The evil that men do…

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” So said Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Now if the religious texts are to be believed, one can conclude that Abraham the founder of the three major monotheistic religions was responsible for the proliferation of Patriarchy, that evil virus found in the minds of men who are mostly religious or traditional or both.

Off course, Patriarchy could well have evolved in the minds of the progenitors of Abraham, but the religious texts of these religions, if they are to be believed, don’t allude to such. However for the sake of this narrative, let’s stretch credulity as is often required with such tales, and accept Abraham to be the father of Patriarchy, even if the religious texts don’t acknowledge it as an evil mind virus.

Please bear with me for the long-winded introduction to the thing that is bothering my mind – a mind that has hopefully suppressed for eternity, the evil of patriarchy.

The depravity and megalomania of the clergy is well-known all over the world by those whose minds are fortunately not held captive by these despicable scoundrels; but those squatting down in Saudi Arabia right now with their gullible followers are the focus of my ire. You see, the Saudi clerics have convinced the pathetic men of Saudi Arabia that women should not be allowed to drive cars. Off course this is not all that women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from doing, but this is one of the more ridiculous prohibitions dreamed up by men with seriously sick minds.

Manal Al-Sharif, one such women unfortunate enough to be living among these patriarchal pricks, was recently arrested for the “crime” of driving her own car. Thankfully human-rights groups have exposed the real criminals here – patriarchal men whose minds are stuck in the stone ages. Imagine if these idiots are allowed to continue practising their bigoted religiously inspired norms? How long before they have women arrested for thinking for themselves.

The video below is a tribute to Manal Al-Sharif for defying the ludicrous thinking [if one can call it that] of the men [if one can call them that] of Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, such behaviour is not common here in South Africa. I live in a small town dominated by Islamic men, but their wives are seemingly allowed to drive cars; very expensive ones too. Depending on your point of view, the clerics here are either very lax or the patriarchal mind virus is not so dominant in this part of the world. Either way, it’s good news for both the women in South Africa, and the future of the human race.

Shock! Horror! Christmas decorations and wearing a Santa costume is threatening to other religions…well one in particular

I’m non-religious, but even I can appreciate and enjoy the festive spirit, the Christmas decorations, the fat Santa’s, and especially the beautiful traditional music being played everywhere.

The stores and malls everywhere are annoyingly overcrowded with shoppers whizzing around to get in that last-minute shopping, but even that is not enough to make one hopping mad. The rush of people is in a sense wonderful to observe, and be part off [OK, a weird sense]. Anyway, it is good to see people looking far happier than any other time of year.

Personally, I don’t think it has much to do with the fact that it’s the claimed anniversary of the miraculous birth of a mythical supernatural entity. Or even the far more believable pagan festivals it is based upon. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that people look forward to a much-needed break from working for the corporate crooks, or having a little more money to spend if the corporate crooks were amazingly more generous. Perhaps it’s because the traffic is much easier, what with the corporate crooks and those who somehow have a bit more money, all being down at the coast. Or just the mundane desire to pig out, for once.

For whatever reason, people are just a little bit happier this time of year, and it really pisses me off when someone tries to fuck with that state of being.

So, imagine my disgust when I read this report of one Muhyidin Junaidi, one of the chairmen [how many do they need?] of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, a Moslem religious authority, who had the following scrooge-like drivel to mouth off about:

[The decorations] are too demonstrative, and that might incite a counterproductive reaction from the Muslim community.

But it should not be excessive, otherwise it might hurt the feelings of the Muslim community.

And from another source:

We received complaints from a number of malls’ employees who are forced to wear Santa Claus costumes which are against their faith. Such things should not have happened.

We need to restrain Muslims from joining the festivities.

I mean WTF. How is it possible?

  • That decorations can be demonstrative, invoke counterproductive reactions, and hurt someone’s feelings. [Are Moslems so fragile?]
  • For an article of clothing to be in conflict with a religion? Is that rational or sane? What does it say about the religion, or the person who believes such nonsense?
  • To restrain people from wanting to enjoy themselves? Perennial threats of eternal damnation? That’s the crux of religion, isn’t it?

These absurd religious bodies should stop interfering in people’s happiness and concentrate on the losing battle to make themselves more relevent in a society that is increasingly becoming conscious of their kill-joy tendencies.

My Latest Road Trip: Part 3

Once again, I’ll attempt to relate my impressions on the final (return) leg of my journey into the East Coast region of South Africa, hopefully with the aid of some photographs.

Having left Storms River Village behind (with a degree of sadness), I headed up to Port Elizabeth. Nothing much to report here. Just another coastal city. I did however stop briefly to admire the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium that was built for the Football World Cup that came to an end only recently. I did also stop at the Greenacres shopping mall; it looked quite different from the last time I shopped there many years ago.

I had booked a one-nighter in Grahamstown, being convinced that there would not be much to see, what with the National Arts Festival having concluded some weeks earlier. It seemed to me that Grahamstown revolved around the famous Rhodes University and the large number of top-notch schools (mostly private) that is dotted around this small town. There are some pretty well-known private schools here, viz. St. Andrews, Graeme and Kingswood Colleges and the Victoria Girl’s High School. This must surely be South Africa’s Education centre.

Rhodes University

Grahamstown is also well-known for the relatively high number of places of worship and religious denominations present for such a small area. Apparently there are 52 churches of every conceivable denomination and places of worship for several other disparate faiths such as Hinduism, Scientology, Quakerism, Mormonism and Islam. At this point you’re probably wondering what an Atheist is doing in such a place? Well, I didn’t come here for the evangelism; just the historical interest, and some of these places of worship do have beautiful architecture, which I admire. If you asked me to settle here with all this religious fervour hanging in the air, I’d point-blank refuse; this is something like my version of hell, even if it’s a picturesque hell.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George

I also learned that I had just missed Grahamstown’s first snowfalls in about 34 years, by about two months. Apparently there was quite a dusting around 15 June this year. Now that would have been something to see.

Unless you’re a student, there isn’t much to do in Grahamstown. That evening I had the choice of joining the university brats at one of the sports bars that lined what looked like the main street, or take in a film at the local Art Cinema. I chose to catch the early evening screening of the Coen brother’s film, A Serious Man, get some dinner and a swig or two of a full bottle of Jack Daniels I’d been dragging along since Storms River. I’m glad I did.

I left Grahamstown quite eager to get on with my road trip and my penultimate stop, before heading back home to Johannesburg. Port St. Johns is really a nothing-town. The buildings look dilapidated and the streets consist mostly of potholes. But the scenery is absolutely stunning. There isn’t any night-life to speak off, and from what I could make out there were only two restaurants available. However the food was quite good at the one I visited alongside the river on my first night there.

Port St. Johns

Having basically nothing to do that evening, I experimented with long exposure shots of the magnificent vistas available from my cabin overlooking the sea. I’m quite happy with the two posted below, one of which looks to me like a painting.

Port St. Johns night scene

Port St. Johns night vista

2nd Beach is reminiscent of a South-East Asian Island paradise. The coastline is quite rocky, but very very beautiful. I was quite lucky to find two local lasses who were only too keen to show me around the following day, as the deep-sea fishing excursion I was looking forward to, got cancelled due to strong winds. No matter; we had quite a rollicking time, and that near-full bottle of Jack Daniels I’d been dragging along since Storms River, helped to fill in the evening.

2nd Beach

The Wild Coast

Faith Hill

I was told that in the 70’s or even early 80’s there was no bridge on the main road leading to Port St. Johns, across the Umzimvubu River that squeezes past the town into the sea. Apparently ferries were used to get vehicles and people across. I was pleasantly surprised to find that ferries are still used to carry people and more especially school children across, closer to the river mouth.

The Ferry

The drive back to Durban the following day through Lusikisiki and Port Edward was pretty uneventful, even though the roads leading out of Port St. Johns were quite hair-raising. As I got off the highway to the neighborhood where my parents resided, I noticed that the huge inappropriate signboard near the exit, that I’d noticed there when I left for the Eastern Cape, was gone. It had read “Let Jesus Touch You.” Thank goodness…

Boobquake: A reasoned response to radical religious rectitude

If you haven’t heard or read about Boobquake by now, then you’re missing out on one of the most amusing social events of the decade. Well, in case you’ve just come back from Outer Mongolia or North Korea, allow me to fill you in.

It all started when a delusional Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi proclaimed during a recent Islamic prayer sermon, that:

Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes

That bombshell so incensed blogger Jen McCreight, that she not only posted a blog about it, but started a Facebook group called Boobquake which invites people around the world (I suppose it was meant to be directed at women) to participate in Boobquake along with her on Monday, 26 April 2010. Basically she’s asking that everyone join her in wearing immodest clothing or revealing some cleavage, but according to strict (read ridiculous) Islamic morality, could mean revealing so much as an ankle. It’s being touted as a scientific experiment to prove that women who dress immodestly do not increase the chances of earthquakes occurring, or cause them in the first place.

Needless to say, the Facebook group has gone viral, and as I write this, has attracted 155,861 confirmed guests (which includes men; and yes, I joined too, not to reveal my non-existant boobs, but in protest against religious stupidity) and a further 48,689 people who may be joining.

Now anyone with half a brain knows that immodestly dressed, or even completely naked women for that matter, don’t cause more earthquakes. Even some cursory reading will reveal that earthquakes or seismic activity is caused by the sudden release of pressure in the earth’s crust. However if you are prone to being mesmerized by clerics such as Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi or Pat Robertson, then you’re bound to believe the bullshit that they are caused by women or god or both. Statements like those below from Sedighi, only serve to delay mankind’s journey to enlightenment, and should be re-consigned to the Dark Ages from whence it originates:

What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes

If by some weird co-incidence an earthquake does erupt on  Monday, one can only hope that our ignorant little cleric from Iran is at the epicentre, if only to bring the spreading of crass ideology to an end. These religious cretins whose fundamentalist religious doctrines, cause so much distress to women and children, and the world in general, deserve a much harsher punishment, but one would have to stoop to their level to wish it upon them.

So come Monday, I look forward to seeing some extra cleavage or even whole boobs, but I would honestly just settle for some sexy ankle. Women are at liberty for one day, to release their weapons of mass distraction [WMD’s] upon this religious crazy world.

Why do so many religious people hate themselves so much?

Judging by some of the comments on my blog posts, I have  to conclude that many religious folks practise a form of self-loathing that could only be inspired by scripture, and reinforced through frequent worship sessions, by the clergy or other religious instructors. The proclivity to undermine ones personal self through various forms of self-denial, self-hatred, self-loathing, penance etc. seems to be very evident among Christians, but is by all accounts, absolutely intrinsic to Islam. Although not so openly evident in other religions, it is surely practiced to some degree.

Take this recent comment on my post Viva la Vida – What does it all mean?, “None of us deserve God, yet He gives us that opportunity, none of us deserve life, yet He gives us life and a chance to seek Him and become One with Him. Chris Jesus died for us; God became what we are that we might be what He is.” Why would a normal, sane and rational person believe that he does not deserve life? It could be expected of a person with psychological problems to have such insecurities, but what triggers such atypical thoughts in a normal, healthy person?

Here again, a commentator on my post The More You Learn, The More You Realize How Little You Know, maintains that you don’t know what’s best for you, only god does: “He IS the Creator after all. He knows what’s good for you. and you’re only ONE out of how many people on this planet??” Unless someone is deliberately taught this piece of imprudence,” how would that person come to believe such an absolute which is impossible to verify or prove, with or without science?

And on a blog I posted, Hate Not the Believer, where I made reference to a Melbourne cleric who advocates that beating your wife is acceptable, the same (female) Muslim commentator had this to say: “and in terms of the whole wife/husband..woman/man thing..there’s always a reason in Islam. cause we don’t see Islam as a religion…rather, it is the way of life” Is it normal for a women to allow herself to be beaten, because an archaic text in a religious book condones paternalistic thuggery? What sinister force compels a women to deny herself any self-respect, by accepting that there is always a reason for her being mistreated and maligned?

Time and time again you will hear clerics screaming from the pulpits (and now from every kind of media imaginable) that man is a worthless sinner. Man is damned and can only obtain “salvation” if he accepts the “word of god” and “gives his life” to one “creator” or the other. Some religions (one in particular) even go so far as to proclaim that only total and unrelenting “submission to god” is a pre-requisite for a “life in heaven,” whatever that is. And the key to making people believe such nonsense is in creating a terrifying fear of the unknown; the unknowable, unprovable, irrational, mother-of-all-fears, HELL. Other religions may not have the concept of HELL, which is probably why self-hatred is not that evident there. Such is the work of clerics; to perpetuate and maintain the fear of a punishment after death. For without this fear, people would have no need to hate themselves so much while they are alive.

Perhaps Ayaan Hirsi Ali was referring to secular Europe when she wrote so eloquently in her book Infidel, “Life is better in Europe than it is in the Muslim world because human relations are better, and one reason human relations are better is that in the West, life on earth is valued in the here and now, and individuals enjoy rights and freedoms that are recognized and protected by the state. To accept subordination and abuse because Allah willed it – that, for me would be self-hatred.”

Infidel, my life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel, my life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel, my life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel is ultimately the story of a courageous women’s triumph over adversity, and the escape from the clutches of religious enslavement. Ayaan candidly recounts the story of her early Muslim childhood in Somalia, the brutal religiously inspired, female circumcision she was forced to undergo, growing up under dictatorial regimes in four African countries, her flight from an enforced marriage to seek asylum in the Netherlands, and her awakening as a free person.

No one can fail to be inspired by this women, and fear for her safety after being forced to flee yet again for sanctuary in the United States, due to death threats from Islamic fundamentalists. Her eventual adoption of Atheism is really no surprise.
Notable Quote:
Humans themselves are the source of good and evil, I thought. We must think for ourselves; we are responsible for our own morality. I arrived at the conclusion that I couldn’t be honest with others unless I was honest with myself. I wanted to comply with the goals of religion, which are to be a better and more generous person, without suppressing my will and forcing it to obey inhuman rules. I would no longer lie, to myself or others. I had had enough of lying . I was no longer afraid of the Hereafter.