Posts Tagged ‘Fundamentalism’


genocide

Roots Of Modern Terrorism And Religious Fundamentalism

By G. Asgar Mitha

– Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity – Pope Benedict III – Pope from 855 – 858 AD.

– Fear is the basis of the whole – fear of the mysterious, of defeat and death. Fear is the parent of cruelty and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand – Bertrand Russell

I‘ve quoted Bertrand Russell after reading his rather interesting essays titled Why I’m Not a Christian delivered on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch and that inspired me to write this article.

The horrors of the Catholic Church are well documented while even today the modernists, historians and politicians are turned off to discuss those horrors and are involved in discussing the horrors of a Muslim civilization. No civilization has been without its dark ages. Europe and America burnt people alive by tying them to stakes after accusations of witchcraft. Ancient Egypt used to cut off the limbs of their citizens from opposite ends and then crucify them. Rome too crucified their citizens. All kinds of horrors have been recorded in history books. One of the best movies I’d seen was The Name of the Rose starring Sean Connery regarding the Holy Inquisition involving the Church. The procedures of the Holy Inquisition involved examination of charges of heresy by the Church. Even those innocent were not spared by trumped up charges. Such was the terrorism due to religious fundamentalism within the European religious system that the Church reaped wealth, mainly from the poor and destitute while protecting the wealthy aristocrats. The Church was not only a religious entity but it also embodied politics.

The Spanish Inquisitions from 1474-1834 AD were held under Pope Sixtus IV mainly against the Jews and Muslims but also against Christian heretics. Those refusing to take up Catholic faith were led to the stake to be burnt alive in a ceremony known as auto-de-fe (act of failth) and their properties confiscated to the Church.

The horrors of the Catholic Church are provided in brief in the above paragraphs. However the roots of current situation of Muslim terrorism and fundamentalism need to be examined. The basis of all terrorism and fundamentalism is not religion (as correctly postulated by Karen Armstrong) which condemns both but rests in politics and powers of the state and the religious authorities. Both politicians and clergy have used religion to consolidate their power over the weakest of their audience condemning them as heretics and kafirs (heathen unbelievers).

While I was growing up in Pakistan until 1968, there was harmony and religious tolerance among the Shia and Sunni sects. Christians and Hindus too were accepted and tolerated and there were no Islamic laws that discriminated them. Hotels used to serve alcohol and advertise striptease shows of women from many countries. After having completed my education in the US, I returned to Pakistan in 1977 under the martial law rule of President Zia-ul-Haq only to find a Pakistani society devoid of all tolerance and one of extreme religious fundamentalism but not yet of visible terrorism. It was in the germinating stages. Zia was a diehard Saudi supporter who closely held the Wahhabist-Salfist belief of forcibly imposing religion upon the people. In exchange Zia received large Saudi monetary aid to breed religious extremism among the Taliban (students) in madressas (religious schools) operated as seminaries to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan. The Saudis in turn received the political support from the US. The students were not taught true Islamic values which are based on knowledge and free learning that benefits mankind. The Wahhabist teachings are instead based on fear aptly described by Bertrand Russell.

The other Wahhabist-Salafist fundamentalist Saudi citizen, Osama bin Laden, led the Afghan Mujahideen (holy warriors) and Taliban against the Soviets under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda (the base). He was supposedly killed in Pakistan in May 2011 by the Americans. The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted over nine years from December 1979 to February 1989. Zia died in August 1988 in a mysterious plane crash. He’d served his masters well and the Americans and Saudis rewarded him with a plea to God to open the doors of Heaven for him and for the houris (female angels) to entertain him. Unfortunately I perceive the same fates for other current Pakistani leaders who are serving their masters.

IS (Islamic States), for example, has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with fear, cruelty, politics and religious intolerance. IS does not represent Islamic moderation, tolerance, respect and knowledge. The IS Jihadists being recruited from Europe and N. America are most likely not mainstream Muslims but lunatics and converts in a society they hate. They could well have been victims of political and extremist religious brainwashing similar to the Taliban. Just like al-Qaeda and Taliban were recruited against the Soviets, the IS may have been created to plunder the Arab countries. The IS is conducting inquisitions against everyone regardless of their minority (Christians and Yezidis) or sectarian beliefs (Shias and Sunnis) and their methods of torture and murder (beheadings and burning) are as horrifying as was practiced by the European Churches.

Following the war’s end, Afghanistan was in ruins and those same political parties (the seven party Jihadists) that had allied against the Soviets engaged in trivial disputes and fighting among themselves. America abandoned Afghanistan and Pakistan only to return in 2001 with a war against the former and military threats and promises of monetary aid for the latter. The Taliban returned victorious to Pakistan after having defeated the Soviet infidels. They now believed they were God’s chosen people and like Zia, it was their bounden duty to forcibly impose Wahhabism upon a nation. Terrorism and fear became their instruments and many of these Taliban also infiltrated the political parties in Pakistan in order to gain power and wealth similar to the norms of the Christian Church of the dark ages. America watched and learnt how hyenas fight over a carcass. Pakistan and Afghanistan were ushering in the dark ages. The lessons were going to be applied throughout the Muslim world with the objectives of once again gaining not only power but control of the precious black gold resource.

Saudi Arabia and other Monarchist Arab Wahhabist countries have been natural economic allies of America and its European vassals as they are weak and in need of protection. America continues to support the Saudis in exporting their perverted religious dogma across the Muslim countries in order to breed religious intolerance, cruelty and terrorism. Some of the countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria and Palestine have been war victims, others like Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt have survived upon American and Saudi aids. Iran is the only Muslim country where America and the Saudi monarchy have failed for exporting terrorism and religious extremism and both fear it as a regional power. Iran has adopted values of democracy, tolerance, moderation, justice, knowledge and learning – the hallmarks of Islam. The roots of Wahhabism are based on an extremist form of Islam, of intolerance of all religions, injustice and implementation of fear by their religious police known as mutawwas supported by the monarchies which the west supports. The one thing common among the Arab monarchies and the western ‘democracy’ is deep hypocrisy.


The Suspected White House Shooter’s Right Wing Ideas
An anti-government religious fanatic who thinks Obama is the anti-Christ
Charles Johnson

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, and in light of the right wing blogosphere’s ongoing attempts to link Ortega to the Occupy Wall Street protests, it should be pointed out that what we know so far about his delusional ideas falls much more in line with right wing religious ideology: Idaho Man Threatened Obama, Officials Say.

Mr. Ortega-Hernandez’s family had reported him missing in Idaho Falls last month, after he drove away in the Honda Accord, the complaint said. The Secret Service has said it did not have Mr. Ortega-Hernandez on record as having made any threats against the president. But after the shooting, several acquaintances said he had been fixated on Mr. Obama.

Besides the one friend who told investigators that Mr. Ortega-Hernandez had said he believed the president was the “Antichrist” and that he needed to kill him, another friend said he stated “President Obama was the problem with the government,” was “the devil,” and that he “needed to be taken care of.” The second friend also said he appeared to be “preparing for something.”

Mr. Ortega-Hernandez has had legal problems in Idaho, Texas, and Utah, including charges related to drug offenses, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, officials have said. He is said to be heavily tattooed, with the word “Israel” on his neck and pictures of rosary beads and hands clasped in prayer on his chest.

The crazy idea that President Obama is the anti-Christ is a very common meme on the religious right; here’s one of many articles at World Net Daily promoting this idiocy: Did Jesus actually reveal name of the ‘antichrist’?

The name that “Jesus revealed,” according to this article, is Barack Obama.


John McCain ‘Very Disappointed’ by GOP Debate

“Waterboarding is torture”

Unfortunately, it’s no longer shocking to hear Republican presidential candidates enthusiastically endorse the use of torture to gain information from terror suspects. At Saturday’s debate, the audience erupted in applause each time a candidate promised to waterboard the hell out of Al Qaeda.

After that spectacle, Sen. John McCain was moved to tweet:

Very disappointed by statements at SC GOP debate supporting waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture.

President Obama also criticized this rush to embrace torture:

Obama also criticised the Republicans candidates on Monday.

“They’re wrong. Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals,” the president said.

“If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. That’s not something we do.”


The Religious Right habitually camouflages it’s nefarious Christian Nationalist Worldview behind a phoney “pro-Israel” facade.

Religious fanatic John Hagee believes god sent Hitler to exterminate Jews and thus, as act and prophetic directive of his god, obviously a righteous and just genocide.

Like Catholic Hitler, John Hagee believes that unless Jews are converted to his Christ, they will be eradicated in the fires of hell that is, their final annihilation.

One has to wonder how even certain Right Wing Jews can be so utterly blind and continue support a religious buffoon who considers the destruction of Jews an inexorable, righteous and prophetic dictate — of his
psychopathic god?!


[As previously blogged, conspiracism or conspiracy thinking and religious fundamentalism go hand in hand. Both are irrational world views. Conspiracism, like religion, provides a false sense of enlightenment and “… a thread of insistence exists that only certain, truly enlightened people can see the truth behind the secret plots. Most conspiracies are, so the thinking goes, invisible to the vast majority of sheeplike citizens who go grazing through the pasture of life, never suspecting the evil wolves lurking behind the rocks of everyday occurrences.

In a way, conspiracism can be comforting to true believers because it removes the scary notion of randomness from the universe. For some, conspiracies can seem like an extension of religious faith, with God and Satan locked in a struggle for supremacy on Earth. In fact, many conspiracists are strongly connected to a belief in the coming of the end of the world. After a specific series of world events happens, these “millenialists” believe, those events will usher in Armageddon, the final battle between the forces of good and evil on Earth.”]

Ref:- Pat Robertson Lapin Up 9/11 Bible Prophecy Nonsense
Posted on October 6, 2011 by Richard Bartholomew

A double-whammy of stupidity from Rabbi Daniel Lapin, in conversation with Pat Robertson:

The Torah, in ancient Jewish wisdom the Bible, actually explains something which we have lived through which is one of the great mysteries: the plot of 9/11… Not only do we find references in Zachariah to four mysterious crafts that come through between two mountains made of metal, in biblical terminology mountains can be natural mountains or also anything tall that grows up like two buildings, also the idea that the plot was hatched not in Mecca or Medina or Riyadh or anywhere else in Saudi Arabia, that plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany…

Lapin is making a garbled and absurd reference to Zechariah 6: 1-8:

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black,  the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?” The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.” When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth. Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”

There are no “mysterious crafts”: instead, the author is obviously describing symbolic chariots for the four “spirits of heaven”. The “mountains of bronze” are not buildings: the image has been taken from Babylonian mythology to represent the gateway into heaven. It should be further noted that the chariots are “coming out from between” the two mountains, rather than crashing into them, and that their drivers are spirits sent to do God’s work around the world, rather than terrorists sent to the USA to massacre people. Lapin is either a fool or a fraud: but either way, it’s clear from this that he doesn’t give a damn about interpreting the Bible with any kind of integrity. And the same goes for Robertson, for endorsing such a farrago of nonsense.

But while we’re still trying to swallow that, Lapin serves up a dessert. 9/11, he explains,

… was based on a dream that Adolf Hitler had in 1943 which was to fly suicide Luftwaffe German air force bombers into the towers of Manhattan… That was a Hitler dream described in a book called ‘Spandau Diary’ written by one of the Nazis who was captured after the war and who witnessed, and actually I’ve seen drawings, and I don’t doubt for a moment that the Muslim plotters, in the mosque in Hamburg who laid out the plans for 9/11, I don’t doubt for a moment that they encountered those same plans. I don’t think they thought of this themselves. This was the fulfillment of a dream that was really put in place early on in World War II.

Lapin is referring to Spandau: The Secret Diaries, by Albert Speer. In his entry for 18 November 1947, Speer recalls that

I never saw [Hitler] so worked up as toward the end of the war, when in a kind of delirium he pictured for himself and for us the destruction of New York in a hurricane of fire. He described the skyscrapers being turned into gigantic burning torches, collapsing upon one another, the glow of the exploding city illuminating the dark sky. Then, as if finding his way back to reality from a frenzy, he declared that Saur must immediately carry our Messerschmitt’s scheme for a four-engine long-range jet bomber. With such range we could repay America a thousand-fold for the destruction of our cities.

The plan for a “jet bomber” is mentioned again in passing in the entry for 2 November 1953. There is no mention of Manhattan, and no concept of a suicide mission: the “jet bomber” was obviously envisioned as dropping bombs on New York, rather than as being a bomb itself.

Last year, Lapin took part in Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny”, as one of Beck’s “Black Robe Regiment” of conservative pastors. A subsequent Media Matters post, drawing on earlier Washington Post reports, notes Lapin’s links to Jack Abramoff, whom I previously discussed here.

(H/T Right Wing Watch)


Bully pulpit? ‘Christian Nation’ advocate David Barton sues critics

Pseudo-historian David Barton is on the attack again – this time in court.

Barton, a prominent advocate of the discredited view that the United States was founded to be an officially “Christian nation,” is suing three people in Texas whom he says have defamed him.

Barton’s lawsuit asserts that Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who ran for the Texas State Board of Education in 2010, defamed Barton by publishing an ad noting that Barton has had ties to white supremacists. He’s also suing an internet journalist named W.S. Smith who asserted that Barton is liar.

This business about Barton’s connections to white supremacism goes back to 1991, when the Institute for First Amendment Studies reported that Barton had addressed a gathering in Colorado run by Scriptures for America, a group headed by an extremist preacher named Pete Peters.

At the Colorado event, Barton’s fellow speakers included anti-Semites, white supremacists and a Holocaust denier. Later that year, Barton spoke at Kingdom Covenant College in Grants Pass, Oregon, an institution affiliated with the racist and anti-Semitic “Christian Identity” movement.

I pointed this out in Church & State in 1993, and it was later reported by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in its lengthy 1994 report on the Religious Right. More recently, Media Matters brought it up last year when Barton was getting cozy with Glenn Beck.

My point is, many others have reported on these connections over the years. So why didn’t Barton sue the ADL or Media Matters?

In my 2000 book Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys Into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics, I was careful to point out that there is no evidence that Barton himself is a racist or an anti-Semite. But that he twice addressed groups that hold these views is a fact. I even have a letter from one of Barton’s assistants claiming that Barton didn’t realize the extremist nature of these groups when he agreed to speak to them.

I still believe that he showed poor judgment. It must have been obvious when Barton arrived at these venues that extremists and hate-mongers were running the show. The honorable thing to do would have been to leave.

Is Barton a liar? He certainly spreads misinformation about American history, but whether he does so knowingly is a matter of debate. Barton seems to believe what he’s saying is true – even though it’s not.

On May 2, 1996, Barton appeared on a radio program with James Dobson of Focus on the Family. During the interview, Barton asserted that in his famous 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists that contains the famous “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor, Thomas Jefferson went on to say that “we will still use Christian principles with the government.”

The Danbury letter says no such thing [Editor’s note: Read it HERE] and I find it hard to believe that Barton had not read it by then. It could be that he is so wedded to his perspective that he sees things that are not there or draws wildly inappropriate conclusions based on scanty evidence.

In my opinion, Barton’s lawsuit is designed to intimidate his critics. If people have to spend time and money defending themselves in court, they might be reluctant to write about Barton in the future.

It’s the legal equivalent of a schoolyard bully’s shakedown. Barton has become famous (and wealthy) through his promotion of “Christian nation” claptrap. He has also become a public figure, someone who is open to criticism and barbs. He needs to develop a thicker skin.

I urge anyone threatened by Barton to resist him to the hilt in court.

P.S. Friday I will be speaking to Americans United’s Great Plains Chapter in Wichita, Kan., on “The Christian Nation Myth.” I will debunk Barton’s perspective. If you live in the area, come on out for this free event. Go here for more information.

Related articles:

  1. David Barton Files Defamation Suits Against Three
  2. David Barton: US should use biblical justice, just as the Constitution says
  3. David Barton Is Not A Historian
  4. Historians Agree: David Barton Is No Historian
  5. Faith, Freedom and Frankfurters: An Independence Day reflection on the “Christian Nation” myth
Rob Boston is senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rob, who has worked at Americans United since 1987, contributes to AU’s Wall of Separation blog, serves as assistant editor of AU’s “Church & State” magazine, and has authored three books on religion and politics. Column reprinted with permission.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry.


More Coulter Stupidity on Evolution

by Ed Brayton

Not content to show her complete ignorance of evolutionary biology once, Ann Coulter doubles down with yet another screed that would get her flunked by a competent high school science teacher. She begins with this unintentionally amusing statement:

More people know the precepts of kabala than know the basic elements of Darwinism.

And then she proves it by displaying her own ignorance of the subject.

Darwin’s theory was that a process of random mutation, sex and death, allowing the “fittest” to survive and reproduce, and the less fit to die without reproducing, would, over the course of billions of years, produce millions of species out of inert, primordial goo.The vast majority of mutations are deleterious to the organism, so if the mutations were really random, then for every mutation that was desirable, there ought to be a staggering number that are undesirable.

Actually, most mutations are neutral. Coulter, and all of us, have hundreds of mutations in our DNA at the very least, and the overwhelming majority of the time they affect us hardly at all. In some cases, they cause serious disease. And in other cases they can aid in survival. This is not even remotely controversial. We see it happen in both the lab and the wild literally every day.

If we sequence a genome and compare it to earlier versions of the same genome, we can identify the specific mutations. Richard Lenski has done exactly that with a population of bacteria, which are particularly useful for such experiments because they reproduce so quickly. Not only can we see the specific mutations and their effects, we can watch a particular trait evolve over time as new mutations pile up on top of the old ones and create new pathways and new molecular structures.

We also ought to find a colossal number of transitional organisms in the fossil record – for example, a squirrel on its way to becoming a bat, or a bear becoming a whale. (Those are actual Darwinian claims.)But that’s not what the fossil record shows. We don’t have fossils for any intermediate creatures in the process of evolving into something better. This is why the late Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard referred to the absence of transitional fossils as the “trade secret” of paleontology. (Lots of real scientific theories have “secrets.”)

Ah, another dishonest quote mine. This one irritated Gould himself, who addressed the question head on when he wrote:

Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether though design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. The punctuations occur at the level of species; directional trends (on the staircase model) are rife at the higher level of transitions within major groups.

And indeed they are. In fact, Gould himself wrote a good deal about one of the transitions that Coulter questions, the evolution of whales from land mammals (not from bears but from Artiodactyls). Paleontologists have now found numerous transitional forms from land mammals to modern whales and they form a fairly complete series. Gould wrote in 1994:

“If you had given me a blank piece of paper and a blank check, I could not have drawn you a theoretical intermediate any better or more convincing than Ambulocetus. Those dogmatists who by verbal trickery can make white black, and black white, will never be convinced of anything, but Ambulocetus is the very animal that they proclaimed impossible in theory.”

Coulter continues:

If you get your news from the American news media, it will come as a surprise to learn that when Darwin first published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, his most virulent opponents were not fundamentalist Christians, but paleontologists.

Another lie. It’s certainly true that there were scientific critics of Darwin’s theory, but the primary opposition came from the church. Thus, the famous debate between Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce. What Coulter conveniently leaves out is that Darwin’s theory gained very rapid acceptance among scientists quite quickly because it explained such a wide range of data extremely well. And that continues to this day. Coulter doesn’t know any of this because she is as ignorant of the scientific literature on evolution as I am of auto mechanics. Unlike her, however, I don’t go around declaring that all auto mechanics don’t know a thing about how to fix a car or that the internal combustion engine couldn’t possibly work.

But things have only gotten worse for Darwin.Thirty years ago (before it was illegal to question Darwinism), Dr. David Raup, a geologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, said that despite the vast expansion of the fossil record: “The situation hasn’t changed much.”

To the contrary, fossil discoveries since Darwin’s time have forced paleontologists to take back evidence of evolution. “Some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record,” Raup said, “such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information.”

Another dishonest quote mine. What a shock that new evidence would alter explanations. This is, of course, one of the great strengths of science — and one of the great weaknesses of religion. More detailed information should modify our explanations, and in science they do.

The rest is more of the same, rote regurgitation of long-discredited creationist arguments. Ironically, the very man she quoted in her last ignorant diatribe on the subject, Michael Behe, accepts common descent and agrees that the fossil record clearly supports it. He just gives God a divine assist at the molecular level.