Atheism on the political right 58

World Religion News recently interviewed Lauren Ell, the founder of REPUBLICAN ATHEISTS.

She makes many interesting points, among them these:

WRN: Is there a historical precedent for this [Republicans being atheists], or would you call this a relatively new thought process?

LE: I don’t think atheist Republicans are new. They are new in the sense of being more outspoken about their atheist views, but they have existed as far back as the Civil War era. My organization, Republican Atheists, is the first organization I know of at this point that is representing atheist Republicans.

WRN: So you’ve mentioned you had this treatment by certain podcasters and writers, could you go into that in more detail?

LE: I started Republican Atheists in February of 2017 as an experimental project. I haven’t been involved with atheist organizations at all in the United States, such as American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, or Secular Coalition for America. Originally I had assumed these organizations would take some interest in Republican Atheists. I didn’t expect them to embrace our political views, but I thought at least they would maybe mention the existence of Republican Atheists to their base, considering many of these atheist organizations claim they are representing the entire atheist community in the United States. But I found when I contacted groups I did not get much response from them. They did not respond to the idea of mentioning Republican Atheists to their base. I was in contact with the Secular Coalition for America who at first had interest in Republican Atheists and said they would publish a guest article by me. I was in touch with their media coordinator and we discussed a topic to write about, and I wrote an article for them. It ended up being scrapped because they didn’t like my wording in the article, so I wrote it according to what they recommended and did multiple edits over a period of months. Despite all that time and effort of meeting their requests, at the end of the day they did not publish the article and didn’t even mention Republican Atheists to their base. They actually have not been responsive to me ever since. Some organizations haven’t responded to us at all, so I keep chipping away to build our relevance in the atheist community.

WRN: I would be interested in knowing about podcasters because you mentioned that specifically.

LE: I had an experience with one atheist podcast called Cognitive Dissonance. I actually hadn’t listened to them much, but I sent them an email introducing myself and offered to be interviewed on their show. They agreed to do a 45-minute interview. I was pretty excited because they are one of the more known atheist podcasts. I would say they have around 17,000 followers on Facebook. I ended up doing the interview with them, but they hung up on me 15 minutes into the interview because I mentioned something they didn’t agree with. They called it “the dumbest interview they’ve ever done”. I have actually been met with much more interest in gaining understanding by Christian podcasters.

WRN: What was the particular issue they didn’t agree with?

LE: We were talking about prominent movements such as Women’s March and the Occupy Movement which was big back in 2011. We discussed who is behind the movements in terms of people who financed protests, and I mentioned the name George Soros. The hosts didn’t want to continue the conversation after that.

In the course of the interview Lauren was so kind as to make favorable mention of our editor-in-chief, and simple vanity brings that part of the interview to this post:

WRN: So they’ve associated specific views on issues that don’t relate to Christianity directly, but they still associate it with Christianity. You’re saying within the Republican Party base you can reach a similar conclusion but through a different process and different thinking?

LE: Yes, that is what I do when I communicate with Republicans and Christians. I don’t bring up my atheist views up front and instead focus on what we have in common. I actually never really feel the need to talk about my atheist views unless I am trying to make a point about the existence of atheist Republicans. When I talk to people, I try to find what we have in common in terms of political policies and social policies. We’ll talk about education, taxation, freedom of speech, and so forth. I find a commonality with them, and once we have that commonality, they see that even though I’m atheist we have a lot in common. That is the situation I like to be in.

RN: This reminds me of Christopher Hitchens who was both an outspoken atheist and had several politically conservative stances. Is there anyone who you look to as a person who’s advocating besides of course yourself?

LE: There is a woman who is very impressive, and I wish she was mentioned a lot more. Her name is Jillian Becker, and she manages a blog called The Atheist Conservative. One thing I point out about Jillian Becker is she does not promote the Republican Party. Her thing is just conservatism, and there’s a difference. I always have to point out there’s a difference between an atheist conservative and an atheist Republican. I know a lot of people get it intertwined and sometimes conservatives get a little irritated. But Jillian Becker and I get along pretty well because we see eye to eye on a lot of issues. If you look her up you will see she has an impressive resume. She’s on Wikipedia. She has spoken with the British Parliament in regards to terrorism in the past. She’s a published author, has been featured in interviews, and is very outspoken. She is older now, so I wish she was mentioned more often. I also note Heather Mac Donald who is a published author and a conservative atheist. She was recently shut down on college campuses in California, and she has been interviewed about it.

We too are admirers of Heather Mac Donald, and strongly recommend her books – all of them.

Read the whole interview with Lauren Ell here.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Conservatism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Would a reformed Islam be a tolerable Islam? 9

An Imam who wants to reform Islam speaks to Tommy Robinson:

He is self-contradictory on the main issue, saying both that Islam will “never” be reformed, and that preparation should be made now for it’s reformation some centuries hence.

But he says quite a lot that explains why Tommy Robinson and he can discuss Islam amicably with each other. This Shi’a Imam wants the sharia courts of Britain to be abolished. He wants the Saudis and other Arab leaders to stop pouring money into institutions for indoctrination, such as university colleges and professorial chairs. He wants the madrassas to be done away with. He opposes the failed policies of Saddiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, pointing out that London has lost respect among many Arab Muslims for electing the Pakistani. He puts heavy blame on the Left, calling Leftists “the real bigots”. He declares that to be against ISIS is a humanitarian position, not a political one.

Our British associate Chauncey Tinker, editor of The Participator, writes an interesting critique of the interview at Altnewsmedia. We quote it in part: :

About half way through the interview the imam reveals his views on the Koran and the Hadith (he doesn’t mention the Sira but I think we can assume his remarks about the Hadith can probably be taken to include the Sira as well). He says that in order to reform Islam, violent passages should be removed from the Hadith, but not the Koran – the Koran cannot be altered in the imam’s view. From what he says here I infer that he is what is called a Koranist (or Quranist), or at least he is something very similar – he speaks of throwing the Hadiths out of the window. A Koranist is a Muslim who rejects the Hadith and Sira and believes only what is written in the Koran.

Incidentally at one point Tommy and the imam discuss the question of Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha when she was only 6. The imam gives quite an astonishing explanation for this which I have never heard before, Tommy was equally surprised …

Tawhidi maintains that Aisha was actually 21 when Muhammad married her, but it was so important to Islam that Muhammad’s wife be a virgin that they reduced her to infancy to ensure that she could not be suspected of being unchaste. Islam holds virginity to be a much higher virtue, apparently, than refraining from pedophilia. What the Imam seems to have forgotten, is that Muhammad’s first wife (according to all the accepted records of his life such as they are) was a widow!

Unfortunately there is a fundamental problem with the Koranist viewpoint in general, which has been identified by Islamic scholars. According to verse 33:21 of the Koran, Mohammed’s life is a most beautiful example for Muslims to follow, but the Koran contains only a tiny number of fleeting mentions of Mohammed, there is simply not enough information in the Koran for Muslims to learn very much at all about Mohammed’s life. It is only by studying the Hadith and Sira that Muslims can learn much about Mohammed’s life, and thus learn properly about this “beautiful example” that they are supposed to follow. Perhaps it is not surprising then that the Koranist movement is relatively only a tiny movement, because their beliefs simply don’t make sense. As he states in the interview, there are probably only a few million Koranists worldwide. The exact numbers are hard to know as the Koranists are regarded as apostates by many mainstream Muslims and therefore tend not to be open about their beliefs. …

The imam speaks of the existence of many different interpretations of the Koran in the interview …

There are, he says, “hundreds of thousands of interpretations” …

… and asks why he should not be able to reform the religion by making his own interpretation. He suggests that the violent passages (for example verse 8:12 that speaks of striking terror into the hearts of the disbelievers) can be interpreted as only applying in the time and place of Mohammed’s battles. Of course if we only refer to the Koran there is somewhat less certainty about everything, because the Koran is much less explicit than the Hadiths. If we look again at verse 33:21 of the Koran though, this  context interpretation is hard to take seriously – Mohammed waged wars against the disbelievers to propagate his religion, so surely the Koran at the very least condones this kind of behavior. In fact, violent acts of war are one of the few things about Mohammed’s life that actually are mentioned in the Koran. What’s more, verse 33:21 that states that Mohammed’s life is a “beautiful example” comes right in the midst of other verses describing a very violent period, including the reference at verse 33:26 to what is either the Banu Qurayza massacre or a very similar event:

And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you killed, and you took captive a party.

Finally on this question of context, there is nothing in the passages that explicitly states that the violence is only justified in the particular context. The references are for example to “the disbelievers” rather than to “the disbelievers in this particular settlement at this particular time”. For example Koran 8:55 says that:

The disbelievers are the vilest of animals … 

Even if we were to accept this context-driven interpretation of the Koran alone though … there is still a huge and inescapable problem with all attempts at a peaceful reformation of Islam. Let us imagine for a moment that at some point far into the future the majority of Muslims worldwide eventually accepted the imam’s interpretation of the Koran, and rejected the Hadith. As long as there are significant numbers of people in the world who believe that the Koran is the unquestionable word of Allah and that Mohammed was his last prophet, the door will be left ajar for any other interpretations of the Koran to return to prominence – including of course the violent interpretations. This is the reason I say that a peaceful reformation of Islam is not even a desirable goal,  the religion must be rejected altogether.

We strongly agree!

There is simply nothing worth reforming or preserving about this religion, it is a belief system that must be defeated so that freedom of speech can flourish and human thought can progress unhampered by threats of violence.  As the imam rightly points out, the texts cannot be physically destroyed, but there are many means available that should be used to persuade Muslims to reject their religion including reason and debate, economic pressure and social ostracism.

At one point the imam says to Tommy that we will never be able to stop the growth of Islam in the UK.  He cites the demographic trend, which is indeed suggestive of the continuing growth of the Islamic population if all else stays the same.  However, Tommy responds with some perfectly plausible suggestions about government policy changes that would in fact help to slow (and possibly even halt) the growth of Islam in the UK.

In particular he points out that if the British tax-payer were no longer to provide Muslim immigrant families (sometimes consisting of multiple wives and their children) with social security, free schooling, free health care, housing and legal defense, they would be less eager to come to Britain, or to stay in it.

… Beliefs can change, they are not a fixed aspect of a human being.

We are also in a new age of mass communication now, a point that the imam may not have properly considered. Never before has this religion (or any other) been subjected to such an enormous amount of scrutiny all around the world. The internet is enabling a revolution in human thought, and I truly believe we are only just seeing the beginnings of this revolution today. We simply don’t know the full impact that this degree of almost instantaneous around the world communication, exchange and clashing of ideas will have in the longer term.

While it is indeed refreshing to come across an imam who has the courage to so frankly discuss all these issues with an unrestrained critic of Islam such as Tommy Robinson (others could take note), I feel it necessary to point out all these problems with his belief system nonetheless. What we certainly don’t want to do is start moderating our criticisms of Islam for fear of upsetting this and other (probably well-meaning) reform attempts. Let us boldly speak the truth as we see it, and may the best argument win – if the imam’s interpretation cannot stand up to rational scrutiny then it is unlikely to catch on in any case.

… [M]y highest regard will continue to be reserved for those Muslims who, as it were, “go the whole hog” and throw not just the Hadith and Sira but also the Koran out of the window as well, and become EX Muslims.

A preference we echo.

Oh for a god-free world!

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general, Videos by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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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.

Gods and the Three Worlds 6

The “god” idea persists. (Where Was God When The Florida Massacre Happened? asks the atheist, Professor Steven Pinker, today – pointing out that “God” was nowhere.)

So let’s speak of it.

The human species is the only thing in our known universe that is a creator and moral law-maker. If “God” is a creator and moral law-maker, the human species is “God”.

Not any particular human being, but the species as a whole.

It is not omnipotent, it is not omniscient, but it is conscious. It consciously creates – not always successfully. It formulates moral principles. It judges, it rewards, it condemns – not always justly. It is a fallible god.

And it is subject to nature’s laws.

Nature’s laws – the laws of physics – were accepted as “God” by Spinoza and Einstein. And by the authors of the Declaration of Independence.

Nature’s laws are all-powerful, but they are not conscious; they are not moral. Conscious humankind can use them for its own purposes and control some of them sometimes. But cannot dominate them. Rather, they dominate – in that they produced, and sustain, and can destroy humankind.

Human consciousness and the laws of nature. Two “gods” then? Yes if you want to call them that. But: They do not need worship. They do not need ritual. They do not need sacrifices. They do not need temples. They do not need priests.

Call them two gods or call them, more interestingly and fruitfully, two interdependent worlds. And together they produce another, a third world.

Which brings us to the Three Worlds of Karl Popper*:

World 1: The physical world – material objects, natural events.

World 2: The mental world – individual consciousness, perception and interpretation of World 1.

World 3: The artificial world – things produced by interaction of World 1 and World 2 eg. speech, books, documents, buildings, ships, vehicles, cities, sciences, theories, governing laws, institutions, machines, computers, gardens, animal and plant hybrids, pianos, songs, works of graphic art …    And gods.

All three Worlds interact with each other.

There is nothing that is not of one, two, or all three of these worlds.

There is no supernatural “god”.

Non-existence does not have to be proved.

“Seeing no reason to believe is sufficient reason not to believe” – Karl Popper.

Or, as Christopher Hitchens puts it:

 

 

 

*Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem by Karl Popper, Routledge, New York & London, 1994.

Posted under Atheism, Religion general, Theology by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 18, 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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New Year’s wishes 6

On December 31, 2014, in the midst of the second lurch of the terrible reign of the Community Organizer, we made some New Year wishes.

Have any of them come true? Have some of them begun to come true?

1.May Obama be hindered, hampered, frustrated and blocked in every political action he takes

He has gone. His horrible legacy is being undone. Obamacare has been semi-repealed. Taxes are down. Americans are becoming prosperous again. Illegal immigration is down.   

2.May the decline of America, that Obama has deliberately worked, be reversed. May the Republicans use their congressional majorities and all their positions of authority to effect that reversal.

American leadership in international affairs has been restored.The Iranian people are in uproar and riot against the ayatollahs’ dictatorship that Obama fawned over.

3.May religious belief start withering away, irreversibly, from the human psyche.

Religious belief is diminishing in the West at least.

4.May Islam be soundly defeated everywhere on earth and set on the road to rapid and total extinction.

The ISIS caliphate has been defeated, to a large extent by US military action in accordance with President Trump’s policy.

5.May the welfare state start being phased out, and genuine market economies be allowed to function in every nation-state.

Not started yet.

6.May the man-made global warming lobby give up.

It’s dying. The fatal blow was administered by President Trump when he withdrew the US from the absurd and ruinous Paris Agreement. Also, the US Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) is being castrated and having all its teeth pulled at the same time. That’s worth a cup of cheer all on its own.

7.May the United Nations and all its agencies be destroyed.

The US has begun defunding the evil UN. It’s total demise begins to look like a real possibility.

*

On  the last day of 2014 we commented: “Okay – we’re being unrealistic. But while we’re wishing, we may as well wish big.”

As it transpires, we were not being unrealistic.

May 2018 bring further fulfillment of those same wishes – and the full granting of all the wishes of our readers, commenters, encouragers, and contributors.

A Happy New Year to all who see this page!

Posted under Climate, Environmentalism, Iran, Islam, Miscellaneous, Muslims, Religion general, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 31, 2017

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When hate is a virtue 6

If you are liberal in the true meaning of the word – a lover of freedom for everyone; if you are tolerant and broad-minded; if you believe that all persons should be equal before the law; if you believe that individuals should not be judged according to the ethnic group they “belong” to; if you believe that it is of no concern to you how one adult satisfies his or her sexual desires with another willing adult (or adults) in private; if you believe that no one should have his (“he” being the generic masculine for the human species) life taken from him unless he has taken a life; if you believe that torture is wrong;  that slavery is wrong; that depriving a person of his hands and feet as a punishment for theft is wrong; if you believe that no one should be held fast in a hole up to her chest (“her” chest because women are most commonly subjected to this) and have stones thrown at her head until she dies; if you believe in a benign god or if you do not believe that any god exists; it  is not only right and good that you hate the ideology (or religion or cult) of Islam with its sharia laws, it is a moral imperative that it be hated.  

A decent person must hate Islam. Islam cannot be liked by decent people. If a person does not hate Islam, he is not a decent person.

It does not mean that individual Muslims deserve to be hated or subjected to harsh treatment of any kind, verbal, physical, or legal. Most Muslims are born into the cult, and have great difficulty leaving it if they want to, because Islamic law, sharia, prescribes death for those who do. Non-Muslims who convert to Islam deserve contempt but not persecution.

Because …

Islam is supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, murderous, and savagely cruel. 

No one who hasn’t been in a coma for the last twenty years needs proof of it. Who has not been informed that Islam’s jihad is against all non-Muslims, and that wherever Islam rules it oppresses non-Muslims? Who has not seen the photos of men being thrown off rooftops to their deaths because they have been accused of homosexuality?  Who does not know that Islam insists on the subjugation of women to the absolute authority of men? Who genuinely doubts that for the last few decades most acts of terrorism everywhere in the world have been perpetrated by Muslims? Who has not seen at least some of the snuff films put out by ISIS of rows of men having their heads sawn off, caged prisoners being set on fire, human heads on poles along the sides of streets, uncovered mass graves of suffocated women and children, people in  tanks being drowned? And of kids – boys under twelve years old – trained by ISIS to decapitate men? And of women being stoned to death? And of hands being chopped off in a public place watched by a crowd including children? Who hasn’t heard of children being used as bombs?

And who hasn’t heard Western government spokesmen saying over and over again, a thousand times, that all this “has nothing to do with Islam” ?

Yet in Europe and Britain, those who hate – or are even merely suspected of hating – Islam, are punished by the law. British police spend so much time hunting down and charging people suspected of expressing hatred of Islam, they have no time, money or personnel left to pursue criminals. All West European governments are stupidly ready to let Muslims take power, in the name of democracy, which of course the Muslims are only too happy to exploit. When democratic process has brought them to power, they will impose their tyranny. Democracy will end because it can only work for a virtuous people, since “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,” Benjamin Franklin said. It’s a regrettable but incontrovertible fact that people who are virtuous can also be abysmally stupid.

In all West European countries, ever more rigorous surveillance of people’s internet communications is urged by governments so they can be arrested, tried, and imprisoned if they tweet or post criticism of the abominable ideology. (We are still free to criticize Islam in the United States, but in almost no other Western country.) They are accused of “Islamophobia”  – an irrational fear of Islam. But it is entirely rational to fear Islam. Making non-Muslims afraid of it is a prescribed religious duty, called jihad. Jihad is holy war against all non-Muslims.

If you are not a Muslim, you are not innocent according to Islamic teaching. Children, even new-born babies, are guilty and deserve severe punishment. If you are not a Muslim, you are a sinner by definition, you offend the Muslim god, and your punishment should be death. Or you can be enslaved. Or you can pay to be allowed to live. Your death can be brought about by any means, however violent, however painful, however cruel. You can be blown into pieces by a bomb. You can be put in a cage and burnt to death. You can be crucified. You can be stoned. You can be drowned. You can be buried alive.  You can have your head sawn off.

So what’s not to hate?

 

Jillian Becker    November 29, 2017

Posted under Articles, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general, Totalitarianism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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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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