Archive for August, 2016

18
Aug
16

Clashes and Churches, by Riverbend

I’ve just finished reading Baghdad Burning, by Riverbend; the blog of an Iraqi woman published in book form.

The blog is still available on line at https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/

Whether in book form or the blog itself, I feel it should be essential reading: even compulsory reading for anyone who thinks the 2nd Bush war against Iraq was justified. However, anyone who takes that view, would be unlikely to have their opinion changed by the words of someone who was on the receiving end of Bush’s “crusade” who saw the effects it had on what was once a thriving nation (albeit one ruled by a malignant dictator).baghdad burning

Last week churches were bombed- everyone heard about that. We were all horrified with it. For decades- no centuries- churches and mosques have stood side by side in Iraq. We celebrate Christmas and Easter with our Christian friends and they celebrate our Eids with us. We never categorised each other as “Christian” and “Muslim”… It never really mattered. We were neighbours and friends and we respected each other’s religious customs and holidays. We have many differing beliefs- some of them fundamental- but it never mattered.

It makes me miserable to think that Christians no longer feel safe. I know we’re all feeling insecure right now, but there was always that sense of security between differing religions. Many Iraqis have been inside churches to attend weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Christians have been suffering since the end of the war. Some of them are being driven out of their homes in the south and even in some areas in Baghdad and the north. Others are being pressured to dress a certain way or not attend church, etc. So many of them are thinking of leaving abroad and it’s such a huge loss. We have famous Christian surgeons, professors, artists, and musicians. It has always been an Iraqi quality in the region- we’re famous for the fact that we all get along so well.

I’m convinced the people who set up these explosions are people who are trying to give Islam the worst possible image. It has nothing to do with Islam- just as this war and occupation has nothing to do with Christianity and Jesus- no matter how much Bush tries to pretend it does. That’s a part of the problem- many people feel this war and the current situation is a crusade of sorts. ‘Islam’ is the new communism. It’s the new Cold War to frighten Americans into arming themselves to the teeth and attacking other nations in ‘self-defence’.

From the Baghdad Burning Blog (Saturday, August 07, 2004) full article can be found here:

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2004_08_01_archive.html

The book I read was only the first volume. A second volume of Riverbend’s writings is also available.

BB vol 2

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17
Aug
16

Extremist Secular Fundamentalism

Almost a month ago I started a post with the following statement:

While one cannot live by “likes” alone, the number of likes against an article or a comment – or their absence – can be a telling indicator of a readership’s attitude.

(https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/plebiscite-on-same-sex-marriage/)

After posting those thoughts I’ve seen something even more blatant than the situation that led me to write that article.

On the same newspaper website, I’ve seen comments ridiculing and belittling those who believe in (a) God have been getting “likes” in the hundreds. Previously it had seemed that 20 “likes” awarded to a comment was significant.

I’ve had varying degrees of involvement with Christianity and church during the past 40 years, and I’ve come across different kinds of hostile attitudes towards myself and other believers, but generally the hostility came from a small number.

This is the first time that I’ve seen such a popular opposition to those professing some kind of religious faith.
The cases I refer to above were actually responding to articles about Moslems, not Christians, but those replies were broadly aimed at a more general belief in God, not at any particular form of belief, or belief in any particular deity.

Examples:

Most people with any degree of individual thought have abandoned the idea of religion.just as nobody believes in fairies or the Loch Ness monster.
This goes for Christians and any other believers in mumbo jumbo. [161 likes]

And

Sorry, but I read the words bible and Koran and just switched off. I just can’t believe that in the 21st century people base their lives on, and excuse their actions because of, works of fiction which are centuries old [50 likes]

And

I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry anyone who is devoutly religious [108 likes ]

Most of the more extreme views some with “likes” in the multiple hundreds, were specifically targeted at Islam. While I have no agreement at all with Islamic beliefs, what I found disturbing about the comments and the fact that so many agreed with them, is that the degree of hostility directed towards people for having religious beliefs, and for actually living their lives according to those beliefs.

One example relates to a current news story about French resort towns banning the “Burkini” from their beaches. Commenters practically demand that Muslim women should conform to Western society’s standards and fit in with the world around them instead of making themselves separate from society by the way they dress.

People in Europe believe that muslims are not doing enough to assimilate properly, so why wear this religious garment? Why not try and adopt your new home`s customs and become progressive rather than regressive? [130 likes]

The point, m’lady, is not your decision to wear the all in one burkini. Knock yourself out.
It’s the ideology that claims you can’t wear a swimsuit that irritates us. [307 likes]

it’s, an ostentatious display of religious identity, and that isn’t something that should be welcome in secular liberal western countries.[50 likes]

The burkini is part of a ridiculous mindset that says that strongly held religious beliefs somehow have intellectual merit.[ 103 likes]

While most of these comments are addressed to an issue related to Muslims (women in particular) – I think they are no less hostile to anyone who takes their faith seriously enough to think their lifestyle should be shaped by something (Someone) other than society’s ever changing standards of morality.

It seems that secularity is becoming much more than an absence of religion, or a separation from religion; it is increasingly becoming anti-religion and is itself adopting the very worst traits of dogmatic extremism

02
Aug
16

Crazed Extremism

Clearly Islam isn’t the only religion to be afflicted with a “ratbag” loony element. That’s something National Party leader Barnaby Joyce pointed out recently.

“Every group has their ratbags, even Catholics.

“We had, in the past, the IRA, but if someone said every Catholic is a member of the IRA I would say ‘no we’re not’. They’re lunatics, crazy criminals who want to kill people who have nothing to do with the religion I practise.

“In Islam at the moment, they have also got a lunatic fringe. You can’t go through every person of the Islamic faith and say they are all just like them.”

Since then I’ve come across a disturbing example of this element from the camp of my old “friend” Danny Nalliah and his political party Rise Up Australia. I’ve written about Nalliah before on this blog: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/category/danny-nalliah/

The following comes from Nalliah’s Rise Up Australia party spokesperson Rosalie Crestani:

Islam and Christianity are at loggerheads.

When you go right back to the crusades… and I will not say that the crusades were a completely bad thing because they were taking back land that was taken from them by the Muslims. Just like now I reckon we’re about to see, a crusade starting across,,, the western countries are going to start to rise up.

I mean the true western countries because I think America’s too far gone now.

They’ve got a jihadist in the White House. He’s the one that started ISIS mind you… he armed and he’s established them. He’s using the CIA to recruit…

 

In response to that and all of the other antichristian behaviour, rhetoric and false prophecy that has come out of the Nalliah camp in the decade since I became aware of him, all I can do is point again to the very strong warning Paul gives in 2 Thessalonians:

…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved… God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth.

 

______________________________________

The Rosalie Crestani quote came from a recording here, at roughly the 21 minute mark: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/putting-the-ex-in-muslim/7635674

That recording is the last of a five part series about Islam by an ex-Muslim. It’s a fascinating series, but contains short sections of comedic content that some will find offensive,




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