Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent?

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, … Continue reading

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters

Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, 2015 10:58 PM ET


Tweets About Israel Land New Jersey Student in Principal’s Office


Tolerance is an intractable term.  Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent? Who decides who’s who, who’s what? Words used in complex social situations have always a degree of double-speak; there is a disconnection between what we think we mean and our actual thinking.

Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org/ ) is supposed to be about letting those different from us be themselves, but in practice is about pretending that we are different from ourselves. To always have a favorite football team as an essential part of our identity? Even in this limited sense, one has to be careful; it might not be healthful to display the wrong loyalty in the wrong bar.

Tolerance stems from a sated world. In times of plenty, we can afford to be kind to those who are different. We are less threatened when we are comfortable. If our 21st Century standard of living peaks—coincident with a peak in surplus energy (i.e., fossil fuels)—then we may not have the luxury of viewing our social progress as an irreversible ratchet. Hard times revive old tribal instincts: different is not welcome.

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. For instance, many Serbian communities believed that the western media portrayed a negative image of the Serbian people during the NATO bombing in Kosovo and Serbia (http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/tolerance ).

it is easy to protest

when the bombs fall miles from the fridge

yet, we are still afraid

a trip to Disney World on the line

so what hundred children massacred a day

better to have less terrorists, right?

In this day and age of information overload modern society is in a state of data deluge, and our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age (https://www.thersa.org/events/2015/01/thinking-straight-in-the-age-of-information-overload/ ). Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_bite ) and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .

The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and the others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/cultural-marxism/ ); we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.

While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/fascism/ ).

Robert Paxton says that fascism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism )  is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victimhood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-oregon-militia/ ).

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:

Thomas Jefferson.

For Tea Partiers, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/a-conversation-about-gun-control/ ).

The ability of Government to keep the upper hand in the application of force is an important factor in social stability. The primary function of Government is to guarantee the Social Contract. The freedom to engage in seditious activities and Social peace do not mix.

Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

President Obama is aware of the Oregon situation, but the White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. It sounds like fools playing with fire. A fire that will get us all burned.

In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”

Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”

 

More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/10/us/gun-sales-terrorism-obama-restrictions.html ).

The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.

During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Behring Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe.  One of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement (http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/08/americas-breivik-complex-how-state-terror-electrifies-the-islamophobic-right ). Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City.

While Israel has sought to insulate itself from the legal ramifications of its attacks on civilian life by deploying elaborate propaganda and intellectual sophistry (witness the country’s frantic campaign to discredit the Goldstone Report), and the United States has casually dismissed allegations of war crimes as any swaggering superpower would (after a US airstrike killed scores of Afghan civilians, former US CENTCOM chief David Petraeus baselessly claimed that Afghan parents had deliberately burned their children alive to increase the death toll), the online Islamophobes who inspired Breivik tacitly accept the reality of Israeli and American state terror.

In American and Israeli society, Professional Terrorism is acceptable, whereas Amateur Terrorism is absolutely the world’s greatest evil (http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/gallup-poll-jews-and-christians-way-more-likely-than-muslims-to-justify-killing-civilians/ ).  Amateur Terrorism provides the justification for Professional Terrorism (this even though it is usually almost always the case that Professional Terrorism started the cycle of violence).  Those who have the capability to carry out Professional Terrorism have absolutely no need to resort to Amateur Terrorism since the former is so much more effective in killing civilians than the latter.

Public Policy Polling asked Republicans if they would want to bomb the fictional town of Agrabah in Disney’s Aladdin movie (http://www.loonwatch.com/2015/12/30-percent-of-republicans-want-to-bomb-aladdins-hometown-agrabah/ ).

These are the results:

Support bombing Agrabah  …………………………30%

Oppose bombing Agrabah  …………………………13%

Not sure ……………………………………………………57%

In sharp contrast with Americans who identify themselves with other faith groups (http://www.gallup.com/poll/148763/muslim-americans-no-justification-violence.aspx ), Muslim Americans are more likely to say military attacks on civilians are never justified (78%) than sometimes justified (21%). Respondents from other faith groups, particularly Mormon Americans, are more likely to say military attacks are sometimes justified than never justified. The opinions of Americans who don’t identify themselves with any religion are more in line with those of Muslim Americans, but they are also more divided.

Gallup analysts (http://www.gallup.com/poll/157067/views-violence.aspx ) tested correlations between the level at which populations say these attacks are “sometimes justified” and a number of independent indicators, and they found human development and societal stability measures are most strongly related.

Residents of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states are slightly less likely than residents of non-member states to view military attacks on civilians as sometimes justified, and about as likely as those of non-member states to say the same about individual attacks.

 “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade .

In the article “Why are there no condemnations from Muslim sources against terrorists?” Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance summarizes:

A common complaint among non-Muslims is that Muslim religious authorities do not condemn terrorist attacks. The complaints often surface in letters to the editors of newspapers, on phone-in radio shows, in Internet mailing lists, forums, etc. A leader of an evangelical Christian para-church group, broadcasting over Sirius Family Net radio, stated that he had done a thorough search on the Internet for a Muslim statement condemning terrorism, without finding a single item.
Actually, there are lots of fatwas and other statements issued which condemn attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored by newspapers, television news, radio news and other media outlets. Possibly because Islamic terrorists keep killing innocent civilians.

Contrary to common image, many Muslims have spoken out against 9/11,[2][3][4]

A 2007 Pew Research Center study of several nations throughout the Muslim world showed that opposition to suicide bombing in the Muslim world is increasing, with a majority of Muslims surveyed in 10 out of the 16 of the countries responding that suicide bombings and other violence against civilians is “never” justified, though an average of 38% believe it is justified at least rarely. Opposition to Hamas was the majority opinion in only 4 out of the 16 countries surveyed, as was opposition to Hezbollah.[5] The Pew Research Study did not include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria in the survey, although densely populated Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Bangladesh were included.

Per the 2013 State Department’s report on terrorism, there were 399 acts of terror committed by Israeli settlers in what are known as “price tag” attacks. These Jewish terrorists attacked Palestinian civilians causing physical injuries to 93 of them and also vandalized scores of mosques and Christian churches.

An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. In actuality, 42 percent of terror attacks were carried out by Latino-related groups, followed by 24 percent perpetrated by extreme left-wing actors.

And as a 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered (PDF).

Muslim man was attacked by Piro Kolvani who decided he had to drive from Florida to New York to beat on a Muslim (Kolvani was inspired by the NY Post front covers). Kolvani viciously attacked Sarker Haque, who stated, “I never saw a situation like that. Not even after 9/11.”

Yet, the conflict is not about religion nor race, but power (in the sociopathic sense) and resources. Human activity is not driven by justice but by power. In a way, justice is the right of the strong. One thing is rationalizations used to justify actions, and another, real social and psychological motives behind. These ulterior motives are not necessary explicit or even conscious.

All three religions   – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – in conflict share the same core barbaric Bronze Age believes sated in the Hebrew Bible, and all pick and choose what’s convenient to their respective social order. Whether one is consider a Christian or a Muslim is more an accident of geography or ethnicity, than a reflection of actual belief.   That is, religion is mainly a marker of cultural identity.

Israel, for all the talk about being a Jewish state is in practice rather secular. Although the idea of a vibrant queer community in Israel, reputed birthplace of the biblical condemnation of same-sex relations, may seem far-fetched, Israel today is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities. Politically, legally, and culturally, the community has moved from life at the margins of Israeli society to visibility and growing acceptance (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/homosexuality-in-israel/ ).

Many Israelis are not Semitic (http://www.livescience.com/40247-ashkenazi-jews-have-european-genes.html ). While Ashkenazi Jews have a long tradition in Judaism, they cannot claim a bloodline from David, which is a mythological figure anyway (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/davidjer.html ).

The scourge of Islamic fundamentalism is a monster created by the same people crying wolf (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/the-islamic-state/ ).

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements have their origins in the late 19th century. The Wahhabi movement, an Arabian fundamentalist movement that began in the 18th century, gained traction and spread during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the Cold War following World War II, some NATO governments, particularly those of the United States and the United Kingdom, launched covert and overt campaigns to encourage and strengthen fundamentalist groups in the Middle East and southern Asia. These groups were seen as a hedge against potential expansion by the Soviet Union, and as a means to prevent the growth of nationalistic movements that were not necessarily favorable toward the interests of the Western nations. By the 1970s the Islamists had become important allies in supporting governments, such as Egypt, which were friendly to U.S. interests. In many cases the military wings of these groups were supplied with money and arms by the U.S. (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/religion-and-terrorism/ ).

Regardless of the machinations behind the current crisis in the Middle East, its effects will unsettle the whole World, including the US and Europe (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-roots-of-the-migration-crisis-1441995372 ). The Syrian refugee disaster presents a dilemma to the West. A massive influx of refugees into any country compromises its social and economic stability but the crisis cannot be ignored in humanitarian and practical grounds. Furthermore, the rise of religious fundamentalism (of all flavors: Christian, Muslim, or Jewish) is a treat to the long term viability of modern society.

Humans are social animals and it’s our natural instinct to be emphatic with others. It’s natural for us to bond by kinship. Unfortunately the same tribal instinct hampers our ability to recognize the essential and vital global brotherhood of man. We cling to nationality, religion, and many artificial walls we build around us that compromise our chances for long term survival (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/merry-xmas/ ).

We must overcome our fears and reach out for peace. To live or die together is the choice.

Al-Qurnah

Al-Qurnah (Qurna) is a small town in southern Iraq about 74 km northwest of Basra, within the town of Nahairat.[2] Qurna (Arabic for connection/joint) is located at the confluence point of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers join to form the Shatt … Continue reading

Al-Qurnah (Qurna) is a small town in southern Iraq about 74 km northwest of Basra, within the town of Nahairat.[2] Qurna (Arabic for connection/joint) is located at the confluence point of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers join to form the Shatt al-Arab.[2] The folklore holds Qurna to have been the site of the Garden of Eden. An ancient jujube tree (recently dead) is locally celebrated and shown to the tourist as the actual Tree of Knowledge noted in the Bible

rural Christians in China’s Henan Province

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2011 This video shows rural Christians in China’s Henan Province receiving Bibles. 70% of China’s Christians live in rural areas, where people struggle to make a living. Many of the villagers in this video received their … Continue reading

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2011
This video shows rural Christians in China’s Henan Province receiving Bibles. 70% of China’s Christians live in rural areas, where people struggle to make a living. Many of the villagers in this video received their very first Bible during this distribution.

the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf

Juris Zarins From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Juris Zarins (Zariņš) (b. Germany 1945) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East. Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second World War. His parents emigrated to the United States soon after […]

Juris Zarins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Juris Zarins (Zari?š) (b. Germany 1945) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East.

Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second World War. His parents emigrated to the United States soon after he was born. He graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1963 and earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Nebraska in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam before completing his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology at the University of Chicago in 1974. He then served as archaeological adviser to the Department of Antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before coming to Missouri State in 1978.

Zarins has extensive experience in archaeological fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Oman, and is now involved in a new project in Yemen. He was chief archaeologist for the Transarabia Expedition which made the famous discovery of the ancient city of Ubar in 1992. This made the headline of the New York Times, and it was also named one of the ten most important discoveries of the year by Discover, Time, and Newsweek magazines. The expedition was featured in a NOVA program called “In Search of the Lost City,” which was first broadcast in 1996.[1]

Zarins has published many articles on a number of topics concerning the archaeology of the Near East, which include the domestication of the horse, early pastoral nomadism, and the obsidian, indigo, and frankincense trades. He received an Excellence in Research Award from Missouri State in 1988. He has proposed that the Semitic languages arose as a result of a circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex, which developed in the period of the desiccation of climates at the end of the pre-pottery phase in the Ancient Near East.

Zarins argued that the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including LANDSAT images from space. In this theory, the Bible’s Gihon River would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River would correspond to the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula. His suggestion about the Pishon River is supported by James. A Sauer (1945-1999) formerly of the American Center of Oriental Research [2] although strongly criticized by the archaeological community

Knowledge of Good and Evil

Jena Cutie In Defense of Wheat ISSUE 21 | RAW MATERIALS | OCT 2012 The critical fruits in Eden go unidentified except through association with the strangely Conceptual trees (Knowledge of Good and Evil, Life). The best an artist or … Continue reading

Jena Cutie

In Defense of Wheat


ISSUE 21 | RAW MATERIALS | OCT 2012
The critical fruits in Eden go unidentified except through association with the strangely Conceptual trees (Knowledge of Good and Evil, Life). The best an artist or anyone else can do is determinedly describe the fruits as “merely definitively round,” justification being their minimal definition is elliptical. Almost no evidence is available to positively cinch, into an even relatively small bunch, possible answers to the inquiry: Holy and inimitable, what are these fruits?

fruits

Forbidden fruit is a phrase that originates from  Genesis concerning Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16–17. In the narrative, the fruit of good and evil was eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a metaphor, the … Continue reading

Forbidden fruit is a phrase that originates from  Genesis concerning Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16–17. In the narrative, the fruit of good and evil was eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a metaphor, the phrase typically refers to any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral.

Potential forbidden fruits of the Garden of Eden include the apple, pomegranate,[1] the fig,[2] the carob,[1] the etrog orcitron,[1] the pear, mushrooms, the quince and, more recently, the datura.[3] The pseudepigraphic Book of Enochdescribes the tree of knowledge: “It was like a species of the Tamarind tree, bearing fruit which resembled grapesextremely fine; and its fragrance extended to a considerable distance. I exclaimed, How beautiful is this tree, and how delightful is its appearance!” (1 Enoch 31:4).

One alternative view is that the forbidden fruit is not a fruit at all, but a metaphorical one, possibly the fruit of the womb, i.e. sex and procreation from the tree of life.

There is nothing in the Bible that expressly mentions or suggests that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Etz ha-Daat tov V’ra) is an apple tree. Even early authorities disagreed on the species of the tree and its fruit. The apocryphal Book of Enoch (32:4) suggests that the tree looked like a species of tamarind that bore fruit which resembled extremely fine grapes.

Rabbi Yehuda proposes that the fruit was wheat, because “a baby does not know to call its mother and father until it tastes the taste of grain.”[10]

In Hebrew, wheat is “khitah”, which has been considered to be a pun on “khet”, meaning “sin”.[1]

In the Talmud (Berachot40b), Rabbi Meir said that Man and Woman debased themselves by drinking wine made out of the grape(s) which grew from the tree, “since the thing that most causes wailing to a man is wine” (as it did to Noah, who drank to the point of intoxication). Meanwhile, Rabbi Nehemiah suggested that the fruit may have been figs (cf. Genesis 3:7, where Adam and Eve sew fig leaves to hide their nakedness) while Rabbi Yehuda said that it was a sort of wheat (Hebrew khitah, a pun onkhet, “sin”), “since a child does not know how to call ‘father’ and ‘mother’ until it has had a taste of corn.

The citron (Hebrew etrog, which resembles the Aramaic m’ragag, “desirable”; cf. Genesis 3:6) and the carob (since its Hebrew name charuv puns oncherev “sword”, and churban “destruction”) have also been suggested. Islamic tradition, meanwhile, commonly represents the fruit as a fig or olive.

Around the 12th century, Christian art in France and Germany started to depict the apple as the forbidden fruit, while Byzantine and Italian artists stuck with the belief that the Fruit of Knowledge was a fig. It was not until the later Renaissance that the “forbidden fruit=apple” belief was universal.

There are varying hypotheses on why the apple was chosen to represent this fruit, but one possible theory is that because the Latin word for evil, “malus“, is homonymous with the word for apple: Adam and Eve contracted malus(evil) by eating a malus (apple).

According to the Quran, Surah Al-A’raf 7:19 describes Adam and his wife in Paradise where they may eat what is provided, except that they may not eat from one particular tree, should they be considered Zalimun.[17] Surah Ibrahim#.14:26 describes the forbidden tree as an evil tree that is forbidden for guidance.[18]

Surah Al-A’raf 7:22 describes the ?ibli?s who misled them with deception, and then it was Adam who initiated eating from the forbidden tree. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame became manifest to them and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called out to them: “Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you; Verily, Shaitân is an open enemy unto you?” (Quran 7:19). The Quran holds both Adam and his wife accountable for eating the forbidden fruit. As punishment, they were both banished from Heaven and sent to the Earth where they were forgiven after repenting.

???? ?????,

The Garden of Eden (Hebrew גַּן עֵדֶן, Gan ʿEdhen) is the biblical “garden of God”, described most notably in the Book of Genesis chapters 2 and 3, and also in the Book of Ezekiel.[2] The “garden of God”, not called … Continue reading

The Garden of Eden (Hebrew ???? ?????, Gan ?Edhen) is the biblical “garden of God”, described most notably in the Book of Genesis chapters 2 and 3, and also in the Book of Ezekiel.[2] The “garden of God”, not called Eden, is mentioned in Genesis 14, and the “trees of the garden” are mentioned in Ezekiel 31. The Book of Zechariah and the Book of Psalms also refer to trees and water in relation to the temple without explicitly mentioning Eden.[3]

Traditionally, the favoured derivation of the name “Eden” was from the Akkadian edinnu, derived from a Sumerian word meaning “plain” or “steppe”. Eden is now believed to be more closely related to an Aramaic root word meaning “fruitful, well-watered.”[2] The Hebrew term is translated “pleasure” in Sarah’s secret saying in Genesis 18:12.[4]

The story of Eden echoes the Mesopotamian myth of a king, as a primordial man, who is placed in a divine garden to guard the tree of life.[5] In theHebrew Bible, Adam and Eve are depicted as walking around the Garden of Eden naked due to their innocence.[6] Eden and its rivers may signify the real Jerusalem, the Temple of Solomon, or the Promised Land. It may also represent the divine garden on Zion, and the mountain of God, which was also Jerusalem. The imagery of the Garden, with its serpent and cherubs, has been compared to the images of the Solomonic Temple with its copper serpent, the nehushtan, and guardian cherubs.

Persian Gulf

Juris Zarins believes that the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including Landsat images from space. In this theory, the Bible’s Gihon River would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River would correspond to the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula.[15]

Tabriz

David M. Rohl (British Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences) posits a location for the legendary Garden of Eden in Iranian Azerbaijan, in the vicinity of Tabriz upon which the Genesis tradition was based. According to Rohl, the Garden of Eden was then located in a long valley to the north of Sahand volcano, near Tabriz. He cites several geographical similarities and toponyms which he believes match the biblical description. These similarities include the nearby headwaters of the four rivers of Eden, the Tigris (Heb. Hiddekel, Akk. Idiqlat), Euphrates (Heb. Perath, Akk. Purattu), Gaihun-Aras (Heb., Gihon), and Uizun (Heb. Pishon)

Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers (along with the Tigris, Euphrates, and Pishon) issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name (Hebrew Gi?ôn ?????) may be interpreted as “bursting forth, gushing”.

The Gihon is described as “encircling the entire land of Cush“, a name associated with Ethiopia elsewhere in the Bible or Kush. This is one of the reasons that Ethiopians have long identified the Gihon (Giyon) with the Abay River (Blue Nile), which encircles the former kingdom of Gojjam. From a current geographic standpoint this would seem impossible, since two of the other rivers said to issue out of Eden, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are in Mesopotamia. However, the scholar Edward Ullendorff has argued in support of this identification.[1] The city in the Mesopotamian area which best fits the description is called Kish (derivative of Kush or Cush) located in a plain area (Sumerian ‘edin’) and resembles an area that is repeatedly flooded by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris.

Nineteenth century, modern, and Arabic scholars have sought to identify the “land of Cush” with Hindu Kush, and Gihon with Amu Darya (Jihon/Jayhon of the Islamic texts). Amu Darya was known in the medieval Islamic writers as Jayhun or Ceyhun in Turkish.[2]This was a derivative of Jihon, or Zhihon as it is still known by the Persians.[3][4]

First-century Jewish historian Josephus associated the Gihon river with the Nile.[5]

Gihon has also been associated with the Araxes (modern Aras) river of Turkey. Another proposed idea is that the Gihon river no longer exists, or has significantly altered its course, since the topography of the area has supposedly been altered by the Noachian Flood.

Juris Zarins identified the Gihon with the Karun River in Iran and Kush with the land of the Kassites.

Israel and the USA

“People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.” ― Noam Chomsky Americans fighting for Israel By Dan Lamothe July 21, 2014 The Israel Defense Forces announced the deaths of 13 soldiers … Continue reading

“People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.”
? Noam Chomsky

Americans fighting for Israel

July 21, 2014

The Israel Defense Forces announced the deaths of 13 soldiers on Sunday as its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip progressed. It was the deaths of two of them, however, that generated significant interest in the United States. They’re both U.S. citizens, raising questions for some about whether it’s legal for Americans to join the Israeli military.

The American casualties are Sean Carmeli, 21, and Max Steinberg, 24. Carmeli was the son of Israeli parents and had dual citizenship, while Steinberg joined the IDF after visiting the country in 2012, his father told the Associated Press.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

“Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)“, often abbreviated to “Turn! Turn! Turn!“, is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, and the … Continue reading

Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)“, often abbreviated to “Turn! Turn! Turn!“, is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, and the final verse of the song, are adapted word-for-word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962. The song was originally released as “To Everything There Is a Season” on The Limeliters‘ album Folk Matinee and then some months later on Seeger’s own The Bitter and the Sweet.[1]

The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was covered by the American folk rock band The Byrds, bowing at #80 on October 23, 1965, before reaching #1 on the Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965, #3 in Canada (Nov. 29, 1965), and also peaking at #26 on the UK Singles Chart.

Lyrics and title

The lyrics are taken almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes, as found in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible[2] (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), though the sequence of the words was rearranged for the song. Ecclesiastes is traditionally ascribed to King Solomon.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The Biblical text posits there being a time and place for all things: laughter and sorrow, healing and killing, war and peace, and so on. The lines are open to myriad interpretations, but as a song they are commonly performed as a plea for world peace, with an emphasis on the closing line: “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” This line and the title phrase “Turn! Turn! Turn!” are the only parts of the lyric written by Seeger himself.[1]

The song is notable for being one of a few instances in popular music in which a large portion of scripture is set to music, other examples being The Melodians‘ “Rivers of Babylon“, Sister Janet Mead‘s “The Lord’s Prayer“, and U2‘s “40“.

The song was published in illustrated book form by Simon & Schuster in September 2003, with an accompanying CD which contained both Seeger and The Byrds recordings of the song (ISBN 978-0-689-85235-0). Wendy Anderson Halperin created a set of detailed illustrations for each set of opposites which are reminiscent of mandalas. The book also includes the Ecclesiastes text from the King James version of the Bible.

Handwritten lyrics to the song were among the documents donated to New York University by the Communist Party USA in March 2007.[3]

45% of the royalties for the song are donated to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions because, in Seeger’s own words, “[in addition to the music] I did write six words.”[4]

Cover versions

Early folk versions

The song was first released by the folk group The Limeliters on their 1962 album Folk Matinee, under the title “To Everything There Is a Season”.[1][5] The Limeliters’ version predated the release of Seeger’s own version by several months. One of The Limeliter’s backing musicians at this time was Jim McGuinn (aka Roger McGuinn), who would later work with folk singer Judy Collins, rearranging the song for her 1963 album, Judy Collins 3.[1] Collins’ recording of the song was retitled as “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)”, a title that would be used intermittently by McGuinn’s later band The Byrds, when they released a cover of the song in 1965. Australian folk singer Gary Shearston also recorded a version of the song for his 1964 album Songs of Our Time, under the title “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)”.[6]

The Byrds’ version

“Turn! Turn! Turn!” was the third single by the American folk rock band The Byrds and was released on October 1, 1965, by Columbia Records (see 1965 in music).[7] The song was also included on the band’s second album, Turn! Turn! Turn!, which was released on December 6, 1965.[7] The Byrds’ single (b/w “She Don’t Care About Time“) is the most successful recorded version of the song, having reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts and #26 on the UK Singles Chart.[8][9] The Byrds’ version distinguishes the song as the #1 pop hit with the oldest lyrics, dating back to the Book of Ecclesiastes.[10] Many biblical scholars believe Ecclesiastes 1:1 implies King Solomon as the book’s author; thus, if true, giving Solomon (born c. 1011 BC) lyrical credit for a number one hit.

The song had first been arranged by The Byrds’ lead guitarist Jim McGuinn in a chamber-folk style during sessions for Judy Collins’ 1963 album, Judy Collins 3.[11] The idea of reviving the song came to McGuinn during The Byrds’ July 1965 tour of the American Midwest, when his future wife, Dolores, requested the tune on the Byrds’ tour bus.[12][13] The rendering that McGuinn dutifully played came out sounding not like a folk song but more like a rock/folk hybrid, perfectly in keeping with The Byrds’ current status as pioneers of the folk rock genre.[13] McGuinn explained “It was a standard folk song by that time, but I played it and it came out rock ‘n’ roll because that’s what I was programmed to do like a computer. I couldn’t do it as it was traditionally. It came out with that samba beat, and we thought it would make a good single.”[13]

The master recording of the song reputedly took 78 takes, spread over five days of recording, to complete.[14][15] The song’s plea for peace and tolerance struck a nerve with the American record buying public as the Vietnam War continued to escalate.[1] The single also solidified folk rock as a chart trend and, like the band’s previous hits, continued The Byrds’ successful mix of vocal harmony and jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar playing.[1] Pete Seeger expressed his approval of the Byrd’s rendering of the song.[16]

During 1965 and 1966, the band performed the song on the television programs Hollywood A Go-Go, Shindig!, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Where the Action Is, as well as in the concert film, The Big T.N.T. Show.[17] Additionally, the song would go on to become a staple of The Byrds’ live concert repertoire, until their final disbandment in 1973.[18] The song was also performed live by a reformed line-up of The Byrds featuring Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman in January 1989.[19] In addition to its appearance on the Turn! Turn! Turn! album, the song also appears on several Byrds’ compilations, including The Byrds’ Greatest Hits, History of The Byrds, The Original Singles: 1965–1967, Volume 1, The Byrds, 20 Essential Tracks From The Boxed Set: 1965-1990, The Very Best of The Byrds, The Essential Byrds and There Is a Season.[1]

objective morality

Is there an absolute objective moral value? This is one of the first unsolvable questions of Philosophy. There are claims made by some that without God there would be no absolute morality. I do not follow the argument. The gist … Continue reading

Is there an absolute objective moral value? This is one of the first unsolvable questions of Philosophy. There are claims made by some that without God there would be no absolute morality. I do not follow the argument. The gist seems to be that since there is no objective basis for an absolute morality, and since an absolute morality seems to be a good thing, and since the existence of God would be an absolute reference, then God exists. There are two problems with this approach.

For one, there is a conceptual difficulty referred as the Euthyphro dilemma, found in Plato‘s dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Is the pious (?? ?????) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”  The dilemma has had a major effect on the philosophical theism of the monotheistic religions, but in a modified form: ” Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?”

One the other, once moral good and evil is defined, there is necesarly Evil. The “Epicurean paradox,” or the problem of evil,   is a trilemma argument (God is omnipotent, God is good, but Evil exists), commonly seen as this quote:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

This argument was a type favored by the ancient Greek skeptics, and may have been wrongly attributed to Epicurus by Lactantius, who, from his Christian perspective, regarded Epicurus as an atheist.  It has been suggested that it may actually be the work of an early skeptic writer, possibly Carneades. The earliest extant version of this trilemma appears in the writings of the skeptic Sextus Empiricus 160 – 210 AD.

In the Tetrapharmakos (Greek: ?????????????), or, “The four-part cure,”  the Greek philosopher Epicurus‘ (341 BC,Samos – 270 BC, Athens) offerd four remedies for healing the soul:

?????? ? ????,
????????? ? ???????
??? ??????? ??? ????????,
?? ?? ?????? ??????????????
(PhilodemusHerculaneum Papyrus, 1005, 4.9–14)

“The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety,” writes D. S. Hutchinson

Don’t fear god,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure
(PhilodemusHerculaneum Papyrus, 1005, 4.9–14)

Kahlil Gibran expressed this ideas like this:

“Don’t call the physician, for he might extend my sentence in this prison by his medicine. The days of slavery are gone, and my soul seeks the freedom of the skies. And do not call the priest to my bedside, because his incantations would not save me if I were a sinner, nor would it rush me to Heaven if I were innocent. The will of humanity cannot change the will of God, as an astrologer cannot change the course of the stars. But after my death let the doctors and priest do what they please, for my ship will continue sailing until it reaches its destination.”

The moral imperative You shall not murder, included as one of the Ten Commandments in the Torah, it is qualified by context and claims of self defense. The imperative is against unlawful killing resulting in bloodguilt. The Hebrew Bible contains numerous prohibitions against unlawful killing, but also allows for justified killing in the context of warfarecapital punishment, and self-defense. In fact, religious texts sometimes define piety by the willingness to kill at God´s command. The Book of Mormon starts with this concept. In Chapter 4 of the Book of Nephi, it says:

10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.

11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.

12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;

13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.

16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.

17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.

18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

The Old Testament establishes the holiness of Abraham by his willingness to kill his own son. The Binding of Isaac (in Hebrew the ???????? ???????, Akedát Yitz?ák, also known as “The Binding” ??)????????), the Akedah or Aqedah,[1][2]or in Arabic as the Binding of IshmaelDhabih (????) or “Slaughter”), is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. The account states that Abraham “bound Isaac, his son”[3] before placing him on the altar.

According to the Hebrew Bible, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:5 and 22:8). After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying “now I know you fear God.” At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.

An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac.Abraham and IsaacRembrandt, 1634

The Book of Genesis does not tell the age of Isaac at the time. The Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah’s death at 127, being 90 when Isaac was born.

Genesis 22:14 states that the event occurred at “the mount of the LORD”. 2 Chronicles 3:1Psalm 24:3Isaiah 2:3 & 30:29; and Zechariah 8:3, identify the location of this event as the hill on which Solomon was said to later build the Temple, now believed to be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The majority of Jewish religious commentators argue that God was testing Abraham to see if he would actually kill his own son, as a test of his loyalty. However, a number of Jewish Biblical commentators from the medieval era, and many in the modern era, read the text in another way.

The early rabbinic midrash Genesis Rabbah imagines God as saying “I never considered telling Abraham to slaughter Isaac (using theHebrew root letters for “slaughter”, not “sacrifice”)”. Rabbi Yona Ibn Janach (Spain, 11th century) wrote that God demanded only a symbolic sacrifice. Rabbi Yosef Ibn Caspi (Spain, early 14th century) wrote that Abraham’s “imagination” led him astray, making him believe that he had been commanded to sacrifice his son. Ibn Caspi writes “How could God command such a revolting thing?” But according to Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz (Chief Rabbi of the British Empire), child sacrifice was actually “rife among the Semitic peoples,” and suggests that “in that age, it was astounding that Abraham’s God should have interposed to prevent the sacrifice, not that He should have asked for it.” Hertz interprets the Akedah as demonstrating to the Jews that human sacrifice is abhorrent. “Unlike the cruel heathen deities, it was the spiritual surrender alone that God required.” In Jeremiah 32:35, God states that the later Israelite practice of child sacrifice to the deity Molech “had [never] entered My mind that they should do this abomination.”

The Sacrifice of Isaac, a painting on the floor ofBeit Alfa Synagogue

Other rabbinic scholars also note that Abraham was willing to do everything to spare his son, even if it meant going against the divine command: while it was God who ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, it was an angel, a lesser being in the celestial hierarchy, that commanded him to stop. However, the actions and words of angels (from the Greek for “messenger”) are generally understood to derive directly from God’s will.

In some later Jewish writings, the theology of a “divine test” is rejected, and the sacrifice of Isaac is interpreted as a “punishment” for Abraham’s earlier “mistreatment” of Ishmael, his elder son, whom he expelled from his household at the request of his wife, Sarah. According to this view, Abraham failed to show compassion for his son, so God punished him by ostensibly failing to show compassion for Abraham’s son. This is a somewhat flawed theory, since the Bible says that God agreed with Sarah, and it was only at His insistence that Abraham actually had Ishmael leave. In The Last Trial, Shalom Spiegel argues that these commentators were interpreting the Biblical narration as an implicit rebuke against Christianity’s claim that God would sacrifice His own son.

The Tzemach Tzedek[4] cites a question asked by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk: At first glance, this appears to have been mainly a test of Isaac, for he was the one to be giving up his life al kiddush Hashem (in order to sanctify God’s Name). However the Torah states (Gen. 22:1) that God meant to test Abraham, not Isaac? Rabbi Menachem Mendel answers that although it is a very great Mitzvah to give up one’s life, it is unremarkable in the annals of Jewish history. Even the most unlettered and “ordinary” Jews would surrender their lives in martyrdom. Thus, as great a Mitzvah as it is, this test is considered trivial for someone of the spiritual stature of Isaac, who, as one of our forefathers, was likened to God’s “chariot” (Gen. Rabba 47:6) for he served as a vehicle for the divine traits of kindness, strictness, and compassion.

Rather, at the binding the main one tested was Abraham. It was a test of faith to see whether he would doubt God’s words. Abraham had been assured by God that “Your seed will be called through Isaac” (Gen. 21:12), i.e., Isaac (and not Ishmael) would father a great nation—the Jewish people. However, Abraham could apparently have asked a very glaring question: at the time that God commanded him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, Isaac was still single, and if Isaac would die now, how could he possibly father the nation which was to be born from Abraham? Moreover, isn’t God eternal and unchanging, as God declares: “I have not changed” (Malachi 3:6), implying that He does not change His mind?

Abraham believed with faith that if this is what God was telling him to do now, this was surely the right thing to do. It was passing this test that was remarkable even for someone of Abraham’s stature.

In The Binding of Isaac, Religious Murders & Kabbalah, Lippman Bodoff argues that Abraham never intended to actually sacrifice his son, and that he had faith that God had no intention that he do so. Others suggest[who?] that Abraham’s apparent complicity with the sacrifice was actually his way of testing God. Abraham had previously argued with God to save lives in Sodom and Gomorrah. By silently complying with God’s instructions to kill Isaac, Abraham was putting pressure on God to act in a moral way to preserve life. More evidence that Abraham thought that he won’t actually sacrifice Isaac comes from Genesis 22:5, where Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you.” By saying that we (as opposed to I), he meant that both he and Isaac will return. Thus, he didn’t believe that Isaac would be sacrificed in the end.[5]

In The Guide for the PerplexedMaimonides argues that the story of the Binding of Isaac contains two “great notions.” First, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac demonstrates the limit of humanity’s capability to both love and fear God. Second, because Abraham acted on a prophetic vision of what God had asked him to do, the story exemplifies how prophetic revelation has the same truth value as philosophical argument and thus carries equal certainty, notwithstanding the fact that it comes in a dream or vision

In Glory and Agony: Isaac’s Sacrifice and National NarrativeYael S. Feldman argues that the story of Isaac’s Binding, in both its biblical and post-biblical versions (the New Testament included) has had a great impact on the ethos of altruist heroism and self-sacrifice in modern Hebrew national culture. As her study demonstrates, over the last century the “Binding of Isaac” has morphed into the “Sacrifice of Isaac,” connoting both the glory and agony of heroic death on the battlefield.

Jihad (English pronunciation: /d???h??d/Arabic: ????? ?ih?d [d?i?hæ?d]), an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jih?d translates as a noun meaning “struggle” or “resisting”. The word jihad appears in 23 Quranic verses.[1] Within the context of the classical Islam, particularly the Shiahs beliefs, it refers to struggle against those who do not believe in the Abrahamic God (Allah).[2] However, the word has even wider implications and interpretations.

Jihad means “to struggle in the way of Allah”. Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)“.[3][4][5] A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is mujahideen. Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status.[6] In Twelver Shi’a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion.

There are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle.[3] The “greater jihad” is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties.[3][7] This non-violent meaning is stressed by both Muslim[8] and non-Muslim[9] authors. However, there is consensus amongst Islamic scholars that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against persecution and oppression.[10]

The “lesser jihad” is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam.[3] This physical struggle can take a violent form or a non-violent form. The proponents of the violent form translate jihad as “holy war”,[11][12] although some Islamic studies scholars disagree.[13] The Dictionary of Islam[3] and British-American orientalist Bernard Lewis both argue jihad has a military meaning in the large majority of cases.[14] Some scholars maintain non-violent ways to struggle against the enemies of Islam. An example of this is written debate, often characterized as “jihad of the pen”.[15]

According to the BBC, a third meaning of jihad is the struggle to build a good society.[7] In a commentary of the hadith Sahih Muslim, entitled al-Minhaj, the medieval Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi stated that “one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct”.

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

In the US most pro-lifers are at the same time pro-gunners. In fact, pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-homosexuality is the tripod base of the moral issues that define the conservative right in the US. The same voices that claim that God is the source is the source of morality proclaim that Science is the source of Evil:

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like … Charles Darwin.

Ezra Taft Benson

In the United States at the turn of the 20th century, Darwinism was greeted with glee because it seemed so compatible with the prevailing ideology of theday,  where robber-baron capitalists like the Carnegies, Mellons, Sumners, Stanfords and yes, even Jack London, could not stop rattling on about how the “survival of the fittest” justified crushing unions, exploiting immigrant labor or being left unregulated to amass huge fortunes while administering monopolies. A ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality is deeply entrenched in our culture. Despite the fact that this Wild West mentality  is a historical byproduct, it is now attributed to Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

Religious fundamentalists are sincere on their view of the World as a battleground between Good and Evil. For them anything that undermines faith in God, especially with regards to children, is utterly evil. The teaching of Science to children, in particular Evolution, is seen as a threat to children indoctrination. Nonetheless,  the attack on Evolution is an attack on Science as a whole. Science is not about what to believe but rather a method to perceive Reality. It is the critical objective look at reality aspect of Science that is perceived as a treat by the religious establishment. However,  teaching religious ideas as an alternative to factual descriptions of reality undermines science education by misinforming students about the scientific method — the basis for science literacy. It must be said that there is a propagandistic perversion of language, and there are religious groups that use the language of science to mislead and actually undermine a scientific conceptualization of Reality.

Because Science wins over Religion on factual description of Reality, the attack on Science is made nowadays on moral grounds.  From the point of view of religious fundamentalists, Science is a competing religion, although a silly one at that. Then the scientific community is under attack with this straw-man argument against evolution:

But if design, conversely, is rational, why do so many scientists reject it? Because this is not an issue of science, but of religion. Their religion is that of materialism and naturalism, and they are under no illusions as to the implications of design.

James M Tour, in the blog entry Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy, claims insufficient understanding of what he calls Macroevolution.  At the end of his article, Tour makes a reference to the movie, “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed.” He asserts that a subset of the scientific establishment is retarding the careers of Darwinian skeptics. He closes citing  Viktor Frankl , The Doctor and the Soul with the comment If Frankl is correct, God help us:

“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.

“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”

 

The movie Expelled main theme is that what it calls Darwinism inherently contain the seeds of Nazism, and even more Darwinism equals Nazism. This frighteningly immoral narrative is capped off a la Moore, with shots of the Berlin Wall, old stock footage of East German police kicking around those trying to escape through the wall to the West and some solemn blather by Ben, who calls upon each one of us to rise up in defense of freedom and knock down a few walls in order to get creationism back into the curriculum at American Schools.

The morality of Science is best exemplified by the words of Bertrand Russell:

“I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only, and solely, at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.

The moral thing I should wish to say… I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”

— BBC’s Face to Face interview of Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, Nobel Prize

However, one must accept that there is a danger on overplaying the objectivity of Science. A lot of modern development of technology has been payed by the arms industry. The Wind Rises (???? Kaze Tachinu?) is a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, that deals with this ambiguity.  The Wind Rises is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its successor, theMitsubishi A6M Zero; both aircraft were used by the Empire of Japan during World War II. Jiro Horikoshi’s first work was the flawed Mitsubishi 1MF10, an experimental aircraft that never passed the prototype stage after some flight tests. However, lessons learned from this design led to the development of the far more successful Mitsubishi A5M (Allied codename “Claude”) which entered mass production in 1936. Some time later Horikoshi and his team at Mitsubishi were asked, in 1937, to design Prototype 12 (corresponding to the 12th year of the Showa era). Prototype 12 was completed in July 1940, and it was accepted by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Since 1940 was theJapanese year 2600, the new fighter was named as “Model 00″ or “Zero” or A6M Zero, in Japan also known as the “Rei-sen” (literally meaning “zero fight”, shortened for Model zero fighter airplane). Subsequently, he was involved in many other fighters manufactured by Mitsubishi, including the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Thunderbolt) and the Mitsubishi A7M Reppu (Strong Gale). Despite Mitsubishi’s close ties to the Japanese military establishment and his direct participation in the nation’s buildup towards the Second World War, Horikoshi was strongly opposed to what he regarded as a futile war. Excerpts from his personal diary during the final year of the war were published in 1956 and made his position clear:

When we awoke on the morning of December 8, 1941, we found ourselves — without any foreknowledge — to be embroiled in war…Since then, the majority of us who had truly understood the awesome industrial strength of the United States never really believed that Japan would win this war. We were convinced that surely our government had in mind some diplomatic measures which would bring the conflict to a halt before the situation became catastrophic for Japan. But now, bereft of any strong government move to seek a diplomatic way out, we are being driven to doom. Japan is being destroyed. I cannot do [anything] other but to blame the military hierarchy and the blind politicians in power for dragging Japan into this hellish cauldron of defeat.[2]

I believe that moral values are a social construct and that they are the distillation of the knowledge of millennia of what behavior supports an stable society. Every time we engage in activities that hurt others, we will at the end hurt ourselves. This is the ultimate meaning of morality: what is good for ourselves. Epicurus emphasized minimizing harm and maximizing happiness of oneself and others as the basis for morality:

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing “neither to harm nor be harmed”), and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.