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A bit of TOK

In интернет, ethics, moral issues, philosophy, relationship, religion, traditions, writing on February 18, 2013 at 12:54

Church of England nixes female bishops. Do religions treat women as inferior?

Its a sort of traditional “social darwinism” backed up by old religions: all because unlike men women can only have one child (or one set of multiples) from one father per year and human males traditionally fight over females. THIS is what traditional religions protect while our civilization already has outgrown attitudes like that. Zeitgeist is to treat women as humans and care for week & disabled.

Is Atheism a Religion?

1. You don’t define people as non-astrologist or non-fortune-tellers. 2. Religion equals beliefs in something supernatural (spiritual) plus priests, prayers, books, temples, legends. A-theist obviosely don’t have that. Religious peple must be so desperate trying to prove that what they call “atheism” is just the same thing. So they don’t feel left behind.

https://apps.facebook.com/tokmedia/toks?id=f8144079-e34e-4fe4-a57a-f02fa1905b34

What sort of person would use a tragedy like the massacre in Newtown, Conn., as an excuse to advance an extreme, theocratic agenda?

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2013 at 08:26

Wicked Words: Religious Right Leaders Blame Newtown Shooting On Church-State Separation

We need real solutions to the problems of this country, and talking about more official prayers and less evolution in schools isn’t going to get us anywhere.

What sort of person would use a tragedy like the massacre in Newtown, Conn., as an excuse to advance an extreme, theocratic agenda?

If you guessed William J. Murray, you’re correct.

Murray, who heads the Religious Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C., doesn’t blame Adam Lanza for taking the lives of his own mother and 26 others, including 20 children. Instead, the Religious Right activist said it’s lack of school-sponsored prayer that led to the tragedy.

“In the vast majority of America’s public schools, the authority of God has been replaced with the authority of the iron fist of government,” he said. “Morals? Without the authority of God, there are no morals, and none are taught in the public schools today. The ethics that are taught are situational, perhaps the same situational ethics that led to the logic that caused the tragic shootings in Newtown.”

Murray is the son of the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who brought one of the cases that spurred the U.S. Supreme Court to get government out of the school prayer business. But Murray, a convert to evangelical Christianity, isn’t a big fan of the U.S. Supreme Court cases (Engel v. Vitale and Abington v. Shempp) that barred coercive prayer from the classroom in the 1960s and, in his mind, are to be blamed for all evil in the United States. (Never mind that deaths from assault have actually decreased substantially in America since they peaked in the late 1970s.)

Murray doesn’t understand that those court cases did absolutely nothing to restrict or undermine morality; they merely gave parents the right to ensure that they could teach their children what religion, if any, they should observe. Those rulings also made it so no child would feel like an outsider if he or she doesn’t believe in a majority faith.

But people like Murray are against true religious freedom and, sadly, he’s far from the only one. A shrill screed posted on American Vision’s website by Gary DeMar blamed the teaching of evolution for violence in our society. 

“The problem is, our current culture – through the educational system – is telling young people that they are animals, in some cases, less than animals,” DeMar said. “‘So genetically we are no different (really) from a worm, a bug, or a dandelion.’ If taught long enough, there will be some people who will begin to believe it and act accordingly with no regard for what we regard as a moral worldview.”

That is just all kinds of wrong, which is to be expected from a Dominionist group that envisions an America “where Christians apply a Biblical worldview to every facet of society.” (By that, DeMar and Company mean, of course, their version of Christianity and their “worldview.”) more http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-six-biggest-threats-to-america.html

a “Christmas gift”

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2012 at 21:09

Uganda will pass a new law against homosexuality by the end of 2012 as a “Christmas gift” to its advocates, the speaker of parliament has said.

The AP news agency quoted Rebecca Kadaga as saying that Ugandans were “demanding” the law.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, but the bill which is before parliament proposes tougher sentences for people convicted.

Foreign donors have threatened to cut aid if gay rights are not respected.
The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.

It prohibits the “promotion” of gay rights and calls for the punishment of anyone who “funds or sponsors homosexuality” or “abets homosexuality”.

a Catholic country…

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2012 at 21:03

Woman dies after abortion request ‘refused’ at Galway hospital family said she asked several times for an abortion before she died.

The husband of a pregnant woman who died in an Irish hospital has said he has no doubt she would be alive if she had been allowed an abortion.

Savita Halappanavar’s family said she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying.

Her husband told the BBC that it was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat.

Ms Halappanavar’s death, on 28 October, is the subject of two investigations.

An autopsy carried out two days after her death found she had died from septicaemia, according to the Irish Times.

Ms Halappanavar, who was 31 and originally from India, was a dentist.

Praveen Halappanavar said staff at University Hospital Galway told them Ireland was “a Catholic country”.

When asked by the BBC if he thought his wife would still be alive if the termination had been allowed, Mr Halappanavar said: “Of course, no doubt about it.”

An interesting article on Syria:

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 11:34

Sectarian Violence Undermines Syrian Regime

Posted on Jun 17, 2012

By Juan Cole

The Syrian upheaval has gone through several stages. It began with relatively peaceful protests by crowds in a handful of small and medium-size cities outside the large metropolitan areas of Damascus and Aleppo. Severe repression by the national regime led some revolutionaries to turn to guerrilla tactics. The ruling Baath government subjected the quarters held by the Free Syrian Army to heavy artillery and tank assaults. More recently, as the rebellion continued to spread in small towns, the military has provided cover to death squads that have massacred civilians in an attempt to scare them into submission. The most frightening thing about this spiral of ever greater violence and brutality is that some of the now-hardened lines have been sectarian.

The Syrian army assault on the rebellious Sunni village of al-Haffa in Latakia province, which has left it a ghost town, exemplifies this move toward religious war. Latakia is heavily Alawite, and protecting members of this religious group from Sunni dominance is one of the latent functions of the regime. The upper echelons of the ruling Baath Party and its officer corps are dominated by the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam. Only about 10 percent of Syrians are Alawite. On the order of 70 percent of Syrians belong to the rival Sunni branch of Islam. (Many Syrian Sunnis are secularists.) The car bomb that recently damaged the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zaynab in Damascus may have primarily targeted nearby Intelligence Ministry buildings, but those who detonated it may have been happy enough to hurt Shiite religious sensibilities.

The death squads, Shabiha, deployed by the regime against the towns of Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair in recent weeks are drawn from the Alawi sect. Many of the Sunnis being targeted have been organized by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair are largely Sunni hamlets surrounded by powerful Alawi towns.

The black-garbed Shabiha, or “ghost gangs,” began as criminal organizations in the Alawite-dominated port of Latakia in the 1970s after the Alawite Assad family came to power in Syria, and some of its members are drawn from the Assad and related Deeb and Makhlouf clans. Although the groups were curbed in the 1990s after they became too arrogant even for the Assads to countenance, they re-emerged in 2011 as paramilitary adjuncts to the army and security police. In Alawite areas, they have been accused of detaining Syrians with Sunni names at checkpoints and doing away with them.

The Baath Party was founded in the 1940s by two Christian intellectuals who advocated a secular Arab nationalism. In some ways, the “Resurrection,” or Baath, party was to resemble the Communist Party, but instead of championing the working class and being universal it would uplift ethnic Arabs and unite them to throw off the vestiges of Western, colonial domination. This attempt to subvert socialism with an appeal to essentially racist themes made the Baath an odd hybrid of fascism and Third-Worldism. Non-Arab minorities in Baath-ruled countries, such as the Kurds, often faced discrimination or worse.

Baathists came to power through coups in Syria and Iraq in the 1960s. Ironically, the Baath one-party state became a vehicle for well-organized minorities to take over the government. Thus, in Syria the Alawite Shiites dominated the Baath regime from 1970, whereas in Iraq control of the ruling Baath party was held by a Sunni clan from Tikrit (that of Saddam Hussein).

Syria’s Baath Party has lasted so long and attracted the loyalty of so many Syrians over the decades in part because it aided Syria’s transition from a rural, peasant country to an urban one. It carried out a land reform that redistributed land to peasants and liquidated the old big-landlord class. The Baathists built dams and irrigation works for farmers, earning the gratitude and support of many rural Sunni clans. Largely rural depot towns such as Deraa in the south near the Jordanian border were among the biggest beneficiaries of these Baath programs, and so were known as strong party backers, producing several high regime officials and officers.

Rural Syria has had a prolonged and severe drought, and the Baath government has not been good in this decade about managing water resources. Rural Sunni clans have suffered most from this water crisis.

A majority of Syrians now live in towns and cities, and their needs are different from those of their farming parents. The Baath Party’s reduction of fuel and other subsidies and encouragement of unaccountable big business have angered the urban population. (These policies, pushed by international banks and elites, are generally referred to as “Neoliberalism.”) Largely Sunni towns have seen high unemployment, especially in slums on outskirts full of former farmworkers forced to seek jobs in the cities, often unsuccessfully.

At its heart, the Syrian crisis is a conflict that pits the urban metropolises (Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia) that benefit from government largesse against the medium-size cities and rural towns that have suffered from drought and Neoliberal policies. It so happens that this divide also aligns, if unevenly, with sectarian cleavages, with the provincial cities and towns being mostly religiously conservative and Sunni, and the big-cities bastions of minority power and secular Sunni business classes dependent on the regime.

The Syrian government’s resort to Alawite death squads in recent weeks, however, has threatened the big-city alliance that has allowed the Baath to survive. The sight of Sunni women and children massacred by the Shabiha in Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair drove Sunni shopkeepers in the capital to instigate a general strike. Protests and small insurgencies are now taking place even in Damascus.

The regime of Bashar Assad squandered whatever good will it had in rural and small-town Syria by its heavy-handed repression of the protests. Among its few remaining assets was the support of Christian, Alawi and secular Sunni middle classes in the large cities, groups that fear the rise of Sunni fundamentalism, are disturbed by the decline of security for property, and benefit from Baath government licenses and contracts. The deployment of Shabiha death squads, however, has clearly pushed many of these former supporters into the opposition. It is now the regime that is threatening public security and fanning the flames of sectarian hatred. If the Syrian revolution finally succeeds, it will be because the Baath regime betrayed its commitments to secularism, socialism and public order, becoming in the eyes of the public just another sectarian mafia.

Lord’s Resistance Army

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2012 at 07:03

The Lord’s Resistance Army, or Lord’s Resistance Movement, is a militant group operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic[6] accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.[7][8]

Initially it was an outgrowth and continuation of the larger armed resistance movement waged by some of the Acholi people against a central Ugandan government which they felt marginalized them at the expense of southern Ugandan ethnic groups. Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of of African mysticism, Acholi nationalism, and Christian fundamentalism.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition.[19][20][21]

The group is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit, which the group believes can represent itself in many manifestations.

Imelda Marcos

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2012 at 23:00

“When she returned to the Philippines after exile in Hawaii, she was received by people whop kiss her hands for blessing and by a priest who proclaims the return of “Mummy Imelda”.

Instead of selling her shoes for charity she gives the poor… blessings. An ingenious invention these blessings are: it looks like you are giving something while giving nothing…

Imelda Marcos

Poland fines pop music star for blasphemy

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2012 at 16:54

Poland last week fined one its pop music stars $1,450 for stating in an interview several years ago that the Bible is full of “unbelievable tales” that are hard to accept because “it’s hard to believe in something written down by someone drunk on wine and smoking some kind of herbs.”

Dorota Rabczewska, otherwise known as Doda, was charged under a law that protects the feelings and sentiments of religious believers in the heavily Roman Catholic country. The law dictates that charges are brought if at least two complaints are filed. Doda’s statements apparently bothered a sufficient number of people, including Ryszard Nowak, chairman of the Christian advocacy organization Committee for the Defence Against Sects, who said: 

“It is clear that Doda thinks that the Bible was written by drunkards and junkies. I believe that she committed a crime and offended the religious feelings of both Christians and Jews.” ….

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 10:44

There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity … It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyong our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.

Augustine, late forth / early fifth century AD (from The Closing Of The Western Mind by Charles Freeman)

Priests brawl in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2011 at 09:20

At one of oldest churches in the world, built over the cave that tradition marks as the place Jesus was born, Franciscan, Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests have brawled annually around Christmas Day for more than a century.

This year was no different.

Scuffles between the rival groups of priests broke out during a cleaning of the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7. The BBC reports that about 100 priests fought with brooms as tourists looked on, until Palestinian police broke up the clashes. No one was seriously injured, and there were no arrests.

“No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God,” Bethlehem police Lt. Col. Khaled al-Tamimi told Reuters. Tamimi called the incident “a trivial problem that . . . occurs every year.”

In past years, the priests have brawled over who owns which altars, passageways and chandeliers, and how to do repairs, according to news accounts. In 2010, the fight broke out while priests were trying to repair the church’s rotting, collapsing roof.

In 2008, the fight took place next to the purported site of Jesus’s tomb and landed two clergymen in jail.

Watch the video of this year’s melee here.

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