this refers to Gina Khan’s Diary (Sep.25, 08). She had claimed that the Prophet Mohammed himself nominated a woman to lead prayers. This is a precious piece of information. Could she please cite any reference in this regard so that we would be more sure.
najam, new delhi
“Many people here were shocked to hear about the stoning incident, and said that it was not Islamic”
They were SHOCKED!. Media can not help throwing sand into the public’s eyes. Stoning is not islamic. Beheadings are not islamic. Islam is not islamic.
Joan Smith confuses secularism (temple and state divided) and secularity (strength of non-religious thought). That is dumb and dangerous, especially for secularism.
Book of Matthew. How very, very true.
I was educated in a Christian school and have often wondered what relevance Jesus had for the gentiles. As Standing demonstrates, Jesus was prejudiced against gentiles and specifically excluded us from his message. Christianity has been a ludicrous mistake from the start, it’s all St Paul’s fault.
One of my favorite nonsensical sentences comes from Beattie:
At its most profound, faith is not an answer to life’s questions but a willingness to inhabit the darkness of knowing that there are some things we cannot know.
It’s like saying that, at its most profound, keeping slaves is a willingness to recognize human rights.
Attempts to turn young people away from Islamic extremism are being hampered by politically-correct language, according to a new report.
Ministers last year directed councils to use the terms “anti-Islamic activity” and “community resilience” instead of terrorism and extremism, as part of a drive to win over the Muslim community.
But the rebranding has spread confusion and is preventing local authorities and public bodies from talking openly about the radicalisation of young people.
A report for the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government found that public services were not communicating policies “for fear that using more direct language may exacerbate community tensions.”
It quoted an unnamed council director as saying: “Switching language from ‘extremism’ to ‘community resilience’ causes confusion.
I have to confess that my feelings towards the Gospels are ambivalent. I was brought up by my parents as a good Christian boy and even now at 81 may occasionally say that I can truthfully describe myself as still in a significant sense a Christian. At school (run by Franciscan monks) we studied the Gospel of Luke and I loved it as literature even though I had already rejected all Church dogma and teaching.
The Gospels (and the New Testament generally) are a hodgepodge of precious and atrocious things. More to the point, historically, the Christian canonical scriptures acted as a nucleus around which accumulated a rich culture.
A culture in which a Tolstoy or a Schweitzer found inspiration cannot simply be thrown overboard. Shelley who in his early youth managed to get himself expelled from Oxford for atheism was full of Christian sentiment.
I think we rationalists defeat ourselves when we allow institutionalized religion to drive us to an indiscriminate onslaught on the ideals, values, and even the myths, of that culture.
What we need is to disseminate a critical, rational approach to the literature of Christianity as literature. When we do that, even the Book of Revelation will be no more objectionable than the Iliad or the Odyssey.
Let us by all means fight superstition and dogmatic belief, but let us not jump at the throat of anyone who ventures to speak of spiritual values. The alternative to dogmatic religion should not be a secular humanism bled dry but a vibrant humanism in which the divine is housed within the human being.
D. R. Khashaba,
Thank you for your comment, but…
‘a vibrant humanism in which the divine is housed within the human being’
Which means what, exactly? And why should ‘the divine’ not also be ‘housed’ in animals and nature in general?
And why revert to an empty word that clearly has a very different meaning in everyday discourse?
To me, it seems a pretty cringe-worthy, New Agey use of language. Let’s be clear about what we’re saying.
This is not a completely fair assessment, we have to allow for the fact of Rabbinic Hyperbole, and Jesus is speaking in the idiom of his time and culture. Exaggeration was often employed to drive home a point.
The other thing is that this is Matthew’s, he has his own particular theological spin. He wants his readers to be clear that the new movement is authentically Jewish. Those who are closest to his position, other Pharisees are the ones who come in for the shrillest attack. 1st century Palestine is not 21st Century Oxford.
Nowhere could be further from the marginalised than then the dreaming spires of Oxford or any other academy. Hyperbole is sometimes all the marginalised have to make their voices heard.
Now of course this might mean that the man Jesus was not the son of God much less God. But it does not make him a racist.
On moderation in religion. Buddhism makes no claim that it’s sacred texts are the Word of God or divinely inspired. As such, it seems perfectly fair to say you can, in fact, “cherry-pick” Buddhist “scriptures” and moderate it’s teachings. In general, this is easier for Eastern religions. Liberals in Western religions generally claim that the overall arc of their sacred story is good while admitting to the barbaric parts.
‘Nowhere could be further from the marginalised than then the dreaming spires of Oxford or any other academy. Hyperbole is sometimes all the marginalised have to make their voices heard.
Now of course this might mean that the man Jesus was not the son of God much less God. But it does not make him a racist’.
I neither live nor work in Oxford, or in academia. How is calling non-Jews ‘dogs’ not racist and simply ‘hyperbole’?
When the white working class in Britain who have been largely dropped by the Left in favour of more exciting causes such as multiculturalism and bashing Israel (as witness the recent rise of the BNP) walk round talking about ‘Pakis’, ‘bloody immigrants’, and so on (there’s still plenty of this talk), that may be seen as hyperbole, but most people would rightly see it as racist, despite the circumstances.
By the way Marcus, did you miss footnote 4?
Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 31, 2008.
Interviewer: Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam has proposed that young Arab men should sexually harass Israeli girls wherever they may be and using any possible method, as a new means in the resistance against Israel.
Interviewer: We have with us the lawyer Nagla Al-Imam from Cairo. Welcome. What is the purpose of this proposal of yours?
Nagla Al-Imam: This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with…
Interviewer: On what grounds?
Nagla Al-Imam: First of all, they violate our rights, and they “rape” the land. Few things are as grave as the rape of land. In my view, this is a new form of resistance.
Interviewer: As a lawyer, don’t you think this might expose Arab youth to punishment for violating laws against sexual harassment?
Nagla Al-Imam: Most Arab countries… With the exception of three or four Arab countries, which I don?t think allow Israeli women to enter anyway, most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well.
Interviewer: Does this also include rape?
Nagla Al-Imam: No. Sexual harassment… In my view, the [Israeli women] do not have any right to respond. The resistance fighters would not initiate such a thing, because their moral values are much loftier than that. However if such a thing did happen to them, the [Israeli women] have no right to make any demands, because this would put us on equal terms ? leave the land so we won’t rape you. These two things are equal.
full interview :
An excellent critique of the Bible.
The Bible is a book containing baloney of astronomical proportions!
I should know. I studied Catholic theology, worked as a priest and missionary in Taiwan for 16 years until I could free mself from 36 years of brain washing (I was born in Catholic Austria)!
Thanks for this wonderful essay which might help enlighten more persons!
“Pope Benedict XVI had opened a Synod of more than 200 cardinals and bishops from around the world to examine the modern lack of interest in the Bible.”
The Roman Catholic church, in the first instance, has never encouraged its wider “flock” to study the bible, for fear of it creating its own interpretations. So what should the synod expect to learn from examining the flocks modern lack of interest. It beats me.
“The Pope proposes that a return to ‘Scripture’ will solve our problems.”
Bob Bush (ex-Jesuit priest) points out in a book written by Richard Bennett (Carlisle, Penn: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997) that “The Roman Catholic Church adds works, and that you have to do these specific things [keeping its laws, rules and regulations] in order to be saved, whereas the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works.” (pp. 75-76)
Bartholomew F. Brewer, another ex- priest has also something to say on the bible. “We often discussed subjects such as the primacy of Peter, papal infallibility, the priesthood, infant baptism, confession, the mass, purgatory, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In time I realized that not only are these beliefs not in the Bible, they are actually contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.” (pp. 21-22)
‘Keep the rule and the rule will keep you.’” (p. 66). So the pope reckons, I suppose, that in keeping the scripture the scripture will keep you. All of lifes problems will be solved and pigs will fly.
Defending ‘some vision’ of the Enlightenment means shoring up western civilisation against the barbarians. One of the tell-tale signs of prejudice in Europe, claims Mark Mazower in an article in the Financial Times (UK).
‘Prejudice in Europe is more than skin deep’. By Mark Mazower. FT 18 November 2008.
>Defending ‘some vision’ of the >Enlightenment means shoring up western >civilisation against the barbarians
The Europeans and their western civilization are doomed, and they know it.
They sense it, apprehend it, just as they did in the dying days of the Roman Empire : demographic collapse, intractable economic problems, huge expansion of the welfare-state (“free bread and circus”), military impotence, and unstoppable immigration ruining the values of civil society.
Perhaps they won’t go down without a
fight, Europe may burn again, but the outcome is not in doubt.
Female genital mutilation denies sexual pleasure to millions of women:
Two doctors in Saudi Arabia want to change cultural attitudes to female genital mutilation by gathering evidence of its links to sexual dysfunction
Ah and apropos Enlightenment, 2 nice books to download, so that we all know what we talk about!
Major Media on ‘Defamation of Religion’ Resolution. Deafening silence.
Huge victory for jihad.
UN measure limiting free speech moves the West one step closer to submitting to the hegemony of Islamic norms.
> British barrister calls for incorporation of sharia into British law.<
The barrister in question, Stephen Hockman QC, actually goes further than this – he wants “to integrate Muslim culture into our traditions.”
To this end he advocates “a standing committee comprising Parliamentarians, lawyers and religious leaders to consider how this could be achieved and what legal changes might be framed.”
One doesn’t wish to be disrespectful to such an eminent barrister, but an online response to an article of his on another topic in regard to which he also advocates a major role for lawyers may be thought appropriate here:
“Is Mr. Hockman actually who he claims to be? Judging by this article, it would appear he’s an escapee from Broadmoor.”
Spot the difference from editorials in the four British “broadsheet” (as were) newspapers:
The Times: “This is a time for India’s friends not only to share its grief, but to bolster its leaders’ resolve and steady their response… The people to blame here, and the only people to blame, are the terrorists.”
The Independent: “The strikes on India’s financial capital were multiple and synchronised, symbolic targets were chosen and witness accounts suggest the terrorists had a specific aim of killing foreigners.”
Daily Telegraph: “The attack by Islamist terrorists on Mumbai was the eighth such outrage in India since May, but by far the most sophisticated and bloody.”
The Guardian: “The attackers arrived in commando boats from a mother ship: they shot up a crowded railway station and hospital, before targeting Americans, Britons and Jews. [...] India, naturally shaken by the slaughter of its civilians, must not allow the rapprochement with Pakistan to be derailed, for this is exactly what the militants want.
Only the Guardian cannot bring itself editorially to use the “t” word, preferring “attackers”, or (like BBC News broadcasts), “militants”. One wonders what level of atrocity it would take before Guardian editorial policy allows the use of “terrorists” to describe the perpetrators. (“Attackers” could well describe Man Utd strikers, and “militants” could be trade union activists. Neither have anything in common with the perpetrators of the current horrors.)