March 29, 2011

Congressman says Islam is the Religion of Peace

By Francis Nye


Isalm
We're the religion of peace. 
If you don't belive it,
we'll kill you.
 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made the following statement regarding the Committee on Homeland Security hearing titled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

“In the nine years since the dreadful attacks on September 11th, America has sought to reconcile differences among ourselves and with the world. We have sought friendship with Muslim and Arab communities. President Obama, at the beginning of his term, traveled to the Middle East, underscoring the importance of that region.

“Despite efforts to improve relations between our nation and the Muslim and Arab world, America has stumbled. Two wars have been waged in the Middle East, further degrading our image among the world’s Muslim and Arab people.

“A Congressional hearing to investigate our friends and neighbors jeopardizes the fragile progress we have made and creates a longer gap for peace to bridge.

“This hearing insinuates that violence and the Muslim religion go hand in hand. Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam is a religion based upon peace, goodwill and the ethical treatment of all people on this planet.”

What the congressman is really saying here is that the Muslim religion is not a religion of violence but of peace.  Furthermore, he is saying that actions of western civilization, mostly the United States have somehow disrupted that peace.  That is truly an astonishing statement.  In the history of Islam there has only been 13 years of peace.  Islam should be labeled the religion of war instead of peace.

I think the congressmen’s understanding of the Koran is somewhat different then most others of that faith. He might live a peaceful life but his brethren surely do not.  You see this is the problem with holy books; all holy books.  They are so cobbled together over such large periods of time by so many unknown authors that the followers interpret them to say anything that they fancy be it peaceable or bellicose.

The Koran was memorized by thousands before finally being put to paper 70 years after the prophet’s death.  It is no small wonder that this book has conflicting messages that are open to interpretation.   The other problem with the Koran and other books such as the Bible is that they have been translated and updated to meet the language needs of the time so often that things get added, subtracted, or mistranslated.  This further adds to the confusion of the original message. 

For example in the Koran some translations says that martyrs of the faith will go to heaven and be given 72 black-eyed virgins.   The Arabic language was born as a written language for the Koran. Many of the words used in the original texts were of Syriac or Aramaic.  So without getting into too many details the point is the word “virgin” as well as the entire verse has been mistranslated today.  The actual translation of the verse in question says that the martyrs will be given “white raisins” of “crystal clarity”.  Can you imagine the surprise on the faces of those poor young bastards that killed themselves in the 9-11 attacks when they got to heaven and Allah said, “Great work guys. Here are your raisins.”

The Bible is not immune to this problem of mistranslations either.  The Bible was written over a period of 900 years by 40 authors.   The Bible suffers from much worse translation errors than the Koran does.

The word virgin has also been mistranslated for the original Hellenistic Greek.  The actual translation means a woman of marrying age or a maiden, not a woman who has never had sexual intercourse.  So Jesus’ mother, Mary was not a virgin when she conceived Jesus but a maiden.

There are two hebrew words usually translated 'virgin' in English. 'Bethulah' means virgin in the sense that we understand it. It was used, for example, in Isaiah 62:5. 'Almah' (the word used in Isaiah 7:14) simply means a young woman. Although it is sometimes used in the sense of a sexually pure woman, this is not it's exclusive usage. The context will usually point out the correct usage.

The confusion arose when the Greek Septuagint used the greek word 'parthenos' to translate Isaiah 7:14. This word, in Greek, does denote a sexually pure woman, and was the inspiration for the gospellers myth of the Virgin birth.

A look at the context of Isaiah 7:14 will quickly reveal that the woman that Isaiah was referring to was probably already pregnant, thus pointing out which sense of 'almah' was intended. In any case, the point of Isaiah's prophecy was that before the child reached the age of accountability, both Israel and Syria would be desolated. (A prophecy which was only partly fulfilled, by the way). The use of the word 'virgin' is not germane in Isaiah's prophecy. The 'sign' was the child, not a miraculous conception.

In short, Isaiah's 'sign' was fulfilled in it's own context, hundreds of years before anyone thought to apply it in a different sense.

Another example that comes to mind is the story of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt.  In this story the Hebrew people are fleeing slavery from the Egyptians.  They are being led by Moses the hero of the story.  The Egyptians are chasing the Hebrew people who are on foot with fast moving chariots.  The Hebrews come to a body of water.  In the original Hebrew writing we have the Hebrew slaves crossing the Reed Sea which is only a meter deep.  It’s more of a salt marsh that is subject to tidal influences.  But in the modern version of the Bible the Hebrews are crossing the Red Sea which is 1000 meters deep.  This discrepancy between the Reed Sea and the Red Sea is paramount to the meaning of this story because in the latter interpretation Moses is said to part the waters of the Red Sea, truly a miracle.  However the crossing of the Reed Sea is really no big deal at all when on foot but tragic when riding in a chariot.  So you see in one interpretation Moses receives God like powers in the other he is seen as pulling off good military tactics by leading his pursuers into a salt marsh to get stuck, evading their pursuers. These kinds of mistakes and contradictions happen over and over again in the Bible and the Koran as well as other holy books. 

With all that being said my opinion differs from Congressman, Kucinich.  The Muslim religion may for some people be a religion of peace but not to all and certainly not in the eyes of history.  In my view it is a religion of death and oppression.  We see evidence of this all over the world today.  Just a few days ago Islam raised its ugly head and detonated a bomb attached to a phone booth in Jerusalem that blew up the main bus station there.  I admit the media does a good job at saying we are in a war against terrorism but in reality it is really a war against religiously motivated murders.  Ω


What are your thoughts on this situation?  Please let me know below in the comment section.

-----------------------
Video: What Muslims Don't Know About the Quran


Video: Bible & Koran Translations; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFOU3cCp48U

March 22, 2011

The Only Disaster is that of Small Minds

Atheism: Good enough for these idiots
By Francis Nye

Is it divine punishment or mankind’s lack of understanding of the natural world? 

The governor of Tokyo apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Japanese was divine retribution for national egoism.

Blaming human sinfulness for natural and man-made disasters is nothing new. This kind of thinking is actually typical rather than atypical in world history.

In one example, a day after Haiti’s devastating 2009 earthquake, U.S. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said the disaster was provoked by the Haitians' "pact to the devil."

The “700 Club” host said Haitians had entered that pact to gain independence from French rule in the early 1800s. “They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story,” Robertson said. “And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

“Ever since,” Robertson continued, "they have been cursed by one thing after the other." The magnitude 7.0 earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives.

 In another example a handful of politically conservative Christians blamed 2005’s Hurricane Katrina - which struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and left more than 1,800 dead - on the Crescent City’s embrace of gay pride events.

“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens,” John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelical pastor who leads the Christian Zionist movement in the United States, said after Katrina. “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are – were recipients of the judgment of God for that."


Yet in another example, two days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said the attacks were, at least in part, God’s judgment on those who would secularize American public life.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'” Falwell said on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club" program.


"God will not be mocked,” said Falwell, who was made famous by leading the Moral Majority in the 1980s.

In a phone call to CNN later the same day, Falwell stepped back a bit, saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the attacks.

But Falwell reiterated that forces trying to secularize the U.S. “created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."


The above is just three recent examples but the religious over the centuries have blamed the cause of many horrific events such as the civil war and the holocaust just to name a few more on the list of God’s retribution against our sinful ways.

This all of course is preposterous.  God doesn’t cause earthquakes, hurricanes, war, and ethnic cleansing.  To think otherwise is laughable.  There are valid explanations for natural disasters.  And as far as war and hate, those are man-made and not of divinely inspired. 


It is sad that it is so easy to convince religious people that all the above and many other tragedies can be placed at the foot of God.  I guess in retrospect it is not hard to convince people that believe in such absurdities like a talking snake, Adam living to the ripe old age of 930, Jesus recovering from brain death after 3days, and intelligent design that God causes natural and man made disasters.  People like this suffer from extreme small mildness and an IQ deficiency.

Paul Bell in Mensa Magazine (Mensa is the society of individuals with a high IQ) in 2002 concluded: “Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one’s intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one’s intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold ‘beliefs’ of any kind.” 


An "In Darwin I Trust" button

Michael Shermer, in How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, describes a large survey of randomly chosen Americans that he and his colleague Frank Sulloway carried out. Among their many interesting results was the discovery that religiosity is indeed negatively correlated with education.


In other words in a super-majority of studies people with lower IQ’s are more likely to be religious than people with higher IQ’s.  This study seems to be confirmed in the fact that most scientists are atheists, especially in the fields of biology and cosmology.  

I would hypothesize that it is only natural that the most educated, the most intelligent and the most knowledgeable among us would reject such silliness as religion in favor of scientific naturalism. Atheism and intelligence seem to have a direct relationship. Ω
                           
What are your thoughts on this situation?  Please let me know below in the comment section.

The video below also points out some other interesting facts and stats.  Enjoy.

--------------------
Video: Atheism Means a Better World for All


March 15, 2011

No Common Gound


New York before the religious attack on the
World Trade Center

D’Souza, a former policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan and current president of The King’s College, argued the world is a better place because of Christianity. Barker, a former pastor who is now the co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, countered that all religions are untrue, divisive, morally compromising, irrelevant and unnecessary. admitted there is no way to know for certain if God exists. The other admitted there is no way to know for certain if God does not exist.
Aside from those points, there wasn’t much common ground between the two authors during their debate entitled, “Is Religion the Problem?” The near-capacity audience of about 800 at the University of California San Diego seemed just as equally divided Monday during the 100-minute event.
D’Souza began the pair’s sixth debate in six states by telling the audience that compassion, individual dignity, opposition to slavery and science all were a result of Christianity. D’Souza focused his entire argument on Christianity, choosing to rarely mention other religions.  Odd don’t you think for someone defending all religions?
Barker began his opening argument by saying religion is not the biggest problem in the world. However, he said it is the broadest. Barker added that the most successful countries on Earth by every measure are the least religious, and the least successful countries are the most religious.
He later said that the Enlightenment, science and liberty were responsible for human progress, not religion.
“Religion clouds moral judgment,” Barker said. “Religion makes it more difficult to have moral judgment.”
D’Souza argued religion has brought happiness and consolation to millions of people and delivers practical benefits, while atheism only offers despair.
I have to disagree with D’Souza.  Religion is not a positive force in the world.  Religion is quite the opposite.  Religion is a source of all evil in this world.  It is the largest foundation of death, destruction, and oppression in all of history.  One only needs to look to back to a time not so long ago when soldiers took up arms in the Crusades to see the pain and death it inflicted, to a time when you were imprisoned or killed for trying to advance science.
Even today there are places in the world where women do not have any say in the course of their lives.  They have to cover their entire bodies from head to toe to hide their individuality.  Young girls have genitals mutilated by broken pieces of glass all in the name of religion.  In this very country today’s gay community lives in constant fear of reprisals because of their life style.  They are under constant attack regarding their freedoms to marry, have children, and to enjoy even the most basic rights afforded people in a civilized society.  In all these cases it is not the atheists they fear but the religious zealots.  Also, let us not forget the recent sexual abuse of minors and cover up of this horrific crime by one of the largest religious organizations in the world, namely the Catholics.  Then there is the consent non-stop fleecing of the members of religion by their trusted leadership. 
The list of oppression and crimes against humanity from religion looms over us like a sledge hammer.  This hammer has beat mankind’s tortured existence since the inception of religion and it continues into today’s so called period of enlightenment.  Mankind has butchered one another in the name of his gods for countless centuries with no end in sight.  It amazes me how someone can defend religion when in one fell swoop religion was responsible for the deaths of over 3000 people in the World Trade Center attack of September 11.  This fact alone is enough to sourer my palette regarding religion.  Even as I write this there are camps that are training individuals to attack innocent people with weapons and tactics designed to cause greatest amount of pain, suffering, and death all in the name of some religion.  But still people follow religion blindly like swine being lead to slaughter.
If this isn’t bad enough people willing expose their children to such nonsense as creationism, young earth theory, and other outrageous claims that fly in the face of proven and tested scientific fact.  They ask people to set aside their common sense and check their brains at the door when they enter their houses of worship.  All this designed to brainwash the next generation into the foolishness of perpetuating religion and it never ending hunger for pain and oppression.  Religion is the devour of mankind’s intellect and morality.  It voraciously eats away at mankind’s forward progress toward true enlightenment.
In my opinion religion is riddled with contradictions and is morally and ethically bankrupt.  That when weighed on the balance of good and evil it has long since tipped to the side of wickedness.   This cannot truly be what God intended for us.  When it comes to religion it is man that is doing all the talking and not God. Ω
                                     
What are your thoughts on this situation?  Please let me know below in the comment section.

-----------------
Bill Maher be more Cynical on Religion

March 8, 2011

No Sweat

Poster from the TV show "Caprica"

In the show the terroist monotheist cult,
The STO or Soliders of The One God battle the
accepted polytheist religions of the
Caprican Universe with both sides having no religious
tolerance for the other. This war ultimately leads to the
near extermination of the human race.
By Francis Nye

Last Tuesday the trial of James A. Ray, a motivational speaker began in the central Arizona town of Camp Verde.  Ray who is being accused of contributing to the deaths of three of his followers during a sweat lodge ceremony will be tried by a jury of his peers. The prosecution will argue that Mr. Ray’s negligence caused the deaths of three people in October 2009.   Mr. Ray’s lawyer will dispute the deaths as accidental and the victims had voluntarily entered the sweat lodge of their own accord. Also, that the victims were adults and had made their own decisions and that Mr. Ray held no power over them and that they were free to leave at anytime. 
Ray probably is responsible for the deaths because he didn’t take steps to ensure the safety of his followers but that is for a jury to decide and not me.  However what is really interesting and maybe not so apparent is that the definition between cult and religion is really what is on trial. 
I say this because one of the accusations is that theses people were under a “cult” influence and therefore had no control of their actions. That if this was a true religion then they would have presence of mind and therefore would have known their life was in danger.   This whole situation made me start to think, is this cult any different from any other religion?  And what is the difference between a cult and a religion anyway? 

The traditional definition of a Cult is:

“A new religious movement that has a limited number of followers and whose practices may or may not be mysterious and possible unsavory.”

Whereas the traditional definition of a Religion is:

“A method of thought that is meant to give meaning to man’s life by putting him in communion with a higher power through stories, rituals, and beliefs.”

But isn’t that what Mr. Ray was trying to do?  Wasn’t he trying to give these people a deeper meaning to their lives by putting them in communion with a higher power?  This is what he advertised after all.  Wasn’t he using the sweat lodge as a vehicle to deliver his message, rituals, and belief system?  A resounding yes he was.  So by this very definition he has a bona fide religion and not a cult as everyone is accusing him of having.  So therefore isn’t the word cult really more of a term used to insult another’s religion. In fact what you are really doing when you call someone’s faith a cult is denigrating a person’s personal belief system and demeaning their higher power experience. Let’s make no bones about it in fact you could call any religion a cult and any cult a religion depending on your point of view.

Some have said that what Ray was doing was a cult because he was in it for the money.  Nine thousand dollars seems a bit extreme I must admit.  But if you really think about it Ray is no different then some of today’s followers of Christ.  I am speaking of course about the televangelists that flood the air waves with their message of Jesus. The televangelists who want you to send them money (they call it a gift) so that they can pray with you? I personally don’t see why you have to pay to pray but that is another discussion all together.   Suffice it to say I have heard of people giving vast sums greater than $9000 to these Christian network organizations in hopes of achieving a spiritual equilibrium.  So the amount of money given cannot be a factor in determining the difference between a cult and a religion.

It is easy to call someone else’s faith a cult when your not part of their group because their ideology and their dogma seems so comical when seen from outside the “fish bowl”.  I think that sometimes people forget that while your thinking that some one else’s religion is a cult that they are thinking the same thing about you.  This kind of mentality is what often leads to war, death, oppression, and all the other trappings of religion.
Not convinced? Let’s look at how someone outside of Christianity may think it is a cult.  This of course can be done with any religion but let’s use the Jesus faith for our example.  Christianity is just one of the 19 main stream religions of the world.  It is well established.  It has been around for 2000 years.  Has 2 billion followers world wide.  Now let’s look at it from the point of view of someone that knows nothing about it and hears about it for the first time.  At first glance you see its followers worship a man that was put to death as criminal.  Three days later he came back to life.  Today the followers of Christ remember his death and resurrection through the rite of communion.  If you ask a Catholic (the oldest of the Christian faiths) they will tell you that Jesus actual body and blood are being consumed during this rite of communion.  From the Catholic point of view nothing is more holy than to have Jesus within your body.  However to the outsider who you were explaining this to would be seen as cannibalism, a serious taboo among civilized people. Also an outsider might think that Christians are nothing more than Zombie worshipers since Jesus was reanimated after death.  That Christians were in league with an evil necromancer capable of bringing the dead back to life though black magic.  Could you then fault someone who didn’t know better of labeling Christianity the Cult of Christ or the Christo-Pagan cult? However, this is not the case.  Christianity has done such a great job of branding itself over the centuries that most do not consider it to be a cult.  Christianity is considered a serious religion.  But what Mr. Ray did does not even come close to rising to the level of presumed craziness that Christianity does and his faith is the one considered a cult.  Ray didn’t ask anyone to eat a zombie, believe he was born from a virgin, or claim he could raise the dead.  He just asked them to have a good sweat.  Something the American Indians in the Southwest have been doing for centuries.  Something people pay to do at their local gym’s steam room.  The real tragedy here is that Ray should have taken better precautions in regulating the heat.
Bottom line cult or religion they are both the same by definition.  They both induce people to belong to a group.  They both offer an explanation to the meaning of life. They both separate you from your hard earned money and both ask you to believe some really weird stuff. Ω

What are your thoughts on this situation?  Please let me know below in the comment section.

--------------------------
Religions are Cults:

March 1, 2011

Facts vs. Make Believe

By Francis Nye

Although creationism has lost every major U.S. Federal Court battle during the past 40 years, a recent study published in "Science" found "a pervasive reluctance of teachers to forthrightly explain evolutionary biology.”  This of course is a bit alarming to me and brings along a host of other issues that are very problematic.  Setting aside the fact that evolution is a proven and tested science, I think the real concern is the difficulty of narrowing down the plethora of religions and their ideas of creationism in the classroom.  There is also the inability of religion to prove or disprove creationism in a meaningful scientific way.  I further see some effects on other academic subjects if we integrate religion with science in our schools.

Each religion has its own distinct system of beliefs. In order to adequately address creationism, either all religious beliefs would have to be taught, or the teacher would have to individually choose which aspects of religion would be incorporated in the class.  This would be very unfair to other faiths.

As I alluded to before Creationism is part of a set of personal beliefs that cannot be proved or disproved through any scientific test. If creationism is integrated into high school science classes that would entail treating God as a physical object that can be studied.  Many religions—particularly Christianity, the main lobby for creationism in school—is founded on the principle that God is a transcendent being who cannot be defined in a certain form.

Scientific hypotheses must have the ability to be disproved, but the existence of God cannot be proven through a series of tests or trials. The objective of science classes is not to help students learn about different types of faith but to expand pupils' knowledge of facts that have been proven through the scientific methods. Personal faith has no influence on chemical reactions or the laws of physics.

Also, each individual academic subject contains different material. If creationism is allowed into the classroom, it would open the door for more religious subjects in other classes; history and English courses could become the subjects of another debate. What if religious background information becomes mandatory? Could biblical stories like the great flood or the Hebrews exodus also become require learning in class?  If so this could also be very problematic because historians and archeologists have not proven that these events took place either.  There is just no archeological evidence of these events. In fact the evidence tends to lean toward these events not taking place at all. That they are just stories use to teach morality.

Additionally, teaching creationism would force educators to decide which religions and beliefs to focus on. Yet again another debate.  This other debate would likely lead to a school district having to endorse a set of religious principles to teach in schools.

God cannot be proven to exist through any scientific method. That clearly places religion and God outside of a science class. I think science and religion need to remain in their own realm. Creationism might be fine in the confines of a church, but I personally believe it has no place in a high school class.  One also needs to realize that science values data and statistics and champions the virtues of evidence and experimentation whereas religion does not and cannot.  This is really what separates religion from science.  If religion could be proven it would not be religion at all, it would be science. 

The only logical argument for having creationism taught in schools is because some parents may feel it is not being addressed correctly at their local house of worship.  However, since there is wall of separation from church and state then religious class cannot be taught in a public school.  But not to be deterred I have a solution that will satisfy all.  Parents should either home-school their children or send them to private schools that have such curriculums.  It is a win-win and solves all problems. After all we wouldn’t want to force religious training on everyone; now would we? That wouldn’t be very American. Ω

What are your thoughts on this situation?  Please let me know below in the comment section.

---------------------
Richard Dawkins: One Fact to Refute Creationism







For entire interview see:
http://fora.tv/2009/10/07/Richard_Dawkins_The_Greatest_Show_on_Earth