Intolerance

Intolerance dates from June 2014 – the subject continues with Woke, BLM and ongoing issues in 2021

After my excursion into religion last week I did think of writing on a less controversial subject like gay rights or paedophilia. This week’s headlines have been dominated by the events in Iraq whilst Ukraine nervously continues. Elsewhere, the impact of missing girls in Nigeria has not gone away nor has the continued fighting in Afghanistan even if it is now local troops fighting rather than American or UK troops, or the other NATO forces that have been deployed there and shed their blood as well. As with Iraq, coalition forces will soon have departed and we can fully expect Afghanistan to return to its historical state of occasional tribal warfare. The Pakistan forces have just launched a major offensive.

All of the conflicts have one thing in common – religious intolerance. Just as my previous blog attracted some comments it does not mean I shall give up on my view in that all religions behave appallingly, given half the chance, and yes I do include Christianity in that view. This time I am not focusing on historical inaccuracies or whether the Bible say this or that or the Koran , Torah, and onward into whatever belief system or set of rules that for one reason or another the individual believes is the truth.

One thing is clear they cannot all be right, they cannot all have their version of God and religious duty. At the moment the conflict spreading from Syria to Iraq is between different branches of Islamic faith, Sunni and Shia. With perhaps the ISIS or ISIA forces another version of Sunni. Once Europe was full of competing version of Protestants and Catholics, helped by tribal rivalries amongst warring families so to see the Islamic faith fighting their wars should not be surprising.

Then we have on-going issues between in Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths in India.

The common factor is religion, not resources for a change. Organised religion as a proxy for the power of individuals. Whether it’s a leader in Iran, Saudi, Syria or or the never-ending fight of the Jewish faith and Arbia still seen in the battles over the future of Israel and Palestine. It was not that long ago that Hammas and Hezbolah were taking their fight onto the streets of what passes for a modern city in Palestine.

Compare and contrast these activities with more secular liberal societies. Has Western Europe become immune to religious tension. Certainly on the scale seen in other nations. The argument falls down where we have Syria and Lebanon. Both partially secular on the surface. Assad’s regime was and is oppressive but there did appear to be some religious freedom.

1960’s Lebanon was seen as a typical Mediterranean European-like city before it descended into chaos which thanks to the activities of Syria and Israel (expelling Palestinians) remains on the precipice of civil war.

What of the role of West in all this, the West a loose term for the alliance of USA and it’s allies. Falsehoods led to the second war in Iraq. The world’s moral indignation after 11th September 2001 has been lost. Instead of concentrating on fixing Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iraq was attacked and Afghanistan ignored until it was too late. Just like Afghanistan was ignored after the Soviet Union left until the Taliban were firmly in charge.

Now we have nations whose idea of the rule of law is secret courts and mass surveillance of their own citizens using carefully worded statements to explain how they comply with a law. We have had secret rendition, we still have Guantanamo and even here in the UK we need the new Supreme Court to tell us whether a trial, for the first time in our legal history, can be held completely in-Camera.  Is this the freedom we believe we want. Judging by the lack of outrage ot these events I suppose it is. I looked at the Newspaper headlines today. There were more stories about the sex lives of minor celebrities and various free offers than there were about any of these issues.

Judging by the number of people who bother to vote in the UK approx 30% in the latest local and Euro polls and approx 60% in last general election. No one cares. The scandal of MP expenses rumbles on but virtually all of the MPs were returned at the last election just because they wore a particular rosette. The average MP is elected with 35% of the vote from 60% of the electorate who bother to turn out. Democracy in action but at least it’s better than a religious dictatorship, although it’s no guarantor of freedom of expression, religion or action and as for equality don’t get me started.

Creationism, The New Right and a Rant

Creationism, The New Right and a Rant was written in 2014

I have just commented on a blog, in which the author complains about the arguments between atheists and creationists getting out of hand. The author thought that by asking everyone to calm down and we should listen to all sides everything will be fine. Just like the argument with Islamic Fundamentalism. I have to disagree. It will not be all right, if we allow religious extremism to flourish unchallenged. I have no wish to live in an Islamic Caliphate nor a Tea-Party version of the world supported by a version of Christianity which seems routed circa 1550 A.D. A date that it is itself subject to significant variance. A.D with dates that don’t add up. But,  I won’t start that again, the discussion on numbers I mean.

I wrote in my comments on the blog:

I believe that crossing a busy road is safe if I close my eyes as God will protect me. I know that crossing a busy road is not safe if I close my eyes.
One is fact one is faith or belief.
I know which one I trust to be taught to children.Your description of teaching children to read is essential; however this must be based on fact. The air is compromised of various gasses it is not belief it is fact. It is belief that a book mis-translated through various languages over several thousand years (old and new testament) gives an accurate view of the world’s development. Scientists to believe propose hypothesise that may prove to be correct or not. In modern science these are tested by other scientists. This leads to probability of fact not absolute certainty but highly likely.It is highly likely that you will be killed or seriously injured in my first example, not fact.

So to use the same reasoning on the creationist view of the world ends with ‘a highly unlikely‘ based on analysis despite the faith of those who believe it. It is highly unlikely that a book (which is contradicted in other contemporaneous records) is a factual account of what happened. Just as Galileo’s view of the solar system was incorrect. Five hundred or more years ago all Christian religious leaders thought the world was flat because the bible told them so, or so they said. It isn’t.

I still find it amazing that in the 21st century (Christian calendar) religious faith is so persuasive and yet has such a narrow view of the world in which we live. There are probably seven billion people on the planet now. The bare majority are Christian (31%), Islamic (23%), but these are false numbers based on census returns where asked, assessments and projections. On most national official forms a submitter has to put a religion. I was born a Methodist (Christian,) married in a C of E church but I am not religious, yes it is hypocritical just like my parents baptising me into a religion without my say so. Before I have even a chance to think about the subject – indoctrination or culture?

My argument today though is with Creationism, a smaller minority of Christianity but with translated political power in the USA; at least due to its strong connections into the Republican Party. The row there is what is taught in schools not in Religious Education classes but in science classes. In the UK the last week, outside of World Cup coverage, has been the ongoing actions in Birmingham of Islamic extremism creeping into the classroom. OFSTED inspections have followed special measure have been implemented. Statements have been made in the Houses of Parliament. My largest concern to these matters is the lack of sexual equality apparent in this version of the Islamic faith just as it is in orthodox Jews and some parts of Christianity.

Muslim women and reasonable Christians, are you not concerned with the impact on your lives. We have Nigerian girls kidnapped by so called Islamic extremists and a general Islamic approach in many so called Islamic countries to the prevention of equality. I haven’t read the reports let alone visited the schools but I just draw the comparison between reaction to Islamic teaching compared to Christian teaching in schools. We may not have the extent of creationism in the UK but both need to be challenged before a scientific approach to science and an equal (sexes) view of the world is lost.