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The Face of Evil Today

The Bible Names Its Enemies:

The Bible names its enemies: Egypt, Amalek, the Philistines, and many others.  For each of them the Bible spells out why they are considered the

Joseph Dwells in Egypt, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Joseph Dwells in Egypt by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

enemy, and what to do about them.  We are told not to hate the Egyptians because we were strangers in their land. We were also refugees there, and military allies.  Though Pharaoh did evil, Egypt doesn’t embody wickedness.

Amalek is the face of evil in the Bible,  the paradigmatic bad guy.  The nation attacked the Jewish people shortly after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. The Bible, in response, promised “a war for the Lord against Amalek from generation to generation.” Amalek is linked to Haman, who tried to eradicate the Jews of the Persian Empire. Even Nazi Germany is fancifully tied to them.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is a global religious leader, philosopher and moral voice for our time. A towering intellectual and prolific author, he is respected and revered by Jews and non-Jews alike. He examined the face of evil in a recent essay in which he wrote that the Egyptians hated and enslaved the Israelites, because they feared their strength. When the reason for the hatred would disappear so would the hatred, because of rational self-interest.

Amalek, on the other hand, attacked the Israelites simply because they could. It was an irrational hatred that could not disappear when the reason disappeared, because there was no reason. Rabbi Sacks explains it is this irrational face of evil that the Bible demands we remember.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

The Face of Evil Beneath the Heart:

The Rabbi explains:

It is easy at times of peace to forget the evil that lies just beneath the surface of the human heart. Never was this truer than in the past three centuries. The birth of Enlightenment, toleration, emancipation, liberalism and human rights persuaded many, Jews among them, that collective evil was as extinct as the Amalekites. Evil was then, not now. That age eventually begat nationalism, fascism, communism, two World Wars, some of the brutal tyrannies ever known, and the worst crime of man against man.

In the peaceful times that followed World War II, many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans forgot again about the face of evil, the irrational hatred which dwells in many hearts. The troubles in the world were attributed to the evil acts of the strong and powerful, to legacy of colonialism. The violence in South-East Asia, the Middle East, were explained away as rational responses to the legacy of western imperialism.

the face of evil

the face of evil

Refusing to Recognize the Face of Evil:

On September 11, 2001, it became impossible to ignore the face of evil, casting its evil eye. Although many people still searched for explanations or conspiracies, there was nothing to rationalize the brutal terror unleashed upon America. Rabbi Sacks declares:

Today, the great danger is terror (emphasis added)

…That is why are commanded to remember and never forget Amalek, not because the historic people still exists, but because a society of rational actors can sometimes believe that the world is full of rational actors with whom one can negotiate peace. It is not always so.

The Rabbi Is Wrong:

Rabbi Sacks is wrong. The greatest danger is not terror. It’s radical Islam, which is the source of virtually all contemporary terrorism.

One cannot remember, never mind confront the face of evil if you refuse to call it by its name. We are not commanded ‘not to hate’ the chariot riders (Egypt), or to remember what the attackers of the weak (Amalek) did. We don’t identify these enemies by their military techniques. Terror is a technique, used to demoralize and crush. It is being used by the adherents of a specific religion, in the name of their religion. Victims may refuse to identify the purveyors of fear as Muslims, but the terrorists aren’t shy about it. A politician, a journalist, a Rabbi might say that terror isn’t Islamic, but the Muslims terrorists say it is. An Orthodox rabbi is not a higher authority on Islam than the many Muslims who proclaims terror as an integral part of their faith.  The Muslims who oppose them don’t deny the nature of their violence. A Brooklyn Imam, identifying radical Islam as a “cancer,” said:

“These scholars consider any verse that calls to treat people with kindness to have been abrogated. All that remains valid is ‘Kill! Slaughter!’ Is that the only thing that God tells us? …Muslims of the religious sector are time bombs.”

Put a Name to the Face of Evil:

Moses at the battle against Amalek

Moses at the battle against Amalek

If we refuse to name the contemporary Amalek, surely we cannot remember them.   If we’re too afraid to name them, they are winning.

In the first Biblical encounter with Amelek, Moses, the leader of the Israelites held up his arms during the battle, and the people were inspired to victory. The leaders of today such are not raising their hands, and the people hesitate to fight back. Rabbi Sacks says the evil is “terror.” The Dalai Lama says it’s not fair to associate terrorism with Islam.  Gandhi, the icon of nonviolence rationalized “…if Hindus became Muslims to save themselves from death, it was …not forcible conversion.”  The failure to identify, never mind remember the face of evil, the contemporary Amalek, is a violation of an obligation to God, of a responsibility to mankind.

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

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A Different Kind Of War

A Manifesto

Redefining the Battlefield

Our civilized world is in a different kind of war, aimed at dragging it back to the 8th century.  Our values are the enemy’s main weapon against us.  We must adapt if we are to survive.

Forget “religion.” Forget “nation” and “geography.” Don’t even think about “ideology” or “economy.” The enemy in this war includes our citizens, our co-religionists, people on the other side of the world, and our next-door neighbors. The civilized world, regardless of race, religion or region is in an apocalyptic conflict, aimed at dragging the world back to the Dark Ages, and the old categories are keeping us from fighting back.

Forget the meaning of war. Forget the Geneva Convention, the Hague Convention on the rules and regulations of war. Those are for armies, countries, civilized people. This is a irrelevant in a different kind of wardifferent kind of war

Some combat takes place on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. Other battles are on the streets of Ottawa, Paris, Boston and Montreal. Some involves the execution of soldiers; some, of shoppers. The aggressor in this war wants to browbeat his opponents into acquiescence; this doesn’t always entail killing. Sometimes the threat of violence is enough to cancel a lecture, silence a critic. The police are among the first to advise compliance in order to avoid trouble. They certainly don’t want to appear Islamophobic.

Cops are good for dealing with criminals. They are not equipped for war. Our legal system is not equipped for this different war. And so, we are losing.

 

Islamophobia- a different kind of war

Islamophobia

We lost on 9/11.

We lost in the Madrid, the London bombings.

We lost in the Boston Marathon, at Parliament in Ottawa, in the relentless barbarism in Nigeria.

…and countless more.

Body_Scan_Pic

airport security scan

We lose every time we go to the airport and  give up an hour or so to have our bags and bodies scanned.

We lose every time we use a phone, send an e-mail or look at a web page, because these are no longer private acts. They must be scanned by security, looking for plots by our enemies.

We lose whenever an organization fears to publish its address, when security guards or even soldiers have to protect religious institutions. When we can’t go into certain areas of our cities, because they are under control of the enemy.

We lose when dissenting opinions are shouted down or their speakers beaten up. When those opinions can’t be given voice, for fear of offending vengeful, violent people. Free speech is good and we are all Charlie Hebdo, but we don’t want to end up like Charlie Hebdo.

Kenyan Church after attack

Kenyan Church after attack

A Different Kind of War Strategy

It will get worse unless we prepare to fight back. We need different tactics, for this different war. Here are some suggestions:

  • Ban immigration, ban temporary visas from regions where our defeats are celebrated, where our enemies are admired; places such as Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and North Africa.
    • Canada has a long tradition of favoring immigrants from particular countries. It’s time for Canada and the U.S. to discriminate on the basis of origin.
  • Anyone who goes to fight on behalf of an enemy or terrorist entity shall be considered guilty of treason if he is a citizen or legal resident.
    • If he’s on temporary visa, the visa shall be immediately cancelled and the person deported.
    • The death penalty for treason must be restored, with a process that does not lead to interminable delays.
  • Mosques must report to police the identity of new converts,so they can be monitored.
    • Some people find violence and savagery exciting. Tired of online game warfare, they want to go to the next level, and think that Islam will get them there. The Imam of the mosque of Martin Couture-Rouleau, the convert who ran over two soldiers in St. Jean, Quebec, understood the problem, and cooperated with the RCMP. Such cooperation must be mandatory.
    • This discriminatory practice needn’t apply to other religions; their converts are not killing in the name of their new beliefs.
  • Jailed radical Muslims must be isolated from other prisoners, to prevent jailhouse radicalization or conversion.
  • Prisons must develop and apply effective intervention programs to minimize radicalization of inmates.
A War to Protect Civil Rights and Liberties

“Civil rights” are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or “discrimination”) in a number of settings — including education, employment, housing, and more — and based on certain legally-protected characteristics.

  • TheCivil Rights of the majority,and of peaceful minorities must be protected by civil and criminal law.  This includes (within the confines of law)
    • Ability to hold meetings
    • To publish and disseminate information
    • To dress according to their religion without fear of violence
    • To peacefully espouse their religious traditions and attend services.
    • To support the political and social causes of their choice.
      • All without fear of violence.
  •  A person’s right to advocate for a cause shall not interfere with the right of others to work, or to carry on their business.
    Modern taxi service

    Modern taxi service

    • The right to practice a religion shall not oblige an employer to compromise his business in order to accommodate religious beliefs and practices.
    • If a person freely takes on an obligation, he cannot excuse himself from it because of religious issues
      • If a person takes a job as a bartender, he cannot refuse to serve alcohol. If he’s a taxi driver he cannot refuse service dogs because of his religion. If his faith forbids dogs, let him find a different job.
  • Anyone on a visa who interferes with civil rights of others shall immediately have his visa cancelled.
  • Anyone interfering with normal activities (civil rights) of Canadians shall be held financially responsible for the consequences.
  • Anyone causing financial loss though demonstrations or related political activities shall be held financially responsible.
  • Anyone sponsoring or organizing such interference, whether directly or indirectly shall be held financially or criminally responsible.
  • The Tides Foundation of San Francisco funds environmental protests in Canada. Such protests include obstructing the operation or
    "Useful Idiots"

    “Useful Idiots”

    construction of national infrastructure. The anonymous donors who fund such activities through Tides must be held accountable for the damage they cause.

  • Calling for the death of people because of their race, ethnicity or religion shall be deemed a criminal act.
  • It shall be illegal to conceal one’s face when in public place, except as part of organized activity with permit from appropriate authorities.
International Economics and Propaganda in a Different Kind of War

The economic success of Western civilization is premised on capitalism, i.e. the free flow of capital between economic entities.   Any interference with the flow is bad, in principle. However when the entities have another purpose beside economic advancement or are trying to gain a surreptitious advantage, they must be controlled. When a CNOOC, a Chinese company bought a large stake in a Canadian energy company it gave the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party a direct hand in Canadian energy development. It didn’t take long for it to start reneging on the commitments it made to get regulatory approval.

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Petronas, owned by the government of Malaysia also has significant stakes in Canadian energy companies, including infrastructure. Malaysia is sixty-one percent Muslim. This in itself need not be a problem, but the country is quickly sliding towards fundamentalism and violence. A past Prime Minister was a vicious anti-Semite, and the current one has praised the strength of ISIS fighters.

In Saudi Arabia and the gulf Emirates, the governments, the energy producers and the worldwide wealth they control are essentially the same entities. The Saudis are the second largest shareholder in Fox News. They have a growing influence in the American press and entertainment industry, and they are not shy about using it.   When environmentalists oppose North American energy development, when they create obstacles that delay projects and add costs, the Saudis gain a competitive cost advantage. Sometimes the environmentalists know who is funding their work, sometimes they are clueless. Either way, they are serving the regime that has funded the worldwide spread of radical Islam.

By funding North American environmentalists, by engaging in an energy price war, the Saudis are trying to gain a surreptitious advantage. Petronas, the Saudis and CNOOC are not simply foreign capitalist entities. The former two are connected to those who have undertaken the different kind of war against us. The latter two are part of aggressive, anti-democratic regimes with no respect for the values of Western civilization. They must not be allowed to influence us in our battle.

  • Megyn-Kelly-FNC

    Employed by Murdoch and Alwaleed

    All voting control of subsidiaries of state-owned entities must be firmly and clearly separated from the regimes that own them.

  • Western governments shall be entitled to place auditors within the subsidiaries to ensure that decisions they make are for normal business purposes only.
  • Subsidiaries of state-owned entities shall not be allowed to engage in public relations, political lobbying or community affairs, whether directly or through funding of other groups.
  • Subsidiaries of state-owned entities shall not be allowed to invest in the press, entertainment media, or online social networks.
 A Different Kind of War Entails a Different Kind of Sacrifice

In previous world wars, populations related to the enemy were placed in internment camps, to make sure they weren’t working to destroy us from within. Loyal Canadians and Americans were rounded up, and treated horribly. We don’t want to do that again. It’s more than probable that the vast majority of Muslims are loyal citizens of the Western countries they now inhabit (there is no way to properly quantify this). But we can’t ignore the many radicals dedicated to our destruction.   We must make sacrifices, such as suspending some of  our values— the ones that are being used against us.  We must fight back. Pretending that a different kind of war is not really a war is the path of appeasement on the road to surrender.

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.
                                                                                    – Ayn Rand

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I’m Not Gonna Argue History

hebdoHow did we get here? It’s not what our civilization is about.

On January 7, 2015, Three black-clad gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” stormed the Paris offices of a satirical publication known for lampooning Islam, killing 12, including its editor, three political cartoonists and a police officer whose cold-blooded murder at close range was captured on a disturbing video. This resulted in a wave of  Islamaphobia, and baseless hostility to the Religion of Peace.  Why  did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the safety of its citizens at risk?

“I think everyone sees history through their own lens, and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history; I could, but I won’t.”

 The History of Pearl Harbour

On December 7, 1941, a Japanese air expedition on a humanitarian relief expedition ran into mechanical problems near Hawaii. Contaminated fuel, or something like that, led to

Planes accidentally crash at naval base

Planes accidentally crash at naval base

their rapid descent from the skies, as they hoped to land at Pearl Harbor to repair and refuel. American military commanders mistook the peaceful approach for an attack, and started firing upon the peaceful Japanese aircraft. The pilots, now in even worse trouble, had to unload their ordinance to lighten their planes. The Americans used this as an excuse to declare war on neutral Japan.

“I think everyone sees history through their own lens, and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history; I could, but I won’t.”

  The History of the Warsaw Ghetto

Jews like to live in close-knit communities (ghettos), to be near their synagogues, kosher restaurants, gymnasiums and banks. On April 19,

Burning the Warsaw Ghetto

Burning the Warsaw Ghetto

1943, a fire broke out in the heart of the Jewish community in Warsaw, Poland. The fire raged for twenty seven days, before finally being extinguished with the help of visiting German troops.  It was a terrible holocaust. Shocked, disheartened survivors were sent to Treblinka, where they were given food, shelter, and gainful employment.

“I think everyone sees history through their own lens, and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history; I could, but I won’t.”

 The History of Fort Hood Workplace Violence

On November 5, 2009, a mass murder took place at Fort Hood, Texas. In a letter to a Florida congressman, a top Army official wrote that the available evidence did not indicate the 2009 attack was an act of international terrorism. The official, at the time the Army’s senior uniformed lawyer, described the attack as “the alleged criminal act of a single individual.” Hasan was charged with mass murder, not terrorism. The government made it clear: Ft Hoodthe Fort Hood shooting was workplace violence.

“I think everyone sees history through their own lens, and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history; I could, but I won’t.”

 The History of the Selma Civil Rights March
Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel

Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel

President Lyndon Johnson was opposed to civil rights for black people, and did everything he could to stop Martin Luther King’s famous march in Selma, Alabama. It was Johnson (not the liberal icon Bobby Kennedy, as some fascists claimed) who set the FBI on King.  It was a time when black people stood alone, as Jews and other whites were busy protecting their own interests.

“I think everyone sees history through their own lens, and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history; I could, but I won’t.”
–Ava DuVernay, Director of the movie Selma (about Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous march), responding to criticism of her distortions of history.

 How did we get to the point of cartoonists being slaughtered? It’s a consequence of substituting fantasy for history, a consequence of pretending the history that you want to see is reality. When the people who shape how we look at history don’t care about accuracy, we lose the ability to learn from the past.  When the people who shape our view of current events don’t care about accuracy, we lose the ability to cope with the present.

 

MuslimTerroristOnPlaneSigneWilki-1

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A Deadly Epidemic, More Dangerous Than Ebola

ebola_map_sep5_fpThere are many diseases afflicting the world today.  Some have immediate and horrifying consequences while others may seem benign until it’s too late to do anything about them.  Health authorities stumble around, looking for ways to protect the populations, but run into barriers of cost, politics, human and constitutional rights.  We don’t know what deadly epidemic to be more afraid of, or whether some unknown ailment is going to do us in.

There are many frightful things that we’re aware of.  Ebola is highly contagious, and President Obama refuses to close the American border to people from the most affected regions of West Africa.  He’s even sent troops to help combat the disease, but with questionable protection they may be infected, or at least carriers when they return home.

The fast-spreading respiratory virus EVD68 sent over a thousand otherwise healthy children to hospital in a short period, killing a dozen.  The disease can be lethal and fast: a mother put her healthy four-year-old to bed, and he was dead by morning.  Many suspect that the flood of Central American children Obama allowed into the U.S. played a large role in the sudden spread of the disease.  They’re probably wrong.

Chagas disease is being called ‘the new AIDS.’  Spread by a bug that defecates a parasite into the victims’ bloodstream while

Chagas Symptom

Chagas Symptom

they’re asleep, it can lie dormant for decades before causing serious cardiac, esophagus or colon problems.  It is endemic to Mexico, Central America, and South America, where an estimated eight million people have the illness, most of whom do not know they are infected.  If untreated, infection is lifelong and can be life threatening.  It was once largely limited to Latin America, but now the illness is spreading north because of travel and immigration.  It’s estimated that four hundred thousand Americans are currently infected.

Smallpox Among the Aztec

Smallpox Among the Aztec

Smallpox was devastating to the American Indians, who possessed no immunity to the disease imported by early European colonists.  Populations were decimated, societies thrown into disarray.  In Europe the Black Death of the 14th century had similar effects.  Many say the plague was largely responsible for the collapse of feudalism.  Interestingly, some contemporary researchers have argued that the Black Death was Ebola, rather than bubonic plague.  The latter travelled too slowly, and the former matches the old descriptions of the

The Black Death

The Black Death

symptoms of the Black Death.

The Subtle Deadly Epidemic

There’s a much more subtle epidemic afflicting the world in the twenty-first century.  Like Chagas, many victims don’t realize they’ve been infected; there are no clear symptoms.  Yet just as the Black Death led to the end of feudalism, this plague can weaken, perhaps even bring an end to our contemporary society.

And of course, there are those who try to profit from it- not big drug companies, not insurance companies, but the people who create the policies by which America is run.  ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber said that the law was written in such a way as to take advantage of “the stupidity of the American voter.”

In the 2008 elections, Americans elected a young president with no job experience and few accomplishments to his name.  They made a man with no military experience into the Commander In Chief of what was, at the time, the world’s most powerful armed forces.  Their alternative was a war hero, decorated for his selflessness, with a long, distinguished career in government.  Obama’s track record as President is as distinguished as his list of accomplishments before becoming leader of the free world.

According to some polls Canada may be poised to elect a Prime Minister who’s done even less than Barack Obama, whose CV stops short at acting, substitute teaching, and leading a major political party.  A politician who is so shallow that he fulfilled the technical requirements of becoming a Muslim while visiting a mosque.  A would-be Prime Minister who wants Canada’s contribution to the fight against ISIS to be limited to advising their victims how to keep warm in winter.  Tell them how to use a blanket while they wait to be raped or beheaded.  It’s ludicrous, but  Justin Trudeau is ahead in the polls.

In the November 4th election, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, approved marijuana legalization, joining Oregon, Washington State, Colorado and others in making it legally safe to toke.  It’s not news that stoned people are less capable of making informed decisions than sober people.  Losing the ability to make informed decisions, perhaps permanently, doesn’t seem to be a concern to voters.

And how is it that Christianity (whether the Church of England, the Catholic Church, German churches, or others), which is under attack from Muslims throughout the world, dedicates so much effort to extending the hand of peace to Islam?

Excerpt From Louisiana Literacy Test

Excerpt From Louisiana Literacy Test

In 1964, the state of Louisiana implemented a voter literacy test, with the purpose of disqualifying black voters.  The test was deliberately obscure and poorly worded, requiring a score of 100% to pass.  In 2014 the test was administered to a group of Harvard University students.  None of them would have been allowed to vote in 1964 Louisiana; they all failed.

In 2014, Jesse Watters asked ordinary Americans questions posed to new citizens about the basics of the American government; most were stumped.  What do the 13 stripes on the flag represent?  How many Senators are there?  Who was President of the United States during World War II?  Answers to the last one ranged from Ronald Reagan to George Washington.  Three out of twelve people passed the standard citizenship test.

The deadly epidemic is clearly out of control.  Stupidity is rampant.  It’s not just a matter of genetics, lack of education, too much alcohol or marijuana.  Stupidity is also a disease, or at least a viral condition.  An innocuous microorganism, previously known to affect green algae, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.   “Of the 90 participants in the study, 40 tested positive for the algae virus.  Those who tested positive performed worse on tests designed to measure the speed and accuracy of visual processing. They also achieved lower scores in tasks designed to measure attention.”  Or, as The Independent put it, it’s a virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid.  (This is not a joke; it’s real)

This possibly explains why seemingly normal people think that George Washington was President of the U.S. during World War II.  Why many people support a potential Prime Minister who wants to teach people who are being raped, sold into slavery, or beheaded, how to use a blanket.  Why the architect of Obamacare knew he could count on the stupidity of the American public to get his legislation through.

animal testingThe deadly epidemic has the potential to destroy our way of life.  Firstly, stupid people will not be able to create the art, develop the technology, and build the cities that have advanced our civilization, improved our health, and lengthened our days.  Stupid people will demand that governments spend money it doesn’t have, while lowering taxes.  They can’t understand that arithmetic has universal relevance; governments aren’t exempt.

They will make bad decisions about what to eat, going along with every appealing food fad.  They’ll reject vaccines, based on simplistic pseudo-science.  They’ll campaign against the fossil fuels that power their cars, heat their homes, and are made into ubiquitous plastics.  They’ll oppose animal testing for new drugs, even when that means potential lifesaving medicines are delayed for vaccineyears, or kept entirely off the market because they can’t be proven safe.

If stupidity is a disease, then we can’t hold people responsible for their actions.  It provides another justification for expanding the social safety net.  Making dumb choices in one’s life will be just another sign of a disability, another excuse for doing nothing with one’s life.

Is there a cure for the stupidity virus?  We can’t look at the Centre for Disease Control for assurance, if we judge them according to their response to Ebola.  If we were conspiracy theorists, which we’re not, we could speculate that the CDC is actively spreading this deadly epidemic in order to help the administration advance its agenda.

Our society is facing viral stupidity, genetic stupidity and willful stupidity– ignoring truth in order to reach the ideologically correct response.  The bad decision making by ordinary citizens, the selective truths promoted by the media, the absurd agendas of politicians, western civilization seems headed towards dissolution and darkness.

Is there something we can do?  Vigilance seems to be the only non-medical response.  We can guard against willful stupidity and our own bad choices.

 

Your comments are welcome

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Dangerous Religion

Dangerous Classification

Classification can help you sort things out, make informed decisions.  If someone was to threaten you with a gun, it would be helpful to know whether it was an assault rifle or a Nerf gun (soft foam bullets).

Nerf assault rifle

Dangerous weapon?

Sometimes classification can be used to obscure, to prevent the making of informed decisions.  The Obama administration classified the Fort Hood massacre of 2009 as workplace violence, even though the perpetrator had been in touch with Al Qaida just before.  The death of a teenager throwing Molotov cocktails at civilians was classified as “tragic.”

There is a debate going on whether the Ottawa shooter at the Parliament Buildings was driven by a dangerous religion or mental illness.  The classification of his motives is a meaningless discussion.  He was a terrorist.

The Hanging Original art by Esti Mayer

The Hanging
Original art by Esti Mayer

Another example of misleading classification is the concept of “religion.”  It has countless definitions; some positive, many pejorative.  They reflect the many different  aspects of life it contends with, from environmentalism to disease, from meditation to massacres.  Is a belief system that has no compunction about slaughtering non-believers in the same category as one that says life is sacred?  In the same category as a system that declares all humans have a right to religious freedom?   While Christian and Jewish fundamentalists may at times be annoying, they threaten no one’s life in the name of God.  Does anyone fear a pious Hindu?

A religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful , pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a  general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”
– Clifford Geertz

When we bring Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, shamanism, animism, etc. all into one big category, religion, it says they are all similar.

Dangerous Assumption

They’re not.  A mosque is not a church, which is not a synagogue, which is not an ashram.  Their symbols are different, their beliefs are different, but most importantly, their actions based on those symbols and beliefs are different.  If we assume that leaders from all religions promote peace and kindness, like Pope John Paul II, or the Dalai Lama we will be unable to respond when they act otherwise.

Dangerous Religion

ottawa-suspected-shooter

Homicidal terrorist

When homicidal youth flock to only one particular system of beliefs and symbols, that system deserves its own, unique classification.  When the historical death toll of that system dwarfs all the others put together, we can’t say it’s like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or any of the others.  It’s not.

 

 

 

Your comments are welcome

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A Funeral Proposal

 to Avoid More Funerals

Michael Zehaf Bibeau and Martin (Ahmad) Couture-Rouleau tried to give meaning to their lives, tried to achieve martyrdom when they killed the soldiers in Saint Jean and Ottawa respectively.  They should be denied that meaning.  They should be denied martyrdom.

Islam believes that the body and soul remain connected after death.  If the body is comforted or tormented, the soul feels it.  Dogs are extremely naajis (impure, unclean). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a dog drinks from the vessel of any one of you, let him wash it seven times.”  On the other hand dead animals are supposed to be treated with at least a minimum of dignity.

So at their funeral, how about burying Michael Zehaf Bibeau and Martin (Ahmad) Couture-Rouleau, each with a dead dog in their grave?  An eternity of impurity, and torment for their souls.  Now, some people may say this is too disrespectful to the killers.  Others will say it’s too disrespectful to the dogs.  But most dogs don’t have a philosophy of purity and impurity, nor do they believe in an afterlife.  So it’s no skin off their backs.  A humane society can easily provide the corpses.

Dogs of murdered soldier Nathan Cirillo

Dogs of murdered soldier Nathan Cirillo

A spokeswoman for a Muslim organization expressed her disgust towards the shooters, saying they didn’t reflect anything in Islam that they learned in Canada.  She also was worried about an anti-Islam backlash.  She, or any Islamic religious leader could do a great service to Canada and the reputation of Islam by attending the funeral of Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau, and publicly cursing, or at least denouncing each of them.

If aspiring terrorists see that their wishes will bring them curses and eternal torment rather than the glories (and 72 virgins) of martyrdom, it will make terrorism a much less attractive career path.  A miserable funeral is not what most people aim for in life.

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A Conversation About War

An annotated conversation about war, adapted from Facebook:

(click on links for annotations)
Man of peace

Man of peace

Alice: We are bombing over Syria!  Right now.  We are bombing.  Oh, my heart hurts.

Russ: Hate

Alice: The thing is this … there are children.  Women.  Men who want only to provide for their little families.  There are doggies and kitties, goats maybe.  Lives.  Their lives are gone forever.  People terrorized, people grieving, people forever lost.  There is no good that comes from war.  No noble thing at all.

Russ: War, what is it good for…absolutely nothing

Deborah:  And Russia is next.

Alice: Deb, sadly, you may be right.

Nathan: Yes, let’s let ISIS sell pre-pubescent girls into sexual slavery (after giving them clitorectomies), slaughter entire villages, chase them

Man of peace

Man of peace

up a mountain to starve, have sex with the goats (captured on video), whip kitties to death with a stick, starve dogs and then light them on fire when they’re too weak to move.  Yes, war is good for nothing.  Let’s just let ISIS do whatever they want.  They’re promising to behead random Americans, and there’s evidence they’ve come across the border from Mexico.  Why fight against them in Syria, when we can do it here?

Russ: Nathan, I will be right behind you following your advance

What Would God have Americans Do?

Alice: Nathan, what you describe is certain horror.  It’s hard to read your words.  Still, I wonder … What does the Torah say about war and the responsibility to kill people in a far off land who do horrific things to their people?  What would God have Americans do, according to the Torah?  Remember, you’re teaching a neophyte about the nature of God.

Phyllis: I hate it too but ISIS has to be stopped.

Karen: But violence brings forth more violence.  We live in a scary world.

Nathan: Not responding to violence gives it license to grow.

Man of peace

Man of peace

Leslie: Can’t believe it!  Worked 2 years ago with a little girl whose family escaped Syria.  Can you imagine?  I can’t.  She had the sweetest smile…

 

Please note: videos of ISIS torture of cats, dogs, and humans of all ages are ubiquitous, and have not been included to illustrate; rather, we have included a video of Hamas terrorists pleasuring goats.  Although disgusting, it’s more tolerable to watch.  The torture videos, if you are inclined to see them, can easily be accessed through web searches.
 

You are welcome to continue the conversation in the comments

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Are You A Man or a Mouse?

SmartMouse

A More Human Mouse

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently spliced the human gene associated with language into the brains of a mouse.  While the rodents didn’t say anything about the experiment, they were better able to find chocolate in a maze then regular mice.  This is perhaps another example of science mimicking science fiction.  In H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau an evil doctor attempts to humanize wild animals through surgery and psychological conditioning.  The animals rebel, overturning the pseudo society that the doctor tried to create.  The MIT mice are docile so far, lacking the drama of Dr. Moreau, or Planet of The Apes.

The joining of human and animal isn’t shocking for many aboriginal Americans; for them the animals see themselves as human,

Wari girl and friend

Wari girl and friend

just with a different form.  For example the Wari’ of Brazil know a jaguar kills its prey with tooth and claw, and eats it raw.  But for the jaguar, or rather, from the jaguar’s point of view, he kills his prey with arrows like the Wari’ do; he takes the prey home, gives it to his wife and tells her to cook it.  While jaguars look like cats to the Wari’, in the eyes of the jaguar humans look like pigs, like prey.

It’s not good to be a pig or a mouse when a jaguar is hunting.

A Mouse is Always Prey

jackal

more honorable than ISIS

There’s of course another group of people, over thirty thousand strong by current estimates, who simply erase the boundaries between human and animal behavior.  The members of ISIS, while retaining human form, are more like predatory scavengers.  According to Franz Kafka,  jackals are disgusted by Arabs.  Certainly, the jaguar bringing a meal home to his wife is more noble than the humans who chain a little girl to a fence.  Even a jackal is above that.

The blending of species through grafting of human genes into mice has the potential to advance our understanding of memory, cognitive flexibility, and the evolution of the brain.  The blending of species by the predatory behavior of ISIS scavengers has the potential to reverse centuries of human social, intellectual and moral development.  The Island of Doctor Moreau is a happy children’s tale by comparison.

under arrest

Syrian girl and foe

ISIS thus challenges the civilized world to respond: does it meekly acquiesce to the rape and enslavement of women, the torture and beheading of children?  Or does it act boldly to eradicate such savage, inhuman beings?  Will Western civilization behave as a man or a mouse?  It’s dangerous to be a mouse when jaguars, jackals, or ISIS supporters are on the prowl.

 

Your comments are welcome
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Expulsion and the Will to Survive

Historical Wrongs: Deportations and Expulsions

Assyrian Destruction of Peoples and Nations

Assyrian EmpireIn 1300 BCE, the Assyrian Empire ensured the docility of the nations it conquered by expelling peoples from their homelands, and replacing them with other deportees.  The best way for a nation to survive was to humbly submit as an Assyrian vassal state.  The northern Kingdom of Israel resisted, and its people becoming the Ten Lost Tribes.  The southern Kingdom of Judea acquiesced, and prospered for many years.  It was an era of displacement, great suffering, and the disappearance of many peoples.

Disappearance of the Dorset Eskimo

Between 1200 and 1500 AD, the Dorset Eskimo (known to the contemporary Inuit as Tunniq) disappeared from the archaeological record.  According to stories, the Dorset were powerful but timid people, driven out by the newcomers, the contemporary Inuit.  Whether any Tunniq survived, whether they moved elsewhere, is unknown.  It was a time of displacement, suffering, and the disappearance of a people.
(the Tunniq name, though not the culture, is used in the novel Quantum Cannibals)

Expulsion of the Jews of England

edward IIn 1290, Edward I expelled England’s approximately 3,000 Jews.  Having seized their property a few years earlier, he now declared that all money owed to Jews was owed to him.  It was a time of displacement and suffering, as the Jews wandered from one country to another, searching for security and stability.

Expulsion of the Jews of France

The Jews of France suffered the depredations of the Crusades, the burning of the Talmud, the seizure of their property, and finally, in 1305, imprisonment and consequent expulsion of a hundred thousand Jews by Phillip IV.  It was another chapter in their ongoing persecution and displacement.

Incan Mass Relocations

Machupicchu_hb10As the Incan empire grew in breadth and power, the native Incan population became smaller and smaller in proportion to the subjugated population.  Beginning in about 1400, the Incan rulers instituted the mitmaqkuna, where entire communities were relocated to serve the whims of the empire.  The able-bodied men became forced laborers for the Incan, dependent on whatever role the empire assigned them.  It was a time of great social upheaval, displacement, and the disappearance of many peoples and cultures.

Expulsion of the Jews of Spain

expulsion SpainPerhaps the most infamous expulsion of Jews is when Spain expelled its Jewish population, numbering at a couple of hundred thousand.  The Catholic authorities were afraid that Jews would cause the tens of thousands of recent forced converts to Christianity to slip back towards their old religion.  By January 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella defeated the Muslim armies, and they could turn their attention to the Jews.  Fleeing to Portugal, North Africa, Italy and Turkey, they abandoned homes they had lived in for centuries.  The alternatives were conversion, the inquisition, or execution.  It was a time of displacement, suffering, torture or death.

Expulsion of the Acadians

Acadia was an area of eastern Canada ceded by France to Great Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713.  As the tensions between British and French continued to rise, the former wanted to make sure that the Acadians, descendants of French settlers, wouldn’t turn against Britain.  The Governor demanded they swear unconditional oaths of allegiance, but by the time the Acadians agreed to this, he was convinced that oaths were insufficient.  About 10,000 people were expelled in the period from 1755 to 1763, when France finally lost its last possessions in eastern North America.  It was a time of fear, suffering and displacement.

The Trail of Tears: Expulsion of the Cherokee

trail of tearsAlthough President Andrew Jackson’s military command and almost certainly his life were saved by Cherokee allies in 1814, he felt no debt of gratitude.  The Cherokee had signed treaties, but these all fell to pieces with the discovery of gold in northern Georgia.  The Cherokee turned to the courts for protection, and won a number of significant cases.  Jackson didn’t care, and proceeded to illegally force 17,000 Cherokee from their homeland.  About 4,000 died from hunger, exposure and disease.  It was a time of death, a time of tears, later known as “The Trail of Tears.”

The Long Walk:  Navajo

longwalkAnother infamous Indian removal was the Long Walk, the forced relocation of the Navajo.  Although Navajo relations with American settlers were initially peaceful, they disintegrated quickly as more settlers moved into their territory.  The U.S. Army went to war against the Navajo, destroying their fields, orchards, houses and livestock.  Some 8,500 Navajo were then marched three hundred miles in harsh conditions to what was supposed to be their new home.  Hundreds died of cold and starvation on the way; many more died at their barren destination.  It was a time of terror and privation, forever etched into the memory of the Navajo.

Internment of the Ukrainians
Internment camp for Ukranians

Internment camp for Ukranians

From 1914 to 1920, over eight thousand Canadians with Ukrainian ancestry were interred as enemy aliens because the western Ukraine was occupied by Austro-Hungary.  Businessmen, farmers, housewives and children were placed behind barbed wire because of a war they had nothing to do with; a war eight thousand kilometers away.  It was a sad period in the history of Canada, a time of hunger, fear and shame for the victims.

The Armenian Genocide

In 1915 the Ottoman government embarked upon the decimation of its Armenian population.  Deportations disguised as a resettlement program were really intended as death marches.  Convoys of tens of thousands of people at a time were marched into barren territory, with no armenian-genocide-02-jpgprovisions for food, water or shelter.  Up to a million and a half Armenians perished at the hands of the Ottoman/ Turkish forces, in the first attempt at genocide of the twentieth century.  Hitler viewed it as an inspirational precedent, as a license to kill mercilessly.  The Armenian genocide was the horror that paved the way for future horrors.

Stalin’s Deportations

In the 1930’s Stalin removed entire populations from their ancestral homelands.  Among the populations who were forcibly displaced were Azeris, Chechens, Ingush, Karachi, Finns, Meskhetians, Crimean Tatars, Black Sea Greeks, Kurds, Koreans, Kalmucks, Germans from the Volga region and Ukraine and others.  Many of those deportations are at the root of contemporary ethnic and national conflicts.  Stalin’s callous brutality led to decades of conflict and suffering.

Internment of the Japanese

JapaneseIn 1942, both Canada and the United States feared that their citizens with Japanese ancestry were potential security risks.  Over twenty thousand Canadians had their property confiscated, and were put into internment camps.  After the war, the government refused to let them move back to the west coast, forcing them to either war-ravaged Japan, or Canada east of the Rocky Mountains.  In the United States, over one hundred and twenty seven thousand Japanese Americans were interned.  It was a time of racism, displacement and loss.

Expulsion of the Lhotshampa

In the 1990’s over one hundred thousand Lhotshampas, ethnic Nepalese, were evicted from southern Bhutan in order to protect Bhutanese bhutan-mapcultural identity.  Living in overcrowded refugee camps in Nepal and India, their only option is to settle in a new country.  In 2008 the United States offered to take in sixty thousand Lhotshampa.  Other nations are willing to take smaller numbers.   Efforts at repatriation have been hampered by Bhutanese government resistance, and by the seizure of Lhotshampa land and property.  There is stress, there is displacement, there is suffering, but there is also hope.

Culture carries no privilege to exist.  Cultures do not have value simply because they are.  Some cultures, the world is better off without.”- Terry Goodkind

Conclusion: An Aggressive Creed

In the twenty-first century, followers of an aggressive creed are living as ordinary citizens in Europe, Australia and the Americas.  They have full rights, and not subject to any serious discrimination.  Many followers of this creed refuse to give up their aggressive ways, committing violence, while at the same time claiming victim status.  Bombing buildings and trains, marathons and airplanes, they exploit the sense of equality and justice of the societies they dwell in.  Thousands of ordinary civilians have been killed as a result.  If the followers of this creed are not expelled, or deported, it will be a time of terror, a time of tears.  Their callous brutality will lead to decades of conflict and suffering.

Palmira Silva, beheaded by Muslim convert in UK

Palmira Silva, beheaded by Muslim convert in UK

Europe, Australia and the Americas can’t reject expulsion based on what happened in the past.  It would be learning the wrong lesson from history, because it’s different this time around.  It’s not racism, it’s not nationalism.  The followers of this aggressive creed shouldn’t be expelled because of who they are, but because of what they do.  It’s the only way for western civilization to survive.

Your comments are welcome
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ISIS Is Right

ISIS is a pathologically brutal organization trying to make the world a better place.  Who can disagree with making the world a better place?  You may not agree with their definition of “a better place,” but can you really say their hearts are evil?  A restored Caliphate is an ancient Muslim dream, and these hardworking, dedicated psychopaths stand a good chance of making their dream come true.

Achieving a Better Christian World

The Second Vatican Council, 1965

The Second Vatican Council, 1965

Other religions have their own dreams or goals.  Christianity, as a general principle, posits that one must accept Jesus in order to be saved, or go to heaven.  But how do Christians expect to achieve this better world when they say things like this:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

This declaration might come as a surprise to victims of the Inquisition or Crusades, or to the many indigenous people converted at sword point to Christianity.  When Pope Benedict apologized for the cruelty, he nonetheless upheld the view that the conversions were beneficial to the converted.  Although he frowned on organized efforts to bring Jews to Catholicism, he still claimed “…that Jews “still stand within the faithful covenant of God,” and that “they will in the end be together with us in Christ.” If you believe something is vital and true, shouldn’t you have the cojones to stand up for it, rather than waiting for your god to make it to happen?

Conflicting Strategies

Judaism proclaims both the active and passive models:

One conception, a visionary anticipation of Divine upheaval, projects an abrupt apocalypse, bringing instant glory to Israel’s faithful and destruction upon her enemies.  The existing political;-military-religious order is radically transformed.  Extraordinary transmutations of nature accompany the termination and supersession of the historical process.

The other conception posits a compelling human drama, in which the national energies of the people are harnessed, on their own initiative, to a resourceful redemptive process, pursuing the restoration of Jewish sovereignty and a collective return to Jewish spirituality; a dynamic activation of historic forces toward an evolving realization of the national goal.

According to the first approach the messianic era, the better world, will arrive through a suspension of history.  It will take divine intervention, rather than human effort.  Man must therefore devote his energy towards appeasing the fickle, but just deity, convincing God that the piety of his co-religionists merit redemption. ISIS believes in individual piety, but it doesn’t like the idea of sitting around, waiting for god to make things happen.  They’re helping him out.

Get Off Your Rear Ends

Baal and Mot

Canaanite astrology

So too, it’s time for Jews and Christians to get off their rear ends and make things happen.  First thing, keep ISIS, Hamas, and their ilk from murdering your co-religionists.  The IDF is doing a good job of this in Israel, but world efforts to protect endangered Christian communities in Africa, the Middle East and Fertile Crescent have been tepid, at best. Increased attention to God by Christians and Jews is good.  The ancient Rabbis ascribed the fall of the first Temple in Jerusalem to idol worship, which is not good. But it’s not as simple as it seems.  The medieval commentator Maimonides explained that the first Temple fell because the people relied on Canaanite astrology.  Since the course of events were determined by the stars, there was no need to be militarily prepared for the Babylonian onslaught. Fatalism based on astrology leads to passivity.  Fatalism based on religious piety also leads to passivity.

Isis is Right

That’s why ISIS is right: they’re pious (in their own perverted sense), but they’re actively pursuing their better pillcamworld.  Judaism has to follow their example.  Maimonides asserted that the messianic era will emerge as the result of people pursuing justice and virtue.  Messianism shouldn’t be treated as a gift we’re awaiting, but rather as an opportunity to be pursued.

Not through coercion, but through the application of the principles of Torah study, such as kindness and justice.  The latter imply the reduction of human suffering, whether through advanced technology, social or individual altruism.  It would imply new dimensions of aesthetic creativity and human expression.

The Jewish messianic era is premised on Jewish sovereignty.  To deny the religious significance of the Modern StateElinor Joseph of Israel is outright heresy.  To explain Israel’s survival in the midst of hundreds of millions of foes without reference to God’s will is stupidity.  To deny the holiness of serving in the Israel Defense Forces is self-serving rationalization.  The many Muslims, Christians and secular Jews who pick up a gun to defend Israel have reached a higher state than those who refuse life outside their yeshivas.  The great sage Rabbi Akiva (1st c. CE) declared Bar Kochba as the messiah, based not on his religiosity, but on his physical strength and military prowess.

Yes, Judaism must pursue its better world as doggedly as ISIS and Hamas pursue theirs.  Not through forced conversion, physical strength, beheadings, rape and mass murder, but through science and art, technology and innovation.  Through respect for the individual, consideration for the poor and disadvantaged.  Through an army that is at once powerful and sensitive.

Jewish spirituality is properly expressed through its application in the material world.  And it’s in the material world that the “better world” of the messianic era must be pursued.  Both Jews and Christians must be more tenacious than ISIS in pursuing their values.

 Strategy for overcoming ISIS tenacity:

Your comments are always welcome.