When humans put their beliefs before their humanity

faith

A few specific incidents recently, the general occurrence of which has been going on for a long time, has left me in no doubt that we humans value our ideological beliefs more than we value human life.

I take it for granted that everyone is capable of kindness, love, compassion and goodwill towards other human beings. But it plagues me that humans can and will without hesitation abandon all of this when certain of our beliefs are challenged.

And it seems to me the most culpable belief that humans will defend, with total disregard to cost and consequence, is religious in nature. And the greatest cost is life off course.

Boko Haram (figuratively meaning “Western education is sin”) is an Islamic terrorist organization which has been laying siege to Northeastern Nigeria since 2002, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 10 000 people (quite possibly much more). At the most basic level, they kill innocent people to further their insane religious ideology. Recently they kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls whom they still hold captive, although reports indicate some have been sold into slavery or as child brides.

The fate of these schoolgirls is still uncertain, while the politicians vacillate. Which off course is quite normal for politicians. Political chicanery easily has the same disastrous effect as religious ideology, and indeed, when the State and Organized Religion conspire together, it usually ends in tragedy.

Take Sudan for instance. It is one of a growing number of countries (especially in Africa and the Middle East) that have no qualms about persecuting and even killing its citizens, to satisfy (invariably misunderstood) religious edicts. In Uganda, you will face imprisonment or even death for being of the “wrong” sexual orientation. Wrong is decided through belief, inspired by archaic religious text.  In both countries the politicians have no problem agitating its citizens who harbor demented religious beliefs, into tormenting, even killing those who even vaguely seem at odds with said beliefs.

Only recently Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a pregnant Sudanese women who has just given birth in prison, was sentenced to death (but not before receiving a 100 lashes as well) for apostasy. Her crime was to fall in love with a Christian man. It is an exercise in futility pointing out to these demented ideologues that a benevolent God would not take kindly to such an insane act of pettiness. They would probably stone you to death.

Which was exactly the fate of Farzana Iqbal of Pakistan. Farzana whilst also pregnant, was stoned to death by members of her own family, including her own father for marrying the man she loved rather than the one her family had chosen for her. Honour killings are the direct result of ideological beliefs, most likely rooted in culture and religion. And that opens up another can of worms…

Culture and tradition can be as bad as religious beliefs, and quite often is. It is quite sad that in the modern scientific world, archaic cultural beliefs can still hold sway over abundant evidence to the contrary. In some societies, any or all activity that is at odds with cultural norm, can get you hurt or killed.

What will these purveyors of insane belief systems do if they eventually manage to wipe the rest of us off the face of the earth (not likely, but worth considering)? Will they then turn on each other? Will the purveyors of the surviving (insane) belief system then sit back and twiddle their thumbs, waiting for the rapture (or similar curious belief)?

Will the God that you believe in, accept them into heaven ( or similar curious belief)? Do you still think such a God is good?

Where Women Today Go Wrong!…(Cough!)

Originally posted on The Journal:

poss sella

I have had this for sometime in my files…today it must be unleashed!

For clearer reading the full transcript is below:

This is an actual extract from a sex education text book for girls, printed in the early ’60′s in the UK and explains why the world was much happier and peaceful then…!

When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom as he would for his train. But remember to look you best when going to bed.

Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face-cream or hair rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night. When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband…

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Black Consciousness Leader Calls for President Zuma to Resign

PCF-17-7-08 031

Just when I thought that I was done with politics for the week, things start getting interesting again…

The Reverend Barney Pityana, a former leader in the Black Consciousness Movement with Steve Biko, has called for President Jacob Zuma to resign in an open letter. Pityana who presided over the South African Human Rights Commission between 1995 and 2001, wrote at great length:

I write this letter with a simple request: that you resign from all public office, especially that of President and Head of State of the Republic of South Africa.

I am, of course, aware that you have been re-elected President of the African National Congress, the majority party in our National Assembly. I am also aware that, in terms of our electoral system, that allows the ANC to present you as a candidate to the National Assembly and use their majority therein to put you in office, without much ado. It would also appear that by its recent vote the African National Congress has expressed confidence in your leadership. You can then understand that I am taking an extraordinary step, and I can assure you one that has been carefully considered, in asking for your resignation.

Our country is in shambles, and the quality of life of millions of ordinary South Africans is deteriorating. Confidence in our country, and its economic and political system, is at an all-time low. There is reason to believe that ordinary South Africans have no trust in your integrity as a leader, or in your ability to lead and guide a modern constitutional democracy that we aspire to become. That, notwithstanding the fact that our Constitution puts very minimal requirements for qualification as a public representative including the highly esteemed office of President and Head of State, and Head of the Executive. What is clear, at the very least, is that the President must have the means and the inclination to promote and defend the Constitution, and uphold the well being of all South Africans. I have reason to believe that, notwithstanding the confidence that your party has placed on you, you have demonstrated that you no longer qualify for this high office on any of the counts stated above…

The immediate question in my mind is whether Zuma’s resignation will be enough to arrest the slide this country is currently in? I think not. The rot does not stop with him. It is so deep and pervasive, that a simple excision may not be enough.

The proper thing would be for the entire cabinet to resign en-masse. With the exception of a handful of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, this cabinet is without question one of the most incompetent we have ever had, and I include apartheid era bureaucrats as well. Coupled with incompetence, this administration has been embroiled in far too many scandals involving corruption, cronyism, disdain for the electorate, and gross arrogance.

I believe that there are still enough people of good moral fibre and competence left in this organization to take over the reigns. Oh yes, their will be turmoil for a while, but we as citizens need to bite the bullet for a short while, in the quest for a better country – one that was promised us by Nelson Mandela, who we honour this week after his sad passing away.

Mandela memorial and the speech that made it memorable

Mandela

Got the day off today – it was a generous gesture from the company I work for as they meant for us to use it to either attend the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service prior to his burial this coming Sunday, or at least to watch the live international broadcast on television.

See, I had no intention of braving the cold, wet weather, security clampdown, ill-disciplined ANC supporters, and the transport hassles to get to the stadium where it was being held. Nor did I have any intention of watching a bunch of pompous, disreputable politicians from Africa and around the world, blather on for hours about a man whose principles and values they defile on a daily basis. And I had very well-founded suspicions that the ANC were going to use this honourable event to further party political aims.

And so as I was frittering away time on social media, I saw an update about the Memorial. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma was being roundly booed by the crowds as he entered the stadium with two of his wives, and then again when his image was shown on large screen televisions. This I had to see…

That was the impetus I needed to entice me to tune in to the live broadcast. And I’m glad I did – while still browsing through Facebook on the side off course.

Jacob Zuma is currently reviled in this country for his scandalous behaviour, many indiscretions and is regarded as a cunning scoundrel by many people. This act of booing was the first such indication that his iniquitous behaviour is more widely detested than I’d previously thought. Social commentary on this act of jeering turned out to be quite profound:

Are we burying two presidents today?

After enduring the announcements of the names of the visiting herds of state from Africa and around the world, constant appeals from the master of ceremonies for the crowds to behave responsibly, and suffering through the shallow speeches of dreary leaders, I was simply in awe of the speech delivered by US President Barack Obama. His was the only tribute that was delivered with a sense of honesty, integrity and articulately. It may perhaps go down in history as one of the great speeches from a leader.

That was also a moment that changed what was an insipid event, into something worth remembering. Up to that point, one had the sense that the whole event was being lead in a certain political direction. And to sum up, one of the comments on Facebook from a Black South African:

Obama should have been our President.

Jacob Zuma’s speech was as expected dull and lifeless. His rendition was equally abysmal. I fail to see how anyone could have been inspired by that load of drivel. He is undeniably an embarrassment and burden to this country. It was indeed a great pity that he had to be the one delivering the keynote address at such an important occasion.

And now onto the state funeral. I fervently hope that our disgraceful politicians don’t further damage our county’s reputation in the week leading up to Mandela’s interment.

Therefore God Exists

adam+and+god

Don’t you love lists? I spent an hour or so going through this one which has literally hundreds of proofs of God’s existence. Some were quite familiar because I’ve seen them right here on this blog before, in the comments section.

Here are ten that I really like:

1. ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES (I)
(1) My aunt had cancer.
(2) The doctors gave her all these horrible treatments.
(3) My aunt prayed to God and now she doesn’t have cancer.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

2. MORAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) In my younger days I was a cursing, drinking, smoking, gambling, child-molesting, thieving, murdering, bed-wetting bastard.
(2) That all changed once I became religious.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

3. ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
(1) If there is no God then we’re all going to not exist after we die.
(2) I’m afraid of that.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

4. ARGUMENT FROM AMERICAN EVANGELISM
(1) Telling people that God exists makes me filthy rich.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

5. ARGUMENT FROM FALLIBILITY
(1) Human reasoning is inherently flawed.
(2) Therefore, there is no reasonable way to challenge a proposition.
(3) I propose that God exists.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

6. ARGUMENT FROM META-SMUGNESS
(1) Fuck you.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

7. ARGUMENT FROM LONELINESS
(1) Christians say that Jesus is their best friend.
(2) I’m lonely, and I want a best friend.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

8. PROOF BY ANECDOTE
(1) God can be seen by those who believe in Him.
(2) If the God is seen, then He must exist.
(3) I have seen God.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

9. ARGUMENT FROM SPEAKING IN TONGUES
(1) My friend here, once started spontaneously speaking some jibberish that sounded to me kind of like Russian.
(2) But neither he nor I know anything about Russian.
(3) The only explanation is God.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

10. BENDER’S ARGUMENT (I)
(1) One day, demons were tap-dancing on my roof.  I prayed and they went away.
(2) Therefore, demons are really good dancers.
(3) Also, God exists.

Okay that last one is pretty stupid not as clear-cut as the others, but you get the point. So if you have some time to kill, you’ll find a lot more here (657 to be exact), from what looks like a growing list.

Preparing to come out

lennymaysay:

Strangely, I didn’t anguish about it. It just seemed like a natural progression.

Originally posted on Recovering Agnostic:

It all started with the best of intentions.

First, there were a lot of issues that were flying around my head. My previous beliefs were becoming ever less secure, but I’d been through this before. Most people find their beliefs wax and wane, so this wasn’t anything I was going to bring up out of nowhere to people who I wouldn’t normally be discussing my theological positions with. It was just business as usual.

Coming OutThen I started to drift away, losing my fear of unbelief and increasingly exploring those areas and imagining a life without religion. It was different, but possibly no more than increased empathy and openness to different arguments. I stayed put in the church, and nothing really changed. Still nothing that was worth specifically mentioning to anyone.

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Religion rots the brain

Well, actually it does not

But making ludicrous claims has been the forte of mankind since time immemorial. And most do so to further their own insidious political, social, economic and religious agendas.

Take this asswipe from Saudi Arabia for instance: Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan who is styled as a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association claims that women who drive cars will cause damage to their ovaries and pelvis.

saudisheikThis misogynistic claim was made in support of a ban on women driving cars, which is now being challenged by Saudi female activists. And it does not require rocket science to figure out that the roots of this absurd ban on women driving originates in archaic religious literature.

Men have for thousands of years hidden behind or perverted cringe-worthy doctrine of a religious or political nature to spew forth vitriolic bile that aims to keep women and mankind in general in check and subservience. This should not, and must not be tolerated any longer.

Heed my words; you abide the words of clergymen, politicians and other ideologues at the risk of your own well-being, not to mention sanity.

When having a smartphone isn’t so smart

English: use of cellphones (mobile phone)is pr...

I was at a friend’s house last night and decided to stay over after consuming a wee too much whisky. The plan was to get up early in the morning, drive home, shower, change and leave for work.

Truth be told, I do this… far too often. But that’s another story.

Setting the alarm for 5 AM on my Smartphone (which was my first, only having got it a month or so ago), I went to bed in the guest room, a little worse for wear. But some time during the night, my smart phone battery died. Needless to say, I did not get up at the intended hour… and that’s why Smartphones are not so smart.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, you did not check that the battery was charged adequately. Actually I did, groggy as I was. The battery indicator indicated, or seemed to indicate that it was at half strength at least.

This is the problem with Smartphones. The battery dies all to quickly. And it is never consistent. Sometimes it lasts longer than at other times. I know it has something to do with all those smart apps that’s running. But only recently I deleted one email account and some apps, but it did not make any difference.

These mobile phones need to be charged at least once a day. That’s goddamn annoying!

And so today I found out that Nokia is putting out a  mobile phone whose battery life runs to 38 days. Freakin’ awesome! Only problem is the operating system is 14 years old and it will not run all these modern battery draining apps. I don;t know why they’re calling it the Dumbphone. To my mind most of these modern apps are pretty intrusive and useless, not to mention as annoying as the battery life on the cellphones that run them.

I most certainly could live without them. I did quite fine without smartphones for a long while, and I think having to go without charging the battery for more than a week, will be heaven.

Life’s too short to throw away scrutinizing apps, and yes, even texting for that matter.