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Sunday, June 25, 2017

All Religions are the Same

How many times does a chap hear that statement; the assertion that 'All Religions are the Same'? I would be a very wealthy Tavern Keeper had I a dollar for every time I have heard someone say it. I have asked myself if the speaker was a complete idiot or simply and fundamentally wrong, and waited for evidence from their mouths one way or the other.  Compassion sometimes wells up and I think that perhaps they are simply pig-ignorant. It is often the case. But bigotry tends to rule.

An honest ignoramous would at least admit he/she just didn't know.  They are agnostic. They generally do not know about God sufficiently to decide one way or the other of His existence, let alone whether all 'religious' people speak of the same One and behave accordingly. The atheist is certain he/she is right and there is no God at all, yet even they fall into the blanket dismissal as all the same.

Few of either seem to even want to discern any even general outine of a religion by looking at them over a longish period. 

Is this Idleness? Poor education? Brainwashing in our schools and Universities?
Or your head will be chopped off.

Politicians, in the main, sit on the fence, insisting that no one religion is better than any other, but at the same time give 'protections' and excuses in a more than partial manner, and if one listens carefully you can hear the fear in their voices. They know full well that all religions are not the same but just cannot stop themselves painting good guys bad and bad guys mutlicultural. And they hold the education purse strings.


So it was a nice suprise to come up from the Cellars where I have been doing a huge stocktake this past week and more - and spending some of the time in the Crypt, washing the floors and dusting around the Grail - to find a bit of educating going on in the Tavern which hopefully should resolve the 'all religions are the same ' issue for many imbibers.
Butterfly Boxer: Stinker Thinker

Hal G.P. Colebatch was holding the centre and Laramie Hirsch introduced a mate, John C. Wright who writes sci-fi. We even had a long, involved discussion with Stephen Molyneaux that set the Wright fellow off.:



True Islam
Each new Islamic terrorist atrocity is denounced by western leaders such as our Prime Minister as a ‘twisted’ or ‘perverted’ version of Islam, the ‘Religion of Peace’. 
'True Muslims', they emphasise, are peace-loving and tolerant. What this really amounts to is a way of saying: ‘Look how broad-minded I am! I have nothing against true Islam! Also I am learned enough in Islamic doctrine to distinguish between false and true Islam.’
Unfortunately, this is merely self-promoting codswallop.
Some Muslim leaders are far clearer. The President of Turkey for example - the superCaliphatalistic- does not distinguish at all between 'moderate muslims and jihadists. Indeed he considers the 'moderate' qualifier as insulting. To him all muslims are the same. Who can argue with that? 
There is no ‘true’ version of Islam, and there is no false version. Or rather, there is no way of judging which is true and which is false.
Just one of the three used a sword to preach with.

It is a safe bet that many of those who deplore what they claim is a departure from Islam have only a vague idea of what Islam is and what the Islamic texts teach. 

The ‘true’ version as evoked here means simply ‘The one I find it most agreeable or reassuring to claim is definitive,’ or perhaps, ‘I know that Christianity extols peace. Therefore all other religions must do likewise’. Or: ‘If I say terrorism and beheading are not attributes of true Islam, I may persuade the terrorists and head-choppers to become more peaceful.’
There is no religious equivalent to the High Court of Australia or the US Supreme Court, whose judgements are taken as final, at least until they are superseded, to say what is true and what is not.
If a ‘true’ version of Islam exists anywhere it might be expected to be in Saudi Arabia, its birthplace. 
In 2002, 15 school-girls were burnt to death there when their school caught fire and religious police pushed them back into the flames as they weren’t properly dressed. 
True Islam?
The Pope is held by Catholics to be infallible on certain doctrinal and historical matters, but only by Catholics, and in fact Papal infallibility is a lesser claim than some think – it means only that the Pope’s decision is final, just as, in politics and law, the minutes of a cabinet meeting or a court of appeal are taken as final, regardless of what was actually said, because this is the only way to get business done and avoid endless quarreling.
A lesser claim even than that, Hal. Papal infallibility is strictly limited and cannot change Doctrine or crucial determinations of the past. 
There are a number of frequently bitterly-fighting Islamic sects, as there are a number of Christian sects, and even of Jewish sects. If you are a member of one of these, you will think it is the true faith. Every sect thinks it is true. Catholics think theirs is the true faith and Protestants are in error, and Protestants think the converse. But there is no overarching earthly power to judge which is true.
When the Muslim armies attacked Constantinople, the Christian West refused to send aid to their Orthodox brethren because of a disagreement over whether Christ was co-eternal with God the Father. Which was the true faith, and who is to say? Further, the Christian Orthodox Eastern Empire had already been pillaged and greatly weakened by the Western Christian crusaders.
It is possible to claim Nazism is a twisted version of Wagner and Nietzsche, and Marxism a twisted version of Judeo-Christianity, but a Nazi or a Marxist would not agree. Historian Manning Clark constantly likened Lenin, the interpreter and developer of Marx, to Christ, Lenin’s millionfold murders notwithstanding.
C.S. Lewis made an effort, consulting both Protestant and Catholic theologians, to strip Christianity of sectarian differences and reduce it to its essentials in the book Mere Christianity. But what ‘mere Christianity’ is, like what ‘true Islam’ is, remains subjective.
Could there be a ‘mere Islam’ from which the true shape of the religion might be discerned? 
Well, it might be said that there is, in the Koran, and it is easily referred to. But the Koran is not consistent, with the later, blood-thirsty passages extolling war, conquest and the subjugation of women being generally held to supersede the earlier ones extolling tolerance and peace. While the self-sealing nature of the Islamic writings made radical reform impossible, it did not make differences of interpretation impossible.
If the Prime Minister and others turn to the great universities of the Muslim world, which might be thought to be the guardians of any ‘true’ doctrine, they will frequently find a reversion to the covering of women (as was not the case a few years ago), teachings that Jews are descended from pigs and monkeys and the promotion of jihad. 

One can, however, discern the general shape of a religion by a kind of gestalt process of observing it in history. 
Thus, with virtually no exceptions, Islam has, from its earliest days, been spread by war and conquest. The peaceful and mystical sects of Islam have existed behind the blood-soaked frontiers in territories the warriors have pacified.
You might note some of the Tavern's left-wall hangings. Omar's poetic theme runs right through to the foundation stones. He was a Sufi, doncha know.
The non-Muslim part of the world is known as the ‘house of war’. Forcible conversion at sword-point has been unknown, with only the rarest exceptions, in Christianity, at least for the last thousand years, but is general and taken for granted in Islam. Today practically every Muslim-majority district in Europe, particularly in France, has become a no-go area for other religions and even for the civil authorities. Jews are fleeing from France and other European countries with large Muslim populations.

When, in Australia, the visit of Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to be cancelled, following threats that 5,000 Muslims would turn out for implicitly violent demonstrations against her, were all the 5,000 followers of a ‘twisted’ form of the religion?  

Are the thousands following Isis or Boko Haram? 
Says who?
Not the Turkish President chappie.  I don't think he's see eye to eye with the Dalai Lama unless he had his head on a plate.
The impossibility of settling upon a definition of ‘true’ Christianity and ‘true’ Islam does not alter the fact that Presbyterians, Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists do not as a rule fly airliners into buildings. 
The activity of Christian medical missions in Africa today is not generally accompanied by demands for conversion, although conversion is held to be desirable. 
Thus, with exceptions, ambiguities and nuances, the general shape of these religions, both in history and in the world today, can be made out pretty clearly. 
Their processes are sometimes subtle: Christianity, for example, did not, in the scriptures, specifically condemn what we see as the obvious evils of slavery and torture, but its expressed values by the commandment ‘love one another’ – gradually made slavery and torture unthinkable in Christian civilisation.
The Jewish conception of slavery was more in the nature of entering into a bond to pay off a debt than it was life-long chattel slavery. 
Islam, however, actively condoned the enslavement of captives through the ages.
As it still does. 'Condoned' puts it very lightly.
Christianity also made war a matter of reluctance rather than enthusiasm, a regrettable necessity rather than a duty. Next time someone says jihadists do not represent the true faith, just ask them to define the true faith or its keepers.
OK, so he draws the dotted lines, delineating, fuzzily, enough major differences as to give the lie to the claim that all religions are the same.

Personally, I would go a lot further and tear the page. Islam was - is - a Satanic cry of rage in response to the Resurrection of Christ. Its arrival a few hundred years after the start of Christianity, and a few thousand after the start of the Jewish faith, and its easily discerned hatred of life speaks a volume or two that even Hal could sell. 

Some folk get 'confused' by the expressions of hurt feelings by Muslim aplologists on our TVs. Those talking heads have silver tongues and the average Joe and Josie probably do not know of the Islamic encouragement to its adherents to lie like a invoice from the mafia. Their claims of love and peace are sheer bullshit. The proof lies in hospitals and mortuaries.

Not that an atheist would agree that just timing was enough.  A discussion held by an atheist - whom I admire nonetheless - sparked a few points from John Wright. It is by taking that 'longer, historical' view that we can get general outines. As long as one is careful of whose views you take. The education system is often a trap even for those who study. He is a 'been there: done that' sort of chap.

He had been watching a longish discussion which you could wade through  or pass by right now if you wish, or just go on.  Perhaps even a solid non-believer can be brought around.
The Archangels are Hunting Him
A kind reader brought this to my attention. I found this conversation simply fascinating.

At about the 40 minute mark, Mr Molyneux makes and admission eerily similar to epiphanies  I was suffering during the days when I was losing my faith in atheism.
For one thing, reading history books written outside the school of thought dominated of Voltaire, Gibbon, Hegel, Marx gave credit where credit was due. And, thanks to a classical education, I knew full well that... 
Aquinas was the most logical thinker I had ever encountered outside Euclid.
(I disagreed with his axioms, but saw no error in his logic once they were granted.)
So I knew beforehand that the Thirteenth Century was not the satanic incarnation of science-hatred my high school education had falsely indoctrinated me into believing, and which most public school graduates believe to this day.
But picking up books describing the real Middle Ages, written by scholars I trusted, started pushing back on some of the wool that had been pulled over my eyes. 
It took me a long time to realize that, as an English speaker, I was getting the English (Protestant) view of history, the one where Bloody Marry was a devil and Elizabeth I was the Virgin
In real life, Queen Elizabeth was a despot who extended the laws against treason “to catch not just those who questioned Elizabeth’s right to rule, but all missionary priests and those who sheltered them. 
Torture was not permitted by the common law, but special powers were invoked to justify its regular use to extract information from Catholic suspects. The procedure in treason trials gave the accused no chance of offering an adequate defense, and unsafe convictions were common. The standard penalty for traitors was to be hanged, cut down when still alive, castrated, disemboweled and dismembered. 
Over 100 Catholic priests suffered this fate.”
Learning a wider view, and I hope a more accurate, of history was one of the several things that picked away at my hatred of Christianity.
The question kept bothering me: if Christianity is the utterly foolish superstition and enemy of progress, science, and reason I had always said it was, then why did the Christians spend so much time and effort erecting an international university system, something no other civilization ever contemplated?
If the Church was the enemy of science as much as she was the enemy of witchcraft, why was it that the Europeans, once they turned their back on witchcraft, developed science? 
Why were so many monks and priests openly doing science? None of them openly performed witchcraft.
If Christianity was just a fraud enacted to create and keep power for a priestly class to live at ease on the labor of peons, why did the priests forswear the things no secular rulers ever forswore, such as wealth, women, song and freedom from their superiors?
And why did the Christians insist, over and over again, on voluntary conversion? No other religion, and certainly no political philosophy, insists on nothing but volunteers.
Why was Christian morality in line with reality, if the Christian theology was superstition, nonsense, and cant?
Why did the Christians so fiercely object to suicide, when no other else did? The Romans were as much addicted to the romance of suicide for dishonor as the Japanese — if Christianity was a make-believe, why was not this rule changed to adhere to the Roman standards, and therefore to make the make believe more easy for the gullible to swallow?
Why did the Christians study the ancient pagans, and decipher the hieroglyphs of Egypt? The Roman pagan scholar never bothered to ask their conquered people how their writing system worked. They were not curious. The Muslims take sadistic delight in destroying the past, equaled only by the French and Communist Revolutionaries, and their Political Correct epigones here. 
Why does no one respect the prior civilizations, save for Christendom?
Why does no one respect the Other, save for Christendom. Why did no missionaries from alien religions visit Europe, with the sole horrid exception of the bloodthirsty Muslim, red scimitar in hand? And they did not come to convert, but to rape, metaphorically as well as literally, and burn the books and shatter the cities of the West.
These questions are hard to answer if Christianity is false, but not hard if it is true.
My prediction is that Mr Molyneux, if his charted course is like mine was, will suffer an increasing strain between his carefully erected atheistic theology (atheology?) and the facts of human life as history and contemporary events portray, and the Church will have an odd lure to him.
At that point he will struggle against the whispers in his soul sent by the angels hunting ruthless for him, and he might seek some other escape route, such as a polite resignation to an incomplete model of reality, where he admits Christianity has many strange virtues missing in other religions and worldviews, but no explanation as to why. 
If the angels do their job, his sense of integrity will not let him rest with any halfway mark or lukewarm compromise.
Now, if the time comes when he realizes that G.K. Chesterton is a better writer and deeper thinker than Ayn Rand, and had more and deeper insights into human nature, the snare will close about it.
Hahaha. Good one. I pulled a pint if just for that. 
He can always escape by refusing to think, by blanking out what the evidence is implying, since he is a creature with free will. He will be tempted. But his whole life as a philosopher will be opposed to yielding to that temptation.
On the other side, the demands made by Christianity, things like chastity, no divorce, no contraception, strict discipline of one’s passions, throwing away all your porn, forswearing revenge against foes who have actually and deeply wounded you, all that jazz… the burden of receiving Christ and taking up you cross seems great indeed to one who has never 'erenow been helped by the Holy Spirit to shoulder the burdens.
By the Lord Harry, pints all round ! 
Admitting one is wrong about the Steady State Theory, or changing one’s mind about Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage does not require you to give up your paramours, or other vices we all love with the darkest parts of our corrupt hearts. 
But admitting one is wrong about the nonexistence of Christ has consequences.
Bowing to Christ is a blow to the pride.
But then again, there is that matter of intellectual integrity, and a philosopher’s almost erotic love of the truth.
If he is now as I was then, his false pride and his love of truth will clash. And then the struggle will be on.
Pray for him, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. All the angels will raise a shout to shake the heavens if a lone lost prodigal son returns to the fold.
A very apt end to the conversation considering today's Gospel.

Now I must go and find my scribe to find out what he has been doing while I have been engaged down the stone stairs.

Pax



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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..