Friday, November 30, 2007

Islam: The Loving, Peaceful Religion

My Teddy Bear's Name is Bush

In yet another outstanding example of militant Islamic extremism, a British teacher working at the at the Unity School in Khartoum, Sudan has been arrested and sentenced to 15 days in jail, then deportation.

Gillian Gibbons, the 54-year-old teacher from Liverpool, England, was spared the 40 lashes normally accompanying the crime she is charged with.

"This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri told worshipers at a Friday sermon.

So what was Gibbons' "crime"? Well, during one of her classes, she allowed her 7-year-old students to take a vote on what to name their stuffed teddy bear. Being the most popular male name in the Muslim world, the class chose 'Muhammad'. Some of the kid's parents learned about it, and they promptly arrested the teacher.

"Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan," al-Karouri said.

That's right, these delusional extremists rallied in Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace. Protesters waved sticks, knives, axes and swords, and chanted "Kill her, kill her by firing squad!" and "No tolerance, execution!"

Pray and Pass the Ammunition

I almost don't have the strength to rant about this. Here in America, we have the freedom to name our teddy bears 'Muhammad' or 'Shiva' or 'Jesus Christ' if we want to. But in their own little world, these Sudanese Muslims are "thirsting" for the blood of a 54-year-old white woman because her class's toy bear has the same name as their great prophet. Even in Britain, the reaction is that of shock and disbelief from both non-Muslims and Muslims. Those of us in the "free world" understand that this kind of reaction is insane. Gibbons shouldn't have even been arrested, let alone charged for any "crime".

Really, what's the deal? I want someone to explain it to me. Who does it insult? Are the Great Prophet's feelings hurt? Gibbons said that she wasn't trying to insult Islam, and the kids chose the name anyway. But even if she was trying to insult, is his wondrous might incapable of surviving reticule?

Is it worth killing for?

Any religion, world view, or lifestyle that gives you a "thirst" for the blood of another human being IS NOT LOVING, TOLERANT, OR UNDERSTANDING. Stop defending Islam. Read. Learn. Fucking THINK.

Being Mark Twain's birthday today, here's an excerpt from his book, "The War Prayer":

"O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it..."


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Help Us Rain Man

A man clenches his hands together and squeezes his eyes shut, deep in thought. Another lifts his hands toward the sky and weeps, while a woman kneels and gently rocks.

"You visit the earth and you water it," says a man. "The River of God is full!" he declares.

This might sound like something out of weird occult ritual or maybe an early pagan ceremony, but in fact it happened in the year 2007. Today, Georgia's top officials -- that's right, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS -- officially prayed for rain on the steps of the Capitol building to end the devastating drought that's lasted over a year.

And if you need water, Yahweh knows fuckin' water.

Wash Us In Your Watery Wetness
Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, teamed up with lawmakers, ministers and supporters to pray for rain at the State Capitol. THE STATE CAPITOL!!! There's a church, mosque, synagogue, or tabernacle on just about every corner of Georgia, and these are the places where religious rituals and practices should be held.

Since this drought's been around for a year or more, I'm sure God's inbox has several prayers with "Need Rain Now" as the subject. Are those not working? Apparently not. Rocky Twyman, the guy who organized a concert two weeks ago at an Atlanta church (where shit like this NEEDS to be) said: “We need a different approach. We need to call on God, because what we’re doing isn’t working.”

So, exactly how long is it supposed to take for God to make it rain? How long will rain for? And if it rains, you've proven what...that it rains sometimes? Can you make Him do it again???

Don't for get that back in July the Governor of Alabama declared a full week to “Days of Prayer for Rain”. And back in 1986, Georgina's prayed for rain and God came through!

Look, it rains sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't. But it isn't some magical Sky Daddy that's "makin' it wet", it's natural processes -- some of which we understand and some of which we don't yet -- that control our weather patters. Things like the Jet Stream, atmospheric radiation, snow, tornadoes, even lightening are things that we've discovered scientifically. Remember way back when people thought that lightening was thrown down by Zeus because he was pissed? Do the hicks in Georgia or Alabama still think that?

I'm not trying to be divisive or insulting here. But just wanting rain or anything else isn't going to make it happen. There's some things you can do to conserve water (take shorter showers, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, etc.) but there isn't a lot you can do to make it rain.

And that's the issue here. The people of Georgia are at a loss. They got nothing left, what could it hurt?

Hey, Get Away From My Wall!
Well, I've covered this before not three posts ago, but our government was founded on secularism. State politics are not to get involved with Church matters. Yes, Governor Perdue declared this to be a "non-denominational" event, though I'm not sure exactly how many Muslims, Hindus, or Jains attended. It was mostly Southern Baptist with a couple of Protestants thrown in for extra spiritual spice.

This is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Georgia State Constitution, and a public mockery of the government. Was public money used to fund this, or any religious event?

And when it doesn't rain, will you people stop this bullshit?


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thanks for the Grub

Greetings. You may have noticed that things have slowed down around here. I missed last week's Fallacy Friday, and I believe we'll skip the coming one as well. No, I'm not going away...the theists haven't won yet! Things have gotten a little off-balance around home and work, but I will try to post at least every week or so. As I alluded to in my first post, I can't always be certain when I'll get the time to rant about the idiocies and atrocities of religion, but I'll do my best.

Tis the season for the "holy-days" (Halloween having past, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming soon), and while I'll be taking more time off for friends and family, I will attempt to provide appropriate posts on these and other festivities as the need arises. If I can't, be sure to check my friends on the blogroll to the right. I'm sure they'll have some great things for the holiday season.

With all that out of the way, let's get down to business. As usual, something in my personal life will spur the need to rant, and so is the case for this post. Time to bitch about the efficacy of prayer!

Better authors (and scientific researchers) than I have refuted the idea, process, and need for prayer, and I'm almost not sure how to best go about it. But this isn't a book or a news article; it's a weblog about what it's like being the one fish in the pond who does not believe as the other fish do. So I won't spend time rehashing their books; I'll focus this blurb on family prayer, particularly that which arises around holiday gatherings and the saying of "grace".

Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Cornbread
If you've ever gone over to a relative's house and gotten into a situation where you had to hold hands in a circle while someone said a prayer, what did you do? If you're a nonbeliever like me, you might agree to hold the hands of the people next to you, depending on how close you are with your kinfolks and the level of "outness" you may have with them. I'm often respectful of my kin and elders--not necessarily their ideas--but just placating for the time.

I don't close my eyes or pray. Instead, I usually find myself looking around at the other people in the circle, their eyes squeezed shut as they nod in agreement with the redundant utterings of the group leader. My thoughts are concentrated on the goings on at the present time; I could chose to think of whatever I want (focus on the food we're about to eat, think about the last episode of Heroes I watched, or ponder the thought processes of the ant scurrying across the floor). But I find myself being respectful in thought as well. That doesn't mean I think about how wonderful Jesus is for letting us buy a ham, or praise the Great Spirit of the pig that gave up its life so that we may eat of it.

No, I think about the people in the circle. I study their actions, the language of their body, and the words they use as they talk to themselves. It's more of a people-watching exercise; I get to study humans in the act of worship. Of course I'll often think of something amusing, and I'll have to try to keep from laughing out loud. Sometimes it's because of what the leader says, sometimes it's the blatant fallacy they use, or the general idea of it. I don't say 'Amen' after the sweaty cousin finally lets go of my left hand, and I don't feel a sense of pride of being part of a family that prays together.

So why do I even do it? Why don't I just speak up and call out the ridiculousness of the whole thing, or just refuse to participate in the first place? My answer can only be: family. I'm at someone else's house, at a private gathering that I was invited to, someone whom I care about to some degree or another, someone who is taking their time to spend with me, wish me well, and feed me. I'm not petty enough to get tied down by a recitation of grace before I eat the meal that this person spent money and hours on. It frankly doesn't mean that much to me. Sure it pains me to hear this person whom I love say such mind-numbingly stupid things, and if the situation warrants it, I may make my thoughts known. But this person is doing what they believe to be something good and wholesome for the ones they love, and that includes me. It's almost like visiting a native tribe in a far-off jungle, and joining in their rituals of celebration. I also think of it as just a tradition. True, a bad one, but one that I grew up with, and most likely the relative I'm visiting did too. It's like when we carve pumpkins or color eggs. It doesn't "mean" anything, it's just a family thing. I don't think its doing anything supernatural, its the natural things I focus on.

Still, it would be nice not to have to put up with such bullshit. It'd make more time for family.