Pope is one of that company.

Posted under Belgium, Christianity, Europe, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 28, 2016

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A Christian reponse to persecution by Islam 5

The Christian Churches are doing nothing to save Christians from the persecution, enslavement, torture and murder they are being subjected to by Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East. Sometimes deprecating statements are made by church authorities. But the atrocities continue, and the Christian powers remain passive.

What is wrong with Christianity?

The answer to that question is easy to see here. We quote almost the whole article. All emphases in bold are ours.

Factually, the account of what is happening to Christians in Asia and Africa is accurate. It is the response to the facts that concern us.

Responding in Christ to Islamist Violence Against Christians and Other Minorities in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Introductory Note 

For the past decade, mainline Protestant churches have largely failed to speak up on behalf of Christians (and other minorities) in the Middle East. Below is the text of a model resolution that members of these churches can rework and submit to the national assemblies of their churches. This text, attempts to address the issue of Triumphalist Islam in an irenic, authoritative and comprehensive manner. It follows the model of resolutions used by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ.

Please feel free to distribute this text as you see fit.

Theological Rationale

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

– 1 Corinthians, 12: 26-27

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.” –  2 Timothy 1:7

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” –  1 John 4:15

Christ summons us to partake of His life, His suffering, His death and resurrection. As part of this summons, Christ calls us to stand in solidarity with our fellow Christians during their times of trial. He calls for us pray for and end to the oppression they endure and to actively struggle against it.

Wherever and whenever anyone suffers for the same [sic. name?] of Christ, we are called to witness to both the injustice they endure and to the steadfastness they exhibit: the injustice suffered by Christians thwarts the will of God; Christian steadfastness in the face of this injustice brings glory to God.

Christ also calls us to proclaim liberty to the captives, whether their captivity is the result of physical or spiritual oppression. (Luke 4:18) He also calls us to proclaim justice to the nations (Matthew 12:15).

Background: The Roots and History of anti-Christian Violence in Muslim-Majority Environments 

The Body of Christ is under attack in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Christians are being killed, imprisoned, held for ransom, forcibly converted and sold into slavery as part of an ongoing campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing that began in the early part of the last decade. Christians are not the only targets of this campaign. Other religious minorities such as the Yazidis in Iraq and adherents of the Bahai faith in Iran are also subject to atrocities. Muslims are also the victims of oppression perpetrated by their fellow Muslims.

The overriding impulse behind these acts of aggression is an ideology of Muslim supremacy that holds that Islamic doctrine and jurisprudence should rule every aspect of life in Muslim-majority countries. This ideology causes the life of non-Muslims to be devalued and sets the stage for violence against religious and ethnic minorities (and dissident Muslims) in Muslim-majority countries.

Violence perpetrated against non-Muslims, and the ideas used to justify it, are not new phenomenon [sic], but date back to Islam’s founding. The mistreatment of non-Muslims in Muslim-majority environments and the oppression of apostates has been a persistent aspect of the Muslim faith since its founding in Seventh Century A.D.

The Curse of Dhimmitude

Under Shariah, or Islamic law, which was codified in the years after Muhammad’s death, Christians and Jews were accorded a second class status which in the modern era has been described as dhimmitudeDhimmitude is derived from the word “dhimmi” which is itself derived from the Arabic word “dhimma” which describes a pact that was thrust upon Christians and Jews who wished to maintain their faith practices when the countries they lived in came under Muslim rule.

As part of this dhimma pact, non-Muslims agreed to pay a special tax for the privilege of practicing their faith in a Muslim jurisdiction. Oftentimes, this tax was collected in a ceremony that included a ritualistic blow to the head or the neck to remind dhimmis that they were paying for the privilege of keeping their head on their shoulders. The goal was to humiliate non-Muslims into submission.

Other rules associated with dhimmitude varied from one location to another but they included a prohibition of building homes or houses of worship higher than that of their Muslim neighbors.

Dhimmis were also prohibited from riding horses, and were deprived of the right to defend themselves against Muslims when physically attacked. Public displays of religious symbols (such as the ringing of church bells or singing of hymns) was prohibited. In some instances, Jews and Christians were required to wear a colored patch indicating their religious identity.

Dhimmi testimony was not accepted in Muslim courts, rendering them vulnerable to mistreatment and oppression. Criticizing Islam or agitating for one’s liberty and equality was out of the question. The first line of enforcement for these rules was the leaders of the dhimmi communities themselves. Jewish and Christian leaders were obligated to make sure that the people in their communities did not get out of line and obeyed these rules.

The ultimate goal of these rules was to demean and humiliate non-Muslims and to encourage them to convert to Islam. These rules also had the tendency of making non-Muslims low cost, no-cost targets of violence and oppression.

If a dhimmi or dhimmi community agitated for its rights or appealed to help from outsiders, they abrogated the right to claim protection from the authorities under the dhimma pact, and as a result, rendered themselves legitimate targets of jihad. This happened a number of times under the Ottoman Empire.

For example, when the Ottoman Empire abolished dhimma laws in 1860, Muslims in Damascus murdered 5,000 Christians because they were no longer behaving in a submissive manner toward the Muslim neighbors. Men were killed and women and children were raped and abducted; some escaped these fates by converting to Islam.

Similar massacres took place in what is now known as modern-day Turkey in the 1870s, 1890s when thousands of Armenian, Greeks, and Assyrian Christians were murdered in response to European interventions on behalf of the rights of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. 

The Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the death of 1.5 million Armenians (and thousands of Greeks and Assyrians) between 1915 and 1922, was, in part, a response to the efforts of Armenians to achieve freedom and equality in a Muslim-majority environment.

Living as a dhimmi has political consequences … In the latter half of the 20th Century, Christian populations in the Middle East protected themselves by supporting brutal dictators who would protect them from the violence and hostility directed at them by their Muslim neighbors in exchange for support. Oftentimes Christians would serve as spokespeople and advocates for regimes to the West.

This strategy was particularly evident in Iraq, where Christians supported the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein and in Syria, where Christians supported the Assad regime, which brutally repressed the Sunni majority in that country. Egypt’s Coptic minority was also a bulwark of support for the Mubarak regime in Egypt, because it kept radical Sunnis, known as Salafists, out of power.

This was not a strategy available to all religious minorities. Adherents of the Bahai faith for example, are brutally repressed in Iran with no chance of obtaining help from the theocratic government in Iran. Christians are brutally mistreated in Iran as well, especially those who seek to convert their countrymen to the Christian faith.

It must be remembered that Christians in the Middle East are being oppressed in their homelands. Their existence pre-dates the arrival of Islam by centuries. They are not interlopers.

It should also be noted that Muslims are also victims of oppression in Muslim-majority countries. Where Sunnis are the majority, they oppress Shiites and vice versa. Ahmadiyya Muslims, who are regarded as heretics and apostates, are oppressed in Pakistan.

Shariah, or Islamic law establishes a system of structural violence that renders non-Muslims, dissident Muslims and women, legitimate targets of oppression.

In an effort to prevent discussion of the impact of dhimmitude and Shariah as a human rights issue Islamic organizations and leaders have worked to silence criticism of Islam through a variety of means. In particular, they asked the United Nations to promote blasphemy laws and statues that prohibit the defamation of religion. Such laws are already in force in Muslim-majority countries, making it dangerous to discuss issues of human rights under Islam.

Recent History 

Anti-Christian violence in Muslim-majority countries faded from the world’s consciousness in the decades after the Armenian Genocide.

Things began to change with the 2003 removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq when Christians in that country found themselves without a protector and subject to terrible acts of violence. Churches have been bombed, clergy kidnapped and murdered, and lay Christians have been regularly killed. Christians used to number approximately 1.5 million in Iraq. Credible estimates indicate there are less than 300,000 Christians in the country today.

Christians in Syria found themselves vulnerable to similar acts of violence as president Bashar al-Assad lost control of large sections of the country as a result of a civil war that began in 2011 and rages to this day.

Coptic Christians were also subjected to terrible attacks beginning toward the end of Hosni Mubarak’s tenure as president of Egypt, which came to an end in 2011. Fortunately, the situation for Christians in Egypt has improved substantially under the leadership of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Sisi who has taken a tough line with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was removed from power in 2013, but the hostility and violence directed at Copts in their homeland remains a problem.

The recent kidnappings of hundreds of young women in Nigeria by the Islamist organization Boko Haram and multiple massacres of Coptic Christians by ISIS in Libya demonstrates that radical Islam threatens Christians in North Africa. Violent attacks against Christians in Pakistan indicate that it is a problem in Asia as well.

Something must be said and something must be done about this rising tide of Islamist violence.

Signs of Hope

We must acknowledge unequivocally that not every Muslim adheres to the notion of supremacy over non-Muslims; to fail to do so would be false witness. There are some resources within Islamic tradition that can be used to justify a more tolerant and peaceful attitude toward non-Muslims. For example, there is a passage in the Koran that states “there is no compulsion in religion.” Unfortunately, many Muslim scholars assert that this passage and others like it, which came early in Mohammad’s career, were superseded, or abrogated by a number of other passages (which came later in Mohammad’s life) that call for the violent oppression of non-Muslims and the execution of people who would leave the faith.

Nevertheless, some Muslim intellectuals appeal to these earlier passages to convince their co-religionists to refrain from acts of violence against their non-Muslim neighbors, but they are not in the majority. This is a consequence of a decision made by Muslim scholars to close the “door of interpretation” or (bab al-itjihad) in the 11th Century. Writing in 111 Questions on Islam, Samir Khali Samir, S.J. reports that as a result that once this door was closed, it was “no longer possible to interpret the text.” He continues, “Hence today, even the mere attempt to understand its meaning in a certain context is regarded as a desire to challenge it. And it is a true tragedy for the Islamic world…”

Moreover, Samir writes that in modern times, “efforts have been made” to interpret the Koran in context, but that they have “almost always [been] in vain.” He continues: “The weight of the tradition and, above all, the fear of questioning the acquired security of the text have created a taboo: The Qur’an cannot be interpreted, nor can it be critically rethought.”

Still, there are signs of hope.

Recently, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Sisi spoke to scholars at Cairo’s Al Azhar University, the most important center of learning for Sunni Muslims in the world. He told the scholars “We must revolutionize our religion” adding that by embracing the ideas it does, “the Islamic nation is being torn apart, destroyed, and is heading to perdition. We ourselves are bringing it to perdition.” That Sisi made such a speech at Al Azhar, which has traditionally been a source of Islamic supremacism is remarkable. It remains to be seen if scholars at the school will take up Sisi’s challenge.

One group of Muslims in the United States, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), has worked to promote discussion of the topics delineated above. In a recently published statement, AIFD has condemned the push to create “Islamic” states where non-Muslims are oppressed. The organization has also called on Muslims to “promote reforms where necessary, including an honest and critical reinterpretation of scripture and shariah law used by Islamists to justify violence and oppression.”

The AIFD also declares “Neither jihadism nor Islamism permit the equality of all humans irrespective of their race or religion and should therefore be rejected.”

Hopefully, Muslims in the Middle East will start to address these issues, sparking the “revolution” within Islam that Egyptian President Sisi was calling for when he spoke to scholars at Al Azhar in Cairo.

We must remember that Islam does not have a monopoly on religious violence. Christians have struggled with their faith’s historical hostility toward the Jewish people, which has had catastrophic consequences. They have also confronted the role their faith played in the destruction and oppression of indigenous peoples throughout the world. 

The fact that we as Christians are not without sin does not preclude us from lifting up our voices about the mistreatment of our fellow Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world. 

To remain silent at a time such as this would only add to our sin. 

We must pray, we must discern, we must act.

Resolution: A Call to Prayer, Discernment, and Action 

WHEREAS violence against Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim-majority environments is threatening the destruction of people groups in the Middle East; and

WHEREAS massacres, kidnappings and the enslavement of Christians and Yazidis in Syria and Iraq has reached epidemic proportions; and

WHEREAS violence against Copts in Egypt remains a threat and the murder of Copts in Libya has become an undeniable outrage; and

WHEREAS this violence is not a new phenomenon, but has its roots in Islamic doctrine, jurisprudence and tradition dating back centuries; and

WHEREAS Shariah law as it is applied in Muslim countries throughout the world represents an undeniable manifestation of structural violence and a defamation of the name of God; and

WHEREAS dhimmitude renders non-Muslims low cost, no cost targets of violence; and

WHEREAS some Muslim leaders have attempted to place discussion of these problems beyond the pale of acceptable discourse by promoting the passage of laws that prohibit “blasphemy” and the “defmation of religion;” and

WHEREAS a growing number of Muslim leaders and intellectuals are struggling to re-open the “door of interpretation;”

WE WITNESS AND LAMENT the ongoing destruction of Christian communities in the Middle East, the region of our faith’s birth, and the oppression of our Brothers and Sisters in North Africa and Asia; and

WE PROCLAIM that as Christians we are called to pray on behalf of those who are dying for the name of Christ and that we are called to speak up for the principles of religious freedom; and

WE RESPOND to this call by condemning violence against people of all faiths throughout the world and by standing in solidarity with the victims of Islamist violence wherever it takes place; and

WE PRAY for the violence against Christians and other religious minorities to end; and

WE PRAY that God manifest His presence the decisions of political leaders of all faiths and countries as they confront the rising tide of Islamist violence throughout the world; and

WE PRAY that world leaders of all faiths and ideologies be given the wisdom, the strength and confidence to stem the violence through the application of justice, mercy, and restraint; and

WE PLEDGE to educate ourselves, our congregations, our neighbors, and our community leaders about Shariah law, its impact on Muslims, non-Muslims and women and to discern and counteract the impact of dhimmitude on our fellow Christians; and

WE PRAY that Muslim leaders acknowledge the rights of their followers to convert to other faiths and work to encourage their followers to acknowledge the dignity of women, for they too are created in the image of God; and

WE PLEDGE to work for the safety of religious targeted communities throughout the world; and

WE PROCLAIM Christ’s liberty to the captives of religious violence and oppression, whether they be its victims or perpetrators. We are glad to see principled Muslims confront Islam’s legacy of hostility and violence against non-believers. We pray that their numbers may grow and that their efforts become more effective; and

WE ACKNOWLEDGE violence and sin perpetrated by Christians throughout history; and

WE PLEDGE to not let our guilt over these events to be used to silence us over the mistreatment of our co-religionists and other victims of religious violence in Muslim-majority countries; and

WE PRAY that God will embolden the faith of our fellow believers, soften the hearts of their tormentors and enliven the intellects and consciences of those who have been bystanders to this violence for far too long.

posted by Dexter Van Zile, Wednesday, March 02, 2016

So what is the “action” these Christians are resolving to take? 

To “witness and lament”.

To proclaim “Christ’s liberty”. 

To acknowledge Christian violence and sin. 

To pray.

To pray especially for the Muslims to change their beliefs and the actions they take because of those beliefs. This frail hope … no, this baseless, entirely chimerical hope is their plan of action. “Whereas” the cruel treatment and mass murder of their fellow Christians is proceeding unabated to their certain knowledge, they will “act” by praying for the Muslims to change their beliefs and their ways!

The worst place among all the killing fields where the Christian populations are being depleted, the very worst country for Christians at the mercy of Muslims, is Nigeria. They mention only the abduction and enslavement of one group of young girls. But there is much more that should be known to the world. According to a report titled Global Terrorism Index 2015, published last November by the Institue for Economics & Peace, the affiliate of ISIS in Nigeria, Boko Haram, killed 6,644 Christians. Many were babies and small children. A favorite way of killing them among the Muslim savages is by throwing them onto fires. See our post, Why Muslims are butchering Christians in Nigeria, February 24, 2014.

burned-alive-2

A Christian child burnt alive by Muslims in Nigeria 

A particularly appalling fact is that Boko Haram was protected by Obama’s State Department during the time that Hillary Clinton was in office as Secretary of State; and the Obama administration actively interfered in Nigerian elections to get their preferred candidate into power. See our post, Obama’s Nigerian candidate wins, April 6, 2015. 

Because the churches used violence evilly in the past, these Christians are reluctant now to use it at all – or so their text implies, acknowledging Christian “violence and sin”.

Fact is, the Christian powers INTEND TO CONTINUE TO DO NOTHING to rescue or avenge the Christian victims of Islam. They will not lift a finger, let alone launch armies, to stop the slaughter, the torture, the enslavement, the terrorizing, the elimination of whole communities of their co-religionists. A large portion of Christendom itself!

Except of course pray, and proclaim, and pray, and confess, and pray, and witness, and pray, and lament, and pray, and endure …

Truly, Islam and Christianity suit each other perfectly!

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Boko-Haram-children-burned-2

More Christian children burnt alive by Muslims in Nigeria

Posted under Christianity, Islam by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 4, 2016

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