Is Your God Morally Corrupt?

Posted in Politics, Religion on October 17, 2014 by RJ Evans

judgment-resized-600.jpgI’ve entered into a small debate with a commenter, on my friend Chuck Doswell’s blog, about whether religion should bear any responsibility for violence in its name. You can read Chuck’s blog post and comments here. During my brief exchange in the comments section, I was inspired to write the blog post, It’s All Out Of Love – Murder for God. For what it’s worth, the debate on Chuck’s blog was coming down to body counts. Much like any war, for any reason, it seems that arguing whose ideology is responsible for more death, is missing a very important point. It’s not a matter of how many have died. It’s a question of whether or not the killing is immoral.

Christians of all stripes consider atheism and atheists to be immoral. We’re not given a pass on morality on any level. Any debate over morality always seems to gravitate toward war, war crimes, mass murder, etc. And, as far as the christian’s position is concerned, the most famous atheists are Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler (who wasn’t an atheist). Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler… Regardless of their justifications for their crimes against humanity, it will be agreed between christian and atheist alike, that these are morally corrupt regimes and that their killing is immoral. But, if you were to ask a christian if their god’s murders are morally corrupt… What do you think they’ll say?

As I pointed out in It’s All Out Of Love – Murder for God, god is responsible for 2,476,636 murders. In total, 3.4 billion to 24 trillion murders, potentially by the time all is said and done according to the bible. To avoid the numbers game, let’s just use the hard number of 2,476,636 . Is there any moral justification for god’s slaughter of 2,476,636 lives? If so, what is it? Is it possible that god is morally corrupt? What gives god any more right to slaughter people than Pol Pot, Stalin, or Hitler? Depending on who you ask (what flavor of christian) you’re bound to get enumerable answers. But, one thing will become blatantly obvious… There will be a moment of silence when you ask that question, and it will be deafening.

There’s a reason I ask these questions. And it boils all down to this… It is argued by apologists that christianity cannot bear responsibility for violence committed in its name. And yet, they are very quick to point out Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler as evidence for “atheistic” ideological evil, and use the number of dead as a measure of the immorality of the “atheist” ideology, AND, in DEFENSE of their supposed moral superiority. Apparently 2,476,636 is a morally superior number of murders?

Christianity, islam… murder by any other name is the truly morally corrupt kind. That’s what they want everyone to believe. It’s NOT murder if their god does it. It’s not really christian, or muslim if someone does it in the religion’s name. However, it IS murder if anyone else does it. In my book, it’s all murder. It’s murder for hire. Whether it’s done in the name of christianity, islam, or some other ideological bullshit, it’s still murder. And we shouldn’t be arguing body counts. We should be arguing responsibility. And that’s where I’m headed next.

I challenge christians to produce a unified, codified, atheist manifesto, doctrine, or directive, followed in any way, shape or form by atheists, as a collective system of non-belief, that orders the extermination of those who believe in deities, or commands or requires murder for any reason. I challenge christians to show me any murder ever committed in the name of atheism and for atheism’s sake. Go ahead… drag out Pol Pot and Stalin again! You cannot produce evidence to support that position. It doesn’t exist. However, I have mounds of evidence that explicitly indict your god, and your religion, for murders committed, whether by your god, or by a human being in your god’s name. Not only throughout history, but in the present day. And it doesn’t matter how many people were murdered by your god, or in your god’s name. Anyone who murders in the name of christianity or islam has been exposed to the obvious immorality of the writings of that religion, and therefore it can be strongly suggested that the murderers felt justified in committing those murders through proxy of those writings.

So, I will ask you this… Is your god morally corrupt for killing 2,476,636 people? If you say yes, your religion is morally corrupt. If you say no, your religion must bear responsibility for murder in its name by anyone who claims to be a christian.

It’s All Out Of Love – Murder for God

Posted in Politics, Religion on October 15, 2014 by RJ Evans

man-hitting-woman“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16. He loved the world so much, that he slaughtered 2,476,636 people, while his nemesis, satan, slaughtered 10. Don’t believe me? Count for yourself! Read the bible and count the number of murders committed by god. A guy by the name of Steve Wells did just that. His book “Drunk With Blood – God’s killings in the Bible” is a great read, and clearly lays out the murderous rampage of the christian’s “loving” deity. Wells produces hard numbers. And, by applying some fairly strong research and logic, he even estimates how many more god will murder “…assuming that the rapture (or whatever) is soon (and it’s always coming soon), and the earth’s population will be about what it is today, 6.8 billion…”.  And he does it by referring to what’s written in the bible. Wells estimates that the upper limit is somewhere around 24 trillion “…if he’s going to get his bloody wine-press overfilled to the bible’s specifications”.  The lower limit? Just a paltry 3.4 billion. As for satan? As far as the bible’s concerned: 0 (zero) additional murders. But, let’s give god his due. He created everything and everyone after all, so… Much like a parent who says to their child, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!” god is going to take out a shit load of people by the time he’s done.  Remember though… It’s all out of love!

“I kill … I wound … I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh.”Deuteronomy 32:39-42

I’ve reached a point in my life where if I hear one more “But god is all about love!”, I’m going to stroke out!  Please!!! How fucking ignorant does a person really have to be to so easily dismiss the utter brutality and inhumanity of their christian god, or any other god for that matter? But, that is EXACTLY what ALL believers do! They abandon their own humanity through the proxy of “faith” and COMPLETELY deny the reality of the book they claim to follow!!  Personally, I’d have a LOT more respect for them if they did one of two things: Either start killing folks as prescribed in the text or admit they don’t know shit about their holy book!

I keep hearing “love” used in sentences uttered by christians, and then an addendum is applied to the end of it. Usually it has something to do with fear, hell, burning, gnashing of teeth, submission, etc. There’s always some qualifier that indicates whether or not the “love” is justified. Unconditional love is really nowhere to be found. There are ALWAYS conditions in the scriptures. Even the “Free Will” bullshit is rife with conditions. ‘You can do what you want, but god already knows what you’re going to do, so you’re fucked either way!! But remember… It’s all out of love!!!!’

I suggest believers try to actually LIVE their lives that way. I want them to try to get away with conditional love in the relationship with their significant other or spouse. How long do you think the relationship is going to last when one person sets up a bunch of rules, without any clarification (interpretation required), no rhyme or reason to them (speculation), and then DEMANDS the other person live them to the letter?  How long will that relationship last if the tyrant, who issued the edicts, DEMANDS penance for breaking any of the rules by kneeling before them and BEGGING for forgiveness, and ALL under penalty of everlasting torment, burning, and death?  How truly pathetic must someone be to submit to this kind of inhuman treatment? More than that… How sick must a fucker be to issue these edicts in the first place?

It’s all out of love! Yep. That’s what an abuser says to the abused. They do it all out of love. And as each blow strikes the abused, they will (out of fear, terror and pain) capitulate, blame themselves, and eventually submit to, and/or die at the hands of their abuser. Surely, it’s the right thing to do. For they are imperfect in the eyes of their master. And, of course, their master is only doing it out of love.

Sanctity of Marriage – The Bone-Chilling Reality for Religion

Posted in Politics, Religion on October 14, 2014 by RJ Evans

As we have seen in the past year, and most recently following SCOTUS’ refusal to hear appeals, marriage equality has steamrolled over the Religious Reich and their “Sanctity of Marriage” defense. State after State has surrendered to the rightful proposition that marriage is for EVERYONE, and not subject to the dogma of religious bigotry. Over 70% of the United States now recognize same-sex marriage. Soon, the other 30% will come to their senses.

Today I was contacted by a friend of a friend asking me to preside over a same-sex marriage ceremony right here in Oklahoma. I gladly accepted the invitation. And, to make those bible thumping x-tians out there bristle and steam… You can just call me the Honorable Irreverent Pastor RJ! Yeah, I’m legal to marry folks in Oklahoma, so bite me!

Anyway… It will be my first same-sex wedding ceremony, but no different from opposite sex ceremonies I’ve performed in the past. There will be no mention of gods, goddesses, fairies, demons, or anything supernatural. There will be nothing about obeying anything or anyone. There will be no “ownership” touted by anyone betrothing. There will be nothing but the simple commitment of two people to each other. Whatever the stipulations of the commitment are, they are a private matter between the two to be joined, with the only public manifestation of that commitment being their love and their words “I do”. No one has a right to give any other care.

But, if you ask a die-hard, blood-red, card-carrying member of the Religious Reich what they think… Well, you’re going to get an earful, and it will start with four words, used over and over, and over again:  “The SANCTITY of Marriage”. Then, in almost the same breath you’ll hear the words “god”, “jesus”, “abomination”, “sin”, and “the bible says…”. It’s a script. You can always count on the script. It never changes. So, today I want to shed a little light on the word “SANCTITY” in the “SANCTITY of Marriage”  How about some context in reality?

From dictionary.com   (If you’re a fundamentalist christard/godidiot you really won’t  give a shit about the definition)

sanctity -

1. holiness, saintliness, or godliness.

2. sacred or hallowed character

3. a sacred thing

What the fundamentalists focus on is the first of the three definitions. They completely ignore the other two because the other two don’t include “holiness”, “saintliness”, or more importantly “godliness”. Apparently they think that considering something “sacred”, “hallowed character” or “a sacred thing” is impossible without “holiness”, “saintliness”, or “godliness”. This myopic view is quite convenient of course. The Religious Reich has never cared about definitions. They’re always redefining words, phrases, scripture, and rewriting history. Remember… It’s all for jesus!  But I digress…

Human Sacred = Love

When two people make a commitment to one another, they decide what is “sacred”, of “hallowed character”, a “sacred thing” in their relationship. What they’re committing to is for them to decide.  Religion doesn’t hold any authority!  And, as evidenced by a 51% divorce rate in the U.S., whatever is considered sacred and enforceable by religion surely isn’t keeping anyone’s attention! So, it stands to reason that “SANCTITY” isn’t strictly a religious thing.  What one couple considers sacred is going to be different from what other couples consider to be sacred to some degree or another. However,  the one thing that most couples likely consider sacred is their love for one another. That appears to be pretty static from couple to couple, as far as I can tell. So, I think we can safely assume love between two people is sacred.  Can love exist without religion?  Of course! Religion doesn’t know what love really is, anyway.  The religious just use the word to attract customers. Religion’s everlasting subtext mantra? “Love me or I’ll kill you!”

Anyway… Here’s  the interesting thing about love… It evolves, it follows the ebb and flow of life as time moves forward.  Sometimes it grows stronger.  Other times it gets weaker.  Sometimes it dies. But, throughout love’s life, it changes to meet the needs of those who embrace it.  My wife and I have been married 32 years. What we consider to be sacred within our marriage has been negotiated over and over again throughout all 32 years. The love is still there, and we consider it sacred, but our love has changed as we have changed throughout our lives together. It changes to meet the needs of us, as individuals, and as a couple, as time and circumstances change.

Religious Sacred = Control

Religion uses the word “SANCTITY” as a static, unchanging, dogmatic euphemism for “CONTROL”. It doesn’t give a shit about the other legitimate definitions of the word. It uses the word as a weapon to further its agenda of trying to control others because it has no self control. Love? Religion wants to kill it. The bone-chilling reality for religion is that it’s tipping its hand, showing clearly that it doesn’t know what real love is, and it never will. That’s why marriage equality is winning, and will continue to do so.  And that’s because true love doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t a conspirator in bigotry, hate, vengeance, malice, self-righteousness, or condemnation.  It doesn’t come at the tip of a spear, with demands from a Bronze Age mythical magician. It spills freely from real, caring, compassionate, understanding, humane, human beings. And they will decide who they will love, how they will love, and how to give life to love.

October 5: John Addington Symonds (1840)

Posted in Politics, Religion, Science on October 5, 2014 by RJ Evans

symondsFrom contributor Ronald Bruce Meyer

It was on this date, October 5, 1840, that British writer John Addington Symonds was born in Bristol. He was educated at Oxford and married Janet Catherine North (sister of botanical artist Marianne North), on 10 November 1864, producing four daughters. Having health problems throughout his life, Symonds gave up the intensity of the study of law and turned to letters. He achieved great distinction with his classic Short History of the Renaissance in Italy, which appeared in seven volumes from 1875 to 1886. In this work, Symonds scoffed at the idea that the Renaissance artists owed their excellence to religious inspiration. However, Symonds held a sentimental view of God:

Gods fade; but God abides and in man’s heart
Speaks with the clear unconquerable cry
Of energies and hopes that can not die.
—Sonnet, On the Sacro Monte.

While living in Davos, Switzerland, Symonds wrote biographies of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1878), Ben Johnson (1886), Michelangelo (1893) and others, translated the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (1887), and wrote his accomplished Studies of the Greek Poets (1873-1876). Implicit in his references to Christianity is Symonds’ rejection of it. As one of the first advocates of male-male love (later to be called homosexuality), it is no wonder Symonds rejected at least that part of Judeo-Christian teaching and tradition. To this day, there are at least 81 countries where homosexuality is still illegal—mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to a 2013 report—while no country in Europe has a law against homosexuality.

Why is this? If we took a tour of world religions, we would find that Judaism condemns homosexuality: Genesis 19:4, 5; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13. Christianity condemns homosexuality: Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21, Acts 15:20, 29; Romans 1:26-27. Islam condemns homosexuality: Qur’an 7:80-81, 26:165-166 (it is punishable by death in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen). Mormonism (LDS) condemns homosexuality in the “law of chastity” Moroni 9:9. Bahá’í does not condone homosexuality, but does not condemn it in those who have not accepted the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. Homosexuality is not considered a religious matter by many Buddhists, but same-sex relations are considered “sexual misconduct.” Sikh scripture (the Guru Granth Sahib) does not oppose homosexuality, but many Sikhs do. Hinduism does not view homosexuality as a religious sin, but many Hindus do.

However, in Confucianism, which is not technically a religion, “biting the bitter peel,” is considered a euphemism for homosexual relations, and generally taken to mean anal sex, but is not specifically condemned and is not mentioned in the Analects. Unitarian Universalism, Wicca, Satanism, other pagan religions, along with Secular Humanism (which is not a religion), decline to condemn homosexuality. So it would seem that there is no condemnation of homosexuality and same-sex relations that does not stem from religion.

Still illegal and severely punishable in England in his time—Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for the “gross indecency” of homosexuality from 1895-1897 and it would be another hundred years before protections against discrimination were passed into law—Symonds variously called his sexual orientation “Greek love,” “that unmentionable custom,” “male love” and “l’amour de l’impossible” (i.e., love of the impossible).

Although the Oxford English Dictionary credits the medical writer C.G. Chaddock for introducing the word “homosexual” into the English language in 1892, Symonds had used the word nine years earlier in A Problem in Greek Ethics (1883). The book was inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman, with whom he corresponded and about whom he wrote a Study(1893). Symonds co-authored a book called Sexual Inversion (1897) with sexologist Havelock Ellis. Although published after Symonds’ death, this book is credited with first making the distinction between homosexual behavior and homosexual orientation.

As to his religion, Symonds was equivocal. His biographer quotes this letter…*

When the cholera was raging in the year 1848, I heard so much about it that I fell into a chronic state of hysterical fear. Some one had told me of the blessings which attend ejaculatory prayers. So I kept perpetually mumbling, “O God, save me from the cholera.” This superstitious habit clung to me for years. I believe that it obstructed the growth of sound ideas upon religion ; but I cannot say that I was ever sincerely pious, or ever realised the language about God I heard and parroted.

…but in the same work quotes this 1861 letter to his sister…

The Bishop preached a magnificent sermon yesterday on “doubting.” … It was an impassioned warning to young men, bidding them not let in the thin end of the wedge of scepticism. He told them that the admission of doubts on subjects of pure criticism and history would lead to metaphysical doubts, and end in doubt of God. … I think he is right here. Many a man begins by doubting the eternity of punishment ; and then, believing in his right to exercise private judgment, can find the doctrine of the Trinity nowhere in the Bible. The habit of appealing to Reason once gained, and strengthened and supplied with food by philosophical studies, he comes to apply the test of Reason to higher mysteries that of the Incarnation ; that, finally, of the existence of a God. Each step has been destructive as it must be, if men try to understand dogmas which their powers pronounced unintelligible. For a time such a man lives without God in the world.

Symonds wrote his Memoirs (1889-1893), but this remained unpublished for 90 years, until they were edited by Phyllis Grosskurth as an Autobiography and printed in 1984. Symonds died at Rome on 19 April 1893, age 54, and was buried close to Percy Bysshe Shelley. Scottish historian Horatio F. Brown, a personal friend to whom the writer entrusted his papers, shows in his 1895 biography of the writer that John Addington Symonds did not believe in a future life.†

* Horatio F. Brown, Life of John Addington Symonds, 1895, pp. 319 and 421.
† Ibid.

Boil Boil Toil and Trouble! Something Wicked This Way Comes!

Posted in Politics, Religion, Science with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2014 by RJ Evans

The_Witch's_CauldronThose who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
Voltaire, Questions sur les Miracles à M. Claparede, Professeur de Théologie à Genève, par un Proposant: Ou Extrait de Diverses Lettres de M. de Voltaire

“He is as far away from Islam as he can be.” said Saad Mohammad, the Islamic Society’s director of news and information in Oklahoma City. He was speaking of Alton Nolen, a man accused of beheading a woman at Vaughan Foods in Moore, OK. Nolen claimed to be a “searcher” of spirituality in churches, synagogues and through Buddhism. After being fired from his job at Vaughan Foods, Nolen’s search for spirituality ended with his commission of an atrocity.

“That’s not really _____________” If you’re a believer, go ahead and fill in the blank with your religion, because that is exactly what you do every single time someone commits an atrocity in the name of your particular religion. It’s a statement of denial. Of course, there are many variations of this denial on behalf of the “real” or “true” version of _____________. But, no matter how it’s phrased, the stated absolution of the particular religion from any responsibility for the atrocity is crystal clear. The “real”, “true” religion is innocent. How ironic is it then when the person/s who committed the atrocity loudly proclaims that their interpretation of the religion is the “real”, “true” religion, and that they were simply carrying out the edicts prescribed in their holy book? This certainly creates a great deal of confusion and begs the question… “What’s the “real”, “true” religion?”  Ask anyone who believes and they will say “MINE!”

Mining for Scriptural Gold

It’s not just a matter of whose religion is the “real”, “true” religion. It’s also a matter of mining for scriptural gold to justify the claims of a “real”, “true” religion and anything else under the son/sun. A scripture has immense value, of course, if it supports any emotion, feeling, idea, or atrocity. As far as Islam goes, Alton Nolen was reportedly actively evangelizing Islam at work, trying to convert the infidel. Apparently he was unsuccessful. With Islam rejected by his co-workers it’s possible that Nolen found his scriptural gold in this edict from the Qur’an:

4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.

(How many scriptures in the Qur’an call for the killing of infidels? Lots! You can find them here.)

Of course, Nolen may have just been looking for revenge after being fired. But, his atrocity does bring into question the role of religion in the daily lives of the faithful. How many folks use their religion to justify any act of bigotry, discrimination, condemnation or violence (including murder) against anyone who doesn’t believe at all, or doesn’t believe as they do? We know that there are many issues at the forefront of the news that are religion based. Marriage Equality, Woman’s Reproductive Rights, Evolution vs. Creationism/Intelligent Design, Racism, Terrorism… These are just a few of the issues that are deeply staining the parchment of our Constitution, and challenging our freedoms. From these few examples alone it’s obvious that the religious are striking the scriptural gold mother-load! But how? How do they find the rich veins of bombastic prose in their holy books? In one word… Alchemy.

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog?

Alchemy

1. A form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.

2. Any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

Believers, ALL believers, are Alchemists. When they read their holy books, even just a few scriptures, they automatically receive their PhD in Alchemy and immediately become their own ultimate authority. True, some will still consult with more experienced alchemists within their particular religious community, but they still consider themselves die-hard authorities on the subject of religious alchemy. With black pots of all sizes and shapes hanging over flames licking at their charred bottoms, the faithful stir briskly together the right ingredients (emotions, political ideologies, bigotry, biases, fallacies, etc.). When the time is right (and only they know when that is) the faithful will dip their ladle into the pot and pull from the boiling, frothy, stench ridden brew, exactly what they desire! Platinum, gold, sliver, bronze, diamonds, rubies, gems… Immensely valuable scriptures to justify anything! With their pointy black hats defying gravity and tilting severely to the right, these masters of malice laugh aloud as they hold their creations high and demand all to yield to their magical power! But, what these purveyors of poison think is a universal solvent for science, logic and reason, and the elixir of life, is really nothing more than the sludge of ignorance, despair, self-righteousness, hollowness, ego, anger, and hate.

The religious, alchemists, witches… all one and the same.  They all seek to promote their wicked, greedy agenda by concocting ways to control everything, and bend the world to their will.  And because they are truly powerless, they must delude themselves and others into thinking they have control over the natural world in unnatural ways. So beware! Someday a christian alchemist may brew up a justification for your head. Oh, and Happy Halloween. BOO!

September 16: Grand Inquisitor of Spain – Torquemada (1498)

Posted in Politics, Religion, Science on September 16, 2014 by RJ Evans

torquemadaFrom contributor Ronald Bruce Meyer

It was on this date, September 16, 1498, that the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, Tomás de Torquemada, died in Ávila. Born on a date uncertain in 1420 in what is now Valladolid, Torquemada was a Dominican monk – one of the famed “hounds of the Lord” (domini canes) – in the monastery at Valladolid, and later became prior of the Monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia, serving for 22 years.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, which has trouble with candor about the fatal consequences of not converting to Christianity in medieval Spain, much less doing so honestly, sounds this apologetic note:

At that time the purity of the Catholic Faith in Spain was in great danger from the numerous Marranos and Moriscos, who, for material considerations, became sham converts from Judaism and Mohammedanism to Christianity.*

Torquemada became confessor to future Queen Isabella, but declined higher office when she rose to the throne. Instead, as Pope Sixtus IV had established the Inquisition in Spain in 1478, in 1483 Torquemada accepted appointment as Grand Inquisitor of Castile and Aragon. With the Pope’s blessing, Torquemada was completely in charge of the Spanish Inquisition until his death in 1498.

Never has a man so enjoyed his work! Torquemada developed and employed an elaborate network of spies and secret police to root out heresy. His favorite methods for extracting confessions, nevermind the truth, were to hang the accused by the arms so that the arms were pulled from their joints, to force the swallowing of gallons of water, and to have the joints dislocated on the rack. His methods made him generally unpopular – he had to travel with bodyguards – but no one dared oppose him. Even the Pope could not reign him in: when Sixtus issued a bull absolving conversos of any wrong they might have done, Ferdinand, under Torquemada’s influence, refused to enforce it.

The least of his crimes was his twisting of jurisprudence: In 1490 Torquemada oversaw the LaGuardia trial, in which eight Jews and conversos were accused of crucifying a Christian child. No victim was identified, no body ever discovered, but all eight were convicted nevertheless on the strength of confessions obtained by torture. And all were burned at the stake.

In sum, Torquemada had over 2,000 heretics, Jews and Muslims burned by auto-da-fé, and perhaps 9,000 punished in other ways. The Catholic Encyclopedia tries to mitigate Torquemada’s cruelty, saying:

Whether Torquemada’s ways of ferreting out and punishing heretics were justifiable is a matter that has to be decided not only by comparison with the penal standard of the fifteenth century, but also, and chiefly, by an inquiry into their necessity for the preservation of Christian Spain.*

In other words, this cruel torture and punishment was allowable, in God’s name, because the eternal and Almighty was too shy to oppose the savagery of the age!

Rather than convert to Christianity, the Spanish Jews offered a tribute of 30,000 ducats if the King would leave them in peace. Ferdinand was considering it, but Torquemada, held aloft a crucifix and declaimed “Judas Iscariot sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver; Your Highness is about to sell him for 30,000 ducats. Here He is; take Him and sell Him.” Torquemada thus single-handedly persuaded the King to expel the Jews from Spain in 1492.

The contemporary Spanish chronicler, Sebastian de Olmedo called Torquemada “the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country, the honour of his order.”** Confident that he had served Christ and his Church, Torquemada died on this date at age 78, but the Inquisition carried on.

* Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, article “Torquemada.”
** Sebastian de Olmedo, Chronicon magistrorum generalium Ordinis Prædicatorum, fol. 80-81, quoted in ibid.

September 11, 2001

Posted in Politics, Religion, Science on September 11, 2014 by RJ Evans

attackwtcFrom contributor Ronald Bruce Meyer

It was on this date, September 11, 2001, that four US planes were hijacked, turned in flight, and crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, into the west wall of the Pentagon in Washington DC, and into a rural Pennsylvania field, in a suicide attack on the United States of America.

That September 11 terrorist attack, conceived by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden and carried out by al-Qaeda, has come to be known by its date, 9/11. And 9/11 was the most destructive faith-based initiative on US soil. As much as priests and politicians deny it, the facts are clear: without religion, those 19 young men would never have sacrificed their lives to achieve an end from which they would never live to benefit. If being faithful is the same as being good, then only religion can make good people do bad things.

Why did they do it? The glib answer is that people who are strong and successful are always hated by people who are not. Or, they hate our freedom, as pandering politicians say. The more accurate answer was articulated by the terrorists themselves: after defeating the lesser Satan, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the next holy cause was to defeat the Great Satan, America. This Great Satan is evil because (say the terrorists) it is a tempter, or in the words of the Qu’ran, one who “whispers in the hearts of men.” It is the secularism of the West, as well as US support for Israel and the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, that are seen as impediments to submission to the true faith of Islam.

However, there is no question about 9/11 being part of a religious war: the terrorist attack fell on two symbols of secular American power: the financial power represented by the World Trade Center and the military power represented by the Pentagon. (One can only speculate that the fourth plane was destined for a political symbol: the US Capitol or the White House.) So although this was a faith-based attack by professed Muslims on a country dominated by people professing to be Christian, 9/11 was not an attack by Islam on Christianity.

There are six million Muslims in the US, about a billion worldwide, and many if not most of those Muslims (excluding the late Osama bin Laden himself) are poor, live in countries with no political freedom, and are taught from birth to blame their misery on the Great Satan, or its foreign policy, or its secularism or its support for Israel – instead of their own inadequate government and social services. And although the “Arab Spring” of 2011 may be changing this, there is almost no chance Muslims will blame their repressive religion.

Is Christianity just as bad? It was: the Christian Bible authorized the Crusades, the Inquisition, the murder of minority religions, slavery, the subjugation of minorities, the subjugation of women, slavery, imperialism and wars of aggression. To a greater or lesser extent, by history as well as by Qu’ranic exhortation, so does Islam. But there is little evidence of these Christian crimes against humanity in this century. On the other hand, there is no question about 9/11 being an attack by Islam against Christianity: the terrorists destroyed no Christian symbols, only secular ones.

You see, the West is not a Christian civilization. Yes, it has some values (mostly bad ones) that are coincident with Christianity. But to call the West Christian is to forget that there is no mention of democracy or representative government in the Bible. The Bible includes no idea of toleration for other races or religions. There is not a particle of biblical support for science. It is the secular ideas of democracy, tolerance and science that built the West, not priests and prayer. And all these ideas are missing from Islam.

Islam is about submission to one ideology; secularism is about openness to and tolerance toward multiple ideologies. If Islam can secularize and behave rationally, who knows how far they can go toward the future? Rationalism and secularism are the key. We have one planet and two alternatives: a minority of irrational, fundamentalist fanatics can destroy the planet with more faith-based initiatives like 9/11, or the planet can become more rational and secular and tolerant, so the planet will survive for all to share.

It’s not Islam vs. Christianity. It’s faith vs. reason. Can we make the right choice?

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