Wednesday 18th of September 2019

of apostasy and religious irrelevance...



There is a battle between Christian factions which seems to indicate their fear of becoming irrelevant. 

Such is the present little stouch between Rod Dreher of The American Conservative and James K A Smith, a small publisher of religious books. When Rod Dreher chose a competiting publisher for his book on diving under the radar -- what he calls “The Benedict Option” -- there was some conflagration at ten paces. Smith who apparently wanted to published the book, pissed on it in an article he wrote for the Washington Post. To Rod, this sounded like sour grapes.

The position taken by Smith is that Christians such as Rod Dreher steal “scripts from home security commercials” because they are worried about secularity and want to batten the hatches down until the storm has passed. 

Hey guys, secularity is not going to go away in Western societies, unless it is wiped out by Islamic belief fast spreading around. Presently, religions are fighting for their relevancy in a material world, in which other stuff has taken over from the metaphisycal view point of life. 

Islam deals with the possible apostasy with temporal punishment. The abandonment or renunciation of the religious belief is treated severely:


In Islamic law (sharia), the view among the majority of medieval jurists was that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi’a scholars.

Many Islamic scholars, but not all, consider apostasy as a Hudud (or Hadd) crime, that is one of six “crimes against God” a Muslim can commit, which deserves the fixed punishment of death as that is a “claim of God”.

Under traditional Islamic law an apostate may be given a waiting period while in incarceration to repent and accept Islam again and if not the apostate is to be killed without any reservations. This traditional view of Sunni and Shia Islamic fiqhs, or schools of jurisprudence (maḏāhib) each with their own interpretation of Sharia, varies as follows:

Hanafi - recommends three days of imprisonment before execution, although the delay before killing the Muslim apostate is not mandatory. Apostates who are men must be killed, states the Hanafi Sunni fiqh, while women must be held in solitary confinement and beaten every three days till they recant and return to Islam.

Maliki - allows up to ten days for recantation, after which the apostate must be killed. Both men and women apostates deserve death penalty according to the traditional view of Sunni Maliki fiqh.

Shafi’i - waiting period of three days is required to allow the Muslim apostate to repent and return to Islam. After the wait, execution is the traditional recommended punishment for both men and women apostates.

Hanbali - waiting period not necessary, but may be granted. Execution is traditional recommended punishment for both genders of Muslim apostates.

Ja’fari - waiting period not necessary, but may be granted according to this Shia fiqh. Male apostate must be executed, states the Jafari fiqh, while a female apostate must be held in solitary confinement till she repents and returns to Islam.

However, according to legal historian Sadakat Kadri, while apostasy was traditionally punished by death, executions were rare because “it was widely believed” that any accused apostate “who repented by articulating the shahada” (LA ILAHA ILLALLAH “There is no God but God”) “had to be forgiven” and their punishment delayed until after Judgement Day. This principle was upheld “even in extreme situations”, such as when an offender adopts Islam “only for fear of death”, based on the hadith that Muhammad had upbraided a follower for killing a raider who had uttered the shahada.


So here you are. Strong Islamic punishment is designed to make sure, the religious belief does not become irrelevant by accident or by design. It keeps the believers in check. There is no choice but to believe when the greater social structure is based on such barbaric attitude. This is what drives most of the Middle East Arabic philosophy, in the two opposing camps -- the Shia and the Sunni. 

In the West, this used to be the case with Christianity during the time of the inquisition and quite somewhat before that. Anyone who did not believe in Jesus Christ would be taken to the gallows, put on the rack and plainly burnt to the stakes like a witch or a demon. Non-believers hid under logs and stones. There was no choice.

But things have changed a bit since then. Secularity came along with the Enlightenment, which did not mean that people became Buddhist, but became aware of scientific reasoning and experiments, as well as rediscovering the ancient philosphers. This challenged the idea of god, especially after this idea had been the subject of fierce bloody battles between the various codes of Christianity.

The resultant of this is that Christianity lost its grip on the social context, though it’s trying hard to hang on to it by various means, including transforming the “vengeance of god” which had been the main motivator or religious beliefs till the 19th century, into the “love of god”. 

Many elections, though fought on secular matters, are often judged on “religious” fervour, including the 2016 US Presidential election. Few politicians admit to atheism, Julia Gillard being an exception.

In this new religious framework, the old temporal “punishment” for being an atheist or for abandoning the religion is now mutated into the idealised version of hell, where you will burn for ever and ever should you not believe or be a bad boy as well.

So, how can you make religious beliefs relevant when there are so many real pleasures to be had while living as loving good humans. No need to flagellate, nor starve on Fridays, nor pray for forgiveness for the illusion of an “original sin” that was truly wiped out by the reality of evolution. We can live very well under a secular code in which we don’t have to steal, kill or do something stupid to be shamelessly repentent. 

The fear of religion becoming irrelevant becomes a puzzling issue for most deeply religious people. Enters Rod Dreher. He is a devout Christian who mostly thinks that “all is lost” but one’s own faith. This is where his Benedict Option comes in. His pessimism is counter-balanced by someone like James K A Smith who tries to instill some positive attitude in the general dwindling of numbers of people who believe in Genesis and mitigate the “moral depravity” that permeates new secular ideals, such as abortion and LGBTi views. Smith flies the religious flag high... But even under this new delusion, is the wilting carrot of paradise going to do the trick that the fear of the temporal painful old stick used to do? 

No matter what, the only way to stir people into believing into religion is to instil fear -- especially the fear of death, natural death. We need to be sold an afterlife pass the pearly gates or a banquet at god’s table. Take a number. So, once the Church could not beat you up for not believing, it started to push once more the fear of god who will deliver His (god is a male) own version of virtual punishment at the end of time which is announced every week by some fundamentalist loonies -- mostly in the US. For the Muslim, the fear of the Hanafi is real because it means real death within three days at the hands of the rabid religious clerics.

Here we must see that this is the modus operandi of Sharia Law. 

In countries where the secular code is the main deliverer of justice, such religious beliefs becomes irrelevant, though there is still a religious push to “multiculturally” recognise such repugnant barbaric practices. Here we should be living under no illusions. The fear of temporal punishment still maintains the “relevancy” of the Islamic religion, not the love of the burqa. There are nasty devious ways to temporaly punish someone for Muslim apostasy, without the secular law system knowing about it. 

In countries that are borderline, such as Syria, the government is at war with religious beliefs that would demand religious punishment according to Sharia for misdemeanour which dont attract any penalty under the secular code, first namely apostasy...

The fear of becoming irrelevant is quite inexistent under such powerful religious beliefs, though it could be at the bottom of the barrel of motivation when all the other motives are exhausted once one is defeated. Here I mean the rise and decline of Daesh, which uses barbaric images to let us know it has recaptured the full value of bloody temporal punishment.


Here comes Smith:


When did Christians start stealing scripts from home security commercials?

We’re all familiar with the canned tropes of the alarm system advertisement: the female resident alone in a darkened house; the ominous threat lurking outside with a crowbar; the horror-flick music rising to a crescendo as the intruder approaches the door—but then repelled by the sight of the ADT sign in the window. Whew! Crisis averted. Cue bright sunshine and smiles and a three-course breakfast with the whole family around the table. Secure.

The home security industry trades on a combination of fear and idylls. In fact, they depend on swelling the idyllic in order to heighten the fear. The more you have to lose, the more you feel the threat.

A spate of recent books from Christian leaders and intellectuals seem to have stolen this script, swelling the jeremiad shelf. We might describe this as “the new alarmism.”

In Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput’s “Strangers in a Strange Land,” it is a character named “Obergefell” from the Supreme Court case legalizing gay marriage that lurks outside the door in a black knit cap. Do you know where your children are?

In “Out of the Ashes,” Providence College professor Anthony Esolen reaches back beyond the home security commercial to replay the end-of-civilization script. Sensing his own exaggeration, he doubles down, writing, “Sometimes entire civilizations do decay and die, and the people who point that out are correct.” (That’s all in italics in the original, by the way.) The surest sign of alarmism is when they tell you: “This isn’t alarmist!”

And in his much-anticipated book, “The Benedict Option,” blogger Rod Dreher has seen the apocalypse: “There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization. By God’s mercy, the faith may continue to flourish in the Global South and China, but barring a dramatic reversal of current trends, it will all but disappear entirely from Europe and North America. This may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world, and only the willfully blind would deny it.” Note, again: if you’re not alarmed, you’re not seeing things, a circular reasoning to help work yourself into a froth of fear.


[Christians have lost the culture wars. Should they withdraw from the mainstream?]

These are books intended for choirs: they are written to confirm biases, not change minds. They are not written to be overheard. If you’re not part of the alarmist choir, reading these books will sometimes feel like watching video smuggled out of secret meetings in underground bunkers.



This is why Rod Dreher is bitter. For him Smith is full of sour grapes:

A man who can read that response and still write the kind of hatchet job he penned for the Post is not interested in fairness. I could be very wrong about his personal motivations for writing that piece, and it was unwise to speculate on them. Let me simply say that I do not understand why he was so supportive of the Ben Op for a while, then suddenly so antagonistic to it.

But, if Smith wants to separate himself from us alarmist troglodytic Christians, hey, that’s fine by me. Here’s the thing, though: if he publicly affirms Biblical orthodoxy on same-sex marriage and LGBT issues in general, he’s going to have some explaining to do to his own colleagues. Christina Van Dyke, who teaches philosophy at Calvin alongside Smith, helped lead the witch hunt against Richard Swinburne last year, when the 82-year-old philosopher briefly affirmed that homosexuality was not compatible with Christian orthodoxy — this, at a meeting of the Midwest chapter of the Society of Christian Philosophers last year.

I don’t know where Smith stands on LGBT issues, but if he were to publicly affirm Christian orthodoxy, I expect that life would get really … alarming really fast for him at Calvin. But if he were to deny it, that would come as a surprise to more conservative Christians who have long assumed that he was one of them.

One can put as much stylistic distance between oneself and the nasty, fearful, homophobic, white-privilege-defending Christians as one wants, but that’s not going to save you if you hold the “heretical” position on LGBT issues in the academy. As Smith will find out if he actually holds to orthodoxy on the issue, and dares to come out of the closet over it. Winsomeness is a shield made of tissue paper. I don’t even work in academia and I have heard from more than a few Christian academics, even some who teach in Christian colleges and universities, who live in real fear for their careers over this issue. That is alarming.

And by the way, it’s pretty funny to accuse Archbishop Chaput, a Native American (he’s a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi), of mourning the decline in white privilege.

UPDATE.2: Some of you have said it wasn’t fair for me to cite personal e-mails from Smith in which he praised the Benedict Option. OK. Let me just say then that in private, Smith had led me to believe that he was a supporter of my work on the Benedict Option. Does he deny that? I don’t think he can or will, because when I asked him last year after the Florida remarks why he had turned, he said, in writing, that he had changed his mind about it. Ask him. He knows.


Thank you for this precise explanation, Mr Dreher, but Old Gus has seen it before: publishers are money-men first. Smith would have done his sums and seen that the publication of Rod’s work would have brought him a bit of cash in return. So when doing the bidding for the publishing rights, he could not say he did not like the work, could he? In publishing love is secondary -- finance comes first.

But having been snubbed, and seeing that some other publisher is going to make the cash instead, would have prompted Smith to say WHAT HE REALLY THOUGH about the work. 

And it’s not that bad... It’s only a small difference between his own positivism and the pessimism of Rod Dreher. Both are still in fear of religious irrelevancy, in their own ways.


James K. A. Smith (born 1970)[1] is a Canadian philosopher who is currently Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, holding the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. He is a notable figure associated with Radical Orthodoxy, a theo-philosophical movement within Postmodern Christianity (although Smith now questions the reality of Radical Orthodoxy as an ongoing theological movement: “Is ‘radical orthodoxy’ still a thing? I hadn’t realized”).[2] His work is undertaken at the borderlands between philosophy, theology, ethics, aesthetics, science, and politics. Drawing from continental philosophy and informed by a long Augustinian tradition of theological cultural critique—from Augustine and Calvin to Edwards and Kuyper—his interests are in bringing critical thought to bear on the practices of the church and the church’s witness to culture, culminating in the need to interpret and understand what he has called “cultural liturgies.”[3]


Gus Leonisky

Your local fierce atheist


freedom of thought...

The annual “freedom of thought” report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, an advocacy umbrella group that represents and seeks to protect non-religious people, details laws and practices around the world that punish or restrict atheism. The group presented the report to the United Nations today.

The report tracks, among other things, which countries have laws explicitly targeting atheists. There are not many, but the states that forbid non-religiousness – typically as part of “anti-blasphemy” legislation – include seven nations where atheism is punishable by death. All seven establish Islam as the state religion. Though that list includes some dictatorships, the country that appears to most frequently condemn atheists to death for their beliefs is actually a democracy, if a frail one: Pakistan. Others include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania, and the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. These countries are colored red on the above map.
. . .
Some countries, according to the report, also codify possible prison sentences for atheists (these countries are indicated in orange on the map). These laws, however, can be difficult to distinguish from restrictions against “religious incitement,” which are common in much of the world, including in atheist-friendly Western Europe. But the report indicates that, 
in countries such as Egypt or Indonesia, the laws appear to be used to specifically target citizens who, for example, publicly profess their own atheism.

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Other countries, colored yellow on the map, restrict rights for atheists, for example by limiting marriage rights or public service.[4][5]


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cultivating our delusions with halal togetherness...



Moreover, if religious influence is returning, then that is largely because no viable human society, including those of the West, has ever been founded upon negation, the primacy of the lone individual and an agreement merely to differ. Instead, human beings act in the name of some sort of obscure vision by which they are drawn forward. They strive to achieve a good of a certain kind, which means that they believe they live in a universe in which good is achievable. They therefore act rationally and freely through some kind of faith in a providence that is able to build upon our good intentions and to thwart our ignoble ones. Not to trust in providence in some sense, would be to deny that the good is objective and inherently cumulative.

And it is arguable that the free and creative pursuit of a remote teleological goal of social and cosmic harmony has been most of all realised in the formation of Western civilization under ancient Jewish, Greek and Roman stimuli. If we abandon this religious as well as political quest today in the name of mere human rights, then it is likely that another such civilizational quest, even if inferior, will eventually displace it.

John Milbank is Research Professor of Politics, Religion and Ethics at the University of Nottingham. His most recent book, written with Adrian Pabst, is The Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future. An earlier version of this article was presented at the London School of Economics, as part of its Religion and the Public Sphere Lecture Series

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Here, John Milbank is snootily reinventing the delusion: "... the free and creative pursuit of a remote teleological goal of social and cosmic harmony" is mostly a very recent modern concept, invented by a traditional vanishing structure in need of survival. In the past the Church maintained its grip on the structure of government through fear of god and unsavoury alliance with kings. All this started under Constantine when the Catholics rewrote the tenets of beliefs, while eliminating contrary information from its history. The church became ruthless in order to establish a hierarchical structure that would keep the peasants in the dark ages -- and give not a single leeway to dissent or other points of view. This changed somewhat with Luther, Calvin and Galileo, but the strict traditions still linger in the need to manage the flock of sheep. Religion has never been free, nor has it ever been creative, except in its fraudulent interpretations of history -- including the scientific history of this planet. Trying to find a reason or a designed purpose in the randomness of the universe is perverse. That we can create our own RELATIVE purpose in order to manage our lives together better is good. Yet we know that the multiplicity of such purposes can hinder our search which can become deluded by religious beliefs. This is why secularity, how imperfect this can be is the only unifying factor in all our differences -- and despite the fear we have of "others".



Similarly, the Advertising Standards Board dismissed the case against the spring lamb campaign, finding that "overall the advertisement is inclusive and the humour is employed equally across all the races/ethnicities portrayed in the advertisement."

However, the Meat and Livestock Association's next campaign sought to acknowledge the increasingly vocal campaign to change the date of Australia's national day and to reinforce the brand's association with diversity. In what director Paul Middleton described as "one of the proudest moments of my life and career," the MLA's January 2017 advertisement was a vibrant display of nationalism that dared not speak its name. It depicted a convivial beach barbecue in which a group of Aboriginal Australians are joined by European explorers on tall ships, followed by wave after wave of settlers and migrants from around the world (including a cameo appearance by Sam Kekovich wearing Serbian national costume). The words "Australia Day" are never spoken. Rather, Cathy Freeman asks "What's the occasion?" only to receive the reply, "Do we need one?"

Aboriginal journalist and party pooper Amy McQuire tweeted, "Wow what a way to sideline the invasion, massacres and theft that January 26th represents." Others joined her in complaining about the whitewashing of Australian history and the commercial exploitation of Aboriginal dispossession. At the other end of the political spectrum, Pauline Hanson commented that: "It's bloody idiots out there, ratbags. It's pretty sad when it's basically shutting us down for being proud of who we are as Australian citizens."

However, the advertisement received a rapturous reception from those who credited it with opening up a national conversation about Australian identity, as well as allowing Meat and Livestock Australia to broaden its appeal beyond its ageing traditional customer base.

The price of inclusion, then, is a willingness to be mocked by and alongside the dominant culture, preferably teamed with a commercial incentive for tolerance. It's safe to assume that the lamb on show in the meat foundation ad would have been halal certified in consideration of the Muslim guests at the barbecue and the livestock industry's South East Asian export market.

Shakira Hussein is an Honorary Fellow at the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studiesin the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne. This is an edited version of an essay that appears in the autumn issue of Meanjin, out on Wednesday, 15 March



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[Shakira] is now a regular writer and commentator on all sorts of issues affecting Muslim women, including domestic violence, polygamy, wearing the veil and terrorist bombings.


''There is a very hostile climate towards Muslims at the moment and they are often portrayed as not compatible with Western values because of their perceived beliefs about gender,'' she says.

Hussein says the Sydney gang rapes played as big a role as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in putting Australian Muslims in a hostile spotlight.

''It's a community that feels under siege and that issue [gender violence] is represented as one of the reasons why they're a dangerous force in our society.''

It puts Muslim women who are suffering domestic violence in a difficult position if they seek help outside their community because, Hussein says, they don't want to be seen as providing ammunition to the other side.

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Facebook freedom...

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) is hearing a writ petition on Monday that seeks to block Facebook and all other social-media platforms until such time as they are judged to have permanently removed all content that the current administration in the country considers to be blasphemous.


Earlier, the minister directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to contact social-networking websites for the purpose of deleting pages found to be insulting to religious figures of Islam.

"It seems that social media is working under freedom to lie rather than freedom of expression," the minister said, adding that he was disappointed that Facebook officials were not aware of the sensitivity of the matter to religious leaders in the Pakistani government.

PTA said the process could take from three to four weeks. In the petition, filed by the country's Civil Society, complainants argued that three weeks of access to controversial content is too long, and would lead to a significant decline in law and order in Pakistan, and if PTA did not close the pages immediately, it should at least block the entire website.

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pluralism of purism...


From David Brooks


 Rod [Dreher] is pretty conservative. “There can be no peace between Christianity and the sexual revolution, because they are radically opposed,” he writes.


My big problem with Rod is that he answers secular purism with religious purism. By retreating to neat homogeneous monocultures, most separatists will end up doing what all self-segregationists do, fostering narrowness, prejudice and moral arrogance. They will close off the dynamic creativity of a living faith.

There is a beautiful cohesion to the monastic vocation. But most people are dragged willy-nilly into life — with all its contradictions and complexities. Many who experience faith experience it most vividly within the web of their rival loves — different communities, jobs, dilemmas. They have faith in their faith. It gives them a way of being within the realities of a messy and impure world.

The right response to the moment is not the Benedict Option, it is Orthodox Pluralism. It is to surrender to some orthodoxy that will overthrow the superficial obsessions of the self and put one’s life in contact with a transcendent ideal. But it is also to reject the notion that that ideal can be easily translated into a pure, homogenized path. It is, on the contrary, to throw oneself more deeply into friendship with complexity, with different believers and atheists, liberals and conservatives, the dissimilar and unalike.

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the anti-expression of beliefs at work...


LONDON — The European Union’s highest court waded into the politically explosive issue of public expressions of Muslim identity on Tuesday, finding that private employers can ban female workers from wearing head scarves on the job.

The ruling comes as Europe is beginning a critical election season, with races in the NetherlandsFrance and Germany, and with anti-immigrant, anti-Islam populism rising in many countries. Dutch voters go to the polls on Wednesday, and the far-right party of the anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is expected to fare well.

In its ruling, the European Court of Justice found that company regulations banning “the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” did not constitute direct discrimination — so long as such prohibitions applied to religious garb from all faiths, a requirement that legal experts say could also encompass a Sikh turban and a Jewish skullcap, among other religious symbols.

“It is a very bold step,” said Camino Mortera-Martinez, a research fellow at the Center for European Reform in Brussels, describing the ruling as a landmark decision, if also a political and pragmatic one. “Recently we have seen the court being much more attentive to the political winds rather than being so legalistic, because of the recognition that the E.U. is at risk of collapse.”

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She characterized the ruling as further evidence that the European court has been pivoting after years of rulings that favored the rights of minorities. This month, the court ruled that European Union member states were not obliged to issue visas to people who planned to seek asylum in their countries, even if they were vulnerable to inhuman treatment or were threatened with torture.

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the proselytising is still strong...



Apostasy, Heresy and Freedom of Belief in Islam


Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im


Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. He is the author of What Is an American Muslim? Embracing Faith and Citizenship.

The imposition of the death penalty for apostasy and related offences is not unique to Islam - it existed in Judaism and Christianity, and was widely practiced under the latter in the mediaeval period.

Yet these notions have been effectively eliminated from any current Jewish or Christian discourse, and there is no possibility of imposing the death penalty for these crimes in the modern context of these societies.

In contrast, such punishments remain entrenched in Islamic jurisprudence and those found guilty of these offences can still be sentenced to death in countries like Pakistan and Sudan.

The pressing question, I believe, is not how Islamic societies can "catch up" with their Jewish and Christian counterparts in this regard, but rather how Islamic jurisprudence can be revised as an internal Islamic imperative.

How, in other words, can traditional notions of apostasy be seen as incompatible with the Islamic conception of religious freedom, rather than as contrary to international human rights norms which some Muslims regard as impositions from Western countries?

The Arabic word riddah - commonly translated as "apostasy" - literally means to "turn back." In Islamic law, riddah is understood to be reverting from the religion of Islam to kufr (unbelief), whether intentionally or by necessary implication. The vast majority of classical Muslim scholars agree that once a person becomes a Muslim by his or her free choice, there is no way by which he or she can change religion.

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"In contrast to the localized traditional existence of past Islamic societies, Muslims today live in multi-religious nation-states which are fully incorporated into a globalized world of political, economic and security interdependence, and constantly experiencing the effects of mutual social/cultural influence with non-Islamic societies. While some individual Muslims may still choose to advocate traditional notions of community and conditionality of rights, the reality of the pluralistic national and international political communities of today support entitlement to freedom of belief as a human right rather than a conditional right of membership of a religious community."

This is dream-pipe from Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im. This is why the Wahhabi Sunnis are working their butts off to quickly "colonise" countries such as Indonesia... to destroy "pluralism". This is a motivation in the Syrian conflict, as well as the oil. What do I mean here? Wahhabism is strict, extremist and applies the apostasy Islamic laws. Culturally, it has infiltrated "moderate" traditional Muslims through proselytising Wahhabi schools, enforcing extremism in beliefs. The aim of Wahhabism, aka Saudi Arabian Sunni, is to convert more and more people to their ruthless creed, including in the "West". This was one of the purposes of the visit by the Saudi king to Indonesia. The treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is appalling and many people live in fear of apostasy laws and other ruthless temporal punishment.

As mentioned in the article at top, in countries where Wahhabi Muslims are in minority and have to "submit" to the the secular system, they have discreet ways to apply temporal punishment in accordance with apostasy laws. 


blaming secularity for the rise of extremism...


Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religionin increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent.

Some observers predicted that this new secularism would ease cultural conflict, as the country settled into a near-consensus on issues such as gay marriage. After Barack Obama took office, a Center for American Progress report declared that “demographic change,” led by secular, tolerant young people, was “undermining the culture wars.” In 2015, the conservative writer David Brooks, noting Americans’ growing detachment from religious institutions, urged social conservatives to “put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations.”

That was naive. Secularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it’s also making America’s partisan clashes more brutal. And it has contributed to the rise of both Donald Trump and the so-called alt-right movement, whose members see themselves as proponents of white nationalism. As Americans have left organized religion, they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between “us” and “them.” Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways.


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We have to put a stop to this. Secularity is not the culprit. The culprit is the feeling of irrelevance permeating some Christians organisations that used to be able to dictate the politics of the day. Loosing this control -- and bums on seats in their temples, these organisations developed into cornered rats. They are showing teeth to defend their cheese while not understanding what has happened. People believed in god, because it was the easy way out of making sense of this nonsensical life. But secularity is not about making this nonsensical life more nonsensical. Secularity is about unifying more people with different points of views and reducing the level of punishments for behaviour that are non-threatening to the social cohesion. Such as giving LGBT issues a bit more freedom. Tight-arsed Christians are worried that this will lower the tone of morality and that the LGBT people will multiply like rabbits. They won't. Since before the Greek and Roman times, there has been a proportion (about 10 %) of the human population with LGBT tendencies. This won't change. Morality isn't the factor, but punishing policies were and they did not stop the "problem" which went under ground. 

Extremism rises in ignorance -- including ignorance of secularity.


a weekend of distraction...

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says that many people in America today are "afraid of faith" and that too many American Christians today treat their faith like a weekend "hobby."

Lankford, who previously served as the director of student ministries at the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma and is a tireless voice for religious freedom on Capitol Hill, appeared as a guest on Family Research Council President Tony Perkins' special National Religious Freedom Day broadcast of his "Washington Watch" radio program Tuesday.

When asked to comment on the state of religious freedom in the United States, Lankford, who also serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, expressed concern.

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The religious mobs and their activities are getting bothersome, annoying, irritating, irking, vexing, maddening, exasperating, tedious, wearisome, tiresome. They do not make any sense. The long established religious propaganda written under Constantine, now has only real traction with the Muslims these days, where apostasy, atheism and other abandonment of the religious belief is met with strong temporal punishment, including death. This is the only way to maintain "beliefs": we'll chop your hand off. It works to some extend but this does not eliminate stupidity out of beliefs.

Faith is a delusion. Read from top...

animals, we are...

The research also revealed that Christians fear death far less than atheists, Hindus or Buddhists.

Why? It comes down to a concept described as the "continuity of self," also defined as a belief in a "persisting self." It's the notion that who (and what) you are - your self – "is something that persists from childhood through old age. (You) exist to the extent that (your) self exists." Perhaps unsurprisingly, if you believe your self has the capacity to transcend your mortal existence, you're far less likely to fear the end of your mortal existence. The Death and the Self examined the way different worldviews define self, and the impact these definitions have on our fear of death:

Buddhism argues against the existence of self altogether. According to Buddhism, your sense of self is only an illusion, and for this reason, it will not extend beyond your mortal existence.

Hinduism argues for the reincarnation of self. While your self may continue into the next life, its reincarnated characteristics, attributes, traits and memories will be very different.

Atheism argues for an entirely materialistic version of self. As a purely material being, you are nothing more than your body. As a result, your self ceases to exist once your body stops functioning.


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Gus: This is BULLSHIT...

Atheists don't fear death. That they would "fear death" is a fake news story promoted by the religious mobs which want your cash. Without cash, religion would not survive.

Atheists have nothing to fear, while the Christians are taught to fear "hell"...

That we like dying or not is another story. We're having such a great time on this planet makes it a bitch to have to leave, but we do not fear having to go, since it's nature at work and there is not much we can do to stop the process though we can delay it a bit with good food, medicine and exercise...


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time to bring back the inquisition onto itself...

The Catholic bishops in the United States thought they had put this behind them: The Boston Globe publicized the horrifying sexual abuse in the church and the equally horrifying cover-ups in 2002; the movie “Spotlight” based on that story won an Oscar; settlements were paid; and there was a solemn meeting in Dallas during which the bishops adopted new rules — rules from which they exempted themselves — and promised “never again.”

And here we are — again.

The new round of revelations involves pornographic episodes of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses. (The situation in Philadelphia, the state’s largest diocese, was separately documented in a 2005 grand-jury report.) On top of that, the leading figure from that 2002 convention in Dallas, the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is accused of sexually assaulting two children in addition to carrying on a series of exploitative sexual relationships with adult seminarians — relationships that had been an open secret among his colleagues. And just last week The Post revealed that the Archdiocese of New York has paid out close to $60 million to sex-abuse victims in the last two years.

The rot is not exclusive to the United States. The Catholic communities in Chile, in Australia, in France and in Ireland have all experienced similar scandals, some of which are ongoing. Scandal has even touched Vatican City itself: At the beginning of the summer, Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella was convicted by a Vatican court of distributing child pornography and sentenced to five years’ incarceration. In 2014, Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski, previously the Holy See’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was defrocked for abusing young boys but died before facing criminal proceedings. 

There is more talk of reform. What’s needed is something closer to corporate decapitation, the wholesale replacement of an American episcopacy that has shown itself to be beyond institutional redemption.

Perhaps it is time for a smaller but better Catholic Church.

The American Catholic community has been stagnant for a very long time, and it would not be surprising if these scandals — the sheer weight of them going back decades, now — were to hasten the decline in Mass attendance and perhaps hasten an exodus of Americans from the Catholic Church entirely.


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rod is coming the ramsay centre...


From Rod Dreher:


Rachel Withers says all white Australians are to blame for the Christchurch massacre. Excerpt:

I’m a white Australian. I know that blaming myself and my cohort is illogical, but I can’t escape the feeling that all of white Australia is implicated in the deaths—a white majority that has fomented and let foment hate. Though he may have labeled himself a European, 28-year-old XXXXXX XXXXXX was an Aussie through and through, growing up in a country town north of Sydney, steeped in mainstream Australian racism and our particular national brand of Islamophobia. He grew up in the same Murdoch-controlled mass media environment that the rest of us did—one that recently trashed Islam 2,891 times in a single year—and under the same governments, with prime ministers who have repeatedly stoked anti-Muslim sentiment for votes, with one major party making it central to their electoral strategy.


White Australians must no longer tolerate those mainstream voices who give white supremacy a platform and megaphone. Instead of brushing aside the racism in our homeland, or pointing instead toward Trump and the United States, we must call out dog whistles in our own government, in our own backyard, every chance we get. We must condemn hate speech not just when someone like Anning goes “too far,” and we must deny visas to alt-right figures who come to our shores expecting a friendly welcome not just in the wake of right-wing terror attacks, but always. We must fight the normalization of Islamophobia. And above all we must accept responsibility for the hatred we have normalized. Rather than go easy on ourselves, we must go hard.

There you have it: the Australian Left is not about to let a good crisis go to waste. White Australians in general are no more responsible for XXXXXX’s vile attack than Muslim Australians in general are for Islamic terror attacks in that country. Again, though, this is about progressives instrumentalizing a terrible crime to silence their opponents.

They’re coming after me, in fact. I am scheduled to give a series of lectures in Australia in May. The Ramsay Centre invited me to give a talk under its sponsorship. I had planned to speak about classical Christian education, and the importance to us all of learning about the roots of Western civilization as an antidote to the condition of “liquid modernity” (the concept is the Marxist sociologist Zygmunt Bauman’s). Check out today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Excerpt:

A writer who responded to the New Zealand massacre by noting that “everything [shooter XXXXXX] XXXXXX identifies as qualities of a disintegrating Western civilisation is true” and an academic who runs a fan blog dedicated to right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos are some of the “distinguished visiting speakers” being promoted by the controversial Ramsay Centre.

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, which recently signed an agreement with the University of Wollongong to begin offering a new Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation, has come under fire for including The American Conservative editor Rod Dreher and University of Chicago academic Rachel Fulton-Brown on its 2019 lecture series speakers list.

In an article on XXXXXX’s manifesto, a 74-page document which was published online and sent to New Zealand politicians in the minutes before Mr XXXXXX killed at least 50 people in a mosque in Christchurch, Mr Dreher writes: “It’s a chilling document, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s grounded in both paranoid, racist grievance, and legitimate, realistic concerns.

“You may think that declining numbers of ethnic Europeans is a good thing, or something that has no particular moral meaning. But it really is happening,” Mr Dreher writes in the article that was published on Friday afternoon under a screenshot from a video of the massacre filmed by XXXXXX and disseminated online.

Mr Dreher’s article is critical of the massacre, which he describes as a “despicable act”.

Here’s the article of mine to which the Morning Herald piece refers.  I completely stand by it. As I’ve said, XXXXXX XXXXXX is a devil from the pit of hell, but if we are going to fight terrorists — white nationalist terrorists, Islamist terrorists, all kinds of terrorists — we are going to have to face honestly the conditions that produce them

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Obviously the Ramsay Centre needs some (religious) reinforcements from the USA. As mentioned many times on this site, we do not dispute the self-important hubris of the Western civilisation, but how it got there — mainly through political lies, ruthless competition and despotism, plunder of other countries, and wars. Religion played its part in absolving the odious characters who participated in this Western orgy, and when Kings were ostracised by religious doodahs, the said kings invented their own religion.

The present "better" status of the Western civilisation has more to do with the breakaways, the scientists, who investigated the world we are born from, rather tahn indulging the fallacies of godly magic and His (god is a male) stupid Noah's Ark... That some scientists became bought out by politics and religions is quite limited in scope.

read also: intelligent design is a dumb idea, promoted by uncle rupert to retard the science of global warming...

and many more articles on sciences and religions on this site. Oh and by the way, I don't blame myself for the stupidity of loonies with guns — whether they are official soldiers, terrorists or excited hunters for sport...


Note: XXXXXX XXXXXX name has been replaced in Rod's article by Gus according to the indirect wishes of Jacinta Arden.