Monthly Archives: August 2014

Democracy is broken

That’s what people say; politicians are crooks that only work on behalf of the corporations, the system is rigged, the system is bought, and so on. It’s easy to see why people feel this way.

However, the corporations only run politics because the voter lets them.

If the voter educates himself about the policies of the candidates, not their personality; if they educate themselves about the consequences of these policies, if they READ BOOKS rather than watch FOX and MSNBC to get soundbites (some programs are good – Stossel and Maddow take some time to discuss policy, not personality, and dont just hire guests to parrot their biases), if the voters do this, then no amount of corporate-sponsored soundbites will win out (I use the US names here, because the US is particularly bad in this way, but the same concepts translate globally).

The reason that money wins is because the voters are lazy.
First they vote for who their parents voted for; then they vote for who they voted for last time around; and then they vote for someone of the same party. Thats not going to get you anywhere different. The worst phenomenon is that the people who dont do the above three vote in the first idiot who says “I’m not like them”. They vote out the current people, but dont give a thought to who they are replacing them with.

ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, and America

Once again, Americans are shaking their heads, listening to the stories put out in the media, and wondering how come the Arabs are such monsters. They do not understand how people can act in this way. Or rather, they do not want to understand.

Its quite simple. People are people, all the world over, and generally act in just the same way. The only thing that is different is the perspective.

If an American joins up to fight for his country, he is a hero, defending the motherland. If an Iraqi joins an army to fight for his country, he is a terrorist, hell-bent on murdering innocent Americans who just came to spread democracy on the country.

ISIS is currently the monster-du-jour, because they are fighting to found a state based on their religious ideals: submission before Almighty God, the elimination of perversion, and the imposing of these views on dissenters, heretics and atheists. Sound familiar? This course of action was common throughout pretty much all of Western History. Its not that long ago – hundreds of years, not thousands – that we burned atheists to death. Then came the Enlightenment, improved notions of justice, the right to free speech, and finally we just jailed blasphemers and excluded them socially. Maybe threw rocks in threw their windows. Finally, about 50 years ago, we abolished the laws against Blasphemy and Witchcraft, and today, we content ourselves with denying gays the right to marry, and simply treat gays and atheists with social exclusion.  There are of course millions who would overturn this progress, those who thunder that “this country was founded on JudeoChristian principles” (it wasn’t – it was founded on Enlightenment ideals) and go back to “One Nation under Allah” -er, God.

ISIS are basically just the same as these people; they believe that the state should be run on religious principles, and that religious freedom and atheism should be outlawed.

Oh, but they cut people’s heads off, I hear you cry. Thats true, we merely flush Korans down toilets, bomb weddings from 20,000 feet, torture prisoners, and pile them naked in pyramids, tying wires to their genitals and hooking them up to the mains.

Oh but that’s an exception, you cry.  But so are the extremists in ISIS (99% of whom do not cut people’s heads off).  The big difference is that our soldiers usually have a better chain of command that prevents atrocities.  Usually; but often, this does not prevent barbaric action, the few incidents we actually get to hear about that are not covered up.

My story here is not that we are just as bad as ISIS and all the rest.  We are, given the circumstances, but that’s not the point. (If ISIS had the resources of the US military, they would be rolling tank columns and using predator drones, not machetes).

The point is that it is very easy to understand ISIS.

Just imagine what we would do if our country were invaded by Muslims like Iraq was invaded by Christians. Do you think that we too might join a Christian resistance, using all means at our disposal to drive out the invader and “take our country back”?

You Betcha.

Of course, this does not mean that ISIS can be tolerated; this explains how they originated, why they became radicalized, and why they cut people’s heads off. It shows that invading Iraq because we felt like it was a very bad idea with predictably bad consequences. It tells us what NOT to do in future.

We took a stick and shoved it into a hornet’s nest.  Hornets are peaceable enough until you stick a stick into their nest.

Now, however, the hornets are buzzing around, stinging everything in sight, and something has to be done about it. My suggestion would be to let them have Western (Sunni) Iraq, let the Kurds set up an independent Kurdistan to the North (and guarantee its protection against all enemies, including Turkey), let the Shiites in the south form their own state or join with Iran,

and then build a strong wall around the Sunni ISIS “Caliphate”. Take their tanks and artillery away, do not sell any more weapons to them (in fact, not selling spare parts will be enough because the desert isn’t kind on military equipment), set up laser security systems to guard the borders, and shoot anything that crosses except at approved crossings to kingdom come.

Within this Caliphate, ISIS would be free to regress to whatever century they prefer; like the Amish, we will protect their right to live as their God intended. But they would not be permitted to export their hatred anywhere else.  Similarly, there would be no commerce with the rest of the world. No air travel, no land travel, nothing. Shut them up in their religious utopia.

Maybe in 20 years we can review their progress and see if they are allowed to rejoin the world.

 

Personally, I would give one-way plane tickets to radical Christians to go fight them in the desert, kill two extremists with one stone, but I guess thats not realistic.

In short, give ISIS what they want; a medieval world where they can live, unencumbered by science and technology.

Just make sure they don’t get out and annoy others.

 

 

 

 

 

Science versus Theologians; who is more reliable regarding the truth?

Quoting infallible scripture, Martin Luther cleverly demolishes the foolish notion by science that the earth revolves around the sun:

“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon…. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”

Martin Luther, referring to Joshua 10:13, in “Table Talks” (1539)

Martin Calvin, likewise, used the Word of GOD to advance our understanding:

“Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

John Calvin, citing Psalm 93:1 in his Commentary on Genesis

One may argue that Copernicus was himself a man of the cloth, and indeed, he was; however, instead of relying on scripture, he relied on pagan astronomers like Aristarchus and Pythagoras of Samos, as well as reason and experiment.  For this, he was cast out and censured by the Roman Catholic Church, by Luther, and by Calvin, because Scripture, as interpreted by Calvin, Luther and the Pope, said otherwise.

The next objection is surely that Calvin, Luther and the Pope are merely infallible men, and that they misinterpreted scripture. This is possibly true. But if these three very learned and revered men can be so wrong about scripture, and to hold such errors so strongly, then is it not clearly true that

(1) The scriptures are so inclearly written that even learned men can misunderstand their meaning and

(2) That similar errors have been made throughout the centuries and are continuing today? Are our current televangelists, megapastors and money-grubbing leaders really more insightful than Luther, Calvin and the Pope?

The fact that Calvin, Luther and the Pope agreed that science was wrong does not detract from the equally clear observation that they disagree on what the bible means SPIRITUALLY. Regardless of whether any one of these three is correct, it is undeniable that all three cannot be correct when they disagree with each other.

Take home:

The scripture might or might not be the inerrant word of God, but if it is, it is so ambiguous that it can be misread by church leaders not only on matters of science, but also of faith.

(Can man be saved by faith alone, or, as Jesus said (Matthew 25), is it necessary to live a good life?)

While scientists differ about new ideas, they accept facts; therefore, most theories are quickly tested and are either affirmed or refuted by the scientific community. The results are apparent in our technology.