Clerics! STFU!

stfu

It has occurred to me that if I had an American dollar for every time a cleric from one of the world’s major religions said something profoundly dumb, I would be pretty darned rich. If you threw in the insane things holy men of all the minor religions and cults say, I could possibly pay Mark Zuckerberg to like this post.

Why should what clerics say be of concern to us?

(a) Because credulous people tend to believe without questioning and then do stupid things, which may (and usually does) cause harm to others.

(b) Or, crazier people go further and act on these irrational utterances, which results in murder and mayhem.

In recent years, there’s been some real pearls of (un)wisdom emanating from the Middle East. These two recent incidences may on the surface seem harmless enough, but they do much long-term damage in my opinion:

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi of Iran has issued a fatwa basically decreeing that high-speed internet is against Sharia and moral and human standards. What utter rubbish!

It’s quite obvious that this grand idiot has pulled this decree from out his arse, because no sacred religious text I ever heard off, even knows what high-speed broadband or the internet is. Furthermore, the Grand Arsehole of Iran has pretty fucked-up moral and human standards.

Then there’s ISIS. Yes, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, so much in the news recently, whose utterly barbaric behaviour which would be the envy of the Mongols, have decreed that Philosophy and Chemistry are against the laws of God and are thus banned in schools in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

For the love of Thor, show me any religious text that states that Philosophy and Chemistry both, are against the laws of some obtuse God, and I will stomp and shit on that text.

Now hear me clerics and religious fundamentalists of the world. Shut The Fuck Up!

No Woman, No Drive

Last month I published a post concerning the ridiculous assertion by a Saudi cleric that driving vehicles causes harm to women’s ovaries and pelvis. Women drivers are frowned upon in Saudi Arabia and although there’s no actual law forbidding them from driving, licences are not issued to them.

This weekend, there were reports of at least 14 women from Jeddah, Mecca and the Eastern Province being arrested for participating in a defiance campaign. It’s likely that they’ll be fined, or some could even lose their jobs.

Saudi Arabia features prominently on this BBC News World report, as a country with the least equality between men and women. The map below actually fingers most of the Middle East and large parts of North Africa as the worse places a woman could find herself. And I’m going to refrain from pointing out the correlation between degree of religiosity in these countries and the disdain for women’s rights… Oh crap! I just did!

gendergapOn a lighter but welcome note, there are still good men in Saudi Arabia, as this YouTube video which has gone viral points out. Comedian Hisham Fageeh and some friends did a send-up of Bob Marley’s No Women, No Cry to illustrate just how absurd this driving ban is.

One can only hope these pathetic clerics relent and allow women to drive soon, among other human rights they’re currently denied.

Oh my followers, please protect me!!!

Oh, the sorry state of the supernatural world. Once again, the gods and prophets are begging for protection from their very own creation, not in person, but through their earthly clerical representatives and die-hard supporters.

The latest cry for protection against the creative minds of the supposedly created, emanated after a South African cartoonist caricatured the prophet of a certain religion as a patient of a psychologist, bemoaning the lack of humor evident in his followers. In keeping with the suppression of free thought and expression, I have carefully avoided mentioning the religion, the prophet and the cartoonist because certain religions would have us believe that such immense greatness cannot be described in mere words, let alone graphically.

The interesting thing about this latest pathetic attempt to stifle freedom of thought and expression is that the clerics of this particular religion lost the urgent interdict they brought against the Mail & Gaurdian newspaper, to prevent it from publishing the cartoon. The interesting part is not that the clerics lost the application in the High Court, but that the presiding judge was of the same religious persuasion as the applicants. It’s rather ironic that one of this particular god’s own, ruled against his prophet’s vanity.

It’s high time that religious zealots lightened up and realized that their gods and prophets are not immune to criticism. All-powerful, all-mighty deities and prophets should not have to rely on mere worship-fodder for protection. Those fabled lightning bolts from the sky must be put into operation immediately, to prevent the unnecessary carnage and collateral damage from man-made bombs and other weapons of destruction [used by the self-appointed protectors of the apparently impotent gods]. It is the divine thing to do.

The truth is, the gods and prophets do not need protection from the people; the people need protection from the gods and prophets, and the clerics…especially the clerics.

Free them day

Tomorrow, South Africa will celebrate Freedom Day. Strangely it is not about celebrating true freedom, but, as an official government website puts it, celebrating South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994 when millions of South Africans, for the first time, exercised their right to vote.

Yes, that’s right, South Africans are being expected to celebrate the right to cast a vote. By calling it Freedom Day, the government expects you to believe that casting a vote is the equivalent of being free.

It’s been 16 years since Nelson Mandela’s ANC liberated us from the yoke of Apartheid. We’ve been voting ever since, but are the majority of our citizens truly free? The price that is being paid for the right to vote, has not been comprehended by the vast majority of South Africa’s population. They have been skillfully manipulated by the post-Polokwane ANC  into thinking that they have freedom which should be guarded at all costs, through the shrewd invoking of that non-existent threat of Apartheid. Much like religion and the clerics do, with the threat of everlasting torment in a non-existent Hell. [I can’t help comparing politicians to clerics; they’re so much alike]

What’s happened in 16 years? We’ve joined the democratic world. The people are free to vote for anyone they’ve been manipulated into choosing. That’s how democracy works in the modern era, isn’t it? Politicians don’t want you thinking freely; they want you voting freely.

So, as you ponder your so-called freedom tomorrow, consider how those you have entrusted with your vote, have responded…or not. Consider calling on your government to free you from the vicious circle of lies, incompetence and corruption that characterizes their administration.

I’ll leave you to reflect further, with a YouTube video from Pat Condell who, although more well-known for his religious frankness, might as well have been talking about the South African political situation, in this commentary about the upcoming English elections:

Is this the world’s most lethal coctail?

While pursuing the Taliban discussion on-line yesterday, the topic of ancient cultures arose. A question was raised as to why we celebrate ancient cultures from deep in the Amazon and darkest Africa, but find the culture of the Taliban so repulsive. Which got me thinking (yes, that heretical process that gets religionists all riled up :)).

Most ancient cultures that have been kept hidden from the world, are a mystery to us (modern man) and to satisfy our curiosity and the need to learn, we naturally seek them out. These cultures have remained hidden, simply because the adherents, having no beef with the modern world, value their privacy and isolation (and would have remained blissfully isolated had they not been discovered). The striking thing about these cultures is that there is no impetus to force their culture upon the modern world. In effect they pose no threat to modern man, or his civilized values. Therefore, the civilized thing to do would be to “celebrate” these cultures from afar, and leave them the hell, alone. But modern man feels the overwhelming desire to “help” these people, and thus have we destroyed many ancient cultures forever.

However, every once in a while we come across old or ancient cultures that possess certain cultural traits that are in conflict with modern values and morals. One such culture is that of the Taliban; old yes, but loathsome, backward and just plain loopy by modern standards. They are not so mysterious, because we have read and interpreted most of their written ideology; what remains a mystery though is why they themselves have such wide interpretations of their own writings. Such a culture is ripe for manipulation by wily politicians, with self-serving agendas.

Now consider that culture’s evil partner is religion. Nothing stirs the emotions and gets people into a frenzy, like religion. And consider that all you need to marry these evil partners, is a crafty politician. What better politician than a cleric (an  imam in the case of the Taliban); and he has the “god-given” power to consecrate the marriage too. In this combination, we expose probably the world’s most lethal cocktail: politics, religion and culture. When these three elements come together, death and destruction and sorrow, always follow.

Take away the politically deviant cleric, and the morally bankrupt religion, and the Taliban would be just medieval delinquents, with their puss-filled culture slowly rotting away in the stinking desert, and the world would have, not only been none the wiser…but even safer.

Hate Not the Believer…

This Sunday, while with a group of friends who get together once or twice a month to provide food aid to orphaned or abandoned kids, we drove past a Mosque in a rundown area called Grasmere. I think it was towards the middle of the day and the call to prayer was being sounded through loudspeakers, probably mounted on one of the minarets. One of my friends quite uncharacteristically remarked that these Mosques were springing up everywhere, and that he hated the Muslims for their militant behaviour and the spreading of Islam. My friend is religious of course, but his religious allegiance is not important; the hatred shown toward a competing faith is.

I must have surprised the others in the car for the rebuke I offered, because they are all aware of my irreligious or Atheist stance. I commented that one should not hate a man for his religious beliefs, but rather hate what his religion and his religious teachers or clerics make him believe.  Before I could continue exhorting my abhorrence of the word “hate” we came to our turn-off to the children’s Place of Safety and the subject changed to something else. Since Sunday, several incidents have made me reflect on hatred, justification for hatred, and religion, Islam in particular.

When I got home that Sunday, I came across an article and a video in the online heraldsun, an Australian publication, “It’s OK to hit your wife, says Melbourne Islamic cleric.” The video clearly shows Islamic cleric Samir Abu Hamza instructing his male followers “…to hit their wives as a last resort, but they were not to make them bleed or become bruised. ” In case you’re thinking I’ve resorted to some sort of quote mining to deliberately distort his meaning and intention, the video available together with the article is quite clear that this is what he said. He went on to state that “If the husband was to ask her for a sexual relationship and she is preparing the bread on the stove she must leave it and come and respond to her husband, she must respond,” in a clear reference to a man’s right to demand sex from his wife.

Apart from the fact that this disgustingly patriarchal attitude belonged in times long gone by, why is it that clerics from the Abrahamic religions, but more especially Islam getting involved in the domestic affairs of men and women? It’s bad enough that clerics make wild pronouncements on prophets and gods, but this insidious need to pronounce on the private lives of adherents as well, is quite frankly, alarming. Is the hold of religious clerics on their congregations so tenuous, that they need to now control every aspect of your life to ensure total and utter submission and compliance? Are the clerics merely re-iterating what is written in the Koran? I found three English translations at ConversationalAtheist, for the Koranic verse that refers to (governs?) wife beating, and although they differ only slightly, they clearly condone such behaviour. What drives a cleric to re-inforce behaviour that is universally condemned as unacceptable? His religious conviction? His unquestioning belief? His religion? Or his teacher before him? The vicious cycle continues…

Over the last few days I’ve been conducting an online discussion via the comments page on one of my previous blogs “The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know…,” with a young Muslim women from Singapore Malaysia, I think. She’s obviously a bright young women, but some of her naive religious beliefs are quite depressing; frightening actually. It’s quite clear that her thinking has been moulded by her religious instructors, the clerics. She like so many others, people from all religions are quite oblivious that their religious “panel-beating” shows clearly when they defend their beliefs.

Now I don’t want to create the impression that Islam is the worst religion by singling it out for attention; all the other religions are on the same footing when it comes to perpetuating irrational beliefs and behaviour. The point I’m trying to get across is that religion needs the clerics to keep it alive; and these are the people we need to despise, not hate.