More Christian vandalism 1

Medieval monks, at a time when parchment was expensive and classical learning held cheap, simply took pumice stones and scrubbed the last copies of classical works from the page. …

In some cases “whole groups of classical works were deliberately selected to be deleted and overwritten in around AD 700, often with texts authored by [the fathers of the Church or by] legal texts that criticised or banned pagan literature”.

Pliny, Plautus, Cicero, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Livy and many, many more: all were scrubbed away by the hands of believers.   The evidence from surviving manuscripts is clear: at some point, a hundred or so years after Christianity comes to power, the transcription of the classical texts collapses. From AD 550 to 750 the numbers copied plummeted.

This is not, to be clear, an absolute collapse in copying: monasteries are still producing reams and reams of religious books. Bible after Bible, copy after copy of Augustine is made. And these works are vast. This was not about an absolute shortage of parchment; it was about a lack of interest verging on outright disgust for the ideas of a now-despised canon. The texts that suffer in this period are the texts of the wicked and sinful pagans.

From the entirety of the sixth century only “scraps” of two manuscripts by the satirical Roman poet Juvenal survive and mere “remnants” of two others, one by the Elder and one by the Younger Pliny.

From the next century there survives nothing save a single fragment of the poet Lucan.

From the start of the next century: nothing at all. Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings “of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated”.  He warmed to the theme in another sermon: “Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!”  …

It has been estimated that less than ten percent of all classical [Greek] literature has survived into the modern era.   For Latin, the figure is even worse: it is estimated that only one hundredth of all Latin literature remains.   If this was “preservation” — as it is often claimed to be — then it was astonishingly incompetent. If it was censorship, it was brilliantly effective. The ebullient, argumentative classical world was, quite literally, being erased.”

 

(from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey)

 

 

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 24, 2018

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The moment when Christianity brought darkness down on the West for a thousand years 3

More from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

“In such an atmosphere, it took something for a law to stand out as particularly repressive.

Yet one law did. Out of all the froth and fury that was being issued from the government at the time, one law would become infamous for the next 1,500 years.

Read this law and, in comparison to some of Justinian’s other edicts, it sounds almost underwhelming. Filed under the usual dull bureaucratic subheading, it is now known as “Law 1.11.10.2.” “Moreover,” it reads, “we forbid the teaching of any doctrine by those who labour under the insanity of paganism” so that they might not “corrupt the souls of their disciples.” The law goes on, adding a finicky detail or two about pay, but largely that is it.

Its consequences were formidable.

This was the law that forced [the philosopher] Damascius and his followers to leave Athens. It was this law that caused the Academy to close.

It was this law that led the English scholar Edward Gibbon to declare that the entirety of the barbarian invasions had been less damaging to Athenian philosophy than Christianity was.  

This law’s consequences were described more simply by later historians. It was from this moment, they said, that a Dark Age began to descend upon Europe.”

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 20, 2018

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The tragic destruction that Christ wrought 3

This quotation comes from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2018, 352 pages.

From the Amazon note about the author: “Her mother was a nun, her father was a monk, and she was brought up Catholic.” Not a conventional nun and monk, apparently. And one wonders if their daughter’s discoveries shock them.

Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge.

But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed. In a spasm of destruction never seen before — and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it — during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and mutilated. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was leveled. Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off, and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches.

Books — which were often stored in temples — suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames. 

We will quote more passages from this excellent book.

 

(Hat-tip Cogito)

 

A famous socialist advocates “humane” mass murder 59

In this video, the Socialist George Bernard Shaw advocates the gassing of people he regards as useless to society.

Shaw, an amusing and much acclaimed playwright, was highly sympathetic to the National Socialist Adolf Hitler, the Fascist Socialist Benito Mussolini, and the Dictators of the Union of Socialist Republics Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.

Where does the idea that you need to justify your existence come from?

And with it the idea that the justification must only be according to what and how much you do for others? 

As a general moral theory, it was given birth to by Christianity. It is the very essence of Christian moral doctrine. It drives the Christian conscience towards self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

It was inherited by Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Progressivism. The Left. (Not by Hitler’s  National Socialism. Shaw was inconsistent there.)

We live in an age when the Left is so ungrateful for what the Enlightenment and capitalism have done for humankind, its minions so bent on destroying the great achievements of liberty and prosperity, that they deserve to lose the inventors, the doers and makers, the sustainers of our civilization – the Atlases who carry our world on their shoulders. Beware! Atlas can become exasperated. As he does in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. 

Ayn Rand has the characters who speak for her say:

We are on strike against martyrdom — and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours — and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.

And:

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Like Adam Smith, she and all capitalists know (whether they express the notion or not), that the best way of earning a living is to provide other people with something – goods or services – that they will pay you for. The benefit is mutual.

We cannot live without others. We cannot help having an effect on them or stop them having an effect on us, and we are happy when the effect is beneficial. But we do not need to live for them.  

It’s surely hard enough sustaining your own life and the lives of your natural dependents. To think up a single formula for sustaining and ordering the lives of millions, as the Left does, is to be absurd or insane; and the implementation of it is tyranny and mass murder. No two lives are so exactly matched that the same conditions will affect them equally. Let them be free, each to choose his own path. He may be self-centered, he may be avaricious; he may be self-denying, he may be altruistic. He pursues his own happiness.

Because of her insistence that we do not live for the sake of others, Ayn Rand has been likened to Friedrich Nietzsche. (By, for instance, Steven Pinker in his book Enlightenment Now. See our post, Enlightenment, atheism, reason, and the humanist Left, April 12, 2018.)

Nietzsche was a weak, unhealthy, mentally deranged German philosopher who invented and adulated an imaginary super-strong Super-Man. The Super-Man would be above conventional morality. His existence would be far more important than the lives of the superfluous multitudes who are fit only to be trampled down. (A belief of his that was shared by Hitler.)

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is nothing like Nietzsche’s. Rather, it is close to that of the Epicureans. They were atheists (though to save themselves from contumely and attack they would wave the subject away by saying yes, yes, okay, there are gods, but they live very far from us human beings and have nothing whatever to do with us). They accepted that to live is to suffer, so the best way an individual can live his life is by finding ways to enjoy it as much as he can. To pursue his own happiness. As a school of thought they were not sybarites; they did not advocate living luxuriously, though they had nothing against anyone doing so if he chose. Their chief pleasure lay in intellectual exploration. They were not Atlases; they did not carry the world on their shoulders. But they saw no sense in creeds of self-sacrifice, whether to men or to gods.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the video)

 

Blackwards to tribalism 4

Those glorious Greeks of old conceived and implemented an Idea that took civilization thousands of thought-miles forward: individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live together under the same rule of law.

What bound them, what commanded their loyalty, would be the Law rather than the Land: the Ius not the Rus – in the language of the grand old Romans who adopted the same idea. 

In the Roman Empire, at first, all the religions of all nations and tribes were tolerated, though tolerance and respect were demanded also for the gods of Rome.

It was a demand that the Judeans, who worshiped one god only, objected to. Their obstinacy on that score did not serve them well.

The Judeans became actively rebellious against Rome, whose protection they had originally invited. The Romans put down the rebellions, finally abolishing the province of Judea entirely. The Judeans turned into the wandering tribe of the Jews.

Before the first of the two great insurrections that ended in the dispersion of the Jews, an energetic Roman citizen of vast ambition came to the Judean capital, Jerusalem, from Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and started a movement that was ultimately to destroy and replace the Roman Empire.

He called himself by the Hebrew name Saul (later changing it to Paul). He took the idea of the One  God and mixed it up with mythologies of Roman gods, claiming that the One God had a Son who was killed and rose again from the dead. He named the Son by the Greek name Jesus. His Jesus had been a living person, a Judean who had led a small weak rebellion and was executed for it. His followers maintained that he had “risen in the flesh”, and Saul/Paul was so excited by the tale – enhanced by the claim that the resurrected man was the long hoped-for Jewish Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) – that he invented a new religion. It came to be called Christianity. He moved about the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire from whence he’d come, preaching it; finally taking it to Rome itself, where he died. He won converts. No one knows how many in his lifetime. Some of them reverted to their old polytheism or Judaism, but a fair number remained faithful to the new two-in-one divinity. Some converts composed books about the life of “Christ Jesus” – which Paul himself had not been interested in. The books, and Paul’s letters, eventually provided the mythology of the new religion.Through them the two-in-one divinity became a three-in-one divinity, a “Holy Spirit” being added to God-the-Father and God-the-Son.  The Son was chronicled as being begotten by the Jewish God upon a virgin mother (a concept familiar to the polytheists of classical times).

By this means and that means, the religion spread; through Paul the wandering preacher, the books of the myths, and the appeal that the religion itself had (with its promise of a blissful everlasting afterlife for the obedient faithful, and despite the threat of an eternity of torture for the disobedient unfaithful, the judgment being made by the Triple God alone). It became the Catholic Church, highly organized everywhere, headed and led by the the Church in Rome. More than a hundred years after Paul’s death, a Roman Emperor embraced Paul’s religion, and a few decades later Christianity was imposed on the whole Empire as its the official religion. Gone was the tolerance of earlier years. A few decades more, and Rome itself, weakened by Christianity, fell to the barbarians. The Church slowly took the place of the old order. The Church became the Roman power throughout western Europe. (The Eastern Empire, with the Emperor seated in Constantinople, is another story.)

Paul of Tarsus, though he never knew it, sustained and extended the power of Rome through his invention. But the Great Idea of the Greeks in the days of their glory, and of the Romans in the days of their grandeur, was changed.  Sure, individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live as a “community” under the same rule – but it was the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, and that law was a different kind of law. It was the imposition of dogma: an orthodoxy, a uniformity of belief, essentially intolerant. 

Darkness descended. The Great Idea died.

It rose again after many hundreds of years. It was resurrected as the Idea on which the United States of America was founded.  

For two hundred and twenty-two years the Great Idea has made the United States of America, with a population of individuals deriving from many lands united as one nation under the law, free, prosperous, and powerful. United by Ius not Rus. Geographical origin, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion had no bearing on the rights the law gave all who lived under it. The unifying rule of law insisted on tolerance. By doing so, it guaranteed liberty. 

Now, it seems, that is changing. The Great Idea is under attack in the USA.

Tribes are being formed; some friendly to each other, some inimical to each other. Political cliques and cults, secessionists, states’ governments, defy the federal law. Many prefer to think of themselves as Blacks rather than as Americans, and their enemy as Whites. They actively seek to return to the savage ways of inter-tribal strife. It is atavism. It is a drawing down of darkness as intolerance spreads.

A good description of the disintegration is given by Sultan Knish. He writes (in part) at his website:

The Nation of Islam [NOI] preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. …

The clown car of identity politics runs smoothest when it has a common enemy: white people. Coalitions like the Women’s March assemble an array of groups who are united by their hatred of Trump, white people, Israel and root beer. And it works as long as no one lifts up the hood and looks at the engine.

Black nationalism is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. The Nation of Islam isn’t an exception. From Jeremiah Wright, “Italians… looked down their garlic noses”, to Eldridge Cleaver, “rape was an insurrectionary act” to Amiri Baraka, the ugliest possible supremacist bigotry is its natural state.

“We are all beautiful (except white people, they are full of, and made of s___),” Amiri Baraka wrote. “The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”

“I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured… So come for the rent, jewboys,” the Guggenheim fellowship, PEN and American Book Award winner, and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey ranted.

Baraka was one of the country’s most celebrated black nationalist poets and he was a former member of the Nation of Islam. Baraka’s Black Mass circulated the NOI’s racist creation myth.

It was the NOI’s conviction of black superiority and white inferiority that attracted Baraka and so many other black nationalists. The NOI is one of a variety of black supremacist religious groups, from the similarly exotic Moorish and Black Hebrew churches, to NOI splinter groups such as Five-Percent Nation and black nationalist churches like the one attended by the Obamas and presided over by Jeremiah Wright.

But religious black supremacism is only a component of a larger cultural movement that lies at the heart of black nationalism and mingles historical conspiracy theories with racial supremacism.

The comingling of black nationalism with intersectional politics has produced a new generation (often of second-generation radicals) that dresses up its racism not only in the lyricism of the old black nationalism of Wright and Baraka, but in the obtuse academic jargon of intersectionality.

That’s where Tamika Mallory and Ta-Nehisi Coates come from. But political word salads and poetry only conceal what you choose not to pay attention to. And that’s why we’re talking about Louis Farrakhan.

The mass of progressive media articles, essays and explainers deployed to protect the Women’s March can be summed up as, “Stop paying attention.” And what we’re not supposed to be paying attention to is the slow death of liberalism and its substitution by the intolerant tribal extremism of identity politics.

Intersectionality is a lie. Like the Nation of Islam, it’s not just a lie in its negative hateful aspects, but in its promise of a utopia once the “white devils” and their “white privilege” are out of the way.

Groups of identity politics extremists and their white cishet [pronounced “sis-het”, meaning heterosexual and “not transgendered”, ie. normal. – ed.] lefty allies can only be briefly united by the negative, not the positive. The “call-out culture” meant to spread social justice through the movement isn’t just a form of political terror; it fails to reach the innate bigotry of each identity politics group. …

Identity politics movements can’t fight bigotry, because they are naturally bigoted. Instead of actually rejecting bigotry, they project it on a convenient target like Trump, and then pretend that by destroying him, they can cleanse society. The more targets they destroy, the more they need to find to maintain an alliance whose only true unifying principle is a mutual denial of each other’s supremacist bigotries. And so the battle against racism becomes a war against microaggressions and structural white supremacy.

The whole thing is a ticking time bomb. And it keeps going off every few years. When it blows up, lefty activists rush out, as they are doing now, to plead, wheedle and warn that the real enemy is “white supremacy” and everyone needs to stop paying attention to the racist or sexist views of their own allies.

These “rainbow coalitions” of racist radicals don’t fight bigotry; they mobilize bigots for racial wars.

Tamika Mallory praising Farrakhan isn’t shocking. It would be more shocking if she didn’t. It’s hard to find major black figures in politics and the entertainment industry who don’t hang out with him.

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, the first two serious black presidential candidates, did. The Congressional Black Caucus hosted him. London Mayor Sadiq Khan acted as his lawyer. The list of black entertainers is all but endless. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube (both members), Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, Arsenio Hall, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def, Young Jeezy and Erykah Badu to name a few.

Not every individual who meets up with Farrakhan necessarily shares all his bigoted views, but many find his tribal affirmation of black superiority appealing and they value that more than they do any kind of tolerant society. That’s what Tamika Mallory, in her own awkward way, was trying to tell us.

Black nationalism is a tribal cause. It will always put its people first. The same is true of the rest of the hodgepodge of political identity groups that form up the intersectional chorus. No amount of calling out will change that. That’s why the calling out is mostly directed at safe targets, preferably white.

There is no larger unity at the end of the rainbow. Only smoother versions of Farrakhan. Barack instead of Baraka. Rants about “white devils” and “satanic Jews” filtered through academic jargon.

A movement of bigotries can only divide us. And that’s all identity politics has to offer America. Instead of equal rights in a united nation, we will be members of quarreling tribes. And those tribes, like Farrakhan’s fans, will be incapable of seeing members of other tribes as having the same worth they do. …

The left claims that it’s fighting for equality. What it’s actually fighting for is a tribal society where the notion of equal rights for all is as alien as it is in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan, where democracy means tribal bloc votes and where the despotism of majority rule invariably ends in terror and death.

No, Stephen Hawking is not with God 46

Yesterday, lured by a picture of Stephen Hawking, I read an article by Randy DeSoto, recording Franklin Graham’s regret that Hawking was an atheist.

I went to the comments. Some share the regret; some insist that the late great physicist is now – despite his atheism – with God. A few are by irritated atheists.

I succumbed to the temptation of writing something in the empty slot that had my thumbnail beside it. I asked: “What did God make matter out of?”

A design engineer, Matthew Winter, answered that as matter can neither be destroyed nor created, God must have given up some of his own energy to “create” matter. Not an entirely nonsensical notion. Matter is a form of energy.

He apparently understood God to be eternal and primal energy plus will. I wondered if he saw this theology of his as deism. I asked him if that was the same god who begat himself upon a virgin and answered personal prayers. I have not yet had a reply.

Some Christians, some believers in the gods of many religions, try hard to reconcile their faith with science. They often misquote Einstein to back up their arguments – as is done in the article on Hawking.

They fail, of course. Faith is not Reason. Science does not support the idea of divine creators, or of anything outside nature.

I continue to be amazed that adult, sane, educated, intelligent people can believe in the supernatural.

 

Jillian Becker    March 16, 2018

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Religion general, Science by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 16, 2018

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A safe space for Allah 4

Doctrinally, the relationship between Islam and Christianity is sadomasochistic: Islam wages its holy war in its quest for global dominion, and Christianity kneels and offers its throat. Historically, Christianity has sometimes fought back and won. But it’s been a hundred years now since any part of Islam was defeated by the remnant of European Christendom. Now the shrinking remnant is back on its knees to Islam.

The Lancashire Telegraph announces:

Blackburn Cathedral is to host a seminar which aims to create a safe space to explore common ground and discuss the differences between the Muslim and Christian faiths.

The language tells you immediately that this is the fawning religious Left speaking.

The seminar will take place at Blackburn Cathedral on March 7 as part of a larger nation-wide tour.

The announcement of the seminar comes just weeks after the BBC aired a controversial Panorama documentary questioning the relationships between communities in Blackburn.

Speaking of the documentary at the time, senior Anglican clergy said that the BBC Panorama program White Fright did not paint an accurate picture of Blackburn.

The title tells you immediately that, even though the documentary was on a BBC program, it did actually paint an accurate picture of Blackburn: bullying Muslims, terrified white British natives. 

Saying it “failed to tell the whole story”  the cathedral will now hold the seminar: Jihad of Jesus, an event which aims to create a safe space to stimulate helpful and powerful conversation between faiths.

Mohammed Ali Amla, founder of Christian Muslim Encounters and someone involved with bringing the seminar to Blackburn said: “We want this to be an event where people can come to and learn about communities working together. We have worked hard to create a panel of people who can discuss their thoughts and own experiences with the audience, stimulating frank discussion and rich, important conversation.”

So you know nobody worked hard at all to find people who would dare to express their thoughts and relate their experiences of Islam in Britain. You can already visualize the make-up of the panel, see the hijab and the beard over there, and beside or between them, those familiar indulgent Christian Lefty smiles.

Confirmation of those expectations follows immediately:

One key member of the panel is Dave Andrews, an Australian Christian author and writer of the book: The Jihad of Jesus: The Sacred non-violent Struggle For Justice.

Keen to ensure that a local angle was brought to the seminar, Ali said it was of key importance to make sure figures from the community were also speaking at the event.

The Bishop of Burnley, Philip North and Imam Saleem Seedat will also make up the panel on the night.

Another member of the panel will be Julie Siddiqi, a mentor, consultant and activist with a focus of gender issues, Jewish-Muslim relations and social actions.

“The people who will be joining us to discuss relations between Muslims and Christians on the night all recognize the challenges and differences that we face” said Ali.

Ah! The usual recognizers rounded up. But he “worked hard” to find them?

The announcement of the seminar comes just weeks after the BBC was slammed for claiming that segregation levels had increased in Blackburn over the past years.

Speaking about the documentary, Ali said: “What it didn’t look at is the great work that is happening within communities in Blackburn. It only wanted to depict one picture of the town. This is something we aim to change through our work and the seminar.”

The seminar has been organized in collaboration with Lancashire District of the Methodist Church; Near Neighbours; Churches Together in Lancashire; Blackburn Interfaith Forum; Light Foundation and Lancashire Forum of Faiths.

Upon this foolish enterprise Robert Spencer comments at his website Jihad Watch:

Jihad of Jesus, eh? It’s always the Christians who host these outreach events to Muslims. Never do we see a mosque holding a “Eucharist of Muhammad” or some such event.

Mohammed Ali Amla, founder of Christian [-Muslim] Encounter[s], says: “We want this to be an event that people can come to and learn about communities working together.”

A master of the art of proselytizing with taqqiya [permitted deception] Mohammed Ali Amla must be.

Robert Spencer knows what not to expect:

Great. So there will be an honest discussion of obstacles to working together, won’t there? And a forthright mutual exchange about how those obstacles can be surmounted? Somehow I doubt it. Generally these events simply ignore such unpleasantness, and prey on the ignorance of the general public to preclude unwelcome questions. It is extraordinarily unlikely that there will be any discussion of these Qur’an verses:

Jesus is not the Son of God and belief in the Trinity is wrong: “O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion or say anything about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and his word which He conveyed to Mary, and a spirit from him. So believe in Allah and his messengers, and do not say “Three” –- Cease! It is better for you. Allah is only one Allah. Far be it from his transcendent majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as defender.” — Qur’an 4:171

And:

It is not befitting to Allah that he should beget a son. Glory be to him! When he determines a matter, he only says to it, ‘Be’,  and it is.” — Qur’an 19:35

Jesus was not crucified:

“And because of their saying: We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger, they did not kill him or crucify him, but it seemed to them as if they had. Those who disagree concerning it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except pursuit of a conjecture; they did not kill him for certain.” — Qur’an 4:157

Those who believe in the divinity of Christ are unbelievers:

They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.” — Qur’an 5:17

Christians have forgotten part of the divine revelations they received:

“From those, too, who call themselves Christians, we took a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between one another, until the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what they have done.” — Qur’an 5:14

Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed:

“The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call the Messiah the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; they simply imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!” — Qur’an 9:30

Christians who do not accepted Muhammad and the Qur’an are the most vile of created beings:

“Nor did those who were given the Scripture become divided until after there had come to them clear evidence. And they were not commanded anything except to worship Allah, be sincere to him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakat. And that is the correct religion. Indeed,they who disbelieved among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the most vile of created beings.” — Qur’an 98:6

Muslims must fight against and subjugate Christians:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the last day, and do not forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and his messenger, and do not acknowledge the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya [the fine Islam imposes on dhimmis] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29

Islam will never accept Christianity. If Christians want to integrate with Muslims, they must give up their religion and take on Islam instead. There is no possible compromise between the two; no running parallel; no tolerance of Christianity by Islam.

The only relations Christians can have with Islam are what Islam offers them: as converts, as dhimmis, or as corpses.

Despite claims to the contrary, Christianity, Judaism and Islam do not worship the same god.

The God of the Jews, Jehovah, is a god of justice, vengeance and reward. He is omnipotent, omniscient, but not essentially or consistently benign. He commands obedience, but lets his followers struggle with him (Israel = Struggle with God).

The Three-in-One divinity of the Christians – the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is merciful and good; commands humility, selflessness, forgiveness, and love.  The god “saves” some sinners – aka human beings – to enjoy eternal bliss after death but, though a god of lovecondemns others to eternal agony. Neither the Trinity itself nor the (inseparable) Father, considered separately, resembles Jehovah of the Jews or Allah of the Muslims.

The god of Islam, Allah (Arabic for “god”), though singular, is in an immutable Duality with his mortal partner, Muhammad. He is good only to those faithful to him and his mortal partner. He commands submission. (Islam= Submission). He also demands relentless slaughter, military conquest, enslavement, the humiliation of unbelievers, and the subjugation of women. Through his mortal partner he positively forbids his followers to identify him with the Christian god: “Do not say ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary’.”  “Do not say  ‘Three’!”

The only thing to be done with Islam is to get rid of it. It is an appalling ideology: supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, anti-Semitic, stubbornly intolerant, habitually murderous, and savagely cruel.

Islam would wither and die fast if it were plucked out by the root, which is Allah. An entirely secular West, in which belief in Jehovah or the Trinity or any god has become obsolete and absurd, could do it with argument and contempt. But the remnant of European Christianity, still hanging about with its smile, is halal meat for Ali, Julie, and the imam.

The Jesus gang and the Mohammedan menace 12

We often say of Christianity, that its theology is absurd, its morality impossible, its history bloody; and that it brought down a thousand years of darkness.* 

Peter Gay, in the first volume, Chapter Four, of his two-volume magisterial work The Enlightenment: an Interpretation, describes Christianity in terms that are equally disparaging:

Romans had at least made a serious attempt to construct a civilization founded on reason, not myth. Then came Christianity, profiting, vulturelike, from decay, preserving ideas that deserved to perish, and stamping out ideas that deserved to survive.

In its early history, its very origins, there was something unsavory about Christianity. Significantly, it flourished in an age of decadence and among the lower orders, among men and women sunk in ignorance, vice, and despair. Significantly, too, it hammered out its doctrine, its discipline and organization, amidst undignified wranglings, inane debates in endless assemblies, angry conflicts over trivial matters, mutual slanders and persecutions. Christianity claimed to bring light, hope, and truth, but its central myth was incredible, its dogma a conflation of rustic superstitions, its sacred book an incoherent collection of primitive tales, its church a cohort of servile fanatics as long as they were out of power and of despotic fanatics once they had seized control. With its triumph in the fourth century, Christianity secured the victory of infantile credulity; one by one the lamps of learning were put out, and for centuries darkness covered the earth.

“St. Paul” was the author of the Christian religion. How his wild fantasy – that a dead Galilean Jew was “God” – came to be believed by uncountable millions of human beings for two millennia and continuing, is hard to account for. Edward Gibbon suggests in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that the new religion caught on as it did – secondarily, says the great ironist, “to the convincing evidence of the doctrine itself, and to the ruling providence of its great Author” – was that it promised “a future life” after death. But Roman myth taught that there was an “afterlife” too, and if the Elysian Fields were not as glorious as Christian Heaven, at least Hades was not as terrible as Christian Hell.

As for the Galilean Jew himself – called “Jesus” by his Greek-speaking first worshiper who never met him and was not interested in his life or his birth name – well, he probably did exist, and was (again and always probably) crucified by the Romans as an insurgent leader. Like other insurrectionist Jews in the age of the Emperor Tiberius, he led a gang of cut-throats, including Judas Iscariot, the “dagger-man”, and James and John, the Boanerges, the “sons of thunder”. The only thing that was different about him was that he was an extreme religious fanatic, to the point of insanity, really believing that if he prayed hard and long enough, and his followers then brandished a couple of swords at some Roman soldiers, Jehovah would do the rest; upheave the earth, flood the valleys, terrify the Romans until they fled from Judea, so that the Israelite Kingdom could be restored. (“Thy Kingdom come!”) But as that didn’t happen, it is of no importance.

The religion founded by “St. Paul” has been of fearful import. But the worst of it is over. Discredited and disarmed, most effectively by the Enlightenment, it is not a serious threat to life and limb anywhere in the world any more – though some atheists complain that Christians in the southern states of the USA treat them harshly, and constitute an active danger to the thriving abortion industry.

The religion that is gravely dangerous to the world now is Islam. Islam needs to be discredited and disarmed. It needs to be exposed in all its naked nastiness for all that it truly is: supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, murderous and savagely cruel. It needs to be despised, argued against, relentlessly mocked.

Yet as long as “Jehovah”, and “God”, and “Jesus”, and the many gods of Hinduism, and even the frail and arcane divinities of academic “agnostics” continue to be fed with belief, it will be impossible to evaporate “Allah” into thin air forever as he desperately deserves. 

 

*For our full condemnation, see the series of essays titled The Birth and Early History of Christianity, under Pages in our margin.

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 28, 2018

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The proof of a god’s existence from a personal need to believe 16

It is an abiding puzzle to us how highly intelligent, educated, sane adults can believe in a god and an “afterlife”. Dennis Prager is one who does. He writes brilliantly on political subjects, but when it comes to religion, an amazing obtuseness emerges from him.

Here is a video he made, insisting that there must be a “good God” and an”afterlife”, for if there isn’t, the very thought would drive him insane:

His reasoned argument amounts to this: ”There has to be an afterlife because I want there to be an afterlife, because only if there is an afterlife can all that is wrong in this life be made good, all injustices remedied, all unhappiness turned to happiness. There can only be an afterlife if there’s a good god, so a good god must exist.” It’s a circular and really very silly argument: “A good god must exist because there absolutely has to be a put-it-all-right afterlife. Because there absolutely must be a put-it-all-right-afterlife, a good God must exist, therefore God exists.”

It is also incomprehensible to us how physical and mental suffering, injustice, loss, once endured can ever be “put right”. Time reversed, the  event recalled and the action undone? Or just lots of sweet compensation?

Both Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that part of the happiness of the redeemed in Christian heaven would be to contemplate the extreme sufferings of the unredeemed in hell.

Oh, yes! Real peace of mind.

Posted under Christianity, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 11, 2018

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Creating an intelligent god 3

… and endowing its intelligent machine creators with machine rights.

Following on from our post immediately below in which we discuss Google engineer Ray Kurzweil’s vision of a world populated by machines, we now turn to the idea of a former Google man who visualizes the machines creating a god.

They will create a god so they can worship it.

Why will the machines need a god to worship?

Tyler O’Neil writes at PJ Media:

A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn’t just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead. 

The new church of AI will aim “to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society,” according to IRS documents.

So there’s an answer to why: the inventor of the new religion thinks that the worship of artificial intelligence will make society better.

What society? The society of machines. Cannot the machines be made perfect by their human creators?

There is an organization being formed with the purpose of helping humans to accept their successors. The electronic new world is inevitable. No point in  raising objections. We should move smoothly into it. We make our new masters and then we submit to them.

The non-profit religious organization would be called “Way of the Future” (WOTF). According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is “about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + machines”.

“Given that technology will relatively soon be able to surpass human abilities, we want to help educate people about this exciting future and prepare a smooth transition,” the site explains. “In recent years, we have expanded our concept of rights to both sexes, minority groups and even animals, let’s make sure we find a way for ‘machines’ to get rights too.”

The writer comments:

There is an inherent contradiction in creating a deity of artificial intelligence and then worshipping it.

But to humans like us it is nothing new, since we believe that all gods have been created by humans.

“Let’s stop pretending we can hold back the development of intelligence when there are clear massive short term economic benefits to those who develop it and instead understand the future and have it treat us like a beloved elder who created it,” the site argues.

“It” will treat us  – its creator species – like a beloved elder, not like a god?

Yet the IRS document spoke about a “Godhead based on artificial intelligence”.

The website argued that the creation of “super intelligence” is inevitable, and that fear of this development is unhealthy. “We don’t think that there are ways to actually stop this from happening (nor should we want to) and that this feeling of we must stop this is rooted in 21st century anthropomorphism (similar to humans thinking the sun rotated around the earth in the not so distant past).”

Perhaps WOTF meant to use the word “anthropocentrism”, the idea that the universe is centered around humanity, rather than “anthropomorphism”, the attribution of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects. Indeed, it is arguable that WOTF is attributing human characteristics — or perhaps divine characteristics? — to technology

After all, the very next sentence continues, “Wouldn’t you want to raise your gifted child to exceed your wildest dreams of success and teach it right from wrong vs locking it up because it might rebel in the future and take your job.” This encouragement to consider machines as children — coupled with the notion of giving them rights — is arguably textbook anthropomorphism, but it may be the opposite of anthropocentric.

They will be both our children and our masters.

And the dawning of the age of the machine-god is beginning now.

The IRS filing … lists former Google executive Anthony Levandowski as the “Dean” of WOTF. Levandowski, the engineer behind Google’s self-driving car project known as Waymo, quit Google to found his own autonomous trucking company, Otto, in May 2016. …

According to the IRS filings, Way of the Future plans its first events — “workshops and educational programs throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area” — later this year.

The Christian god, we are told, chose to materialize as a baby in the Roman province of Judea. The AI god will arise full grown in Silicon Valley, California. It will be gradually improved by its maker-species – and perhaps by itself. It will be immortal, but changeable. It will be made better as it makes the society of humanoid machines better. Not just mechanically better but morally better. It will know what is good and what is bad for the new society – first of humanoid machines and eventually perhaps only of machines.

Which supposes that the machines will have feelings – because, if no feelings, no harm.

The vision then is of machines that feel, and have machine rights endowed to them by their human creators, and by the machine god that they themselves create.

For the machine-god of machines there will be no unanswerable questions about it: how it came into existence; out of what it makes whatever it makes; whether it knows more than its makers do. If the machines have the curiosity to ask them, those questions will be answered.

But still it will not be able to answer the question why: why it was created; why machines will go on running the business of the planet.

Can anyone think of a reason why they should?

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