Religion Is Terrorism

Holy Horrors: Witch-Hunts…

 

Accused “witches” first were stripped and searched for “devil’s marks” – then the torture began. The process usually ended in execution.

From Church and State, UK

Excerpt from Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness, by James A. Haught (Prometheus Books, 2002). 

Chapter 10: Witch-Hunts

During the 1400s, the Holy Inquisition shifted its focus toward witchcraft, and the next three centuries witnessed a bizarre orgy of religious delusion. Agents of the church tortured untold thousands of women, and some men, into confessing that they flew through the sky on demonic missions, engaged in sex with Satan, turned themselves into animals, made themselves invisible, and performed other supernatural evils. Virtually all the accused were put to death. The number of victims is estimated widely from 100,000 to 2 million.

Pope Gregory IX originally authorized the killing of witches in the 1200s, and random witch trials were held, but the craze didn’t catch fire until the 15th century. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull declaring the absolute reality of witches—thus it became heresy to doubt their existence. Prosecutions soared. The inquisitor Cumanus burned forty-one women the following year, and a colleague in the Piedmont of Italy executed 100.

Soon afterward, two Dominican inquisitors, Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, published their infamous Malleus Maleficarum (Witches’ Hammer) outlining a lurid litany of magical acts performed by witches and their imps, familiars, phantoms, demons, succubi, and incubi. It described how the evil women blighted crops, devoured children, caused disease, and wrought spells. The book was filled with witches’ sexual acts and portrayed women as treacherous and contemptible. “All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable,” they wrote. Modern psychology easily perceives the sexual neurosis of these priests—yet for centuries their book was the official manual used by inquisitors sending women to horrible deaths.

Freethinkers: And on the first day, I was an atheist…

 

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From The Freethinker UK

This is the story of my not so spiritual journey. Let us begin with my upbringing. I was raised in what can be described as an agnostic theist environment. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s when you believe in a god (or gods), but don’t feel you can know for sure whether it, or they, exist.

My mother was brought up learning about several different flavors of Christianity (Lutheran, Catholic, Evangelical), while my father was raised in a Southern Baptist environment. Neither of them clung to faith, but fell more into the camp of “spiritual, but not religious”.

Suffice it to say that from a religious standpoint, I wasn’t pushed in any particular direction as I was growing up. As I matured into a young adult, curiosity led me to question what this god thing was all about. I asked a friend who worked at a local church (non-clerical) if he could procure a Bible for me. He thoughtfully obliged and I began, periodically, to read from it.

Shortly thereafter, I worked up the courage to attend my first services at a local Methodist church. It was a relaxed service (casual attire) where I met lots of friendly and welcoming people. At this point I was still non-committal to a place of worship, but it provided me the push I needed to really dig into scripture study.

During my biblical studies, I began to wonder if I needed to find a more permanent spiritual home. After some research, I happened upon Mormon.org, home of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After a few in-home lessons with the missionaries, I was making arrangements to be baptized. During my time as a member – roughly two-and-a-half years – I held several leadership positions.

 Sam Harris: Example of Muhammad…

 


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Freethinkers: People have been talking about hijab a lot lately…

 

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From Ophelia Bensonmon
The Freethinker

You Can’t Do Both

The Associated Press reported:
On the night of the California mass shooting, Asifa Quraishi-Landes sat on her couch, her face in her hands, and thought about what was ahead for her and other Muslim women who wear a scarf or veil in public.

The covering, or hijab, often draws unwanted attention even in the best of times. But after the one-two punch of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks by Islamic militants, Quraishi-Landes wanted to send a message.

‘To all my Muslim sisters who wear hijab,’ Quraishi-Landes, an Islamic law specialist at the University of Wisconsin, wrote on her Facebook page. ‘If you feel your life or safety is threatened in any way because of your dress, you have an Islamic allowance (darura/necessity) to adjust your clothing accordingly. Your life is more important than your dress.

h2Well that’s nice, but notice what it implies: that if you don’t feel your life or safety is threatened, then you don’t have “an Islamic allowance” to stop wearing hijab. In other words, you are required to wear hijab unless you think it’s putting you in danger. That’s in direct contradiction with the claim we so often hear, that it’s a choice to wear hijab. If it’s really a choice, why did Quraishi-Landes feel the need to go on Facebook to remind her Muslim sisters of the safety exemption? If it’s really a choice, why do women need any such reminder or permission?

Fundamentalism is the Tragedy of all Religions…

 

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From Dave Smith
Ukiah Blog
Redwood Valley

Christianism (Christian Fundamentalism), like Islamism, sexism and racism, denotes a bigoted and culturally agressive mindset, in this case the assumption that everyone is or should be Christian — and that being Christian is superior to being an adherent of other faithways. In its governmentally intrusive form, Christianism is the basis of Christian Dominionism.

Islamism (Islamic Fundamentalism), also known as Political Islam, is an Islamic revival movement often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt “to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life.” It utilizes certain Muslim “doctrines, beliefs and values as the foundation of a political structure that supporters of that ideology have called ‘the Islamic State’.”. Islamists can have varying interpretations on various Quranic suras and ayahs. Islamist views emphasize the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the selective removal of non-Muslim, particularly Western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world that they believe to be incompatible with Islam.

Jewish Fundamentalism: Militant religious Zionism, and both Ashkenazi and Sephardic versions of Haredi Judaism.

Deny, Denigrate, and Resist.
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White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States…

 

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Neo-Nazi protesters demonstrate near where the grand opening ceremonies were held for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on April 19, 2009 in Skokie, Illinois.

From Global Post
Thanks to Ron

White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001 and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

Almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that the group defined as terror, 19 were carried out by non-Muslims. Yet there are no white Americans languishing inside the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. And there are no drones dropping bombs on gatherings of military-age males in the country’s lawless border regions.

Attacks by right-wing groups get comparatively little coverage in the news media. Most people will struggle to remember the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that killed six people in 2012. A man who associated with neo-Nazi groups carried out that shooting. There was also the married couple in Las Vegas who walked into a pizza shop and murdered two police officers. They left a swastika on one of the bodies before killing a third person in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Such attacks are not limited to one part of the country. In 2011, two white supremacists went on a shooting spree in the Pacific Northwest, killing four people.

Terrorism is hard to define. But here is its basic meaning: ideological violence. In its study, the New America Foundation took a narrow view of what could be considered a terror attack. Most mass shootings, for instance, like Sandy Hook or the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting — both in 2012 — weren’t included. Also not included was the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina earlier this year. The shooter was a neighbor and had strong opinions about religion. But he also had strong opinions about parking spaces and a history of anger issues. So that shooting was left off the list.

The killing of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina was included. The shooter made it clear that his motivation was an ideological belief that white people are superior to black people. The shooting has cast new light on the issue of right-wing terrorism in the United States. But since it can’t really use Special Forces or Predator drones on US soil, it remains unclear how the government will respond.
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WILLIAM EDELEN: The Horror of Biblical “Gods”

 

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From WILLIAM EDELEN (2002)
The Contrary Minister

From time to time, as all writers do, I receive anonymous letters. In a number of such letters I have been asked: “Why don’t you quote God, instead of men?”

That always reminds me of a great cartoon in The New Yorker magazine a number of years ago. A minister is standing, robed, in his pulpit with waving arms and he is saying “and now, reading from the Bible, God says… and I quote of course.”

To deal with this question, I thought that a little multiple choice survey might help.

Constant State of Self-Indoctrination…

 

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From ExChristian.net

Lately I’ve been asking myself, “What exactly made me believe anyway?”. Besides the emotions, there were intellectual arguments that I used to convince myself (see list below). After a Methodist childhood and Atheist college years, I began my adult life as a discontented spiritual seeker. There was also some naivete and gullibility at work. Enter a Christian friend who seemed to have some wisdom and peace of mind. After interrogating him, I decided to read the Gospels for myself “with an open mind”. It was all downhill from there. I started visiting every church in town and found one that seemed cool and progressive.

For someone who wasn’t a Christian for very long – I went deep. I was baptized (full immersion) in front of my new congregation. I signed up for every group, class, and Bible study. On my own I became determined to read the entire Bible and read for hours every night. I spent forever online searching for Christian rock that wasn’t corny. I bought a stack of pocket-size Gospel of John booklets and stealthily placed them around town. I even asked a woman to pray with me – on a first date. I was in a constant state of self-indoctrination. Always with the worship music or Christian audiobook in the car. Always looking for a better a better Bible. All this was needed to brainwash myself and push out the gnawing doubts.

It was intoxicating and fulfilling – for a while. But I had major hang-ups, like the fact that I wasn’t really into Jesus. I related more to the personal God of the Psalms. The Gospel of John was beautiful and inspiring, but the angry Jesus in Mark almost ruined it. I had too many questions also. Most people didn’t seem conflicted with why a loving God would create an eternal torture chamber. More than once I was called a “thinker”. I struggled socially. After a few years I left the church feeling disillusioned and disappointed. I had every intention of finding a new church, but time passed and I never did. I realized I had overdosed on Christianity and stopped with the Bible and music. Slowly, I naturally decompressed from my indoctrination. It was a very gradual process of resetting back to my default.

Freethinkers Keep On Winning…

 

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From The Freethinker

If you study history, you’ll see episodes that changed civilization.

For example, in Ancient Greece, for the first time, bright thinkers sought natural explanations for the world around them, instead of believing that phenomena were caused by gods and spirits. This started the science-versus-religion clash that still roils 25 centuries later.

Here’s another landmark: Around three centuries ago, major thinkers began advocating democracy, human rights and personal freedoms. Their period became known as The Enlightenment.  It launched the long-running liberals-versus-conservatives conflict still driving much of today’s politics.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) wrote that life can be “nasty, brutish and short” unless people bind themselves into a “social contract” under a government that protects them. Hobbes implied that kings don’t rule by divine right, and that ultimate authority lies with the citizenry. Bishops tried to have Hobbes executed as an atheist, but Hobbes burned his papers and sometimes hid in exile.

John Locke (1632-1704) denied that kings are chosen by God, and recommended the separation of church and state to prevent faith-based wars and massacres. An early advocate of democracy, Locke argued that government must rest on consent from the governed.

Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) proposed a democratic republic with powers split among executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Voltaire (1694-1778), a witty French writer, was thrown in prison for mocking a regent – then emerged to become a lifelong crusader against abuses by ruling nobles and clerics.

America’s founders – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, etc –were brilliant radicals who absorbed Enlightenment ideas and incorporated them into the first modern democracy. Less-known founder George Mason insisted on a Bill of Rights to protect each person from government and the tyranny of the majority.

The Enlightenment’s premise that every individual deserves personal freedoms also spawned The Rights of Man and the Citizen in France, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, and other moral codes.