Author Topic: What religious fundamentalists would like to think their God thinks . . .  (Read 4391 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Hi!

Seeing http://rt.com/news/boy-torture-pakistan-christian-440/ I thought it time to tell an Italian joke. They seem to forget that one of the ingredients of the definition of God is that He is Everywhere . .  .

Thanks to Adolfo Barabino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiX5Xjtb7-E&lc for the joke.

A tourist enjoying the coutryside in Tuscany finds a marvellous view and stops to admire the landscape. He observes two cows in a field and the farmer comes and asks him what he is doing. He replies that he is enjoying the landscape and that the cows are very beautful.

The farmer replies, "Yes, the white cow is very beautiful". The tourist responds "And the black one . . . " and the farmer replies "Yes - and the black one is very beautiful too"

The tourist asks if the cows eat a lot of grass. The farmer responds "Yes the white cow eats a lot of grass" and the tourist continues "And the black cow" to which the farmer responds "Yes and also the black cow eats a lot of grass".

The tourist asks if they produce a lot of milk. "Yes the white cow produces a lot of milk" responds the farmer and the tourist "And the black cow?" to which the farmer responds "yes and also the black cow produces a lot of milk".

The tourist asks the farmer why he prefers the white cow. "Because the white cow is mine", the farmer responds. The tourist asks "And the black cow?" to which the farmer replies "Yes - and the black cow is mine also".

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

David Pinnegar

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Dear MM

I've clearly slightly nonplussed you on this one if your absense of response is indicative!

The worst thing is not necessarily when people are merely dismissive of the black cow but in fact can't see it at all. . .

As soon as I can, I'll try to examine the subjects of William Dalrymple's book Nine Lives, which is recommendable and well worth the read.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Dear David,

I'm not non-plussed at all; just extremely busy. The Bank Holiday week is one of those when I work 6 nights in a row, (not ncluding church on Sunday), so apart from eating and sleeping, I don't have much time for anything else.

However, I am in the process of fashioning a reply, but I warn you that it will be complex and not the straightforward black and white issue you started the post with. Pakistan and the whole region is a flash-point at the best of times, but there are many factors at play; not least the Taliban to the north, in Afghanistan, as well as corrupt and criminal warlords, western subterfuge, Christophobia (that's a NEW word I think I may have invented), a massive drug problem, mistrust and tensions between modernity and tradition. I'm afraid all the "stan" countries live on a knifedge, where tribal loyalties are especially strong; not to mention the various sects and tensions within Islam.

Before I can complete the response, I have a fair bit of (internet) research to do, because the facts are very difficult to establish, and the conclusions even more so.

Best,

MM

David Pinnegar

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Before I can complete the response, I have a fair bit of (internet) research to do, because the facts are very difficult to establish, and the conclusions even more so.

Dear MM

We always appreciate the depth of your thoughts on these things.  The islamic areas are currently undergoing the spirit of theological development that went on in the 17th century in "Christianity" between protestants, catholics, anabaptists and calvinists. If you visited the wrong place with the wrong ideas you got your head cut off.

None of such activities are to do with the true fundamentals taught by "both black and white cows" . . . I know a young person who thinks he prefers being a Buddhist. It's probably only in rebellion against conventionality, but my advice to him would certainly be to practice true christianity first and then he will probably automatically find resonance with Buddhism and the teachings of the Delai Llama.

In my connexions with Benjamin Henry Latrobe, I came across Alice Bailey, a descendant of the family who went to India as a missionary and found no conflict between Buddhism and Christianity. In Iran, the teachings and followers of Bahaullah are suppressed and persecuted for the reasons that they undermine the power exerted by the Islamic fundamentalists. Whilst these two characters of influence were able to see and acknowledge both the white cow and the black cow at once, often when one stands back from two people arguing, one can observe the cause of their argument is similarity, they being reflections of each other and the fear of one being subsumed by the other.

Instead of maintaining boundaries and barriers, Christ's teaching to love one's enemy and turn the other cheek is supreme and particularly effective. I offered a so-called christian from Pakistan to devote funds from a concert towards flood relief in his country but he insisted that such funds were to help only christians. That is neither the way of Christ nor is it obviously effective in breaking down the barriers between Muslims and Christians. The offer of help from Christians to Muslims would have been so very much more effective than mere isolation, encampment and entrenchment.

To avoid world conflict, we have to arise out of trench mentality. Drone mentality too, or we too will become the drones.

Can love of the organ infiltrate lands where love is lost?

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Dear David,

Having just re-read my last reply, I shall modify and edit it, because it is a bit of a mess. I was fairly tired and trying to rush it when I wrote it, and although I know what I was trying to say, it didn't quite succeed.

Best,

MM

MusingMuso

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[MODIFIED POST RE-SUBMITTED]


Dear David,

According to statistics, in 2010, the total number of recreational/dependent drug users in Pakistan reached 9 million, in a country with a population of 180 million....about 5% of the total population.


1.5 million use opium
750,000 are heroin addicts
200,000 are drug-injecting users and
75,000 addicts are also suffering from HIV/AIDS.


1 in  10 college/university students is drug addicted. In 1 prominent private university of Karachi, 20 out of 30 (66%) students were taking charas (a hashish form of cannabis). Over 40,000 street children are involved in solvent substance abuse in four major cities of Pakistan. Around forty percent of Pakistan prison population uses drug.

This doesn’t paint the full picture, for I would suggest that it is principally a male problem, and one largely confined to the under 30 age group. This means that the 9% becomes 18% of the male population by gender, and very much higher, (perhaps 50% or more  of the total young, adult male population), by age, due to the relatively limited lifespan of the overall population. As the male population is the very dominant sex, it means that drugs, drug use and drug trafficking will be affecting all levels of society and making policy decisions difficult

This has nothing to do with fundamentalism thus far, but bear with me, for it does mean that a MAJORITY of young men in Pakistan are turning their backs on Islam and engaging in a life of criminality.

Now permit me to digress, if not fly off at a wild tangent.

I seem to have acquired a young friend by the name of Nathan, who two years ago was part of a drug crazed gang of young tearaways who caused a lot of problems; not least to myself. Ranging in age from 13 to 16, they would vandalise cars, smash windows and generally intimidate people. The police got involved, the gang were locked down to some extent and a few of them ended up in youth custody. Nathan was prosecuted, fined and placed on probation, but as the dust settled, I made a point of talking to he and to others who had caused so many problems. Nathan has only an elderly Gran, who brought him up alone after his own mother rejected him. On a one to one basis, I found Nathan agreeable, and as time has gone on and as time permits, he spends a certain amount of time with me. It’s all very easygoing, and I have an open-door policy, which means that he pops in when he likes, sometimes has something to eat and, until recently, was prone to knocking me up at 3am of a Sunday morning high on drugs and freezing cold, unable to go home in the state he was in. Many is the time I’ve stepped over his corpse on the living-room floor, where he lay in a sleeping-bag in front of the gas-fire as I got ready to go to church.

I know that he still uses cannabis in moderation, and he likes a few cans of lager, but I am incredibly impressed by what he has achieved in the past year. He’s settled down, learned lessons and is now studying catering. Above all, he has listened to what I, (and no doubt others), have been telling him about life choices, drugs and common sense. However, imagine my unashamed delight when, last Sunday, Nathan brought his friend Mikey in, and they sat talking to each other on the floor. Young Michael is fifteen and a half, and rapidly heading towards the position that Nathan was in a year ago; trying this drug and that drug, and generally going nowhere but downwards. Nathan was impressing upon young Michael the dangers of drugs, the stupid waste of money and the lifestyle which accompanies them. For my part, I was secretly grinning from ear to ear, knowing that I had made a difference....sowing the seeds of common-sense and empowering a young man to make the right decisions as he moves towards adulthood. At a still more potent level, Nathan knows that I have invested time, a little money and quite a lot of effort in him, and even more importantly, because of that, he knows that I care about what happens to him.

So what has this got to do with fundamentalism?

Well, as I mentioned in a recent post, the seeds of fundamentalist fanaticism are sown in desperation, such as in the Yemen, where a quarter of a million children have little or no food. The seeds of fundamentalism are also sown where people have no option but to survive in situations where corrupt officials and criminal warlords come to mutually beneficial arrangements, while factional tit-for-tat skirmishes abound, as they do in Afghanistan. In northern Pakistan for example, it must be impossible to avoid the drug-trade  from Afghanistan, and you can be fairly certain that the traders and dealers will have links to hard-line criminals and access to firearms. The climate of fear and unease must be very real to ordinary, law-abiding Pakistanis. That’s another reason why Jihadists should feel the need to purify society and fight for a cause. The other hidden agenda is Kashmir, and this is another reason why Pakistan wants and needs young Jihadists in an attempt to undermine security and claim back this region from India.

Fundamentalists can be regarded as politically motivated religious storm troopers, who use religion as the excuse for creating anarchy, destruction and terror as the means of undermining and then destroying the status quo. As we discussed in a previous post, the same process was very evident in Cromwell’s England, and once the system of government and law changed, relative peace and stability returned, but under new rulers. The same methods were also very evident in the bombing campaigns and rhetoric of the IRA in Ireland.

But what of the fundamentalists themselves?

Young, energetic, undoubtedly courageous and charged with testosterone, pride and a sense of honour; are they not themselves victims?

What was it the Jesuists said?  Something along the lines of “Give me a child before he is seven, and I will show you the man.”

In Pakistan, there has been an explosion of Madrassas, where children and students are taught Islamic verse by rote, the authority of Sharir law and, if they’re lucky, other things as well. With tens of thousands of such institutions having been established in the recent past, not all are true to the spirit of Islam. Some are promoting and training jihadists (freedom fighters) and waging war against the west, against internal liberal factions and against those who wish to pursue the path of human rights, feminism or representative democracy.

There is a great power struggle going on in Pakistan, between those who seek relative liberalisation and global engagement, and those who wish to retain the power of the Islamic clerics, Sharir law and the nominal unity of Islam. Intolerance therefore lives alongside tolerance, but because Islam is a religion of equals, without a specific hierarchy, agreement tends to be reached by Imams sitting around in a circle, discussing matters of religious importance. Pakistan is, without doubt, an Islamic state with a powerful theocracy.

With a very high (but improving) level of illiteracy, (especially among the female sex), very patchy educational provision and inadequate funding in what is a relatively poor country with meagre resources, the influence of Islamic Madrassas is probably at least equal to, and may well exceed that of state education. So much depends upon a child’s or young person’s exposure to “knowledge,” as to whether they will turn out to be engineers, doctors, Imams or Jihadists or members of extreme sects such as the Taliban and Al’Queda.

So with a religion which is the opium of the people, and opium which is the religion of the young, I think it would be fair to suggest that Pakistan is staring into the abyss, and chaos is the modus operandi of everyday life.

If we go back to young Nathan and the influences which drew him into criminal behaviour and drug-taking, it is possible to see that he was a typical fifteen-year-old; gregarious, vulnerable to the influences of gang membership, searching for an identity and eager to be part of something. The fact that he has largely turned away from the drug and gang culture, has started to think things out and make his own sensible decisions, is entirely due to the fact that he has found an “adopted father figure” (me), who, in less than a year, has educated him enough to empower his own independence of thought and reasoning. No doubt, in a year or two, he will drift away, find his own feet and future, discover new influences and find love, but I’m fairly certain that he will always remember the things I have taught him and he will act accordingly.

It’s a fact, but most bad behaviour comes down to ignorance, and when it comes to black and white, it is important to remember that they are not colours at all, and they therefore immediately share something in common.

So I would suggest that the regrettable torture and murder of a young Christian boy is but a symptom of ignorance, a lack of moral authority and irrational beliefs. Education and constructive dialogue are the ONLY way forward if such atrocities are to be prevented.

That has been my gift to young Nathan.

Best,

MM

David Pinnegar

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Dear MM

Thank you for your seminal reply and for the example of the living god in action. The background you reveal is . . . challenging.

However there is hope if the subsequent reports on the case, below, are indicative.

We tend, however, to think that fundamentalists are of one particular religion. But in the 17th century in Germany there were Anabaptist fundamentalists, Calvinist fundamentalists, Protestant fundamentalists, Catholic fundamentalists and, being willing to cut off anyone's head if they expressed an opinion that touched on any of their distinguishing assumptions, none of them were Christian. Within Islam the factions of Shiites, Sunni, Sufi and no doubt more have the same problem. Within the context of the cow analogy with which I started this thread, the human capacity to see a black cow as a cow often is limited.

The relevance of this post is that the priestess in our local church is so fundamentalist of the "Jesus loves you" brigade, that my wife won't go to the church.

Organs are in danger when priests are of a white cow mentality.

Worse, for me, the local priestess ground away in a sermon that Jesus was our saviour to such an extent of Him having been Mary's saviour, that it became plain for anyone with even half a brain to revulse from the more conventional magic image of Christ as Son of God, leading to the Luke 8:21 interpretation of Son of God being the only tenable conclusion.

Relgious teachers who can only see a white cow end up blinding themselves with so much light that the white cow vanishes with everything else. Put another way, we do not like having our magic shattered: we want to believe in it - but overexposure from fundamentalists leads to cynicism from which many cannot recover and mistakenly fall for atheism. It is difficult and time consuming to find valid and helpful interpretations when the fundamentalist magic is seen for what it is, so as to be understood as a misinterpretation rather than an untruth.

The health of organs depends upon their use in worship of God common to all, that force of construction and harmony that brings success to all matter obeying such law, and unconstruction to whatever doesn't. It depends on recognition of the cow, whatever the colour of the cow, tending to the needs of the cow, of whatever colour the cow: the result being that white milk will flow . . .

Of importance is the milk, not the colour of the cow. As a result of the taste of the milk perhaps more will be interested in looking at the field of cows, in which the white may stand out more from the crowd of others.

Best wishes,

David P


Pakistan court postpones bail decision for girl accused of burning Quran (CNN)
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/30/world/asia/pakistan-girl-blasphemy

Father of Pakistani Christian 'blasphemer' girl appeals to President (Telegraph)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9503532/Father-of-Pakistani-Christian-blasphemer-girl-appeals-to-President-Asif-Ali-Zardari.html

Pakistan blasphemy case Christian girl 'is 14' (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19397884

Pakistani Muslim leaders support Christian girl accused of blasphemy (Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/27/pakistani-muslim-christian-girl-blasphemy

Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy (Washington Post)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-christians-fearing-backlash-flee-community-after-girl-accused-of-blasphemy/2012/08/20/d3b23c9a-eae3-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html

Pakistani president wades into 'Down's Syndrome' blasphemy case (Christian Science Monitor)
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/0820/Pakistani-president-wades-into-Down-s-Syndrome-blasphemy-case/
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Dear David,

I haven't investigated it at all, but I just wonder if physical barriers are not the main reason for Islamic fragmentation.  I wonder what part the  vast mountain ranges and deserts have played?

As for the little girl in Pakistan, I suspect that there will be a happy outcome. The senior clerics are not barbarians.

Best,

MM

 


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