Saturday 15th of August 2020

pyramid and religious porkies...

pyramid

on the need to protect secularism...

 

Secularism in crisis? Muslims and the challenge of multiculturalism


Tariq Modood

By secularism, or more specifically political secularism, I mean institutional arrangements such that religious authority and religious reasons for action and political authority and political reasons for action are distinguished - so, political authority does not rest on religious authority and the latter does not dominate political authority.

This idea is central to modernity and is therefore one of the dominant ideas of the twentieth century. That does not mean that everybody in modern societies agrees with this view (of course, like all ideas it is not perfectly or purely manifested in any actual case, and people will disagree about the specific cases). Nevertheless, like democracy, political secularism is a hegemonic idea that most people actively and passively support and few argue against in a full-throated way.

But an increasing number of critics are challenging this taken-for-granted idea, and emergent modern societies do not seem to be smoothly following in the path that led to the historical ascendancy of political secularism.


 

So, Jurgen Habermas has famously announced that we are currently witnessing a transition from a secular to a "post-secular society" in which "secular citizens" have to express a previously denied respect for "religious citizens," who should be allowed, even encouraged, to critique aspects of contemporary society and to find solutions to its problems from within their religious views. Instead of treating religion as sub-rational and a matter of private concern only, religion is once again to be recognized as a legitimate basis of public engagement and political action. Some have gone further and speak in terms of the "global crisis" facing secularism and the "the crisis of the secular state."

Of course, there is there larger and more specifically sociological thesis about "desecularization" occurring across the world, about the development of modern economies and institutions without a decline - and, indeed, by some reversal of an earlier decline - in religious belief and practice. But my interest is limited to the phenomenon of public religion, and how religion is fighting back from its political marginalization, especially in Western Europe.

 


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Gus: this rant borders on rubbish... It took many years in France for the State to free itself from religious interference... The separation of state and church was a very dramatic affair... The fight was ugly beyond world war one, many years after the revolution, though the separation was made law in 1905... Secularity was seen by many intelligent people as an important step towards modernism and freedom... In Italy, the country where the communist party is quite important, the religious mafia still holds hard influence onto the state... :

 

 

"The vote was the first major test of the power of the church in Italy since the election of the conservative Benedict XVI, and it raised fears that the Holy See would next turn its sights on abortion and divorce. Certainly the stunning success of the church in keeping the turnout for the referendum down to a dismal 25.9 percent demonstrated that however empty Italy's churches might be, the church has a considerable influence on moral issues. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his conservative government largely stayed on the sidelines, and even some opposition politicians, such as Francesco Rutelli, Berlusconi's unsuccessful challenger in 2001, found it politically expedient not to cast a ballot."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/opinion/15iht-editaly.html

Meanwhile below, in this "liberal" study read "clear-minded" as opposed to narrow-minded Liberal (conservative) of Australia...

http://www.liberalforum.eu/tl_files/publications/Separation%20of%20church%20and%20state%20in%20Europe.pdf

 

"During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, a battle ground for liberal politicians and parties in European politics has been for the separation of church(es) and the state. Although in some countries more than in others, a secularising stance has been a defining position for liberals in most of Europe. After the Second World War this issue seemed to become increasingly irrelevant but issues of integration of immigrants with different ethnical, religious and cultural backgrounds have reversed this development. A series of seminars were organised by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) – an umbrella European liberal think tank in connection with the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR): in Bucharest in 2006, in Berlin in 2007 and in Barcelona in 2008. Several liberal think tanks cooperate in the ELF-network. These seminars were part of the programme ‘A liberal contribution to a European civic identity’, on which a final report can be found at the ELF website. The idea to make a book on secularism in Europe was launched by the Prof.mr. B.M. Teldersstichting – the Dutch liberal think tank affiliated to the Dutch liberal party VVD – and got positive reactions from other liberal think tanks, being members of the European Liberal Forum. The purpose is to present the situation of relations between religious organisations and the state (political institutions) in different countries in Europe. The assumption is that these relations are quite different, due to historical, cultural, social and political reasons." ----------------------

 

 

 

Back to Gus: presently in Europe, and the west in general, the assault by "new" religions due to multiculturalism is threatening secularity — semi- or full-on accepted secularity — and many non-religious people are rightly worried...  Important issues amongst many encompass the laws of marriage, divorce, abortion, science and architecture. Character and ideals are thus taken back yet again to the bitter years when state was fighting church. But having won this battle and having made a respectful peace treaty of non-discrimination against Christian religious beliefs, now the state has to accept other multicultural beliefs under this same anti-discrimination. These newly adopted, more aggressive religious beliefs threaten the hard work that has been done by secularism since the days of "enlightenment" when "god was relegated to the idea of god" in the 18th century... This would not be such a problem should the religious beliefs be discreet and unobtrusive. But the fact remains that some religions, such as Islam, demand an "externalisation" that is not compatible with that of a secular state, especially when such dogma controlling its people's behaviour has a strong political penetrating aspiration — and as such is the only allowed political force in many Arabic and Muslim countries.. 

 

In secular society, such religions infiltrate the political echelons and influence the design of new laws, with ancient and retrograde views of life... Their freedom to exist becomes our own slavery. They push to make us accept submissiveness (especially that of women) and harsh physical punishment, including archaic stoning. Realise that the state hard-won battle against the church resulted in the church being less vengeful, preaching less about fear of demons and being more oriented towards "love" in order to sell with a more enticing and less-tired message... The Muslim religion is based on the Koran — a very harsh book — in which the killing of infidels is prominently rewarded. 

The Europeans have feared and fought the Muslims since the time they tried to invade Europe in the eighth century... After being defeated in the middle of France, the Muslims ended up controlling most of Spain for a few hundred years. This has left a long lasting mark in people's mind. At the same time, the Jews, hidden in the background, were mostly controlling the merchandising. When the King and Queen of Spain expelled the Jews and the Muslims from Spain, there "might" have been a "Christian" sigh of relief in Europe — a sigh similar to that when the King of France and the Pope destroyed the last Cathar bastion in the south of France — though in the case of the Cathars one can wonder what would have come later on from this social group in which equality of the sexes was paramount.

Why are religious beliefs so strongly influential?... Answer: It is easier to accept the idea of god ruling our lives than having to deal with that problem on our own — its like a responsibility limiter. Religion brings certainty of being right — even if we do crappy things — and the more extremist, the more it dictates our action away from our own responsibility. God told me to... God becomes the "best" excuse for bad behaviour in a secular system. 

As well, ultimately, we are in denial about death... Most of us cannot accept the finality of death after having enjoyed such a wonderful temporal cognition. Thus from the early beginnings, many groups of Homo sapiens sapiens have invented the idea that beyond death, we live eternally.

The Pharaohs took their own life seriously as being gods with the need of a big send off back to where they came from — the stars... Thus they got the populace to build them monumental departure lounges, the Pyramids, from which their body and soul could travel to the sky via thin tunnels aligned with important stars at important times... Mind you, they still knew that some of the people did not care much about the idea of them being superior beings and they had to go to great lengths to hide their embalmed body and riches, buried at the centre of the pyramid... The biggest pyramid, Giza, built for Khufu, had a "fake" burial chamber below ground, while the real burial place was above ground and became inaccessible once the granite tunnels had been blocked by huge granite stones of several tonnes each... The workers in charged of blocking the entrance would have been locked in the tunnel themselves, apart from a narrow near-vertical chute that led to the below-ground chamber, from which they could eventually escape...

The rituals of religions are of course all intoned with humble arrogance... I am the child of god and not worthy of it... but if I place my arse in the air five times a day, I am part of the gods family... Not only the Muslim do it, the Buddhist do it too in prostrations while the Christians kneel and bow their heads. The male Jews shake their heads in a rock and roll rhythm while reading incantation that have long lost their original meanings... The religious Chinese have their little shrine to the gods, in the shop or at home with gifts in front of it while incense is burning a holy smoke... It's a security blanket... We need an apron to cling to or a coathanger to place our angsts into a wardrobe.

Death is part of life... but in religion, death is imbue with godly tones — the quality of our "afterlife" after death being ruled by the way we live our life... imagination goes in overdrive. Relatively, over the last 5000 years, religions have invented rules and regulations to tell us which way we should live... Should we live a debauched life, we end up in "hell", though some religions impose a massive physical penalty should we choose to be "debauched" or not live according to the dogma... 

To a great extend, Aboriginal beliefs are far less primitive and more humanly in tune with our reality. They believe to be reincarnated into the bits of landscape — rocks and animals living in it. Which makes sense since our flesh and bones go to dust, to be recycled into yams and kangaroo grass... On top of this, Aboriginal people have had a strong secular traditional law system in which transgressions are not viewed as religious sin, but simply as doing harm to someone else or to the group... Punishment vary according to the importance of the transgression. No god is involved... Though sometimes, there is some powerful psychopathy involved such as in the pointing of the bone... But we, gross westerners with big boots, have hammered the idea of god into their heads with the help of strychnine-laced flour and/or sugar and with bullying slavery beyond belief. This is were I cry to see someone so intelligent as Noel Pearson, being so screwed up by religion — and of course this religious-madness is reinforced by his friendship with religious nut Tony Abbott... And Tony Abbott's rabid defence of Andrew bolt's attack on "fair-skinned" aboriginal people shows Tony's true colours... He, like most of the Libs (Conservatives) is working towards complete assimilation — where the Aboriginal race becomes diluted with "westernisation" to the point of disappearance — and with no regognition of having existed except as a footnote of history...

The dogmas arrive quickly at a point which stops us from understanding our true nature... 

Thus religions are full of loopy but strongly brainwashing fantasies. They take us when we are babies and continue the rigmarole till we die... unless we find the door of enlightenment but it's highly traumatic to open it... Religions are full of beautiful lies in some dogmas and full of stick and stones in others... We better behave, pray, kill or else...

Fear of doing the wrong thing shall keep us on the narrow path, though, in the Christian dogma we go to confession for having envied a cream bum someone else was eating... Should we take a piece of that cream bun, some religion will cut our hand off to stop us doing it again... It's all perverse, abusive, out of proportion and meaningless... Religion is a stupid idea, like a ball and chain that we drag behind us while trying to run for the 'Lympics... No acknowledgement that we can be good secularly without this drag... But then religion becomes loopier... The Koran tells us to kill the infidels in no uncertain terms. I have already showed that Mohammed has been recorded in history as a warrior — not a man of peace — and a child molester. 

In its desire to please all, secularism might be killing itself and regress three hundred years.

We deserve secularity in our politics. We deserve secularity in our human character. We need to defeat politico-religionism in all its forms... We need to keep our social interaction free from beliefs. Freedom of religion is not a right, but a privilege for those who wish to buy the ticket. I don't and I don't want anyone to tell me I have to accommodate religious windows into my secular life. 

To a great extend, humanistic secularism suffers from having been too generous with its acceptance of diversity, while most religious groups have been extremely narrow-mindedly, though proclaiming "acceptance" of others, but only on their own terms...

Bugger orf...

 

gus' bible studies # 241

The bible is a lot of fun and joy.... It brings tears to my eyes, especially for a rabid atheist like me. One can pick passages and then shake one's head in disbelief... I believe one needs a solid dose of ignorance in order to have faith of this kind... In this religious context FAITH plus IGNORANCE equals KNOWLEDGE... Brother!... and not only that! One needs also a degree in "Faking Comprehension out of much Nonsense" from the university of Blind Ducks...


So I opened the book again since Pell and Jensen are telling us to do so... And boy... am I laughing my head off!!!
Here is a sample from Ecclesiastes, say, picked accidentally and again, say, chapter seven... Oh boy... Here it goes:
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1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

MAY AS WELL KILL YOURSELF... HAPPY DEATH-DAY...

2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

HAPPY DAYS FOR THE DEPRESSED... STOP EATING... YOU'RE GOING TO DIE...

3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

BE AS SAD AS POSSIBLE... IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER WHEN YOU DIE...

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

LIFE IS DEATH... IF YOU ENJOY LIFE, YOU'RE A FOOL... BLOODY HELL! I AM A FOOL!!!

5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

WHO IS WISE?... ME OR THAT OLD FOOLISH CRACKPOT WHO THINKS HE'S WISE?

...

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

AS CLEAR AS A REJUVENATING MUD PACK...

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and now this one collected from chapter one:

18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

WOW!... IGNORANCE IS BLISS... I KNOW!... WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! HELL! MAY AS WELL SPEND OUR DAYS DYING...

 

So in my humble silliness I went to the last page, Revelation chapter 22, to see the denouement.... Some clever interpreter tells me what to Think...:

 

Revelation chapter 22 contains God's Last Message to Humankind - Rev. 22 verses 6 to 9 takes us back to the early part of this book, when the faithful and true witness told us that He would send His angel to convey His message concerning the things that must come to pass.

Here at the close of the Bible we are reintroduced to the tree of life, which has not been mentioned in the Bible since Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Paradise is restored in the eternal state. All that was lost in the fall is redeemed by the lamb. The leaves of this tree will be used to heal the relationships of the nations toward each other so that we might live equitably and fairly in eternity.

The picture of eternal life in these verses indicates that we will be busy serving God for all eternity. We will both serve Him (v.3) and reign with Him (v.5). Since He is an infinite God, we can be sure He will have infinite things for us to do as we reign there forever. The phrase, "they shall see his face," means that, as believers, we will be granted an audience with the King on a regular basis.

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Pity! I don't believe in "eternity"...nor in "regular basis"... 

What about the humility of us!... Reign with Him?... let's quote from Ecclesiastes again: 

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

Ah I feel better...

a god would not bother with little peacocks like us... Why would she? Oh! I see... it's about that original sin that stuffed everything up... Oh! that lamb! Oh that king who isn't a queen!... 

But 

2:18 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:" 

19 "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book."

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I am doomed... DOOMED.... and, by the way, beware of false prophets.... that's all the rewriters/transcribers of the bible and those who've added a few bits and pieces, like the "book of Mormons"... The self-proclaimed PROPHETS shall be plagued with locusts and frogs — or the plague...

I am not a present day prophet, so I'm in the clear, here... But reading all this I hurt with laughter when I should be content with sorrow... confused... and not a word about global warming on this little planet...

So let's wheel out that famous quote (amongst many other "obviousities" that sound wise) from Ecclesiastes, chapter one:

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

All's good, I am in the "nearly passeth away"... except the last bit, in a relative scientific world, is complete bullshit....

 

 

by the numbers ....

Hi Gus,

Numbers, chapter 21 was enough to get me out of the 'god' game some 50 years ago & I've heard or seen nothing since that would remotely suggest that I had it wrong.

Cheers.

Yes John... camping at the pearly gates...

Of course whoever wrote that chapter twenty-one (like the rest of them chapters in that ghastly book) was on acid, on dope and/or on spirit (of the alcoholic kind — pissed like a vanitous fart)... or had too much coffee with his sad delusions...

It's a weird dazzle of "the precious value of things" in relation to what one traditionally pays for, of course, for a goat or a young lamb in a high class brothel with silver mirrors in Las Vegas:


18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.


19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;


20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.


21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.


22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

 

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Since then, some tempted dill stole the transparent gold and the precious stones, but the lamb is still there: "baaaaaaa"....