About two weeks ago, the Huffington Post published an article by a Christian pastor named Adam Phillips entitled The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality. Why Does Franklin Graham Not Get This?. The character and quality of the arguments in this article are evident by the very first sentence: “The word “homosexuality” didn’t even show up in English translations of the Bible until 1946, so why do we say the Bible condemns it?”

That is such a ludicrous question, that it’s hard to believe that an intelligent and educated person could ask it. The absence of the word “homosexuality” makes no difference, when the thing which that word indicates is clearly expressed in clear words (both in the “Torah” and in the “New Testament”). The Bible is not condemning a word, but a thing. Leviticus 18:22 – You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. Romans 1:26 and 27 – For this reason [that they “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator”] God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

Using the same argumentation, one could claim that the Bible does not condemn “bestiality” because that word does not even occur in the Bible. Yet Leviticus 18:23 says And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it; it is perversion. The word itself is absent, but the ‘thing’ is present and condemned.

Adam Phillips does in fact realize that condemnation of the ‘thing’ itself may be present even if it is not mentioned by ‘name’; so he devotes a good portion of the argument seeking to explain how such explicit statements of condemnation for homosexuality do not really mean what they ‘seem’ to say. In reality, he simply asserts that those verses “have nothing to do with homosexuality” without dealing with the actual wording of the statements.

For instance, concerning the verses in Leviticus, he approvingly quotes someone else as saying: “This is not a verse about homosexual love, or being gay. This command is there with all kinds of connotations of adultery, promiscuity, and idol worship from the surrounding nations.” So because there are prohibitions of other things also within the contexts of the Leviticus verses, we can somehow pretend that a man lying with another man as with a woman has nothing to do with homosexual sex??? What kind of reasoning is that?

The Leviticus passages claim to be forbidding the “Israelites” to do certain things which the nations around them do; and homosexual sex is one of those things (as well as sex with animals, heterosexual adultery, sex with a woman while she is in her menstrual period, and idolatry). The very act of homosexual sex is itself forbidden; it simply doesn’t matter whether the homosexual couple claims to desire to have a ‘committed, loving’ relationship. When the act of sex itself is forbidden, the continuing ‘committed’ relationship is also obviously forbidden.

The Torah (Leviticus) only forbids male homosexuality, though; for whatever reason female homosexuality is not mentioned (although females having sex with animals is forbidden). I have been told that the Talmud runs with that and maintains that female homosexuality is perfectly legitimate, because only male homosexuality is specifically forbidden. The Christian ‘apostle’ Paul corrected that oversight in Romans 1, though, where he castigated both male and female ‘unnatural’ acts of homosexuality.

The problem is not that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality – it most certainly does. The problem is a dishonest and lying “Christian” who doesn’t want to accept and obey the Biblical prohibitions, but still wants to convince himself that he is being ‘serious’ about the Bible and accepts its supposed ‘authority’. He agrees with the prohibition against sex with animals, so he feels no need to explain away that prohibition. But he doesn’t agree with the Biblical statements about homosexual sex, so he performs amazing acts of mental contortion to deny that those statements mean what they plainly say. Really, for him the simple assertion that “this has nothing to do with homosexuality” is sufficient; and he can’t understand why other people can’t see that.

The second sentence of Mr. Phillips’ article says this: “Billy Graham’s son is terrified that President Obama and a whole host of us have chucked out our Bibles in order to support marriage equality.” Well, in practice that is precisely what such “Christians” have done (“chucked out our Bibles”); and they ought to have the courage to openly acknowledge the fact instead of trying to hide in dishonesty. Adam and other “Christians” of like mind openly proclaim that they feel no need to practice certain other ‘Biblical’ requirements (thus ‘chucking out their Bibles’ in regard to those ‘laws’); why can’t they just say “yes the Bible does say that homosexuality is a major sin, and worthy of capital punishment; but we don’t give a hoot what the Bible says about it. We consider that ‘outdated’ at best.”

They certainly do this with other things. For instance, in the section dealing with the Leviticus prohibitions, the final paragraph (apparently still approvingly quoting someone else) says: “And if we want to get all Levitical about it, the same laws dictate that shellfish cannot be eaten (there goes Boston clam chowder and Willapa Bay oysters), mixed fabric garments cannot be worn (I guess I need to burn my Portland Timbers jersey), and sex with animals is strictly forbidden (yep, I totally agree).”

There are very few “Christians” today who accept Jesus’ strict teachings about divorce – that divorce is absolutely sinful except in the case of ‘fornication’. Those who divorce, and those who marry divorced people, are guilty of the heinous sin of ‘adultery’.

The Roman Catholic Church, I believe, still pretends to take a strong stance against divorce; but with casuistry worthy of the Jewish Talmudists, they get around it by ‘annulment’ of marriages. Instead of granting a ‘divorce’ to married couples, they just declare that the marriage was invalid from the beginning. Logically, of course, this annulment means that the couple was living in ‘fornication’ during their ‘invalid’ marriage, and any children they have are ‘bastards’. I’m sure they have some ingenious way to avoid that logical conclusion, however.

I’m not going to get into the other passages which Mr. Phillips explains away. The passages produced in Leviticus and Romans are so clear that it doesn’t matter whether the Biblical myth of Lot in Sodom is actually dealing primarily with homosexuality; or whether a couple of Greek words in the New Testament actually refer to homosexuality. While I don’t buy Adam’s explanations, I’ll let him go with them for the sake of the argument. As I said, the other passages are so clear as to not leave any doubt that the Bible explicitly condemns male/male and female/female sex, even though it doesn’t use the word ‘homosexual’ or ‘homosexuality’.

The point of my article is not to defend Biblical injunctions; I hope that is obvious. As I said in my last article: “For an ‘infidel’ such as me, though – who believes that the Bible is at best the teachings of men, and in fact much of it is more worthy of being labeled “doctrines of demons” than “the word of God” – the fact that the Bible teaches something is not at all a favorable recommendation for that teaching.” My point is that one needs to be honest with him/herself and others. Don’t be dishonest about what the Bible teaches in order to defend your own position; acknowledge what the Bible says, and have the courage to say you simply don’t care what it teaches (like I do). Why should anyone accept something just because some Jewish or Christian writers fraudulently put forward their beliefs as being “the Word of God”? We ought to just laugh at their presumption and would-be tyranny, and go on our way.

Posted by: mystic444 | July 2, 2015

Poor arguments for and against homosexual marriage

Debate over the issues of “gay” rights and “gay” marriage have been going on for some time; but since the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling making homosexual marriage legal in all States, my Yahoo News pages have been overflowing with articles both vilifying and celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision. Some of the arguments (both pro and con), however, have been extremely poor. Although perhaps you’re (justifiably) tired of reading rants on the issue, I would still like to look at a few of those poor arguments.

First, though, let me try to briefly give my own thoughts on the issue. Back in the late 1980s when I abandoned “Biblical Christianity”, I abandoned much of “Biblical” morality almost as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. Biblical views on homosexuality were among those things I abandoned. However, regarding homosexuality at least, my beliefs were in fact rather conflicted. Intellectually, I fully embraced the “gay rights” movement; but emotionally (or ‘in my gut’) I remained repulsed by the very thought of homosexual relationships. Nevertheless I sought to subdue my emotional abhorrence, and publicly denounced ‘homophobia’.

In 2010, when I began investigating Islam to see if it really was as horrible as so many people were saying, I was so overwhelmed by how totally opposite the teachings of the Qur’an were compared to the accusations that it is a hate-filled book calling for the murder of everyone who doesn’t embrace Islam, that I began to ‘fall in love’ with the Qur’an; and consequently I also allowed myself to fall under the influence of the anti-homosexuality statements in the Qur’an. I again succumbed to my emotional (or ‘gut’) feelings; hence my “I Agree With Phil” article of Dec. 21, 2013.

Recently I have once again begun to rethink this issue, and have regained my ‘conflicted’ state. 🙄 I still have that automatic feeling of disgust and revulsion when I see pictures of two men or two women ‘lip-locked’; but intellectually I see flaws in the arguments I had against homosexuality and ‘gay’ marriage.

Now I’ll examine some of those faulty arguments that I’ve been reading in the news. From the side of those celebrating the Supreme Court decision, there are those who seek to show that homosexual rights and homosexual marriage are perfectly consistent with Christianity and the Bible. Some say that the Bible never condemns homosexual marriage – to which I respond, “well, Duh!” When the Bible condemns homosexuality itself, and says that those who practice homosexual acts should be killed, why would you imagine that it would be necessary to specifically condemn homosexual marriage??? Can you imagine someone saying that although pedophilia is a major crime, if the law does not specifically forbid pedophiles to marry the children they ‘love’ it mean that adults marrying young children must be acceptable, and we must open ourselves up to ‘love’? What nonsense! The Bible (both ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments) considers homosexuality to be a major ‘sin’, worthy of death; so the Bible obviously is not compatible with homosexual marriage!

In An Open Letter to Franklin Graham Paula Garrett castigates Franklin Graham for saying that the Bible is clear about homosexuality and homosexual marriage. She says that although a few passages here and there can be cherry picked which indicate that marriage is between a male and a female, there are other passages in the Bible that have other views of marriage. The Bible allows for polygamy, concubines, and even the forced marriage of a rapist to his victim. The obvious problem with this argument is that all of those instances involve heterosexual relationships. There is simply not one hint in the Bible of an openness to homosexual relationships (including marriage). Although I have little to no respect for Franklin Graham, he is most certainly right that the Bible is quite clear as to its view of homosexuality.

If Paula Garrett had been arguing that the Bible is unclear with regard to the “Church” doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman, she would of course have been correct – and quite justified in bringing up the many passages about polygamy and concubines. But when the argument is concerning heterosexuality versus homosexuality, the Bible is quite clear about its position.

The question then is whether or not the Bible is right in its position. But for a “Bible believing Christian” such as Franklin Graham, who believes that the Bible is infallibly inspired by God, this is not even debatable. Of course the Bible is right, and homosexuality is a great evil. Repent and be converted, you vile homosexuals, lest you be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment! 😆 For an ‘infidel’ such as me, though – who believes that the Bible is at best the teachings of men, and in fact much of it is more worthy of being labeled “doctrines of demons” than “the word of God” – the fact that the Bible teaches something is not at all a favorable recommendation for that teaching. 🙂

Now I’ll refer to unsound arguments from the anti-‘gay’ marriage side. In an article in “National Review” Dennis Prager argues that the Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual marriage has completed the undermining of the USA as the ‘Founding Fathers’ envisioned it. He maintains the fallacious viewpoint that the USA was founded specifically on “Judeo-Christian” principles of morality and law, as contained in the holy book of “Judeo-Christianity”: the Bible. And of course, the Biblical (“Judeo-Christian”) view on marriage is unquestionably heterosexual, as mentioned in previous paragraphs.

Of course, this view of the “Judeo-Christian” and Biblical foundation of the USA, as envisioned by its “Founding Fathers”, is simply a falsehood. The “Founding Fathers” themselves were quite explicit about this. In the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli of Barbary (ratified in 1797, only approximately 10 years after the ratification of the US Constitution), Congress unanimously agreed in article 11 of the Treaty: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, [Muslims]-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Muhammadan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. That is why the Constitution states emphatically that Congress can’t make any law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. And that is why the Constitution insists that there may not be any religious tests for prospective members of Congress or any public position.

Christianity is simply not the foundation of our nation (nor is any other religion). The Government was clearly intended to be ‘secular’, with religion and morals left up to the individual citizens and their churches. [For more complete discussion of this subject, see Are the United States a Christian Nation? and More Falsehoods From Franklin Graham.]

Mr. Prager then argues that the “Fathers” sought to base the laws and morals of the USA on the Bible because they realized that otherwise everything would be purely subjective. We would be left to what we ‘feel in our hearts’, rather than having objective ‘truth’ as a foundation. However the most famous of those “Fathers” – such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine – in fact realized that the Bible was so full of errors and contradictions that it could not possibly serve as an authoritative source of ‘objective truth’. On the contrary, the only ‘infallible word of God’ available to men is written not in a book, but in “Nature”. “Nature” speaks to men of every language all over the world. This is why the Declaration of Independence stated that true Government is founded on the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God – not the Bible and the Bible’s God.

This means that the “Fathers” believed that laws and morals are not just derived from what we feel in our “hearts”, but also (and perhaps more so) from reason and logic as applied to what can be observed in nature. Intuitive feelings are not to be overlooked or derided; but reason and nature are at least as important.

But this appeal to nature and reason might seem to in fact be the strongest argument against homosexuality. Isn’t heterosexuality ‘writ large’ in ‘nature’s book’? Isn’t it ‘obvious’ in nature itself that sexual relationships and marriage are intended to be between male and female – not male and male or female and female? This is the argument that I have used; and in point of fact it was no doubt just as clear an argument to Jefferson, Madison, and Paine.

This is an argument that Mike Huckabee used in his repudiation of the Supreme Court decision. Laws of nature – such as the law of Gravity – cannot be annulled by a fiat of Supreme Court Justices; and he feels that heterosexual marriage is as much a law of nature as the law of Gravity.

The problem with such an argument is, first of all, that laws of nature are not necessarily absolute. It is true that we can’t annul the law of Gravity (or haven’t been able to so far at least); but we can counterbalance it by exerting a force greater than Gravity’s force. That’s how we’re able to get airplanes and spaceships to fly. Even jumping up in the air illustrates a very temporary overcoming of Gravity’s force. The ability of birds to fly shows even in nature (without the addition of human technology) that one law of nature can be counterbalanced by another law of nature.

So while I don’t believe there is any ‘natural’ way to reproduce apart from ‘normal’ male/female sexual activity, we have discovered ways to impregnate a female without sexual intercourse with a male (in vitro fertilization, I believe it is called). Two males can get a female to agree to bear a child for them; and two females can get a male to provide sperm without actual sexual intercourse. Of course, there is always adoption also (though of course the adopted child could not have been born without a male and a female contributing).

As a matter of fact, though, there is nothing in nature to dictate that sexual activity must be limited to the ‘normal’ male/female relationship. Instances of homosexuality have long been observed in nature; and like it or not, homosexuality has existed ‘naturally’ among humans also throughout recorded human history. It may not be the ‘usual’ or ‘normal’ natural order, but it is nevertheless a real part of that order. Homosexuality can’t produce offspring; but who will be so foolish as to say that the production of offspring is the only reason for sexual activity? It is a reason, but certainly not “the” reason.

In fact, marriage itself is not a ‘law of nature’; it is simply a human arrangement (despite religious myths that declare that ‘God’ decreed the marriage contract and granted his priests – and government agents – the authority to supervise the making of such contracts). And human arrangements are subject to change. So I suppose that it’s perfectly legitimate for modern society to ‘redefine’ marriage to include homosexual unions. I still have my automatic ‘gut’ reactions to the concept of homosexuality and the sight of two males or two females kissing, etc.; but I have to submit to my intellect and reason telling me that it really is acceptable –and such arguments as given by Paula Garrett and Dennis Prager are decidedly poor ones.

Freedom of speech and religion are two of the most fundamental ‘rights’ protected by the Constitution of the USA. The very first article in the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) enshrines them: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Yet it seems like there are always people and groups who in fact seek to undermine those liberties by means of laws passed to limit them (despite the clear statement that “Congress shall make NO law…”). This is particularly evident these days with attempts to prevent so-called “anti-Semitic” speech and “homophobic” speech. Many even here in the ‘free’ USA wish to legally enforce ‘politically correct’ standards.

No doubt we are all aware of a number of legal cases in which the Supreme Court has overturned State laws enacted against homosexual ‘marriages’; and legal cases being brought against businesses which refuse to act in support of homosexual ‘marriage’. One business which prints messages on T-shirts is being sued for refusing to print a “gay-pride” message; and a cake maker is being sued for refusal to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding.

It should be noted in those two instances to which I referred that it is not a matter of the business refusing to serve homosexuals as customers. Neither of them requires prospective customers to sign an affidavit that they are heterosexual before allowing them into the shop; nor do they exclude anyone they think “looks like” a homosexual. The T-shirt company would be quite willing to print a shirt with an ‘ordinary’ message (“Dinosaurs Rock” or “For Pilots, the Sky’s the Limit”, or any other such humorous or serious message), without regard to the sexual persuasion of the customer; and the cake company likewise would be quite willing to make a birthday cake, or a cake for any other occasion which did not involve support for that which the owners believe to be either ‘ungodly’ or ‘unnatural’ (or both). The businesses have not rejected the persons, but the behavior.

It seems to me like a ‘no brainer’ that those business owners are squarely within the ‘rights’ protected by the Constitution. The requirement that freedom of speech may not be restricted obviously includes not only the right to say and support what you believe, but to not say or support what you don’t believe. And freedom of religion not only protects the right to believe, but to freely exercise those religious beliefs – with the recognized qualification that my freedom is limited by “your nose” (that is, my freedom does not include the right to do you physical harm).

It may be legal to sell alcoholic beverages and pornography, but store owners have the right to decide for themselves whether they will sell them. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean they’re required to sell them. Just so, homosexual ‘marriages’ may be legalized, but that doesn’t mean that people who believe homosexuality is morally wrong may be required to promote or support it. The cake store owner doesn’t have to sell homosexual wedding cakes just because homosexual ‘marriages’ have been ruled ‘legal’.

I have freedom to say and write what I believe, even though someone else may strongly disagree with me and find what I say offensive. On the other hand, I have the freedom to not say or write what I don’t believe or what I find offensive, no matter how much someone else may want me to do so. Just so, the T-shirt business owner has the right to set his own standards as to what he/she is willing to print and sell, and refuse to print or sell that which he/she finds morally wrong and offensive.

To seek to compel people (legally or otherwise) to participate in, support and promote what they believe to be ‘evil’ is to practice tyranny – quite the opposite of freedom.

However, there are people who are ‘liberal’ or ‘libertarian’ enough to be willing to advertise both sides of an issue. As an example, Yahoo News this morning printed a Huffington Post article about an anti-homosexual billboard in Dearborn, Michigan. The sign says that homosexuals are not born that way, and that homosexuality is a behavior, not a right.

Many people are complaining to the advertising company that owns the billboard, and to the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, about this billboard ad. They apparently believe that freedom of speech is only for those who agree with their position.

The owner of the advertizing agency, however, maintains that he believes firmly in the First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for all, no matter how offensive such speech may be to some. So long as people can pay the advertising costs, he is open to print their ads. So he has offered to host an ad for another local man who is seeking to raise money to counter the anti-homosexual advertisement. As the ad agency owner is quoted as saying: “I’m happy to foster debate on both sides of the issue,” he said. “That’s what freedom of speech is for.” If he had a T-shirt company, he would no doubt be willing to print shirts reading both “Gay-Pride” and “God hates homosexuality”.

Interestingly, however, he probably would be open to legal charges if he had refused to host the anti-homosexual advertisement. People can complain about it all they want of course; but due to certain fairly recent legal precedents, it would appear that businesses no longer have the right to set standards about what they are willing to sell or promote. Courts have ruled that New York City Transit Authority may not refuse to place viciously anti-Muslim “hate speech” ads on their buses; and I believe a similar ruling was made in California.

So one can only assume that if the advertising agency had refused to host the anti-homosexual billboard ad, the “Restrain the Judges” group which bought the ad could have sued and probably won based on “Free Speech” principles. I, of course, believe that to be tyranny, not freedom. I can choose not to publish what you say, while still supporting your right to say it. I can choose to publish, or not publish, speech which some may consider ‘hate speech’ and beliefs which others may consider offensive. What I say or publish is determined by my standards, not someone else’s.

Posted by: mystic444 | March 22, 2015

Do members of Congress have First Amendment rights?

Idaho Senator Sheryl Nuxoll is being castigated for refusal to attend the opening prayer of the Idaho Senate when it was recently led by a Hindu man, and then publicly stating that Hinduism is a “false faith with false gods”. Many people are calling for her to issue a public apology; and some believe she should be censured by the Idaho Senate.

I maintain that this is absurd – not because I agree with her evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity (I definitely don’t); but because the Constitution, including the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, applies to all citizens of the USA, including members of Congress! Additionally, Article VI section 3 of the Constitution provides that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

That Constitutional statement I quoted means that Senator Nuxoll may not be ‘tested’ as to the “liberality” of her religious beliefs in order to speak publicly or serve in the Congress. She can be as narrow-minded as she pleases, and publicly state her narrow-minded beliefs, and may not be subject to censure for doing so. (At the same time, she may not seek to ‘legally’ prevent from serving in Congress anyone whose religion she believes to be ‘false’. Such people are also covered by the “no religious test” clause).

If non-Christians (such as Buddhists and Hindus) feel ‘hurt’ by what she said, that is not her problem; it is theirs. When the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states that Congress may not pass any law restricting freedom of speech, it does not qualify that statement by saying something like “so long as that speech does not hurt anyone’s feelings”. If such a qualification existed, “free speech” would be non-existent. Virtually anything anyone says will probably hurt the feelings of someone.

My personal religious views – such as they are – are much closer to “Eastern religions” such as Hinduism and Buddhism than they are to “Western religions” (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – although I have been known to say that I am “Muslim in spirit”). I’m not a bit ‘hurt’ by Senator Nuxoll’s statement and actions (though I think they are ridiculous and laughable); but it wouldn’t make a bit of difference if I were. Her liberty is not restricted by my feelings. On the other hand, I feel quite at liberty to ridicule her ‘Christian’ belief – and call it a ‘false belief with a false god’ – and it won’t matter a whit if she is offended by it.

The Senator, and any other Congress person, is quite at liberty to absent herself from religious prayers which she believes to be ‘evil’. An atheist or agnostic is free to absent him/herself from all religious invocations and prayers. If that offends someone, that’s just too bad for the offended party.

As a matter of fact, it is my conviction that there should not be any religious activity in meetings of Congress. To open sessions of Congress with prayer constitutes a violation of the First Amendment insistence that Congress may not establish religion. Note that – at least technically speaking – it does not say Congress shall make no law establishing “a” religion (that is, no particular religion such as Christianity may be established); rather, religion itself may not be established. Opening with prayer – no matter how generic and inclusive that prayer may be – is to establish religion.

Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed the official proclamation of a National Day of Prayer because they found it to be a violation of the “non-establishment clause” (AKA “the separation of Church and State”). I believe they were correct; and the same principle applies to Congressional opening prayers.

However, if prayer is permitted at all, then all religions must be allowed equal representation in leading those prayers (while no one who finds them ‘offensive’ should be expected or required to attend those prayers).

This is the one point on which I believe Senator Nuxoll is worthy of censure. She maintains that the US and Idaho constitutions “are based on Christianity”, and that therefore Christian prayers should be allowed (perhaps even required) – but only Christian prayers.

I don’t know anything about the Idaho constitution; I can only assume she is wrong about it being “based on Christianity”. However I know for a fact that the US constitution is not “based on Christianity”; and I find it repugnant that someone so abysmally ignorant of the US constitution and history should be able to be elected to serve in Congress (whether State or Federal).

In 1797, just 10 years after the US Constitution was ratified, the US entered into a peace treaty with the Muslim people of Tripoli of Barbary. In stating why this treaty was acceptable to the US, the treaty stated …the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion. I am fully convinced that the President and Congress who unanimously ratified that treaty (including that statement of the treaty), being just 10 years away from the ratification of the US constitution, knew much better what served as the foundation of US government than do the ‘Christian’ falsifiers who are more than 200 years after the event.

Because the ‘founding fathers’ did not see Christianity as the foundation of our constitutional government, the Declaration of Independence said that government is founded on “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” rather than “the Bible and the Bible’s God”; the “no religious test” clause was placed in the Constitution; and the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights provided that Congress may not establish religion (which Thomas Jefferson noted meant that it provided for a “separation between Church and State”). Other than those two clauses in the constitution, that venerable document does not mention God, religion, or Christianity at all.

I question Senator Nuxoll’s qualifications to serve in Idaho’s Congress because of her gross ignorance of basic constitutional principles; but not because of her religious beliefs no matter how narrow-minded, bigoted, and ridiculous. She has the absolute right to hold to those beliefs, and speak about them publicly. She does not have the right, though, to impose her beliefs (no matter how correct they may be) on others who disagree with her. To say what she believes is one thing; to seek to require others to submit to her ideas is another.

Posted by: mystic444 | March 7, 2015

The Source and Solution of Anti-Jewish Feelings?

This article contains my reflections on an article by Dr. Michael Laitman published in the Huffington Post, entitled The Simple (and Unwelcome) Solution to Anti-Semitism.

Dr. Laitman is a Jew who was born in Belarus in 1946. Growing up in the aftermath of WWII and “the Holocaust”, he was constantly asking himself why his people (the Jews) are so hated by other nations. (He wrongly labels this hatred of Jews “anti-Semitism”; but that is common since most people have ‘bought’ the arrogant Jewish propaganda that only Jews are “Semites”). He says that he searched for the solution to this puzzling question in science, religion, and philosophy – but never found the answer until he started studying “authentic Kabbalah” in 1979. Then suddenly the lights came on.

Let Dr. Laitman explain this in his own words:

In 1979, I began to study authentic Kabbalah with the Rabash, the firstborn son and successor of Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, known as Baal HaSulam (Owner of the Ladder) for his Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar. Here, in Baal HaSulam’s final pages of his “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” I finally learned why there is so much antagonism toward Israel, toward Jews in general, and what we need to do about it.

Anti-Semitism, so I learned, is a sore in the heart of humanity, an echo of an unhealed pain that the world has been carrying for many centuries. Baal HaSulam’s texts, and the explanations of Rabash, gave me a complete answer, but initially, I could not reconcile myself to it. I resisted it with all my heart because it held me accountable for the hatred toward me, and stated that I could reverse it. (Emphasis mine).

Well, that certainly sounded promising! It is generally considered “anti-Semitic” to claim that the Jews themselves are to blame for “anti-Semitism”. If the Kabbalah actually leads Jews to recognize their own accountability, then perhaps it’s not such a bad thing!

Unfortunately, as I read on, I came to realize that this supposedly humble acceptance of accountability was just a backhanded way of complimenting the Jewish people. You see, their ‘fault’ is that they have failed to live up to their responsibility and mission to serve as instructors and examples to the nations. Prior to the destruction of the Temple by the Romans at least, the Jews were a warm and cuddly people, intellectually and morally superior to the poor benighted non-Jewish nations; and this superiority carried with it a great responsibility and mission toward their inferiors.

Unfortunately they have failed in this responsibility, and the poor inferior Gentiles are aware of this (even if at an unconscious level). The Gentiles realize that they are morally inferior to the awesome Jews, and are angry that those Jews are not altruistically helping them out. If only the Jews would fulfill their mission, everything would be wonderful and the Jews would be beloved by the whole world!

The wonder is that Dr. Laitman is apparently completely unaware of the supreme arrogance of his idea. He can’t see that instead of being the ‘solution’, this is one of the major causes of what he calls ‘anti-Semitism’. Many of us metaphorically ‘gag’ when we read such ‘chutzpah’; and we simply can’t generate a high regard for those who spout such nonsense.

I am reminded of what I have read about anti-slavery activists in the USA prior to and during the ‘Civil War’. Many – if not most – of them did not for a minute believe that the African slaves were truly ‘equal’ with white people. They considered it obvious (and scientifically provable) that black people were intellectually and morally inferior to white people. Even “the great emancipator” Abraham Lincoln believed this. But they believed that superior people ought to act in a superior manner; and enslaving and mistreating their inferiors was definitely not superior behavior!

Those anti-slavery white supremacists were completely unaware of their abysmal hubris; and Jewish supremacists such as Dr. Laitman are just as unaware (I presume) of their hubris.

What truly makes the situation both humorous and disgusting, though, is that the supposed wonderful moral and spiritual history of the Jews is purely imaginary. The Hebrew ‘scriptures’ (the ‘Old Testament’ in the ‘Christian Bible’) are readily available in most places; and all it takes is a little bit of reading in that book to realize how horribly atrocious Judaic morals and ‘history’ are. So far from having ‘great light’ to give the nations, there is almost complete ‘darkness’ in that book of law and ‘historical narrative’ they have composed for themselves! They call darkness light, and light darkness. They call evil good, and good they call evil.

In this vile book, the “father of the faithful” – Abraham – is said to have lied to an Egyptian Pharaoh about his wife Sarah, claiming she was only his sister, because he was afraid for his life. This would have allowed Pharaoh to take Sarah for himself, had not God intervened (according to the story). Abraham’s son Isaac later did the same thing, according to the Jewish narrative.

This supposedly ‘faithful’ Abraham was also quite willing to murder his son Isaac because he imagined God had commanded the murder. It’s a good thing the ‘immutable’ God changed his mind, or the Jewish people would not have existed! (This story contains one of the many contradictions in the Bible. The son to be sacrificed is said to be the ‘only’ son of Abraham; yet at the same time he is said to be Isaac, who was Abraham’s second son and never at any time Abraham’s ‘only’ son.)

Abraham’s grandson Jacob stole the birthright belonging to his twin brother Esau, by lying to and deceiving his father Isaac. This lie and deception is whitewashed by talking about how much Jacob ‘valued’ the birthright, while Esau ‘despised’ it. The end justifies the means, right? [This theft of ‘the blessing’ is said to have been the fulfillment of a promise given before the birth of the twins, that ‘the elder will serve the younger’. However, despite the fact that Jacob got ‘the blessing’, he was never served by Esau; and the descendents of Esau were never servants of the Israelites. In fact, ‘King Herod’ – the ‘king of the Jews’ at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ – was said to be an Edomite (descendant of Esau); so “Esau” ruled over “Jacob” at that time!]

Under the ‘Law of Moses’ a man could be put to death for ‘violating the Sabbath’ by gathering sticks on that ‘holy’ day. The God who commanded “you shall not kill” commanded “His people” to murder whole cities of people – men, women, and children – as well as the livestock owned by the doomed people; and when the people were allowed to live, they were to be enslaved.

People who had physical deformities were to be ‘cut off’ from the congregation of the Jewish people; people who were determined to have committed adultery were to be put to death; people who were guilty of worshiping a ‘god’ other than Yahweh/Jehovah – or who sought to lead any of the Jewish people into such worship – were also to be put to death. Practitioners of ‘witchcraft’ likewise were to suffer the death penalty. (There was certainly no ‘freedom of religion’ under Jewish law, was there?)

That’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as there is so much more putrid nonsense in this supposedly ‘holy’ book. Those of us with “eyes to see” say “no thank you; we have no desire to share your so-called morality and ‘wonderful’ culture!” Please continue to fail to fulfill your responsibility and mission. It’s not your ‘failure’ that angers us; it’s your vile attempt to shove your darkness onto us that makes us angry.

We find much better spirituality and morality in such people as Plato, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Socrates, the Buddha, etc. Although you may call this ‘darkness’, we far prefer such ‘darkness’ to what you call ‘light’.

The ‘solution’ to ‘anti-Judaism’ is for the Jews to give up their “Jewishness” – their ‘identification’ as Jews – and join the human race. Renounce the arrogant sense of superiority to the ‘goyim’, with the ridiculous notion of a mission to ‘enlighten’ the nations (or alternatively, to enslave the nations).

Renounce the idea that ‘the Holy Land’ belongs by ‘divine right’ to the Jewish people, and return it to the possession of the Palestinians – who lived there for hundreds of years before European Jews stole it from them, murdered or drove out the Palestinian inhabitants, demolished their homes, and destroyed their agriculture.

As long as Jews consider themselves superior to everyone else, they’re not going to be liked by people who have not been brainwashed by Jewish mythology (or who have recovered from such brainwashing).

In a previous article I pointed out that the charge of “anti-Semitism” is absurd and meaningless unless one is actually maintaining that the accused ‘anti-Semites’ are actually ‘anti’ all Semites – that is, not only Jews but also Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis, Arabians, and others. The Jews have arrogantly, but falsely, claimed for themselves alone the classification of ‘Semite’.

However, apart from the fact that the real charge should be “anti-Jewish’ or ‘anti-Judaism’ rather than ‘anti-Semitism’, another article I saw 2 or 3 days ago illustrates that even taking the meaning as ‘anti-Jewish’ leaves the charge completely meaningless. It’s just a ‘dirty trick’ of the Jews to attempt to demonize those with whom they don’t agree.

The article, entitled Ukraine run by ‘miserable’ Jews: rebel chief, says this in the very first sentence/paragraph:

Ukraine’s pro-Russian rebel chief on Monday branded the country’s leaders “miserable” Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe. (Emphasis is mine – SGP).

Now if you’re like me, when you just read the headline and that first sentence you probably think that the Ukrainian rebel leader’s statement called the Jewish people ‘miserable’, and said the Ukraine’s leaders belonged to that ‘miserable’ people. That would in fact appear to be what the writer intended us to think. Therefore the statement would properly be labeled “anti-Jewish” (though not “anti-Semitic”).

However, for those who read beyond the headline and first sentence, what the ‘rebel leader’ actually said is given in the next sentence:

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, claimed that Kiev’s pro-Western leaders were “miserable representatives of the great Jewish people“. (Again, the emphasis is my doing – SGP).

Now when one reads the actual quotation, the rebel leader’s statement turns out in fact to be very pro-Jewish; how else can one interpret the phrase “the great Jewish people”?! Mr. Zakharchenko only criticized some Ukranian leaders, not the entire Jewish people. He said the leaders were “miserable representatives” of that ‘great people’; not that the people themselves were miserable.

There are ‘left-wing’ Jews, including within “Israel”, who believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is a ‘miserable’ representative of “the great State of Israel” (or of “the great Jewish people”); yet they are certainly not anti-Jewish (or anti-“Israel”).

Here in the United States, there are plenty of U.S. citizens who believe that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were (and are) miserable representatives of the great American people; but they are very much pro-American. There are also plenty of people who believe that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are miserable representatives of the great American people. In fact many of them are the same as those who feel that way about Bush and Cheney. But that doesn’t mean that they are ‘anti-American’.

But suppose you heard someone say that Bush and Cheney are miserable representatives of “the great white people”. How would you react to that? Would you think the person was ‘anti-white’ because he attacked 2 white men as being miserable representatives of white people? Or would you think the person was a ‘white supremacist’ because he spoke of “the great white people”? Unless I miss my guess, I bet you would think that the statement reflected “white supremacism”.

I wonder why Alexander Zakharchenko is not being accused of being a “Jewish supremacist” (or “Semitic supremacist”) for referring to “the great Jewish people”!! 😆

Examples such as this one illustrate the complete meaninglessness and absurdity of the charge of “anti-Semitism”; and it is quite appropriate to laugh out loud when you hear the charge.

Posted by: mystic444 | January 25, 2015

More Falsehoods From Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham, son of famous ‘evangelist’ Billy Graham, has been in the news a good bit recently. He just keeps spewing out ludicrously false religious and political statements. Today I’m going to comment on statements found in this article: Rev. Graham: ‘This Country Was Built on Christian Principles’ Not Islam.

The article quotes Mr. Graham as saying this: “This country was built on Christian principles, it was men and women who believed in God and believed in His Son Jesus Christ who built this country,” said Rev. Graham. “We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world. It wasn’t built by Islam, and it wasn’t built by any other group. It was those who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is much that can be said about the supposed “Christian principles” on which the USA was allegedly built. First, there is no doubt that the original European settlers of the various portions of this continent which have now been joined into one nation were “Christians” of various sorts. Almost certainly, those original settlers would not have had much sympathy with any would-be Muslim settlers – they couldn’t even get along with each other (other “Christians”), much less people from other religions.

When we think of the original settlers of the “American colonies”, we usually think of the “Puritans” and “Pilgrims” who settled New England (Massachusetts particularly). These were Presbyterians and Independents (Congregationalists) who were fleeing from oppression and persecution by the Church of England. They were seeking ‘religious liberty’ supposedly; but in actuality that ‘liberty’ was only for themselves. They were naturally convinced that their form of Christianity was “the correct” form, so of course they should have the right to practice it. However, those whom they didn’t consider to be correct in their form of Christianity didn’t deserve any ‘right’ to practice their ‘falsehood’ – at least not in Massachusetts which the “Puritans” had claimed for themselves. Baptists and Quakers wound up being publicly punished if they didn’t flee to some other area of the country. And of course those Anglicans (Church of England) would not be welcome, since the Puritans had to flee from them in the first place. Roman Catholicism was not even considered to be “Christianity” by most Protestants (whether Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutherans, etc.)

However, in Virginia the Anglican Church actually became the “established” church – which I’m sure didn’t make the Puritans of New England very happy. A number of the ‘founding fathers’ at the time of the War for Independence (Revolutionary War) in the late 18th century were at least nominal members of the Church of England. The Anglicans didn’t like the Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Roman Catholics, Baptists, and Quakers.

In other areas which today are included in the United States of America, Roman Catholics from Spain and France were the original European settlers – particularly across the southern portion of the country, from Florida to California. The Protestant Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists considered the Papacy to be “the Antichrist”, though – not at all “Christian”. (Of course the Catholics ‘returned the favor’ by considering Protestantism to be the ‘Antichrist system’.)

So it’s fairly certain that such religious bigots would not have been happy about Muslim settlers. However, Muslims were actually brought to the colonies (and later the United States) by those bigoted “Christians” by means of the importation of African slaves. Some of those slaves – if not many of them – were Muslims, since Islam was quite prevalent in Africa.

So much for the “Christian principles” of the original settlers of what is today the USA. By the time of the American Revolution, with its Declaration of Independence and subsequent Constitution of the United States, though, things had changed quite a bit. ‘Liberalism’ and ‘Rationalism’ had made quite a bit of headway into religious and political thinking; many were ‘skeptics’ concerning the Bible and Christianity as ‘Divine Revelation’. Some of the ‘fundamentals of the faith’ were being denied by leading thinkers in religion, philosophy, and politics. Certainly many people were getting very tired of the bigotry and persecution among the different “Christian” sects.

The most well known of the ‘founding fathers’ (such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams) would not even be considered “Christians” by today’s outspoken fundamentalist religious-political leaders like Franklin Graham, Steven Emerson, Bryan Fischer, etc. They were generally Deists – or at least, in the case of John Adams, Unitarian. They weren’t in the least bit interested in establishing a “Christian” Government, since they themselves either did not consider themselves “Christians” or were not recognized as “Christians” by ‘orthodox’ Christianity.

Let’s briefly look at these ‘founding fathers’. Benjamin Franklin was very liberal minded, and a Deist. I have had the good fortune to read his autobiography, written when he was 80 years old (or a few years older). Although it’s been many years since I read it, a few things stand out in my memory. He commented that he had his doubts concerning the Deity of Jesus Christ, though he didn’t consider it worthwhile spending time investigating the matter since at his advanced age it was certain that he would shortly be able to prove the matter through first-hand experience. 😀

He was a great fund raiser, and being a good friend of the famous evangelist George Whitefield, he willingly lent his efforts to raising money for Whitefield’s Tabernacle. He did so particularly because he felt that the wording of the constitution of the Tabernacle would even allow a ‘Mahometan’ (I believe that was the word he used – meaning Muslim) to come and preach there. (Take that, Franklin Graham! 😆 )

Benjamin Franklin liked to attend George Whitefield’s outdoor sermons – not because he favored the evangelical theology of Whitefield, but because George Whitefield had a very powerful voice and Franklin liked to see how far away he could stand and still hear the ‘evangelist’. Mr. Franklin also humorously commented in his autobiography that he understood his friend George Whitefield was praying for his (Ben Franklin’s) conversion; but thus far the Almighty had given no indication of an intention to ‘answer’ that prayer!

I also read a few years ago someone’s comparison of Ben Franklin to John Adams. Both were ambassadors to France, and neither knew any French when he first went to that country. John Adams learned the French language by reading and memorizing funeral orations; but Franklin learned the language by ‘pillow talk’ with his French lovers!

George Washington is frequently considered to be a pious Christian. As a matter of fact, however, though he didn’t speak much publicly about his religious beliefs, those who knew him personally did not consider him to be a “Christian” in any ‘accepted’ sense. He rarely – if ever – referred to “God” or “Jesus Christ” in his public speeches, generally preferring to speak in a general way of “Providence”. His pastor at the Anglican/Episcopal church he attended with his wife (Martha), and others who knew him, said that at best he was a Deist.

The story was told by his biographer that it was his practice to leave at the end of the regular service on those Sundays (once per month) when “Communion” (the “Eucharist” or “the Lord’s Supper”) was being observed. (Communion was served after the regular service ended; those who didn’t wish to partake would leave between the two services). He never partook of Communion. One Sunday the pastor publicly admonished Mr. Washington (without actually mentioning his name, however). He said that it was the practice of certain prominent persons to leave the service without taking Communion, and this set a bad example for the congregation. George Washington realized that he was the actual public person being referred to. Therefore he later wrote the pastor a letter humbly acknowledging the justice of what he had said; from henceforth he would simply not attend services on Communion Sunday. Thus he would not set a bad public example by walking out before Communion! 😀

Thomas Jefferson was also a nominal member of the Anglican/Episcopal church; but his “rationalistic’ approach to Christianity is fairly well known. He did not believe in ‘supernatural revelation’ and ‘miracles’. Jesus Christ was a pious man and a wonderful teacher of moral truths, but not ‘Deity’. Jefferson famously compiled his “Jefferson’s Bible”, which consisted of the four ‘gospels’ consolidated into one. He deleted from this “Bible” anything which he considered to be contradictory or unscientific – for instance the miracles of Jesus, including his virgin birth and resurrection. When he was running for President, American clergymen were issuing dire warnings that if Jefferson were elected people would have to hide their Bibles to keep them from being confiscated by the Government! Of course those ‘prophecies’ did not materialize; Jefferson was too much a lover of liberty to do such a thing.

Thomas Jefferson had his own English edition of the Qur’an (Koran), and in fact had a good bit of admiration for the legal and governmental aspects of Islam. (Oh my God! Jefferson admired Sharia Law!) In fact, the Islamic legal and justice system was one of the sources of his own governmental theory – along with Greek and Roman legal theories. Naturally he was not a ‘blind follower’ of Muhammad; he didn’t hesitate to make suggestions as to improvements to be made. For instance, he felt that it didn’t make much sense to cut off the hands of thieves; leave their hands intact so they could work and make restitution to those from whom they stole.

John Adams was one of the most “Christian” of those early ‘fathers’; he was definitely the most “Christian” of those who later became President. He was not a Deist, inasmuch as he apparently did believe in ‘Divine revelation’, and that the Bible in its original form was probably ‘revealed by God’. He believed in the miraculous, and considered Christianity to be the most pure and perfect of all religions. Nevertheless, even he falls short of being ‘truly Christian’ by fundamentalist standards, inasmuch as he was a Unitarian – he believed God is a Unity, not a ‘Trinity’; and Jesus Christ was therefore not “God” but a ‘creature’ of God like all other people. In other words, he was surprisingly close to the Muslim faith in certain aspects which ‘orthodox’ Christians consider ‘heresy’!

These men were not “Christians” themselves, and were certainly not inclined to establish the US Government on “Christian principles” – at least on principles that were distinctively and exclusively “Christian”. The reference in the Declaration of Independence to Government founded on “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – rather than “the laws of the Bible and the Bible’s God” – was deliberate. “Natural law” is universal, not restricted to Christianity. Much, at least, in the laws of all religions (including Islam) is consistent with “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God”. That which cannot be derived through logical and reasonable study of nature, and requires ‘supernatural revelation’ in order to be known, is to be rejected so far as State Government is concerned (even though it’s in the Bible and is “Christian”).

They knew what they were doing when they stated in the Constitution that no religious tests were to be required of Government officials; and when the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution they said in the very first Amendment that Congress cannot make a law ‘establishing religion’. This not only meant – as some ‘Christians’ would have us believe – that no Christian denomination may be ‘established’ as the official State Church; it meant that no religion may be established (including any form of Christianity, even a generic form), thus protecting the religious liberty of all citizens of whatever religious belief (or non-belief).

The preamble to the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom – written by Thomas Jefferson – which preceded the US Constitution and served pretty much as a prototype for the US Constitution, was Jefferson’s pride and joy. He said this about it in his autobiography: “Where the preamble [of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom] declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting the words “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.” It was this same universal religious protection which was guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. It was truly a “separation of Church and State”, as Jefferson himself stated, providing that State Government would not rule on religious matters and religious Governments would not rule on matters of State.

Having spent so much time on the alleged foundation of this nation on “Christian principles”, I’ll try to briefly comment on one or two more of Mr. Graham’s statements. Concerning the Islamic terrorism which he claims the USA has been fighting since 9/11/2001, he had this to say:

When asked about Muslims who have condemned Islamic terrorism, Graham said, “First of all, you don’t have condemnation outside of this country. You’ll have clerics in this country who’ll condemn these acts. But these acts of terrorism are not condemned by the mullahs in Saudi Arabia or in Egypt, or Iraq or Syria.” “The reason is,” he said, “is because the Quran teaches this and so, if they condemned it, they would be condemning the Quran, and they’re not going to condemn the Quran.”

Here again, Franklin Graham is either outright lying, or he is displaying his amazing but willful ignorance. The Qur’an does NOT teach terrorism. If it did, then those American Muslims who condemn the actions of terrorists must be condemning the Qur’an! Have they then invented a new “Islam” based on something other than the Qur’an?? Of course not. American Islam is the same Islam as found in other more explicitly “Muslim countries”. It is founded primarily on the Qur’an, and has no need to ‘condemn’ that “revelation”. It is the terrorists who trample on the Qur’an by their outright violation of its explicit precepts, and their twisted distortions of its verses.

As to the allegation that it is only ‘American’ Muslims who denounce terrorism (as does the Qur’an itself) – “you don’t have condemnation outside of this country” – that is an absolute lie (or willful ignorance). Muslims in large numbers all over the world decry the distortion of the Qur’an which terrorists espouse, and denounce the terrorist actions they perpetrate. Just go to this site at The American Muslim to get an idea of how widespread the condemnation of terrorism is among Muslims.

Here are just four of the many links found at that site:

Fifty Muslim scholars issue fatwa against Taliban”.

165 Somali religious leaders issued a fatwa condemning al-Shabab”.

Abu Dhabi conference – 500 Muslim scholars challenge extremist “fatwas””

6,000 Indian Ulama Islamic scholars endorsed a fatwa, called the Hyderabad Declaration, that declares that all forms of terrorism are against the spirit of Islam. 2008”

Here are some statements from the “Abu Dhabi Conference” link: Last year, a prominent Muslim preacher from Qatar issued a fatwa allowing the killing of Israeli pregnant women and their unborn babies on the basis that the babies could grow up to join the Israeli Army. He also said that killing “all Americans, civilian or military” in Iraq was allowed.

Condemning such fatwas, the scholars also emphasized that the declaration of Islamic legal opinions and fatwas should be left in the hands of experts. … There have been other campaigns against such fatwas. A petition sent to the United Nations by over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries has called for an international treaty to ban the use of religion for incitement to violence. It also calls on the UN Security Council to set up a tribunal to try “the theologians of terror.” Most of the signatories are from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states plus Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine.

Hundreds of Arab writers and academics are collecting more signatures to the petition, including Jawad Hashem, a former Iraqi minister of planning, and Alafif al- Akdhar, a leading Tunisian writer and academic. The signatories also described those who use religion for inciting violence as “the sheikhs of death” and asked the UN to order its member states to stop broadcasting the “mad musings of the theologians of terror.”

Here is one final quotation from the Franklin Graham article: “So, the teaching of the Quran permits slavery, it permits the killing of Jews, permits the killing of Christians, and it’s a very, very dangerous world in which we live and we need to be aware of the truth,” said the reverend.

If he is going to castigate the Qur’an for permitting slavery, then he needs to look at his own Bible. The ‘Old Testament’ specifically allowed – even commanded – the Israelites to enslave people from other nations. The ‘New Testament’ itself never attacks slavery, but also permits it to continue – though Christian slave owners are exhorted to treat their slaves with kindness. Christian slaves are exhorted to always obey their ‘masters’.

Christians defend this by saying that the ‘New Testament’ couldn’t just abolish slavery; but it did place regulations on Christian slave owners to keep them from mistreating their slaves. In one instance, Paul requested a slave owner (Philemon) to free his slave Onesimus. Onesimus had run away, but became a Christian believer after meeting Paul. Paul then sent him back to Philemon, acknowledging Philemon’s right to Onesimus’ service – and indeed his right to punish Onesimus for running away. But Paul requested that Philemon set Onesimus free.

The Qur’an also does not outright abolish the slavery which was prevalent in the time of Muhammad. However it goes further than the Bible toward that goal in that: 1) the requirements for how slaves were to be treated were such that the slaves were to be treated as family members; it was hardly slavery at all as we normally think of slavery. 2) Believers were frequently exhorted to free their slaves as a good deed which would receive a reward at “the judgment”. Sometimes those who were guilty of a sin were required to free slaves as an act of penance – a good deed to offset the evil of the sin. 3) One of the uses of the ‘zakat’ tax (similar to the ‘tithe’ many Christians pay) was to free slaves. In other words, though the Qur’an did not outright condemn slavery in so many words – even permitting it to continue in a very regulated way – it strongly emphasized that freeing slaves was much to be desired.

As to permitting the killing of Christians and Jews, that’s just pure nonsense – except for any Christians or Jews who themselves first attacked the Muslim community and sought to kill Muslims. Muslims were certainly permitted to kill Christians, Jews, and anyone else in the case of self defense. The idea, though, that the Qur’an exhorts Muslim believers to kill people just because they’re not ‘Muslims’ is an outright lie. Franklin Graham has no excuse for not knowing better – if in fact he doesn’t know better and is not just deliberately slandering Islam.

Thus again, Franklin Graham is either woefully ignorant or a deliberate liar. He is certainly not worthy of the respect of anyone.

Posted by: mystic444 | January 17, 2015

Retraction of Near-Death-Experience Story

I could have written about the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shooting (was it a complete fraud, a ‘false flag’ attack, or have the media got it right for once?), and the hypocrisy of many of those who are supposedly taking a stand for “freedom of speech” to publish obnoxious cartoons about Islam and perhaps Catholicism; but I am suffering ‘fatigue’ regarding political controversies – and I imagine many others are tired of reading about that particular issue.

But yesterday I found this interesting article about a young man named Alex Malarkey – now 17 years old – who claimed to have died and gone to heaven after an automobile accident in 2004 when he was 6 years old. A book was written about his experience, which became a ‘best seller’. However, now Alex is claiming that he made up the whole experience and the book is being withdrawn from the market. (I’m sure a lot of people felt it was just a ‘bunch of malarkey’ right from the start.)

I have never read the book, and I don’t know Alex or his family. All I can do is give my impressions from the news article. Obviously, only having that report to go on, I could be completely mistaken in the following remarks. Nevertheless, this is how it appears to me.

I’m inclined to believe that Alex really did have the ‘near death experience’ that he originally described. This type of experience is quite common in both children and adults, and many such experiences have been documented and studied by such people as Dr. Raymond Moody.

The problem Alex faced, though, was that he has a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ mother who was convinced ‘from the get-go’ that what Alex described was contrary – at least in some respects – to the Bible (the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, that is). Alex was only 6 years old at the time and so had not read the Bible (as he himself has said, as reported in the article), and certainly was not old enough to understand how what he said was in conflict with fundamentalist Christianity. But being so young, he was quite susceptible to being browbeaten and brainwashed into believing that his experience couldn’t possibly be real because it contradicted the “Word of God” (frequently compressed into one word, “Wordo’god”). Because it couldn’t be real, he simply must have made it up (or else he was tricked by a Satanic delusion seeking to get him to believe and promote “doctrines of demons”)! Thank God he had his mother (and perhaps a fundamentalist church) to ‘straighten him out’ – not!

I am all too familiar with this type of thinking and teaching, having been raised in ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ Christian churches, and having continued in them until my late 30s. In this teaching, the Bible is the “Word of God” (wordo’god). It is the only “wordo’god” (so all other religious ‘scripture’ is to be considered as falsehood); and it is the complete “Word of God” so that it is impossible that any new truth can be added to it. Don’t seek for new ways of seeing ‘truth’ in visions and ‘near death experiences’! Anything contrary to this “only” and “complete” Word of God is obviously a lie – either the inventions and lies of men, or Satanic delusion and lies. “If it ain’t in the Bible, then it ain’t true!”

That it was the unfortunate case that Alex was brainwashed by this fundamentalism, and therefore wound up retracting his former account, is obvious from a letter he wrote, as quoted by the article to which I linked: When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.

So I believe that Alex really had the near death experience he told about, but that he was subsequently brainwashed into denying it because it “couldn’t” be true (it’s contrary to the Bible).

But the fact that he really did have the experience doesn’t mean that what he experienced is the literal truth and everyone should expect to see and experience the same thing when he/she dies. After reading a number of reports from both children and adults, it becomes obvious that despite the many similarities, there are also a lot of differences. People’s experiences generally conform to the imagery, archetypes, and myths (or ‘religious truths’) they have been taught, particularly in the initial stages of the ‘after death’ experience.

This can be either due to the person’s own consciousness interpreting what he sees according to those archetypes and myths; or other ‘spiritual beings’ (“guides”, “angels” [or “demons”], etc.) create a setting using the imagery with which the person is familiar; or a combination of the two. I remember reading an anecdote in one of the “Seth” books by Jane Roberts (or actually, Jane Roberts-Butts), where “Seth” described an ‘after death’ scenario he helped create for a Muslim man. This Muslim man was terrified that he would be judged by the strict law of Moses, which would supersede the mercy of Allah. So “Seth” and another ‘guide’ set up a scene in which one played the part of Moses, and the other of Allah. Initially they were angrily arguing with each other as to who would get this newly departed soul; but after a while the two ‘merged’ into each other and welcomed the man with open-armed love – showing that there was no real conflict between Moses and Allah, and that love is victorious.

(I remember that I was quite puzzled when reading this anecdote, wondering why a Muslim man would fear Moses. The fundamentalist Christian Sunday Schools I had attended had led me to believe that Islam repudiated both Moses and Jesus. It was only much later that, through personal ‘investigation’, I came to realize that Moses and Jesus are both highly respected in Islam as outstanding ‘Prophets’ of God/Allah).

In another book – Life Between Life by Dr. Joel Whitten and Joe Fisher – one of the stories of “between lifetimes” incidents had a person, who I believe was rather “New Agey”, experience her (or his) ‘life review’ at the hands of a panel of 3 ‘pagan’ deities. I have no doubt that those ‘pagan deities’ were archetypal imagery used by real ‘spiritual guides/angels’, because such imagery was more in line with the “New Age” beliefs of the person having the experience.

In the same way, Alex may have seen and talked to “Jesus” and “the devil” in his experience; but that doesn’t mean that Jesus and “the devil” were literally present with Alex. Of course, they may have been – if “Jesus” and “the devil” are literal beings and not just myth/archetype. 🙂 More than likely, though, “spiritual guides” or “angels” were using that imagery to communicate with Alex, because he was familiar with them through Christian upbringing. Perhaps, though, because Alex was so young and not yet thoroughly immersed in fundamentalism, the ‘guides’ were able to present some truths to him by means of the familiar archetypes of Jesus and “the devil” – truths which would be considered “doctrines of demons” by fundamentalism. (I don’t know what “Jesus” and “the devil” told Alex, though, since I have never read the book. All I know is that obviously his fundamentalist mother found what they said to be ‘anathema’, because it was ‘contrary’ to the Bible as interpreted by fundamentalists.)

I’m sorry that Alex has been tricked by fundamentalist Christianity into renouncing his ‘near death experience’. But I guess that the publishers of his book have no ethical option but to withdraw the book since that is Alex’s wish.

Posted by: mystic444 | December 17, 2014

Franklin Graham and Islam

Franklin Graham is a son of the famous Christian evangelist Billy Graham; and Franklin now heads the evangelistic organization founded by his father. I don’t know that Franklin has the approval rating that Billy had/has, but he is widely admired among evangelical Christians.

But when I read statements made by this ‘evangelist’ (Franklin), what I see is an ignorant fool unworthy of anyone’s respect. According to an article in a Christian newsletter, Franklin has recently continued his vitriolic outbursts against Islam, saying “Islam is a religion of war”; and the article has this statement: “I have not changed my opinion at all.” He said he looked at Islamic State, at the Taliban and Boko Haram and thought: “This is Islam. It has not been hijacked by radicals. This is the faith, this is the religion. It is what it is. It speaks for itself.”

Doesn’t this idiot realize that such statements can be reversed, and made into accusations against the ‘evils’ of Christianity?? If Islam can be accused of being a “religion of war”, how much more can this charge be brought against Franklin Graham’s religion! Someone who hates Christianity could easily paraphrase the quoted statement by saying: “I have not changed my opinion at all. I look at the Christian persecutions of ‘heretics’, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Ku Klux Klan (which claims to be ‘Christian’ and uses Christian imagery), Christian support for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Christian rejoicing at the “Israeli” massacres of Palestinians, and Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas; and I think: This is Christianity. It has not been hijacked by radicals. This is the faith, this is the religion. It is what it is. It speaks for itself.”

Can’t one find quotations from the ‘Christian Scriptures’ (the ‘New Testament’ of the Bible) which can be used to support the idea that Christianity is violent, and “Jesus” was a militant rabble-rouser? Don’t mockers of Christianity frequently refer to the ‘infamous’ statement attributed to “Jesus Christ” where he said that he didn’t come to bring peace, but rather a sword? He spoke of members of families being divided against each other because of what he taught. Naturally, when this statement is examined in its context, it can be seen that “Jesus” was not calling upon his followers to start using violent methods against unbelievers; rather he was saying the opposite: that unbelievers would persecute and violently attack his followers, and even members of their own families would turn against them. But we won’t allow Christians to appeal to context, as long as they refuse to acknowledge the context of ‘violent’ verses of the Qur’an.

The same is true for some of the statements of the apostle Paul. He exhorted to “fight the good fight of faith”, and commented that he himself had “fought the good fight”. He exhorted to “put on the whole armor of God”. Again, such quotes can easily be shown to have meanings quite contrary to what I am implying – if one allows the context to interpret the statements. However, Christians like Franklin Graham reject context from the cherry-picked ‘violent’ quotes of the Qur’an and ‘hadith’; so we won’t allow context to enter the picture with regard to such cherry-picked quotations from the Bible either!

Quoting again from the newsletter article: He said he was “sad” that Muslims in the Washington cathedral had “turned their back on the Cross” to worship “another God”. Graham said: “The God of Islam is not the same God of the Judaeo-Christian faith. “The God that we worship in Christianity is a God that has a Son. To Islam, that is blasphemy, to say that God has a son. Therefore, they do not worship the God that we worship.”

Well excuse my ignorance, but I wasn’t aware that the “Judaeo” God had a Son! I don’t know of any religious Jew who accepts the ‘Trinitarian’ teaching of ‘orthodox’ Christianity, and believes that “Jesus Christ” is “the Son of God”! To say that God has a Son is as much blasphemy in Judaism as it is in Islam. In fact, it is more so in Judaism, inasmuch as Islam – while denying the “Sonship” of Jesus Christ – wholeheartedly believes in the Prophethood of Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, the miracles he is said to have performed, that he is the “Christ/Messiah”, and that he is “among the greatest” of God’s Prophets. Islam also believes in the future “second coming” of Jesus Christ. Judaism denies all of these things.

So I wonder why Franklin Graham isn’t proclaiming that the Jewish God is not the same as the Christian God! Why doesn’t he say that Judaism is an evil religion (and a “religion of war” too, as anyone can see who has read the ‘Old Testament’)? But if he said such things, he would be labeled an ‘anti-Semite’, wouldn’t he? He would be ‘hated of all men”! It’s beside the point that he would be far closer to the teachings of the “Son of God” he claims to worship!

Here’s one more quotation from the article: He added: “I think it is very important that we do all that we can to try to share God’s love with Muslims because they have no hope outside of dying in Jihad. I want them to know, you do not have to die for God. God died for us. He sent His Son to die for us. We do not have to kill ourselves to please God. I want them to know that they can have eternal life.”

Again I say that Franklin Graham is an ignorant fool, who ‘glories’ in his ignorance and foolishness. Muslims most certainly do not believe that they have to kill themselves or die “in Jihad” in order to earn God’s favor and go to heaven when they die! They certainly believe that Muslims who are killed while struggling in God’s cause will be welcomed into ‘paradise’; but that is the same as Christians believe about Christian ‘martyrs’. It does not mean, though, that Muslims who have not had the ‘honor’ to give their lives in God’s cause are “without hope”! What nonsense this idiot spouts! Muslims certainly know that they “can have eternal life” – although they don’t see the need to have someone else “die for their sins” in order to have that eternal life.

Muslims are quite aware that their Qur’an teaches: For the [Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Sabians, and the Christians – those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds – there is no fear; they will not grieve (5:69). They also know that the Qur’an frequently points out that God is “most merciful, most gracious”, and that any ‘sinner’ who turns from the evil of his ways and pursues faith in God and good deeds will be forgiven for the previous ‘sins’ and granted his ‘reward’ in ‘paradise’. But Franklin Graham does not know this, because he doesn’t want to know it; he glories in ignorance.

But again, does Mr. Graham believe that Jews will accept his teaching that “God died for us. He sent His Son to die for us”? Such a statement is blasphemy to a Jew, and one reason religious Jews hate Christianity. Why isn’t Franklin castigating Judaism? (It’s also simply absurd, by definition, to assert that “God died for us”. By definition, God is ‘immortal’ and can’t die! In the Christian narrative of the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion, it was “the man Christ Jesus” – not “the God Christ Jesus” – who died. True, Christianity asserts that Jesus was ‘fully God’ as well as being ‘fully man’; but he was man in order to experience death. He could not die as “God”. Those who accuse Jews of “Deicide” because of their inciting the murder of Jesus Christ are speaking an absurdity.)

Franklin Graham urged Christians to attempt to convert Muslims to their own faith. That, of course, is fine – so long as they don’t attempt to ‘convert by the sword’ as ‘organized Christianity’ has done in the past. They should also, however, learn about what Islam truly teaches before they attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity. That way they perhaps won’t insult Muslims by making the kind of ridiculous statements that Mr. Graham has made; and Muslims might at least be more willing to carry on conversations with them.

Posted by: mystic444 | November 23, 2014

Murders at Synagogue near Jerusalem

How should one respond to the recent killings at a Synagogue in Har Nof, near Jerusalem? Should there be unqualified denunciation of the Palestinian cousins accused of the murders; qualified denunciation; or are the cousins to be praised as ‘martyrs’?

I have heard and read all three responses. I understand that Hamas leaders and at least some other Gazans have praised the accused cousins; and someone whom I otherwise admire has also given unqualified praise to them. Others (including Muslim leaders) have taken the exact opposite approach and denounced the attack as vicious and uncalled for murder.

I, however, have to take a ‘middle ground’ approach to this tragedy. I believe the killings were indeed murders, but I recognize ‘extenuating circumstances’ so that I cannot roundly and unreservedly denounce the killers. On September 6 of this year (2014) I wrote an article entitled Jewish/Zionist Myths in which I referred to a daughter of “Israeli” General Matti Peled who denounced the “Israeli” government when her own daughter was killed in a suicide attack. She said she understood very well what motivated the suicide bombers, and did not blame them. I feel much the same way about this current situation. While I DO in fact partially blame the actual killers, I believe that most of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the “Israeli” government – and especially that mad fool of a Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu!

I believe that I can understand what probably motivated those young men in their actions. Even though I have never been to Palestine, just from what I read and the videos I see about the viciousness of “God’s chosen people” toward the Palestinians (whether in Gaza, the West Bank, or East Jerusalem) I can feel anger and rage toward the “Israelis” in particular, and Jews in general who support “the Jewish State”. How much more anger, rage, frustration, and hopelessness must those Palestinians who have to try to live in that horrendous situation feel? With it being almost an everyday occurrence to read or hear of Palestinians (young and old) being beaten up, killed, or arrested by “Israeli” military and police; Jews-only streets and settlements; mass murders and genocide occurring every 2 or three years (“Cast Lead” in 2008/2009; “Pillar of Cloud” in 2012; and now “Protective Edge” this year); and “Western” governments – as well as Arab governments like Egypt and Saudi Arabia – nevertheless continuing to spew forth the nonsensical Jewish narrative about “Israel’s right of self-defense”, actually supporting the Jewish murderers; it’s no wonder that some Palestinians would reach the point where they simply can’t endure any more and resort to violent attacks.

In point of fact, even the existence of Har Nof (where the killings occurred) is an offense and ‘open wound’ to Palestinians, since it is built on the ruins of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Palestinians will never forget how the murdering “Zionist” Jews destroyed that town on April 9, 1948 (“a day that will live in infamy”) – in the process raping many of the women, and murdering around 150 of the citizens. But not only is the very existence of Har Nof on top of Deir Yassin a provocation by itself, the existence of Orthodox Jewish Synagogues there is “salt on the wound”. This particular Synagogue is known for its extreme ‘right’ promotion of Arab genocide and the destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock complex in order to build a ‘third’ Jewish Temple there. Such a Synagogue in such a place makes a very logical choice for a target for Palestinians who have reached a breaking point in their ability to endure “Israeli” atrocities.

And the idiot Netanyahu says he thinks he can stop such acts of violence by even more oppressive acts! However, I expect that Netanyahu is under no illusion that destroying the houses of the families of the attackers – and arresting many members of those families – will somehow manage to quell the violence. He doesn’t want to stop the violence, but rather wants to incite more of the same so he’ll have an ‘excuse’ to resort to more mass murder and attempts to completely annihilate the Palestinians!

Having said that, though, I still place blame on the two cousins for what they did, inasmuch as they have gone to an unjust extreme in expressing their rage, frustration, and hopelessness. If they had attacked armed police or military – or even members of government who authorize the “Israeli” atrocities – it would have been understandable; and I might have joined in with those who proclaim them ‘martyrs’. However attacking unarmed noncombatants, and especially in a religious ‘house of worship’, simply is not acceptable.

True, I can understand the temptation; but that is why such verses as the following are in the ‘Scriptures’ (the Qur’an) which Muslims believe originate with God/Allah (from the Muhammad Asad English version): [7:199] MAKE due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right; and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant. [7:200] And if it should happen that a prompting from Satan stirs thee up [to blind anger], seek refuge with God: behold, He is all-hearing, all-knowing. [7:201] Verily, they who are conscious of God bethink themselves [of Him] whenever any dark suggestion from Satan touches them – whereupon, lo! they begin to see [things] clearly, [7:202] even though their [godless] brethren would [like to] draw them into error: and then they cannot fail [to do what is right]. [5:2] …And never let your hatred of people who would bar you from the Inviolable House of Worship lead you into the sin of aggression: but rather help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity; and remain conscious of God: for, behold, God is severe in retribution! … [5:8] O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.

It is because the temptation to extreme violence is so common and ‘understandable’ that such warning verses are given in ‘Scriptures’. Because the temptation to blind rage is so easy to fall into, wise men and ‘prophets’ warn people about it and offer suggestions as to how to avoid it. Let those who profess to be followers of the ‘Prophet’ Muhammad pay more heed to his teachings (which, as Muslims believe, are in fact not so much Muhammad’s teachings, but those of Allah and his ‘spirit’ Messenger Gabriel).

As a matter of fact, in what is believed to be the very first ‘revelation’ of permission to fight in the Qur’an (22:39-40), the permission is granted in order to protect all houses of worship (synagogues included): [39] Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged – and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them: [40] those who have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God!” For if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] MONASTERIES and CHURCHES and SYNAGOGUES and MOSQUES – in [all of] which God’s name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed [ere now]. And God will most certainly succour him who succours His cause: for, verily, God is most powerful, almighty.

In sura (chapter) 2 of the Qur’an, it is forbidden to seek to prevent worship in such religious ‘houses’, or to try to ruin them. The only valid reason to enter a ‘house of worship’ is in “the fear of God” (and the two recent attackers were certainly in violation of this verse): (114) Hence, who could be more wicked than those who bar the mention of God’s name from [any of] His houses of worship and strive for their ruin, [although] they have no right to enter them save in fear [of God]? For them, in this world, there is ignominy in store; and for them, in the life to come, awesome suffering. So for the above given reasons, I make a qualified denunciation of the two attackers – while placing most of the blame on the vicious actions of the “Israeli” government, military, and police which incited the attacks.

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