Islam, the youngest and fastest-growing major religion in the world, is also the most militant, oppressive and brutal. Sociologists are crediting its rapid growth in the western world to its simplicity; there's no trinity to figure out, it's pretty straightforward -- obey and be rewarded, disobey and burn in hell. Islam, with its rigid dogma, lends itself particularly well to fascism, and the fertile soil of poverty and ignorance in which it is sown produces hordes of lemming-like followers, all with their eyes on the "prize".
Founder, Mohammed (prophet) circa. 570-632, born in Mecca, never claimed to be "divine", but was made a "prophet of God" (the last and the best, superseding all others) by Archangel Gabriel in a vision that he experienced in a cave. His public recitations of the verses of the revelations he received in the cave became known as the Koran, a book of 114 suras (chapters) full of misogyny, violence and repetitious threats against all those who are not of the faith (Sound familiar?), with "wicked" and "unbelieving" meaning one and the same. As can be expected, with his death came the embellishments complete with stories of his ascension into heaven, and the Koran became a tome that was written on gold tablets by Allah.
The Koran invokes Muslims to praise Allah, the Most High, in the morning and in the evening and even through the night. . . and the rest of the time they shall be busy preparing fetters and chains for the unbelievers and stoking a raging hell-fire in which "those vilest of creatures" will burn forever.
Ah, but the prizes for the faithful are munificent, if not ironic, because they consist of great rewards of the flesh -- after death. The obedient shall dwell in lush gardens with rivers at their feet, bedecked in jewels, pigging out on food and wine and reclining on soft couches with dark-eyed, high-bosomed houris, maidens as chaste as hidden pearls. (In 1992, Egypt's most popular preacher, Abdel Hamid Kishk, a blind sheikh, had been telling his audiences that Muslims who entered paradise would enjoy eternal erections and the company of young boys draped in earrings and necklaces. Other religious scholars argued, yes, men in paradise would have erections, but merely protracted, not perpetual, while other experts disputed the idea of pederasty in paradise. (Cogent concerns at the end of the 20th century, C.E.!) No such heavenly rewards are mentioned for women.
And why would there be? Why would a patriarch-designed Islamic paradise be any more egalitarian than an Islamic earthly community, governed by men, and based totally and openly on male supremacy and the subjugation of women! (Enough to make the Christian Coalition salivate!)
The Koran permits the rape, beating and sodomizing of women by their husbands; women are valued at half of a man's worth whether it be in the sharing of an inheritance or the acceptance of their testimony in court and they are prohibited from becoming judges, religious leaders or political leaders. It is common for fathers to force their daughters to marry, even a perfect stranger, by the age of 9 because Mohammed had said that it is best for fathers not to have their daughters menstruate in their house. But before this, little girls must obey and serve their fathers and brothers, cook for them, wash their clothes, iron their shirts and clean up after them, as they await their first day of horror when they are forced to undergo Pharoanic Circumcision and infibulation or what is termed female genital mutilation in the West.
FGM is an ancient barbarity practiced principally by Muslims (although Christians need not feel superior and blame this on another religion because within our lifetimes, this torture was actively practiced in the West -- as a "cure" for masturbation.) It has been performed on an estimated 100,000,000 or more female children, with 6,000 a day being added to that figure, not counting those little girls who die in the days immediately following the "operation" from shock, infection, and hemorrhaging. When death occurs, it is frequently blamed on the victim and considered to be divine punishment for the girl supposedly having had sex before the mutilation. Traditionally, the women of the family gather together and while holding the child down, the gedda, or matron, first slices off the little girl's clitoris with a knife, scissors or razor blade, then she scoops it out, pulling and tugging to extract its roots. Blood gushes everywhere while the women howl loudly to drown out the screams of the unanesthetized victim.
Next, she shears off the edges of the inner lips, carves off the rim of the outer lips, then stitches the whole mess together, inserting a tiny hollow tube to allow for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. Finally, the victim is bound from hips to knees to prevent her from tearing her stitches. Thus she remains for 40 days. Upon marriage the husband is assured a virgin wife. In Cairo, the wedding night is called "The Night of Screams" for the man cuts through the scar tissue or simply rips his way in to perform his "rights" as a husband.
When an infibulated (sewn up) woman gives birth, it is agony, for the whole area is a mass of scar tissue that simply rips or is cut open. After the birth, she is sewn up again and it is the husband's right to have this procedure performed as many times as he wishes, making the sexual act agony and assuring that any pleasure is impossible.
Mohammed was familiar with the rite, and his word would have been enough to end this barbaric practice. Instead, all he said was "Do not cut too deeply."
The revival of Islamic fundamentalism got its boost in Iran in 1979, when in a popular revolution, the shah was ousted in favour of the fanatical Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. It has spread to almost every Arab capital where would-be Khomeinis promise a more "authentic" and "virtuous" government. The unemployed and the poor are recruited by the tens of thousands in a bitter struggle for power between the autocratic rulers and the Islamic militants. And still thousands more, both men and women, are being tortured and killed for their ideas in the name of Allah.
Sources:- Secular Nation (July/August '96) A Freethought Observer
Islam, The Religion of the Sword by S. Shahin
The Koran, An Analysis by Anton Notdurft
God Has Ninety-Nine Names, by Judith Miller
We have been criticized as being "too strident" and it has been suggested that we should take a more positive stance in advancing the cause of humanism. Most of the people on this planet are brainwashed into one or another form of religious insanity. We are told that we must "respect the beliefs" of those we disagree with. Well, to hell with that!
Today the Muslim Fundamentalist Taliban movement in Afghanistan uses the power of government and automatic weapons (Patriarchy with guns) to commit continuous atrocities on its own people. "Moderate" Muslim apologists deny that the torturing and murdering movement is a literal example of jihad in the name of Mohammed. A cursory examination of the Koran belies this. Much activity by powerful Muslims is also based on the supposed sayings of the "Prophet" Mohammed -- female genital mutilation for example -- an ongoing religious practice of unbelievable cruelty.
No day passes without news of atrocities committed by religious totalitarians. Taliban militia threatened to hang female Afghan employees of the International Red Cross agency for violating Islamic law. According to news services, Red Cross employees were warned: "If we see any Afghan women in the compound, we will hang you, along with the women." They have banned education and even employment for women. Women must cover themselves completely with a smothering heavy black garment. Suspected adulterers are stoned to death. (In Saudi Arabia, dump trucks full of stones are used with the pumped-up general populace joining in for the kill). Paper bags have been replaced by plastic in market places because someone might copy a phrase from the Koran onto a bag, and it might be thrown out. Female physicians may not care for male patients. They have carried out public "executions" of television sets and have banned photography and music. These are religious "rules" being implemented.
In an obscene Orwellian twist, the Taliban even has an Office for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prohibition of Vice. A motion in the UN Security Council condemning the Taliban for their policies on women was naturally opposed by Muslim theocracies. Pakistan immediately recognized the butchers as legitimate government.
Another Muslim apologist suggests that the Taliban regime is no more representative of Islam than the Spanish Inquisition was of Christianity. Well, the Inquisition WAS a clear representation of Christianity. The bible was used as a guide to the bloody carnage just as the Koran and the cult of Mohammed is being used by Muslim Fundamentalists. It's no wonder that North American Muslims are pumping money into an all-out public relations campaign to fight media stereotyping, i.e. damage control.
Much of the criticism of Islam comes from pompous Christians. How dare these Jesusists claim that Christian insanity is preferable to Muslim insanity. All religion apologists suggest that "doing religion real hard" is bad and "doing religion moderately" is good. In other words, religious "fundamentalists" are insane. Religious "moderates" are insane to a lesser degree.
We're strident? Damn right! We need to find a way to get right in the face of religious tyranny over and over again. Adult religionists force (there is no other way to put this) their stupid belief systems on their offspring. Sunday school, whether in a mosque, basilica, cathedral, synagogue, temple, tepee, or tabernacle is child abuse! Teaching lies to children is a crime against humanity and pussy-footing will in no way serve to address this psychological atrocity.
The world is a better place because Atheists are in it.
Motto, Secular Nation
Since our last news (see Gone And Forgotten? Issue 8, Autumn '96) where we left off with new American Atheists president, Ellen Johnson, "beginning to fear the worst" (finally), there have been some interesting developments. In October, just after the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Madalyn Murray O'Hair; daughter, Robin, and son, Jon Murray, a "request to locate" was initiated by her estranged son, born-again Christian, William J. (Bill) Murray. This means that if found, he would be informed if they were alive, but not given their location. Up to this moment there has been little progress made, so we are told. But now, another twist.
On December 8th, the San Antonio Express News reported in a front-page article that the American Atheists, Inc. and the United Secularists of America (which are two out of five organizations operated in Austin by the Murray O'Hairs) say that more than $627,000 in assets disappeared about the same time that the O'Hair family mysteriously vanished. (This was discovered in recent 1995 tax statements.)
Now, we are told, but have yet to see for ourselves, that the press is having a heyday. Rumours are flying, some American Atheists are cancelling their memberships and AANews editor, Conrad Goeringer, is spraying the Internet with a flurry of confusing reports and speculations, enough to glaze over the eyeballs of the clearest
thinkers. President Ellen Johnson is refusing to answer calls from the media and both she and Goeringer are adamant that the most important thing now is to just get on with running the store.
Still, the Board of Directors gives no viable reason as to what possible "wisdom" there could have been in not starting an immediate professional search for the O'Hairs once it was obvious to even the weakest of intellects that something was terribly amiss and that every idle hour that elapsed could be another "nail in their coffins". And now, this trial by innuendo of these famous missing atheists is about to lower the lid on what is left of their tattered credibility. There must be great celebration going on among the enemies of the O'Hairs, of The American Atheists, Inc. and of the cause of atheism. Dead patsies can't defend themselves, but we can try
If anyone has a nagging suspicion that the Murray-O'Hair threesome are presently sunning themselves on some exotic beach, living on embezzled funds -- money that would be spent on the atheist cause -- he would do well to pick up a copy of Jon Murray and Madalyn O'Hair's book, All The Questions You Ever Wanted To Ask American Atheists, and refresh his memory as to just what type of human beings they were. In particular, we refer to the Appendix where Madalyn eviscerates the many and varied types of atheists (sure to bring a blush or two to most of us.) Under the category she calls the Messiah Atheist she describes the type of person who plays the Jesus game, in that it is absolutely necessary for him to worship someone, whether it be Carl Sagan, Reggie Jackson or herself!
Madalyn writes, "He does not understand that there are no messiahs in atheism and that the heroes and heroines are those who work steadily and (often) quietly over many years to make those changes in our culture which will benefit future generations. The real hero is the man who, at age 85, plants the acorn which will flourish as a mighty oak fifty years after he is dead. The Messiah Atheist, engrossed in another human, does not understand that the reward of a good life comes to everyone who invests in the future collective well-being of all humankind."
These are the inspiring words that we should be reading over and over again, because they pound home the importance, the necessity of keeping alive the work of organizations such as the American Atheists, Inc. and they remind us also of the very real and priceless contributions the O'Hairs have made to the Atheist cause.
Ronald Reagan's installation as President in 1981 was followed immediately by a great flurry of creationist activity at the Federal level. Attempts were made to close a very successful Emergence of Man exhibit at the Smithsonian and to substitute a creationist display. Orange County Congressman William Dannemeyer tried to amend the 1982 Smithsonian appropriation in order to forbid expenditures on evolution displays. He had earlier submitted a bill aimed at requiring that all Federal money be divided evenly between evolution and creationism including but not limited to research, curriculum development, museum exhibits and National Park Service naturalist programs.
In California, this educational reform movement led to the selection of a 1988/89 Science Framework Committee that had several practicing scientists among its members. Needless to say, the creationists lobbied hard against the Science Framework. They showed their usual disdain for science, raising their cry that evolution is "only a theory, not a fact," and demanding that the framework draft be revised to include a dictionary definition of theory. They obviously expected a definition reflecting the everyday, rather than the scientific usage.
(Webster's Third has five definitions of theory, and the fifth is the one the creationists wanted: "an unproved assumption.")
The creationists were doubtless disappointed by the way their demand was finally met. When the new policy was adopted, it included a footnote with a definition taken from a scientific dictionary:
Theory: an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena: (e.g.,) the theory of evolution . . .
Source: The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read
(Tim C. Leedom, Editor) Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of
the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent
and sudden usurpations."
In France, the young assistant pastors do not live in the main rectory. That is reserved for the Pastor and his housekeeper.
One day the pastor invited his new young assistant pastor to have dinner at the rectory. While being served, the young pastor noticed how shapely and lovely the housekeeper was and down deep in his heart he wondered if there was more between the pastor and the housekeeper.
After the meal was over, the middle-aged pastor assured the young priest that everything was purely professional -- that she was the housekeeper and cook and that was that. About a week later the housekeeper came to the pastor and said, "Father, ever since the new assistant came for dinner I have not been able to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don't suppose he took it, do you?" The Pastor said, "Well, I doubt it but I'll write him a letter." So he sat down and wrote, "Dear Father, I'm not saying you did take the gravy ladle and I'm not saying you did not take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that it has been missing since you were here for dinner."
The young assistant received the letter and he answered it as follows: "Dear Father Pastor, I'm not saying that you do sleep with the housekeeper and I'm not saying that you do not sleep with the housekeeper. But I do know for sure that if you slept in your own bed you would find the gravy ladle."
Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt!
We must be gluttons for punishment. For thirteen bucks we bought a CD with all the text of the King James Bible. Detailed text searches make "research" a snap. It used to be that party chatter about religion would include inanities like, "I don't really believe the Bible, but it's a beautiful piece of literature." What a load of crap! The Bible is a tiresome piece of nonsense. There are folks though that do expend a lot of intellectual energy debunking it and we much admire them for their efforts.
Dennis McKinsey debates Bible thumpers in his monthly publication, Biblical Errancy. He demolishes the Bible and also gives the religionists a platform on which to hang themselves. We recommend it highly. It's $14 (US funds) for a 1-year subscription in Canada. Write to: 2500 Punderson Drive, Hilliard, Ohio 43026 or Email for a sample copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Another brilliant debater who takes on all comers is Farrell Till. He offers a free year of his Skeptical Review. Write to: PO Box 717, Canton, IL 61520-1717 (309)647-4764 or Email: email@example.com
If we had any funding, we'd fly both of these guys into our bible belt for a monster demolition debate with the wingnuts at Trinity Western "University".
Atheism and Humanism
Finngeir Hiorth: "Introduction to Atheism", 1995, 178 pp., index and bibliography, $18, and "Introduction to Humanism", 1996, 248 pp., bibliography, $15, post free. Books packed with information! Order from your bookseller or directly from the Indian Secular Society, 'Aboli', 850/8A Shivajinagar, Pune 411 004, India.
God Has Ninety-Nine Names, Reporting From A Militant Middle East, by Judith Miller (1996 Simon & Schuster)
Judith Miller, a correspondent for the New York Times since 1977, was Cairo Bureau Chief from 1983 to 1986 and later the Times's special correspondent to the Gulf War. Miller takes the reader deep within the militant Islamic movements in ten Middle Eastern countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Iran.
She shows that there is no unified Arab world, so there is no unified Islam, for even in the Koran, "God" has ninety-nine names. The militant Islamic movements that Miller describes are as different as the countries in which they have arisen. Seeking to replace secular government with holy writ, all of these movements shift opportunistically between persuasion and violence. Miller offers abundant evidence to convince advocates of human rights to mistrust the intentions of these movements as she documents the threat many of them pose to women, intellectuals, non-Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East.
Charles Templeton is an intelligent man and in his new book, Farewell To God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (McClelland & Stewart, $29.95), he tells of how his intelligence could no longer co-exist with his faith. In an interview with Rob Suggitt in the Nov/96 issue of Readers Showcase, Templeton, a major figure in Canadian and American churches for 21 years and a familiar face to Canadian TV viewers over the age of 45, explains how intelligence is put on 'hold' where faith is involved. "When you accept something by faith," he says, "there is a sense in which you say 'Intelligence doesn't matter here; I believe this regardless of what the evidence may be.' "
Although he and Billy Graham were the two most successful exponents of mass evangelism during the 1950's, his increasing doubts about the validity of his preachings caused him to resign from the ministry. No "cold bleeder" he! He finds the stories of the Bible beyond belief, especially beyond the belief that they could have anything to do with a "loving god". Although Templeton looks to Jesus as some sort of historical hero, he rejects the idea of him being any type of deity and "agrees" with the Ten Commandments as a good code of ethics. (This we find passing strange since they encompass Thou shalt have no other gods before me and Honour thy father and thy mother even though Mommy and Daddy Dearest may have spent the better part of your childhood beating your brains out.)
Templeton does not hold much hope for the Earth, giving it another 300 years before it will be unrecognizable, but feels Christianity will be around until the end (like the cockroach, ed.) But the main message he wants to convey is uncompromising: There is no god. And in defending his book he says, "even though it makes a lot of people angry, it will make a lot of other people wiser."
There was program on TV recently showing how people in Africa catch monkeys with a wire cage and some bananas The wire grid of the cage is just large enough for the monkeys to get their hands through. The cage is placed upside-down on the ground with the bananas inside. When a monkey reaches in and takes hold of a banana, it cannot get its hand back out again while holding onto the banana, At this point the trappers can walk right up to the dumbfounded monkey and throw a sack over it. The monkey will not let go of the banana in order to escape capture.
Well, we just couldn't resist making this analogy: The monkeys are theists and the bananas are life-after-death, all the-answers-in-one-book, an imaginary super-father companion. The cage is the place of worship and the captors are the priests and mullahs who stand to profit from their catch.
Like those ill-fated monkeys, theists refuse to let go of the bait.
Skeptical scrutiny is the means,
in both science and religion,
by which deep thoughts can be
winnowed from deep nonsense.
During the run-up to the US election in November, the American president thundered against the potential for terrorist attacks by so-called rogue states against his mighty nation. In fact, over the past ten years, bombings and attempted bombings in the US have nearly tripled from 1,103 in 1985 to 3,163 in 1994. Almost all of these attacks have been committed not by "rogue states", but by white American citizens. From our perspective, this begs the question: How many of these attacks have been attempted or committed by atheists? Answer: undoubtedly, none
We have often seen reliable statistics showing that the percentage of the North American population who hold no religious beliefs ranges between 13% and 37% (in BC); the percentage of prison inmates who are atheists is about 1%.
HUMANISM is an approach to a philosophy of life based on compassion, reason, intelligence and dignity of individuals in open democratic society.
For a FREE magazine write:
Box 3769-C Ottawa, ON K1Y 4J8
Christmas, that great mass of Christ
With jingle bells and holly.
It's on us once again and so
We're generous and jolly!
Now, Jesus has to share that day
With lots of other saviours,
Like Krishna, Quexalcote and Thor,
God-men of like behaviours.
Each was born of virgin on
The day of winter solstice when
The sun takes a nosedive.
Twenty other saviours who more
Ancient far than he,
Were born that day, did miracles,
Were hung up on a tree.
Angels, shepherds, wisemen, stars,
A setting most familiar.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh
Were not at all peculiar.
Even the name Jesus was
Borrowed from the Druids.
Their god's name was Hesus
And he sacrificed red fluids.
December twenty-fifth ever
The birthday of sungods
Was borrowed by the Christians too
To tighten up the odds
That this would be accepted as a
Full-blown true religion,
To build up wealth and power over
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The newsletter is mailed at the end of March, June, September and December.
If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides. Charles de Montesquieu - French philosopher
Early in November, CBC Morningside's Shelagh Rogers granted a friendly interview to theological buffoon Tom Harpur. The interview was a virtual promotion of Harpur's latest scam, an eight part TV series titled "Life After Death". The series ran on consecutive week-nights with a full complement of commercials. It was fortunately shown only on the Vision Network. We taped it all and watched as much as we could stomach.
It is a disingenuous piece of crap consisting of endless computer-generated images of ghosts, swirling stars, bubbles, lighted tunnels and anecdotal comments from near death and out-of-body "experiencers".
Tiny segments of rationality from Dr. Susan Blackmore and Dr. Michael Persinger were offered and then dismissed by Harpur who repeatedly insisted that the "evidence" is too overwhelming to ignore and that there must be life "on the other side". We think Harpur is either a fool or a fraud and it's important to pay attention to what he's up to . . . other than lining his pockets.
In an October 5/96 review, the Vancouver Sun's "Religion and Ethics" writer Douglas Todd admits that he has sometimes ". . . moaned that BC's public school system is a little too secular." Huh?? (We think his column should be more accurately titled "Religion or Ethics".)
Philosopher Bertrand Russell mused that all believers were, in a sense, "99% atheists", rejecting hundreds of different gods which the human imagination has conjured throughout history-- all, except their own.
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