Tag Archives: extremism

GOD WANTS IT MY WAY – OR ELSE!

I have to pity poor old God. Did he (substitute she or it or whatever else you like) really know what he was getting into when he created man in his own image? For an omnipotent being, he sure managed to screw it up.

From the dawn of history he has had so many faces, so many incarnations, that even he must have lost track of them all. And absolutely all of them were THE correct one, according to somebody on his ground based management team. I would have given up a long time ago, thrown up my hands and headed for a nice vacation to another planet. Or maybe that’s exactly what he’s done because we haven’t heard from him directly for a long time now.

His agents, the guys who look after his business on the ground, have been busy, though. For centuries, I might add. The Christian God’s agents alone have been pretty busy: Crusades, Inquisition, Teutonic Knights, just to name a few have kept them going. We’ve also had witch hunts, other miscellaneous burnings at the stake, prohibitions of meat on Fridays, and a list of sins to be punished that boggles the mind.

And all in the name of God! And since it’s now OK for Catholics to eat meat on Fridays, did the local managers get it wrong the first time? Oh, no – no siree! New directions came down with a focus elsewhere. At some point he must have also decided that the Crusades and the Inquisition weren’t accomplishing all that much, so he gave up, omnipotent or not. Or maybe it’s his agents who didn’t hear it right the first time.

That’s just a slight glimpse of the Christian side. Allah has also produced several versions of what he wants and still does. There’s the Taliban who would rather behead you than sit down for a cup of tea, Al Qaeda guys who know exactly what their god wants and are not shy about blowing up anyone who disagrees. And what about the Ayatollahs of Iran? They claim to have a direct line to god as well. What a busy guy.

Jehovah used to be a really nasty guy, too, according to the Bible, but lately he has left the Jewish people alone. At least you don’t hear all that many new directives coming down as for some of the other guys.

Then there are still the Eastern religions – Buddhism, Hinduism and others. There seems to be quite a bit less confusion here – the big guy has pretty well kept a low profile, at least as far as most of us in the West are concerned. We’ve heard all about the rift between Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan and it would be no news to me if each side claimed that god was with them.

Has any side in a war ever asked for help from up above for the other side? Not likely! Both sides know that god is on their side. In the old days this was insured by a few sacrifices of maidens, lambs , what have you, but we’re different today. God’s local agents only call on him to destroy the other side – with a couple of lightning bolts and maybe a drum roll of thunder as accompaniment. Less messy than sacrificing people or animals and just as effective.

So let’s give three cheers and an amen for god’s agents on earth. They’re doing a heck of a job telling us what god wants. In the religion business everyone claims they’re right. So listen up! Or else …

© Copyright George Salmins 2009

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Filed under Canada, Christianity, church, humor, politics, religion, satire

Alberta, Canada – Dumbing Down the Kids

There’s nothing quite as dangerous for the future of a country (or province) as keeping information from children in their formative years, yet that’s exactly what the Province of Alberta will be doing with one of the proposed revisions to their Human Rights Legislation. They will promote ignorance if the bill passes without changes.

If the bill becomes law, one section of it will allow Alberta parents to remove their children from any class where something that is taught conflicts with their religious view. Religion is not a subject in Alberta schools now, so where’s the problem?

The problem is that science and history will get kicked right where it hurts. A lot of science and history conflicts with fundamentalist religious teachings.

Some creationists tell us that the earth is 6,000 years old, give or take a year or two. Science and common sense tells us that this is a myth and even Alberta creationists and fundamentalists should have some inkling of this. After all, Alberta harbors some of the most ancient dinosaur excavation sites on the continent. But creationists say these were put there on purpose, just a bit of theater by the creator to confuse the picture. According to them men walked alongside dinosaurs and evolution is a myth and a hoax. I wonder if they also flew on the backs of pterodactyls? After all, weren’t the beasts put on earth for the benefit of man? But I digress.

The real problem is that, if removed from class, their kids will not get to learn anything about archeology, geology or evolution. They will have to make sense of the world with only a part of the information available to them. Somewhat like trying to run on one leg.

Astronomy could be another area where kids would be withdrawn from class because some strict creationists still believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. And Galileo and Copernicus never lived? I haven’t heard that one yet, but I do know that the church of the day tried to shut them down . Exactly what the proposed legislation would do to some kids’ opportunity to learn.

I’m sure that some parents will consider the content of other classroom subjects to be not what their particular brand of religion says. The history of the Middle East would certainly contain the seeds of objection, just to name one.

So did the legislators intend to support the beliefs of the parents, no matter what? Did they really wish to support parents if they decide to raise dumbed down kids? Information is what lets us to explore and compare conflicting ideas and develop critical thinking. This proposed law will only serve to spread ignorance. I can’t believe that was the original intent, although it most certainly would be a foreseeable by-product.

Not giving kids a chance to form their own conclusions is a denial of their right to learn and to come to their own conclusions. The freedom to form independent conclusions should also be a basic human right. This can’t be done without full information on hand.

It’s time some Alberta legislators looked beyond political expediency and their own personal biases. Don’t shortchange the future generations. Look at the opportunities some kids will be missing and look at some of the dead-end ideas that will be perpetuated.

Isn’t it time for people and legislators to realize that religious fundamentalism of any kind is a danger not just in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but right here in Canada as well? So why encourage it?

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Canada Must Stay In Afghanistan

Yesterday Canada lost four more soldiers in Afghanistan to Taliban jihadists.   But is that a reason to abandon the Afghan people and pull our troops out of Afghanistan?

The loss of a Canadian soldier is always an occasion for sadness.  Unfortunately, there are  those Canadians who will climb up on their emotional soapbox and demand that we bring our soldiers home.  They say we are accomplishing nothing, the war cannot be won, that the loss of life is too much to suffer for the sake of a country which they believe should be left to its own devices.  At latest count in the polls, well over 50% of Canadians think so. 

I can’t buy into the idea of abandoning Afghanistan and Afghans to the “tender care” of the Taliban.  Yes, our soldiers’ lives are precious and should never be offered lightly.  But I also believe that we made a commitment to be a part of Afghanistan’s solution and commitments must be honored.   If we can’t or won’t fulfill our promises to the Afghan people then we lose some of our humanity and certainly our right to criticize others.

We would lose our humanity by tacitly agreeing that the Taliban way is OK for the Afghans – especially their obscene belief in the total oppression and subjugation of women.  To the Taliban zealot women are no more than slaves or the livestock he keeps.  Girls must not be educated, women must be hidden behind burkas.  If this way of life is something the Afghans deserve, then I suggest you take another good look at yourself.

The Taliban held daily executions on the Kabul soccer field, forcing everyone to watch.  Do you want this  for Afghanistan?  

The Taliban invited Osama Bin Laden’s gang to train their terrorists in Afghanistan.  Do you want a repeat performance of that?  Another 9-11 or worse?

How would you like to live under Taliban rule? No?  Then how do you justify abandoning the Afghans to the Taliban? 

 There’s more, but you get the idea.

I don’t believe for a minute  that military action alone will solve Afghanistan’s problems or will eradicate the Taliban.  Yes, parts of  the Afghan government are corrupt.  It is also true that many Afghans dislike the West and its consumerism.  But so do many Westerners.

But there is also no denying that there are many Afghans who have and will give their lives for the future of Afghanistan without the scourge of the Taliban and who recognize what we and other Western nations are doing for what it is:  a helping hand to help them get out of decades of warfare, executions, reprisals and oppression of one sort or another.

There is also no denying that without exception, all Canadian soldiers  who have served in the country believe they have made a significant contribution toward a better future for Afghanistan.  They have stated  this very emphatically in many interviews.

Unfortunately our mass media trumpet every death, near disaster and disaster to the exclusion of good news that are actually plentiful  in  Afghanistan.  We don’t hear about the roads and schools that are being built or the alternatives to a poppy culture.  We seldom hear about the honest Afghans who put themselves in jeopardy  to make a difference.  All we get is the bad news.

So let’s stay the course.  Let’s keep our promises.  Let’s help the Afghans find a  future that does not include  Taliban atrocities.

 

 

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Filed under Afghanistan, Canada, politics, Taliban, Uncategorized