The 50-year-old priest was murdered and two other worshipers who attempted to help him were also injured in the attack
by, Harriet Sinclair | The Independent | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
A Hindu priest has been hacked to death during an attack on a temple in Bangladesh’s Panchgarh district.
Police said two people on motorbikes fired guns at Jogeshwar Roy as he left the temple, which attackers had been throwing stones at.
The men on bikes also set off explosives, injuring two other Hindu worshipers who were attempting to help the 50-year-old priest after he was attacked with what with police officer Kafil Uddin described as a sharp weapon.
The two men fled the scene following the murder, which comes less than a year after a string of similar attacks on secular bloggers. No group has claimed responsibility so far for the murder.
However, previous attacks on religious minorities in the majority-Muslim country have been carried out by ISIS or other militant groups.
Although the government does not believe there to be an ISIS presence in the country, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team operate in the area and are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people, murdering seven people last year.
In 2015, an atheist blogger was hacked to death with a machete, and a British citizen and two other members of Ansarullah Bangla Team were arrested in connection with his murder and those of several other prominent bloggers in Bangladesh.
by, Rebecca Bynum | New English Review
Many people in our post-Christian society (especially journalists) are afraid of it, misinformed about it and ignorant of the most basic theological concepts. And our theologians are often too specialized in their work to be able to discuss religion in its broadest outlines or our Churchmen are often soo concerned with finding common ground that they gloss over and ignore the theology of Islam.
Our greatest Islam critics confine their attack to the non-religious aspects of Islam, either its political side or its judicial side. But when we discuss political Islam or Sharia law alone, we imply that there is a religious Islam that is perfectly fine, that we don’t have to worry about. And we leave the major problems of Islamization – Muslim immigration, mosque building, the proselytizing in our prisons and military and the infiltration of our governmental institutions completely untouched and indeed untouchable.
So I think we need to take a few steps back to examine Islam as a whole and to broadly define the outlines of Islam – what it is and what it isn’t.
One thing we can definitely say about Islam is that is it not solely confined to a belief system. If it is a religion it is not a religion only. Islam is a total system of life and contains within itself a particular social system, judicial system, and political system which includes geo-political aspirations – the conquest and administration of territory.
I often liken Islam to a duck-billed platypus which superficially resembles an otter. Upon closer examination, one finds this animal has a duck-like bill, lays eggs, and has many other characteristics which are not otter-like. So it cannot therefore remain in the biological category containing otters. It is simply too different and has to have its own category. I believe the same thing is true of Islam. It is much too different from the other religions to remain in the religion category, it should be uniquely classified in its own category.
Secondly, I think it is obvious to Christians that Islam is its polar opposite and I believe nihilism lies between Christianity and Islam and that the morality of Islam is inverted.
Let me explain: religion supplies our basic world-view concerning the nature of reality. If we were to plot belief systems on a graph – on one side are religions which view God as good and the universe as a benevolent place – in the middle we have the view that there is no God and the universe is a pitiless and indifferent place, the view of material determinism which is the direction toward which our society is tending. On the other side of the view of God as malevolent and the universe is a vicious and unpredictable place – that God enjoys our suffering. This is where Islam lies.
The reason we can assert that the morality of Islam is inverted is that Islam consistently elevates material over spiritual considerations. That is, it elevates the material obedience to the dictates of the Islamic doctrine above all consideration of Truth or Goodness. Morality, conformity and even legality are all one and the same in Islam. Let me give you an example: The following are the words of the father of a failed female suicide bomber:
“’If I had known what [my daughter] was planning I would have told the Jews. I would have stopped her.”
“In our religion it is forbidden for a girl’s body to be uncovered even at home. How could a girl allow her body to be smashed to pieces and then collected up by Jews? This is absolutely forbidden.”
Though this is an extreme circumstance, we see this pattern play out over and over again. Women are treated as if they were property because that is how they are defined by Islam.
For example, if a young girl runs away from home to marry her true love, she has in effect stolen the property that is herself from her family and the family will often try to kill her to negate the theft and to assuage the shame and humiliation suffered by the family for not to being in full control of their daughter’s body as is required by Islam. In this way, Islam is utterly materialistic – control of the body is everything. And the Muslim mind is focused fully on the material world.
I further contend that Islam has become a substitute God for Muslims. Worship is defined as obedience to Islam and Islam represents the entire will of God for all men through all time. God’s will is also every single thing that happens. So even if one disobeys Islam, it is still God’s will that he did so.
If there is no difference between man’s will and God’s will, there is no God to seek. In Islam God is unknowable – he is completely transcendent and his will is all things. Theologically this is the equivalent to saying there is no God.
Furthermore, when a religion becomes completely reduced to a doctrine and only a doctrine, it is no longer a living faith. It is dead. Islam may be complex and it maybe logical, but it is logic in the absence of living truth.
Religion in its broadest sense must be about the pursuit of higher value – of Truth Beauty and Goodness. As we learned in philosophy class, the thinking used to be that these values stand apart from the world and evaluate the world. Truth is the measure of man, man is not the measure of truth. That is the essence of religious thought. And the interesting thing is that when we pursue value, as all true religions encourage, we incorporate those values into our selves – as we pursue goodness, we become good, as we pursue truth we reflect truth in ourselves and we appreciate the beauty of God’s creation more and more – this is commonly called spiritual growth. All religion as we have known it facilitates this process – its goal is to lead men to God and lead them to experience God’s love.
Islam on the other hand, subordinates everything to itself. Islam is the highest value and the spiritual values we just mentioned are thought to be entirely contained within Islam, even to be entirely contained within the Koran. Which is why after a rumor about Korans being flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo was started by Newsweek in May 2005, scores were killed and hundreds injured in rioting all over the Muslim world. Lives were sacrificed over paper and ink. We saw the same pattern play out with the Muhammad cartoons over a supposed religious principle which concerns only the material world.
There is no higher truth than Islam, no higher good than Islam and nothing more beautiful than Islam. Islam has replaced God, you see, and its ultimate goal is not to lead men to seek those higher values. Islam exists simply to perpetuate itself.
Let’s take three simple religious concepts and look at how they are subordinated under Islam.
The first one is Faith. When we use the word faith, we mean a growing trust in a loving, fatherly God – a God who can be known, a God who can be approached. In Islam, God cannot be known, there is no bridge to him. What Muslims mean by faith is faith in the truth and rightness of Islam itself. Intellectual assent to a doctrine has replaced living faith – man’s relationship with a higher reality.
The second is prayer. When we pray we open our inner life to God – it is an intimate and personal communication and is often a petition for God to strengthen us in virtue so we will be better prepared to meet the problems of our lives.
There is nothing personal or intimate about Muslim prayer. It is communal and a rote formula. Everyone prays the same prayers at the same time facing the same direction, while performing the same muscular movements. Just like military drills, these so called prayers have the effect of cementing communal solidarity, but not of increasing intimate contact with God. Personal petitions must be addressed correctly to one of the 99 names of God, otherwise the prayer is lost as though God were some kind of giant post office. There is no intimacy between man and God in Islamic prayer because there cannot be.
The third is worship by which we mean love, adoration, awe and gratitude all being expressed to God. Often this is done in the form of song. In Islam, worship is defined as obedience to Islam and since God is transcendent and we cannot know him, loving him is beside the point and is certainly not essential. Obedience is everything.
This concept is also a major stumbling block to democracy because to obey man’s law in Islamic thought is equivalent to the worship of man. Now, while I would agree that the worship of man is broadly a characteristic of the modern world, especially if we look at the rise of science and its promise of omniscience and even omnipotence – that all things can be known and done through the agency of science. I vehemently disagree that the Islamic total belief system and total regulation of life is the answer to anything. It is certainly not a way to grow closer to God. It leads men away from God and focuses the mind on the material world alone from morning till night, day in and day out..
Islam is not the answer – Islam is the problem.
Now for those who still insist that Islam remain in the religion category, they will eventually have to concede that Islam is either a false religion or an evil religion because it leads men to evil action, even toward their own families. Of course there is no rule stating all religions must be good or lead to good actions.
Islam is false because it is built on the fundamental lie that Muhammad was a real prophet, rather than a man simply pretending to be a prophet in order to gain power over people. Of course one can make the same claim about Joseph Smith or L Ron Hubbard or any number of other founders of man-made religions which have been created from time to time throughout history. A religion which venerates an evil man and raises him to the level of the perfect model for human conduct, cannot help but lead men to evil action – even jihad.
This brings us back to the crux of our problem. Should an evil religion, which functions in exactly the opposite way from religion as we have known it, receive the same benefits and consideration as religion which is beneficial to society?
Essentially our secular society has a contract with religion. It says, the state will not interfere with religious practice so long as it is within the law and the state will extend benefits in the form of tax breaks and other considerations so that religious institutions can flourish freely with our boundaries. In exchange, religion has strengthened the family, produced honest hard working citizens with a high degree of personal self-control so that people behave ethically and charitably toward each other and can function with a minimum of external social control.
Religion as we have known it has been good for society. It has nurtured morality, strengthened the family, fostered public service and encouraged social harmony. Islam, on the other hand, is self-segregating and fosters ideas of Muslim supremacy and thereby sows seeds of social discord. Even its tradition of charitable giving is solely for the benefit of fellow Muslims and it utterly destroys the nuclear family through its adoption of polygamy. Polygamous marriage is not marriage. It reduces women to the status of property. Even Mormon polygamy eventually does this.
With the Arab spring we can clearly see that when the governing police state is suddenly removed, Muslim societies across the board descend into violence and chaos – religious sects fight other sects, tribes fight other tribes, looting is rampant and men are reduced to defending their families against their neighbors. Needless to say, this is not what we expect from religion. We expect religion to uphold morality and civilizational standards. It is clear Islam doesn’t do that.
Now despite all the evidence that Islam is an immoral religion, there is a current of modern thought seeking to elevate a laudable personal virtue, that of tolerance, over the greater social principle of justice.
But is it just to tolerate polygamy in the name of religious freedom? The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1878 that it is not. Is it just to tolerate the unequal right to inheritance for women? Is it just to tolerate forced marriage? Is it just to tolerate antisemitism? Is it just to tolerate the preaching of hatred toward non-Muslims? Is it just to tolerate the teaching that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims or that men are superior to women? Is it just to tolerate a parallel legal system based on inequality?
There are things that our society cannot tolerate and expect to survive. Justice must take its rightful place above tolerance.
So to reiterate – Islam is not a religion because:
It is an amalgam of social, political and judicial systems as well as a belief system. It is neither one thing nor the other – Islam is unique
Philosophically it is as far from other religions as it is possible to be. It lies beyond nihilism and its morality is inverted.
In society Islam functions in the opposite manner from all other religions. Rather than producing peace and social harmony, it sows violence and social disruption.
Therefore, I believe it would be wise to reconsider Islam’s inclusion as a religion at least as far as the First Amendment is concerned. I understand the difficulties with this approach, and I know many have and will reject it, but I also think it is necessary to raise the question about what Islam really is and what it isn’t.
When you consider the effort that went into arguing whether Pluto should be considered a planet or not, or how a newly discovered insect should be classified, or what constitutes organic produce, I really don’t think the ability to classify belief systems is beyond us. At the very least we must call into question this Islam-is-a-religion trump card that its defenders have been playing so successfully. And I think it could help remove the confusion in our own ranks and allow Islam to be criticized in its entirety, not just as a political or judicial system.
We cannot fight a lie of this magnitude with half the truth.
by, Steve Williams | The Examiner
Have you ever heard the claim “all smart people are atheists”, or maybe its inverse: “people who believe in God are dumb”? It’s quite a pervasive urban legend, and one which I’ve known is false for a long time, but I didn’t realize just how false until the other day. I recently decided to do a quick cataloging of the ten highest IQ’s on earth, and discovered that it’s nearly the exact opposite of the truth!
Before reading the list, however, I want to remind you of the caveat that IQ test results are not in any sense the measure of a person’s worth. They tend to favor folks who are good at hard “knowledge” things like mathematics and chess, and I think we all know very valuable people who are good at none of these. Moreover, I think the attribute of “wisdom” (valuing attributes like ethics and foresight) is a far better measure of whether or not a person will be happy. I’m not aware of any standardized test for measuring wisdom, however.
Another important point is that there are competing ideas on which tests most accurately measure intelligence. Not everyone takes the same IQ test, and there are enough claims, counterclaims, and disputes in this subject to drive a researcher bananas! All I could do was read everything I could find on it, and rank the candidates based both upon their scores and on who seemed to be the most unanimously agreed upon as worthy (ignoring many “fan clubs” along the way).
An additional challenge I had to grapple with is that minors’ scores are adjusted upwards to compensate for their age. The younger they are, the higher the relative adjustment. In surveying evidence for this article, I noticed a tendency for the adjusted scores to be less and less believable (too high!) the younger the subject is. This is obviously a very imperfect scoring system, so in the list below, I “weighted” the scores achieved as adults a bit higher than those achieved at younger ages, and those achieved at the very youngest ages as the most dubious.
That being said, with the noble goal of shattering a “stronghold” of low-information thinking, let the comparisons begin:
Evangelos Katsioulis – has apparently scored a 198 as an adult. Katsioulis is a Greek Doctor/Psychiatrist/Philosopher who has publicly referred to his belief in human souls several times. For example, he did a lecture in 2008 called “BODY AND SOUL“, and made clear that he wasn’t speaking metaphorically in it with lines like: “The soul is not the body. It is not the flesh. It is the spirit.” He is apparently a follower of a strand of Christianity influenced by Teilhard de Chardin.
Mislav Predavec – has apparently scored a 192 as an adult. [Update – I initially had the wrong quote linked here]. His Christianity can easily be confirmed by a beautiful response he wrote to a friend who had become a Christian in one of the groups he belongs to and which was posted online:
“David, I am so glad hearing good news about your convalescence, and more about your enlightenment, you are aware now that your suffer and pain, your giftedness and sense are a part of plan. Truly, all this can´t exist without being leading it intentionally. Atheistic explanation that everything is accidental progress is full of holes. Stay well my friend.
Kenneth Ferrell – has apparently scored a 190 as an adult. If I have located the right Kenneth Ferrell online, it’s abundantly clear from his own words that he’s a Christian. Since I’m not sure, I didn’t include him in my count of believers.
So you can see that the brightest of the bright have not foreclosed on the possibility of the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Juxtaposed with the fact that most Scientists are not atheists, I’d say that the Appeal to Authority on which atheist debators have long relied has dissolved.
This video illustrates the birth and expansion of the major religions of the world.
The History of Religion by Maps of War
Thank you to Blazing Cat Fur
By, J. Schuyler Montague | sharia unveiled
Several years ago while shoveling snow outside of the business I worked for, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and was greeted by a gentleman who asked, “Do you believe in the existence of God?” “Absolutely!” I replied. He then asked “And, you believe that he created everything?” Again, I replied “Yes, absolutely!” This gentleman went on to say, “So, of all of His creations, the universe, the stars, the oceans, the animals and so on… He, can reach out and have as much of His creations that He desires at anytime, except for one..” “And, this one thing that He cannot just have at His own choosing is the one thing He desires the most.. Do you know what this one thing is?” I thought for a moment and not being one myself for just guessing replied, “No I do not, what is the one thing God desires the most?” The gentleman then said, “Our Love!” “Of all of God’s creations, the one thing he desires the most is the one thing that He cannot just have at anytime because “we” must choose to give it to Him.”
As profound as this message was, it became even more amazing. I turned for just a brief moment and looked away from the gentleman as something drew my attention off in the distance. I then turned back towards the man with whom I had been talking… and, he was gone. I scanned the area with my eyes but there was no one to be seen. It struck me as odd that he could just vanish so quickly but my greatest shock came when I looked down at where he had been standing and there was only fresh untouched snow. There were no footprints where he had been standing nor were there any tracks leading to or away from where I was.
One thing I have learned over the years is that it takes so much more effort to not believe in a Creator, than it does to believe. We only need to open our eyes, open our hearts and open our minds to the truth. If we simply look at the evidence, even the blind can see the fingerprints of a Creator and the perfection within His design.
As you read this, you are sitting on a ball that is spinning in space at a speed of 1,070 miles per hour. (1,670/kph.) It is not on rails or tracks but yet it keeps on a perfect course. It only maintains this perfect course due to the gravitational pull of the sun’s mass in the center of our galaxy and the counter-balance of the gravitational pull of the moon in our atmosphere. The size, mass, weight and distance of the sun, the earth and the moon are completely relative. The balance of our rotation and essentially the balance of our existence would not be possible if every one of these variables were not exact.
As humans, there are of course several things that are absolutely essential to the existence of life and humanity. Among these are oxygen to breath, water to drink, food to eat and a heat source for warmth. We just happen to have all of these things right here on earth where humans require them. Nowhere in all of space does oxygen exist except a small envelope just around the surface of the earth. Nowhere in all of space has evidence of water been found to exist except here on earth and we have an endless supply since our earth’s surface is composed of 75% water. The sun is at just the perfect location and distance from the earth to warm the surface for us to an inhabitable environment. If the sun were just a little closer we would burn up and just a little further away, we would freeze. We have an ionosphere that acts as a protective barrier around the earth. It holds in the heat and oxygen for us and at the same time, blocks out harmful radiation and deflects incoming objects from space.
One of the most amazing facts about our existence though comes through our food sources. Just look at the various forms of food that just grows up from beneath the surface of the earth. The numerous fruits, berries and nuts that just grow from the trees and dangle awaiting to be picked. The various animals and wildlife here on earth that provide meat for a required protein source and the unlimited amount of food in the seas. On the earth there are four perfect seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring is the birth of all that is new and facilitates the germination process and the beginning of the new life. Summer is the growth period which allows the food source to mature for consumption. Autumn is the period for harvest and reaping the mature food. Winter is the season that kills off the germs in the earths surface by freezing and prepares the ground for the following spring. If you remove any one of these four seasons, you would throw off the balance of nature. The earth tilts towards the sun allowing both hemispheres their adequate seasonal requirement. We possess a symbiotic relationship with so much of our surroundings that cannot be ignored. Humans breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide whereas plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. It is possible that neither one could exist without the other. Thereby concluding that each was created at the same time for each others benefit of existence.
There is just an endless amount of evidence of creation and just too much to merely be attributed to “luck” or “coincidence.” To simply say that all of these necessary variables and factors of existence just aligned themselves by chance, is to almost make oneself appear uneducated. For the believer, physical evidence is not required nor necessary for belief. Their belief is based on faith in that which is unseen, since the spiritual is more real than the physical. The believer will often tell you that God does not exist because they believe, but rather they believe because God exists. For some though in today’s world, they search out for evidence that is tangible. Evidence that can be seen with the eye. The further science goes into the realm of the unseen, the more we begin to see the fingerprints of perfection upon creation.
editorial footnote: We respectfully ask that if you use this piece elsewhere, please source the author and this website by name and please place a link to this article. Thank you.