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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

One of my friends and readers noticed my post titled Dirty Deeds and Bible Verses and promptly called me out about comparing the Bible and the Quran. I should have known better. As much as I read, I have not read the Bible nor the Quran, so I am not much of an authority. I can pull up passages with the best of them, but I cannot make a sound and winning argument. Of course, I am an atheist, so I am entitled to not knowing. Wolfgang is a linguist, a scholar, and a Christian who has written extensively about the Quran and Islam. So he shot back at me via email, which is am reprinting here with his permission.

First in the original German:

Jeff Sessions würde ich eine andere Stelle des Neuen Testaments entgegenhalten: Apostelgeschichte 5,29: „Man muß Gott mehr gehorchen als den Menschen.“ Ich kann mir kaum vorstellen, daß Gott es befürworten würde, den Kindern die Eltern wegzunehmen. Römer 13 ist deshalb problematisch, weil die Stelle vorauszusetzen scheint, daß der Staat nur das Gute befiehlt.

Du hast völlig recht, lieber Norbert, wenn Du davor warnst, Koran- oder Bibelstellen zu zitieren, um irgendeine politische Auffassung zu untermauern und sogar „Dirty Deeds“ zu rechtfertigen.

Allerdings ist ein gewaltiger Unterschied zwischen Bibel und Koran. Das Alte Testament enthält keine unmittelbar als göttliche Offenbarung an den heutigen Leser gerichteten Befehle wie der Koran („Ihr Gläubigen, tut das und das …“), sondern Erzählungen, und zwischen Neuem Testament und Koran, zwischen Jesus und Mohammed ist ein himmelweiter Unterschied. Auf der einen Seite sehen wir einen Mann, der Feindesliebe predigte, niemals zur Tötung „Ungläubiger“ oder anderer Menschen aufforderte, einen Mann, der Giganten des Geistes wie Tolstoi und Dostojewski faszinierte – und auf der anderen Seite einen Staatsführer, Feldherrn und Eroberer, der Gefangene machte und Anteil an der Beute bekam.

Überaus bezeichnend für den Unterschied zwischen Jesus und Mohammed ist die Haltung der beiden Religionsstifter zur Steinigung. Von Mohammed wird mehrfach überliefert, dass er die Steinigung für nötig hielt. In der Sammlung Al-Buhari steht das folgende Hadith (Reclam-Ausgabe Seite 451): „An einem Freitag steinigte Ali (Gott möge an ihm Wohlgefallen haben) eine Frau. Er sagte: ‚Ich habe sie gesteinigt, wie der Gesandte Gottes (Gott segne ihn und schenke ihm Heil) es in vergleichbaren Fällen getan hat.‘“ Und Jesus? Jeder kennt seine wunderbaren Worte (Johannesevangelium, Kapitel 8): „Wer von euch ohne Sünde ist, werfe den ersten Stein auf sie!“ und „Geh hin und sündige von jetzt an nicht mehr!“

Fazit: Die Menschenrechte sind mit dem Gesamttext des Neuen Testaments (auch da gibt es problematische Stellen) zu ca. 95 Prozent vereinbar. Der Koran dagegen ist ein Buch, das an vielen, vielen Stellen radikal und massiv den heute geltenden Menschenrechten widerspricht.

And here my translation:

I would counter Jeff Sessions with another citation of the New Testament: Acts 5.29: “We must obey God rather than men.” I can hardly imagine that God would support taking parents away from their children. Roman 13 is troubling because the passage seems to assume that the state only orders benevolence.

You are right, dear Norbert, when you warn about citing Quran or Bible verses in order to provide a foundation for a political view or even to justify “dirty deeds.”

There is, however, a massive difference between the Bible and the Quran. The Old Testament contains no divine epiphany directed at today’s readers as the Quran does (“believers, thou shalt do this and that…”), but instead tells stories, and there is a sky high difference between the New Testament and the Quran, as well as Jesus and Mohammed. On the one hand we see a man who preached loving your enemies, who never ordered the deaths of non-believers or anyone else, a man who fascinated giants of thought like Tolstoy or Dostoevsky – and on the other hand we see a statesman, a commander and conqueror, who took prisoners and his part of the loot.

The difference between Jesus and Mohammed is particularly highlighted by the attitude of the two founders of religions towards stoning. We know from multiple citations that Mohammed considered stoning necessary.  In the collection Al-Buhari we find the following Hadith (German Reclam edition page 451): “On a Friday Ali (Allah may be pleased with him) stoned a woman. He said: ‘I have stoned her, as the envoy of Allah (may Allah bless and praise him) has done so in comparable situations.'”And Jesus? Everyone knows his wonderful words (John 8.6): “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” and “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more.”

Conclusion: Human rights are compatible with about 95 percent of the text of the New Testament (while there are also some problematic locations). The Quran, however, is a book that in many, many places radically and massively contradicts today’s generally accepted human rights.

For further reading about comparisons between religions, and particularly strong condemnation of Islam, may I direct you to The End of Faith – by Sam Harris – here is my review written in 2009.

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Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander in chief of this nation.

— Ted Cruz, at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa on June 22, 2018

I don’t know what Ted Cruz believes or how he starts his day.

I also don’t know what Trump does when he gets up in the morning.

I am not a gambling man, but I’d put a lot of money on a bet that Trump does not believe in God and he does not start his day on his knees.

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When politicians quote verses in scripture to justify their dirty deeds, the society is usually in trouble.

What distinguishes the blabbering of biblical verses of Jeff Sessions from those of Taliban lunatics or ISIS murderers who quote the Quran to justify their crimes and atrocities?

Nothing that I see.

Our country is not supposed to be based on religious values. I don’t want our so-called leaders to rationalize their crimes against humanity based on religious value systems that many of us do not support or subscribe to.

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Psalms 109 / 8 – 13

 

 

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Napoleon on Religion

I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation so much as the mystery of the social order. It introduces into the thought of heaven an idea of equalization, which saves the rich from being massacred by the poor.

— Napoleon: In His Own Words” (1916)

In English: Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

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Wisdom of Eric Trump

“There are things as Americans we should be united on. And if we can’t be united on God, if we can’t be united on African-American unemployment being at the lowest it’s ever been.”

— Eric Trump, complaining on Fox News that Democrats didn’t stand when Trump said we were united on God.

Sorry, Eric, but just because you believe in a sky fairy does not mean I have to stand and applaud it when it’s mentioned, particularly in a governmental setting in a country that should have state and church separated. What is great about America is exactly that – my right to sit when you blather about something that is completely meaningless to me.

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This morning, during my daily reading, within a few minutes from each other, I came across two completely different posts about child molestation.

The first had the December 2014 headline about newly minted pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe, Arizona:

Texas Pastor: ‘Relentless Dirty Faggots’ Are ‘Always Trying To Rape’ And ‘Snatch Your Children’

— www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Anderson ordained pastor Donny Romero, who is quoted saying this about homosexuals:

They are all pedophiles, they’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat.

Anderson has called for genocide of all homosexuals to rid the country of HIV. But speaking of HIV, here is the other post was about the Catholic church:

Catholic priest Jose Garcia Ataulfohas been acquitted by the church after admitted to raping almost 30 young girls aged between 5 and 10-years-old. Ataulfohas was infected with HIV and knew it, when he raped the children.

We are used to hearing about sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, but this priest was cleared of any wrong-doing and won’t face any criminal charges.

How can we tolerate such crass behavior and allow it to continue? How can we accept preaching of genocide from the pulpit? Both of these cases involve organizations that are tax-exempt in the United States. Both organizations now benefit from Trump’s executive order to repeal the Johnson amendment.

We are all fomenting a rebellion, stirred up by our president, against radical Islamists. Yes, there are radical Islamists. We need to be concerned. But I am much, much, much less concerned about our country, our people, and our children being harmed by radical Islamists than I am about radical Christians right here in our country.

The last radical Islamists who hurt Americans in the “homeland” were, if I remember right, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino killers, who attached a Regional Center on December 2, 2015.

The last time a child was molested by a Catholic priest was probably today. It does not even make headlines anymore. Who is fomenting action about these children?

Oh, we are a Christian nation!

 

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The woman clapping like a child behind Trump is Paula White, a renowned Florida klepto-Christian.

White has been a personal minister to Donald Trump who discovered White by watching her TV show. Trump would often bring her to Atlantic City for private Bible studies, and he has appeared on her television show. White was credited in June 2016 by James Dobson as having converted Trump to Christianity. White was part of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board during his campaign for US President, and provided the invocation prayer during Trump’s inauguration ceremony. The subject with assistance from her own ministry board advisor, Jack Graham (pastor), have an ongoing spiritual role towards President Trump.

— Wikipedia

I call White a fake Christian. Her strain of Christianity differs from the mainstream biblical teachings. Her prosperity doctrine teaches that Christians who are living their lives according to the bible will get rich. White and Trump believe that affluence is proof of spiritual fitness. You can see that in his stance on public policy and cabinet appointments.

I for one do not believe, for a minute, that Trump is a Christian or that he even believes in God. This is the “grab them by the pussy” guy that will say anything his audience wants to hear at the moment. There is a lot of money and power in Christianity. Just read up on the popes and bishops of many centuries ago and you will come to the conclusion that religion really is the opium of the masses, and a perfect tool to control entire nations of people.

And that, my friends, is exactly what Trump is doing here.

He is pandering to those drinking the Kool-Aid:

Oh, yes, I can’t wait. Pope Trump and God will now drain the swamp! What is with those people?

Here is one I got a real kick out of:

He actually thinks Paula White is Kellyanne!

Hallelujah!

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Saw this on Facebook today:

No, I do not agree.

Contrary to what many people think, the Pledge has nothing to do with our founding fathers. It was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

It didn’t have “the Flag of the United States of America” in it at the time. That was not added until 1923.

“Under God” was added during the Eisenhower administration in 1954 to counteract communism. Bellamy’s daughter objected to that change.

Making children recite memorized slogans in a public forum, under peer pressure, is a form of brainwashing and propaganda. Just like school prayer.

We should give our children the gift of critical thinking. When they know how to think for themselves, they can decide to what and who they should have allegiance for, based on merit, not on memorized slogans, especially if they don’t know the origins of those slogans.

Once they are adults, they should have been exposed to a number of political philosophies and different religions, and it should be an easy and obvious choice for them to decide which ones they want to subscribe to.

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[Warning for my religious readers and friends: If you are offended by criticism of religion, do not read any further. I am not holding back here.]

Watching Trump’s inaugural ceremony was painful for me. The speech was dark, negative, and without vision. It portrayed an America reminiscent of Mad Max movies. What world does Trump live in? The speech was insulting, degrading and inappropriate. Listening to it, I was embarrassed for my country and my president. You’d think after a year and a half of practice, Trump would have gained some oratory skills by now. But all he did here was present a wooden delivery by reading the teleprompter, and even that he did poorly, with incongruent cadence and unnatural rhythm. I can’t wait for the State of the Union!

And what’s with all the preachers? Paula White is basically a fake minister, but Trump calls her a spiritual advisor:

Her former ministry, the Without Walls International Church, was one of six investigated in the past decade by the Senate Finance Committee over possible financial improprieties. At the time, Ms. White and her husband, Randy, from whom she is now divorced, refused to cooperate with the inquiry, and kept their lavish spending hidden behind tax laws that allowed religious organizations to operate tax-free with little transparency.

— Noah Weiland, NY Times, Jan 19, 2017

I don’t remember how many “prayers” Obama’s inauguration featured, but I remember none of them. If they were there, they didn’t get in the way. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to an occasional invocation at public events. Every Toastmasters club has invocations.

But Trump’s entire ceremony was full references to God and Jesus and boring sections of obscure scripture. Especially when the Jewish Rabbi Marvin Hier droned and blared, everyone tuned out. There was nothing really to listen to. Everyone just waited for him to be done so they could get on with it.

What happened to the separation of church and state? It does not make me comfortable at all that our president and vice president look to a fictional fairy in the sky for guidance and protection of the country. If preachers in their churches do that, so be it. Their congregations signed up for it, are paying for it, and getting their entertainment as required and expected. But this is a country, and I didn’t subscribe to this nonsense.

I do not believe for a minute that grab-them-by-the-pussy Trump even believes in God. I think he is making it all up because it is impossible to run for any office in America as an atheist. The only group more reviled in America than atheists are – probably – communists. I didn’t believe Obama was religious either, but at least he lied about his “faith” gracefully. Rumor is out that Zuckerberg is getting himself ready to run for office in the future, and all of a sudden he is no longer an atheist. He has found his Jewish heritage. I call bullshit on both Trump and Zuckerberg.

The sappy invocations, snake-oil prayers and praising of Jesus at a secular event in a nation that is supposed to keep church and state separate was disheartening. It made me sick.

Now we handed Trump the keys to the White House, along with a free ride on Air Force One and access to the nuclear button. I hope, for all of us, that he governs with more thought and sensibility than he speaks at inaugurations.

Or God help us all.

 

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U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that doctors can refuse treatment transgender patients and women who have had abortions on the basis of their religion.  If a doctor considers gender transition and abortion to be evil based on his religion, he does not have to provide service to such persons.

Ok, let’s put that into English:

If a woman had an abortion, and the doctor knows it and does not like it, he can refuse treatment to that woman. Any treatment. This is not just about performing abortions, mind you, it could be refusing to write a prescription for a cold medicine.

Let’s put that into perspective:

What would we say if an atheist doctor refused treatment to Christians, because those Christians believe in stuff he thinks is nonsense. So he claims his belief system gives him the right to refuse service to such people.

It seems like a valid argument to me.

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The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens.  We send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, just as we wish a speedy recovery to all of those wounded.  We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Germany.  We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific incident.  Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies, and we stand together with Berlin in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies.

— Ned Price, NSC Spokesperson

The United States condemns in the strongest terms – We need to stop sounding like bureaucrats. Leave out “in the strongest terms” and say what you really mean – whatever that might be.

…appears to have been a terrorist attack – ya think??? You don’t have to be Donald Trump or Henry Kissinger to see this was a terrorist attack. Driving a truck into a Christmas market is a terrorist attack.

We send our thoughts and prayers – our thoughts are noble and our prayers don’t do anyone any good. Just say: We feel terrible for you! I am tired of people making excuses for doing nothing by sending prayers. Good luck with those!

We have been in touch with German officials – German officials, American officials! I want to know who called whom. Did Obama call Merkel? If some American bureaucrat called some German bureaucrat, what good does that do? We know they have been on the phone. It’s not helping this statement. 

…in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies – How about “in the fight against Islamic terrorism.”

With watered down drivel, double-speak and euphemisms clouding the statements of our government, no wonder Trump has risen. In contrast, he said:

Islamic terrorists continuously slaughter Christians…as part of their global jihad.

— Donald Trump

When you compare Trump’s blunt statement, which we all understand, to Ned Price’s statement (who even knows who Ned Price is?), I have to ask you: Who of the two is likely to deal with the problem?

Whenever you ask Trump voters why they voted for the man, with all the despicable clutter the drags around with himself, they always say:

“He says it like it is!”

I am not supporting Trump, but I can tell you that if Obama had spent more time saying it like it is, and acting accordingly in the threat of international Islamic terror, the outcome of the election would have been different. I am not even sure WHAT Obama actually did to fight terrorism other than endless drone attacks for eight years. The fact that I don’t know what he did is evidence that none of us really knew. So it looks like we did not much, some say nothing, and it was certainly not very effective.

That’s how you lose a nation to a demagogue!

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A woman who refuses to wear the hijab is disobeying Allah and committing a serious sin, putting worldly pleasures above spiritual attainment, and neglecting her duty to the religion of Islam. Many scholars agree that the only reason a Muslim may live in a non-Muslim country is to conduct dawah and bring people to the true religion. How can a woman perform dawah for Islam when she is not even practicing it herself? To do this would be a form of hypocrisy and it will not be successful.

Aisha Hamdan – Mission Islam

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