Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

The peaceful majority are irrelevant

Bridgitte Gabriel is a brave, and very outspoken woman. Her books are worth reading.
Google her.

26 Comments

  1. Julie near Chicago says:

    My god, Cats. That is magnificent. Thank you.

  2. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    How can you possibly take this vile shrew seriously? Where are the moderate Muslims? why don’t they speak? Maybe they are in an Israeli jail or looking after their baby injured in a murdering coward air raid on Gaza last night. Didn’t see that on fucking SKY

  3. NickM says:

    SAoT,
    Huh, Just because the Israelis have better tech doesn’t make them cowardly. I don’t mow the lawn with a pair of shears. I don’t write this on a mechanical Remington. The IDF doesn’t fire crappy, indiscriminate bottle rockets. It drops Hellfires from Apaches and JDAMs from F-16 Sufas. What do expect them to do: charge Hamas starkers but for woad?

  4. CountingCats says:

    SAoT,

    Hey, good stuff. I didn’t know you differed from pretty much the rest of us on this topic. Good to see a dissenting voice amongst us. Sometimes this place can seem like a bit of an echo chamber.

    Can’t say I agree with you, but so what? The occasional barney between Nick and myself helps liven things up, and that is a good thing.

  5. Julie near Chicago says:

    Acts, how come all the sympathy for the Muslims who keep acting on their expressed desire to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” and none for the Israelis who have endured the unprovoked attacks since the day after Israel officially became a State: May 15, 1948?

    The IDF comes in for considerable criticism in some quarters for being too careful of the “Palestinians’” lives. Careful targetting, trying to avoid wholesale killing of civilians, despite that Hamas and jihadists use the civilian population as human shields — the policy of Israel and the IDF is to try to avoid killing innocents, i.e., those who are not actively involved in destroy-israel-by-physical-force projects. Dropping leaflets to warn the people before planned attacks. So forth.

    The press generally is at pains to present Israeli actions as depraved and evil. Yet there have been many articles exposing faked photos for example — sometimes setups by the jihadists, sometimes photoshopped visual lies by the MSM.

    We don’t hear quite so much about, for instance, the way Muslim children have bombs strapped to them and are sent out even by their mothers as suicide bombers.

    And as to the “shrew”:

    Here is a longish quote from a not-particularly-pro-Gabriel article. I remember reading a posting of some sort in which Miss Gabriel stated essentially these facts herself. Links at source.

    Brigitte Gabriel was born in the Marjayoun District of Lebanon to a Maronite Christian family when her mother was fifty-five and her father was sixty as their first and only child after over twenty years of marriage.[10] She recalls that during the Lebanese Civil War, Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base near her family’s house and destroyed her home. Gabriel, who was ten years old at the time, was injured by shrapnel in the attack.[1][11] She says that she and her parents were forced to live underground in all that remained, an 8-by-10-foot (2.4 by 3.0 m) bomb shelter for seven years, with only a small kerosene heater, no sanitary systems, no electricity or running water, and little food.[12] She says she had to crawl in a roadside ditch to a spring for water to evade Muslim snipers.[12][13][14]

    According to Gabriel, at one point in the spring of 1978, a bomb explosion caused her and her parents to become trapped in the shelter for two days.[15] They were eventually rescued by three Christian militia fighters,[16] one of whom befriended Gabriel but was later killed by a land mine.[17]

    Gabriel says that in 1978 a stranger warned her family of an impending attack by the Islamic militias on all Christians. She says that her life was saved when the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in Operation Litani. Later, when her mother was seriously injured and taken to an Israeli hospital, Gabriel was surprised by the humanity shown by the Israelis, in contrast to the constant propaganda against the Jews she saw as a child.[12][18] She says of the experience:

    “I was amazed that the Israelis were providing medical treatment to Palestinian and Muslim gunmen…These Palestinians and Muslims were sworn, mortal enemies, dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews. Yet, Israeli doctors and nurses worked feverishly to save their lives. Each patient was treated solely according to the nature of his or her injury. The doctor treated my mother before he treated an Israeli soldier lying next to her because her injury was more severe than his. The Israelis did not see religion, political affiliation, or nationality. They saw only people in need, and they helped.”[12][19]

    [Snip]

    In 2007 at the Christians United For Israel annual conference, Gabriel delivered [a speech including the following sentence]:

    The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism.

    In March 2011 while being interviewed by Eliot Spitzer on CNN, Gabriel defended the speech stating:

    I was talking about how Palestinian mothers are encouraging their children to go out and blow themselves up to smithereens just to kill Christians and Jews. And it was in that context that I – that I contrasted the difference between Israel and the Arabic world, was the difference between democracy and barbarism.[42]

    [Snip]

  6. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Julie, the wipe Israel of the map stuff is a fake meme often repeated. Its a lie like the 97℅ stuff. I’ve had the translation of the source speech explained to me. I guess the provocation for the attacks is thought to be the overtly apartied state that Israel operate and the mass kidnappings we are seeing now. Not that any of that justifies killing.
    Nick, you are right, just using better tech doesn’t make you a coward. The attacks themselves do that.
    The mad thing about this whole set up is neither war party in Israel or Palestine wants peace. They both need the war because they have nothing else to offer. For either side, the winning move is to stop fighting.
    The speaker is just another mouthpiece justifying the killing, so in one sense she is right. The majority is irrelevant to those who want to keep banging the war drums.

  7. NickM says:

    SAoT,
    Bollocks. Utter bollocks. I am typing this on a machine with an Intel chip designed in Israel. You are making the sloppy mistake of suggesting both sides are as bad as each other. Israel has since the start had to fight something we haven’t known since 1945 – existential wars. They have done so with alacrity. Allegedly (and it is the truth or at least near it) Israeli F-16s achieved 100-0 against Syrian MiGs over Lebanon in the early ’80s. Wowsers! I’m with Ayn Rand on this. I support civilization rather than mysticism and tyranny. I support Israel because my primary school didn’t need a bomb shelter. Israeli ones do. Please explain the moral equivalnce between lobbing rockets at random and taking out this Bertie Blunt…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Yassin

    Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin (1937 – 22 March 2004)[1] (Arabic: الشيخ أحمد إسماعيل حسن ياسين‎ ash-shaykh Aḥmad Ismāʻīl Ḥasan Yāsīn) was a founder of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian paramilitary organization and political party.[2][3][4][5][6] Yassin also served as the spiritual leader of the organization. Hamas gained popularity in Palestinian society by establishing hospitals, education systems, libraries and other services,[7] but it has also claimed responsibility for a number of suicide attacks targeting Israeli civilians, leading to its being characterized by the European Union,[8] Israel,[9] Japan,[10] Canada,[11] and the United States[12] as a terrorist organization.[13][14]

    Yassin, a quadriplegic who was nearly blind, had used a wheelchair since a sporting accident at the age of 12.[15] He was assassinated when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at him as he was being wheeled from early morning prayers.[16] His killing, in an attack that claimed the lives of both his bodyguards and nine bystanders, was widely condemned and many observers suggested that the act would negatively impact the peace process.[16] 200,000 Palestinians attended his funeral procession.[17]

    And he looked like Saruman. Oddly enough, despite the Hamas claims of schoolznhospitals and all that who do you reckon paid for it? The EU did who also classed them as terrorists.

    I’m glad they sent him literally to Hellfire. Him and his pals. He was an outrageous cunt and the fact he had to travel in a spacka chariot doesn’t make him less evil. For he was evil and popular. And that says much about the Palestinian psyche. What do you want your kid to aspire to be? A doctor, a lawyer, a mechanical engineer… or a suicide bomber?

    I support Israel because I support civilization rather than evil. It is that simple.

  8. Uncle Gus says:

    I’m not sure I agree with Bridgitte Gabriel on this, although I have to respect her particular right to an opinion on this issue. It’s odd how people who have suffered outrageously on one side of the conflict become heroes, yet you never hear about the victims on the other side. You’d almost think there were no Christians in the Middle East, or that they never suffered from bigotry.

    Moderate Muslims matter a great deal, just as moderate Germans or Russians did in the last century. They mattered, but they lost. They lost because they didn’t act, and they didn’t act because they didn’t know they had a cause. Easy to popularise the Religion of Cutting People’s Heads Off. Not so easy to popularise moderation.

    I’ve always been contemptuous of the view that we mustn’t be nasty to the terrorists because that is just “recruiting for Al-Qaida”. But there is a danger of not leaving idealogical room for moderate Muslims to stand on. It becomes an “are you still beating your wife” question; do you support ISIS or are you a bad Muslim?

    Of course, it’s difficult when the first thing out of their mouths is of the “why do you hate us?” variety.

    I really wish someone with power and influence was thinking on these lines.

    Actually, I almost forgot my original reason for commenting – that applause at the end. It’s pretty easy to see what the average American is thinking, isn’t it.

  9. John Galt says:

    I don’t know why we’re focussing on Israel, they are but the latest front-line that has been going on since Mo the paedo was raping Aisha. In fact if anything it is a distraction from the main problem which is Muslim infiltration into mainstream western societies.

    Until we recognize that Islam is a philosophy of hate that has no place in Western society – in fact is utterly contrary to it in every way, then we will not turn back the tide of Muslim hatred against us.

    I know that the West has bad form on forcing people to recant under threat of torture or death as this was used against the Jews across medieval Europe (this was the preferred method of the inquisition), but there has to be something said for stronger measures against Islam in the West.

    What people do in Addis Ababa I don’t care, their place, their rules – but when Muslims start carving up members of the Army band on the streets of London, then something must be done, not just against incidents like the murder of Drummer Rigby, but against those that uphold those views and instigate those attacks and if we can’t do it at home then we should bomb them back in their Muslim 3rd world shitholes and SAoT, if their kids get killed, because of the terrorist actions of the father..? FUCKING TOUGH!

    They are prepared to bring terror and violence to our doorstep, then they can expect to get it by return of post (or at least drone) through the roof. Anything else is just appeasement. End of.

  10. Lynne says:

    SAoT. Sorry, but I’m not with you on this one.

  11. RAB says:

    There is no such thing as a Moderate Muslim, there are just Muslims. All the bad shit of the Religion of Peace is in the Book in black and white, the so called Fanatics are not making it up.

    The fact that the majority of Muslims have not picked up a sword or a gun and turned it on us yet, is neither here or there…When push comes to shove, they will. They will have no choice. They are Muslims who believe in a totalitarian philosophy with a magical sky fairy bolted on, and that is a combination that is almost unstoppable.If ultimately they refuse to go along with the Fanatics, they know that the Fanatics will come for them too, along with us.

    The analogy to Nazi Germany is prescient. Most Germans weren’t Nazis, but when the Nazis had seized power there was nothing the could do. Either submit or the nazis would come for them too, just like the Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Commies etc. Besides they were all Germans and a proud Nation, so they all fought for 5 years until their Nation was rubble, Nazis or not.

    The mistake our idiot politicians make is to think that Islam is JUST another religion, it is not, it is a totality that prescribes everything they do from dawn to dusk and while they sleep, and it is completely the antithesis of everything we in the West stand for and believe, and have spent two Millennia or more building up, and yes they wish to destroy us and it, totally.

    And our Pols quietly appease it. We now have the City of London introducing Muslim friendly non usurous investment schemes (sell the pass for a mess of potage eh? you greedy cunts!) Sharia courts are spreading on the sly, The Trojan Horse scandal has been going on for years but has only now been forced into the light, the grooming gangs continue to groom, and what will ultimately be done about it? Nothing!

    Idiots like Bush and Blair thought you could “give” Democracy to barbaric medievalists and suddenly they would get it and everything will be alright again. You cant. The murderous fuckwit from Cardiff and his brother who are doing the recruiting videos for ISIS went to my old school, Cathays High, for fucksakes! He lived in exactly the same place, breahted the same free air and had the same lessons and background as me, but now he wants to kill me, and everybody like me.

    I’m getting old, I hope I never live to see the conflagration that is coming… but it is coming.

  12. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    ” I support civilization rather than mysticism and tyranny”

    So do I. How is dropping a one ton bomb into a residential area to kill Salah Shehade (a total cunt incidentally) which destroys eight houses and offs several very young children civilized?

    It’s not. It’s obviously counter-productive and cyclical. Like I said before, the way to stop this is for either side to simply stop killing. Eve if the Israelis stopped Hamas would lose support and funding. Right now they can say “What else is there?” You are making the mistake of assuming the Israelis to be civilized because of better technology. Both sides are acting like savages.

  13. NickM says:

    SAot, so what precisely do you suggest Israel does against a clear and existential threat?

  14. John Galt says:

    It’s obviously counter-productive and cyclical. Like I said before, the way to stop this is for either side to simply stop killing.

    Nope. It takes two sides to make a peace and they won’t, indeed they can’t even if they wanted to as the very foundations of their dogma preclude it.

    We found out the bitter taste of peace in Northern Ireland, but at least what we have there is better than the mayhem of before and might lead to genuine accord at some point in the future, when both Catholics and protestants in Northern Ireland ask why the walls that divide them are still there.

    Between Islam and the West there can be no peace, for we are (to them) a mockery of everything that they are against, freedom and tolerance against submission and intolerance.

    The West will never be free until the last emir is strangled with the entrails of the last imam.

  15. single acts of tyranny says:

    Nick, it is NOT an existential threat. Hamas can raise hell and kill scores but they cannot make Israel cease to exist. You know this is true.
    As to what to do, a very good question. I would stop fighting and arrest murderers as far as one reasonably could. I would end this right to return bollocks and stop the land snatches, I would give equality before the law, I would prosecute the murderers in the army who have just shot kids jyst as I would seek to prosecute Muslims who kill. Just as I would not demolish the house of an Israeli family whose son was a killer, I would end the demolition of the families of bombers.
    And I would watch Hamas wither and die as the worthless, murdering death cult that they are.
    Terrorist groups can only prosper when they enjoy the tacit support of the populace. Ariel bombardment is tge best recruiting tool Hamas enjoy, equality before the law would kil them.

  16. chrismounsey255780456 says:

    SaoT,

    Your view on the Israeli issue is so pathetically simplistic that I barely know where to start. So, I am not going to.

    I will say this, however: when Israel gave back the Gaza Strip, it took precisely 3 days before rockets were being launched at the centre of the country from that piss-poor piece of land.

    Do you see how a concession was met with violence? I have no time for your opinion, frankly, but I forgive you because it is obviously uttered in ignorance.

    Seriously, there is no treating with Muslims—none. This is not a real politik issue—these people are, from every angle (and most especially a libertarian viewpoint) beyond the fucking pale.

    DK

  17. Paul Marks says:

    Good post Cats.

    As for “Single Acts of Tyranny”.

    I do not agree with what he says (it is both false and offensive), I do not think that (for example) he has a basic understanding of the nature of the populations that follow the teachings and example of Mohammed.

    However, I believe (in fact I am certain) that no evidence or argument will alter SAOT at all.

    So it is pointless to debate with him – or any other person of his type (people who call Israel an “apartheid state” or accuse the IDF of being “cowards” or targeting civilians).

    I wish I was Christian enough to sincerely wish SAOT a long and happy life – but I do not.

    However, I will not harm him and would oppose harm coming to him from any other source.

    I just do not want to have anything to do with him.

    And I am sure the feeling is mutual – which is fair enough.

  18. endivior says:

    I’m not sure that debate is “pointless” here. Interested bystanders such as myself can always learn something, even if the intended interlocutor isn’t interested in doing so (which I have not yet seen any reason to believe). For example, the info on Brigitte Gabriel was enlightening, as well as successfully kicking “shrew” into the long grass.

    I don’t have a problem with admitting that my opinion on the conflicts between Israel and its neighbours is utterly worthless, since I have never been to Israel or any of the surrounding countries, nor have I ever come across a really good reading list or primer on the subject. My knowledge is pretty much wiki-level. Like most people I guess, I just pick up the odd factoid here and there, try to listen to all sides of the question and to make some sense of it all in my own mind.

    However, I do think that SAoT is a bit naive if he thinks that the Israelis could just one day say “OK, let’s have peace”, and everyone else would go “OK, good idea” and Hamas would suddenly get no more recruits and and that would be the end of the conflict. I suspect that he has watched too many Coke adverts. I repeat: debate would not be amiss in such a case. I don’t believe that Coke adverts scar the soul irremediably.

    I also don’t think that “moderate Muslims” are either non-existent or irrelevant. It’s true that basic logic and consistency would require any devout Muslim to embrace the most abhorrent and barbaric beliefs and act on them. This is true. The religión itself is evil, toxic, an insult to humanity, and consistent application of its principles will always lead to violence sooner or later. However, I also think that religious believers, in general, are not generally noted for applying logic or being consistent. Quite the opposite. All major religions require their followers to suspend the rules of logic and to embrace absurdity. For example, the Catholic who believes. as per the góspel. that a thoughtcrime such as a sudden awakening of lust, followed by an unexpected heart attack, will ineluctably result in a temporal eternity spent in a lake of fire, being subjected to unending tortures that make Pinochet’s electrode-wielding goons look like Sisters of Mercy, would in all consistency have to adopt as a precautionary measure a pretty weird lifestyle. possibly involving the physical or chemical neutralization of certain dangerous hormones, which I note hardly any actually seem to do. I conclude from this that following any well known religión, with one or two arguable exceptions of the Oriental variety, requires a kind of permanent doublethink. If it wasn’t for the behavioural wiggle room that most religions tacitly allow their adherents, the world would be a much uglier and more violent place than it already is.

  19. NickM says:

    JRRT posed the question and the answer, What shall men do against such reckless hate?” King Theoden, take a bow!

  20. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Chris M – disagree with me by all means but you verge on ad hominem, never good. As to the “no treating with Muslims” stuff. I am prepared to bet I treat with a lot more of ‘em on a personal basis than you. How many did you try to treat with last week, last month? I find the idea that you can kill your way out of trouble with a death cult unpersuasive.

    Paul M – disagree with me certainly. Say where you think I am wrong, but I don’t care if the views offend you. That is not an argument, it is an attempt to shut down the argument. Perhaps if you knew I had extensive familial connections with lots of Muslim people (none of who want to harm you or I), perhaps if you knew I’ve traveled widely through the middle east, you might realize I do have an understanding of the culture and history. A first hand one not one given by corporate media feeding me bullshit.

    Engage the points; in what way is law that discriminates between people of the basis of ethnicity and religion NOT aparteid? In what way is sitting in the safety of an F-16 cockpit dropping tons of explosives on kids NOT cowardly? (Just as firing bottle rockets is cowardly). Don’t simply declare me beyond reason before you try reason.

    By the way, the feeling is not mutual, for what its worth, I do wish you a long and happy life, without any religious reason or prompting.

    Endivior – you are right, it wouldn’t end directly or even quickly if Israel stopped. It would carry on for years, but eventually, if the Palestinians had equal treatment before the law, the nihilists would lose popular support. History teaches us that terror groups that enjoy support in their community are hard to beat, but deprive them of that support, you eventually beat them. Sun Tzu tells us you must do what your enemy wants least. What do you think Hamas want least? Their fellow countrymen getting rich and being treated fairly by the Israelis. They know the very best recruiting tool is repeated killing of their brothers and sisters and humiliating the people daily. Again, do what the enemy least wants, don’t imagine you can kill our way out of an argument with a death cult. Mitt Romney (sic) gets this. Really, what is the end game of the current stalemate? there isn’t one, its just more killing for years to come. It;s not the archaic coke advert, it’s hard, calculating real politik.

    Similarly if the dopey Palestinians stopped, the world couldn’t ignore them for ever and aparteid Israel would go the way of aparteid South Africa. The irony is for both sides, the winning move is to stop.

    Nick M – You have me baffled, I don’t know LotR.

    Islam is a religion with a massive problem. There has been no official reformation and so they remain officially, literalists. Spinoza, Martin Luther, they got this and moved parts of their religions away from self-immolation. Pretty much every Muslim person I know seems to have personally concluded that the whole “no pork” stuff was probably smart in an era before refrigeration, but a bit pointless now. But the official religions, in public at least, haven’t. Thus we need to know the enemy. To know one’s enemy is to be on the path to defeating him. Many of ‘em are superstitious, religious quacks. The trick is to isolate these people, not gift them the role of official opposition.

    When dealing with official Islam today, it’s a lot like dealing with early Tudor England, in that they are a murderous, bloodthirsty bunch of religious literalists. This generation is beyond redemption, but by not massacring them, the next one can end all of this.

    Sorry if that offends anyone and like anyone else, I could be wrong, but I do know that more F-16 strikes will most certainly, fail, just as more bottle rockets will also fail.

  21. endivior says:

    I don’t know a lot of Muslims, and feel I have to take this ignorance into my calculations. Anecdotally, the Moroccan guy who once, years ago in Spain, tried to teach me basic Arabic, claimed to be a Muslim but also admitted he couldn’t give a monkey’s if the meat in the tapas was halal or not, or which exact animal it came from. He was also partial to a good Rioja, and quick to admit that the Arab countries were chock full of corrupt despots (presumably one reason he went to live in Spain). None of this surprised me, since I come from a Catholic background and still have fond memories of Father MacDermott going a-courtin’ in his little Citroën. Religions make it so hard for anyone to be fully observant that most sensible people don’t even try. They just go through the motions and find discreet places to buy their condoms at. The case of Islam may be somewhat different in that “the motions” seems to be all there is. Unlike Jehovah, Allah doesn’t seem to give a flying fuck about thoughtcrimes such as Doubt and Lust and Envy, provided you say all the prayers at the right times facing the right way in the right position. I may be wrong about this. If it’s true, though, then we have a religión that’s relatively easy to earn a pass in, if you own a watch and a compass. However, this may mean that a lot of the people who say they are Muslims are really only saying “I was brought up to perform various senseless, ridiculous but ultimately harmless actions, and to talk various sorts of gobbledegook, at various times of day, and find it easier to go on doing all this pointless stuff than to end up having furious rows with family, friends and the local bearded busybody who thinks my kitchen is public property.”

    I think such people may have more difficulty in accepting orders from the local bearded busybody to go murdering people. There are historical precedents for a critical mass of ordinary people going “er, hang on a minute, I didn’t sign up for that”. Look at Kronstadt for example. OK, they failed but they did try, and they got a NEP out of it.

    Because I don’t think all Muslims are fanatical, hate-filled loonies, I would tend to go along with SAoT’s subsidiary point that drawing big circles on a map, scrawling “Barbarians” on them and then blowing them up is not a very humane or enlightened policy.

    However, if we’re talking F-16 strikes, I don’t know if you can say that they have all failed up to now. As far as I know, their aim was never to bring about World Peace but simply to save a greater number of lives than those that were lost, as per the Trolley Problem. My own personal morality forbids this kind of utilitarian approach, but I do not think those who espouse it are evil. The operative word here is “personal”. And as I say, what I don’t know about the entire situation and history behind these strikes could doubtless fill several libraries.

  22. CountingCats says:

    Come on people. I disagree with SAoT deeply, but what is it with the ad homs?

    One of out own suddenly becomes a target of abuse because they hold a view others don’t agree with?

    We are better than that.

    As for Brigitte Gabriel, I think she does sound like a shrew, but that is to do with the timbre of her voice, not what she has to say.

    I listened to the audio versions of a couple of her books, read by her, and while I was interested in what she said her voice annoyed the hell out of me.

  23. CountingCats says:

    “All major religions require their followers to suspend the rules of logic and to embrace absurdity.”

    No they don’t.

    It may be that the starting premise is fantastical, but it is then possible to proceed by following strictly logical arguments. The Jesuits are masters at this.

  24. CountingCats says:

    SAoT

    There has been no official reformation and so they remain officially, literalists.

    This is the mistake many people make. The Reformation was about reviving literalism and going back to the fundamentals (fundamentalism) within Christianity, and Islam has had one. Or it has had something similar.

    Although Islam was always pretty literalist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached a return to the principles of the original Companions of Muhammed, making Salafism pretty much the closest thing Islam could get to a reformation.

    The Reformation didn’t make things all sweetness and light you know.

  25. endivior says:

    “It may be that the starting premise is fantastical, but it is then possible to proceed by following strictly logical arguments. The Jesuits are masters at this.”

    The Jesuits are indeed masters of, I won’t say logic, but casuistry, granted, My point was with reference to what you call the “starting premise”, which tends to be legion.

    In the case of Catholicism, among many “starting premises” we have the idea that a one-member set may also be simultaneously a three-member set; the idea that something made of flour and wáter may turn into something made of bone and flesh in an instant, subject to the utterance of certain words in the vicinity of said object, and without any detectable chemical process being involved: the idea that a manufacturing defect present in an entire production lot may be fixed by nailing one ítem from said production lot to a tree (Toyota should be informed of this); the idea that women who have never had sex can produce better offspring than women who have; the idea that of two people guilty of an identical crime, the one who has certain Holy Words said to him by a Qualified Practitioner deserves an eternity of bliss while the other deserves an eternity of torture and unspeakable horror; etc. I could go on. I grew up with all this stuff.

    But actually in fairness this wasn’t my real point at all. My point was that religions – the ones I’m familiar with – tend to hold up a well-nigh unattainable ideal of sanctity while actually tolerating a great deal of unsaintliness in their followers. This I think is a necessary mechanism for survival and propagation of the religious memes. Even without St Dominic and the Siege of Montsegur, the Cathars were never really a viable concern, since they made it too hard to be one. Christianity and Islam in particular make it fairly easy to be a card-carrying member. In Ecuador there has been some discussion lately among the condescendí, regarding the fact that the Catholic Church claims as members everyone who has had wáter sprinkled on their head as a baby, while ignoring as irrelevant whether said sprinklees actually want to be classed as members: hence the recommendation, loudly touted but acted on by few, to apply for removal from the Vatican’s imaginary database by some legalistic process of formal apostasy. But that’s by the by.

    My question is whether a religion can become so accommodating of heterodox beliefs that it is possible to be a nominal member purely for reasons of social conformity, without actually believing in anything much. This would appear to be true re: Christianity. With Islam your guess is probably better than mine.

  26. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    “This is the mistake many people make. The Reformation was about reviving literalism and going back to the fundamentals (fundamentalism) within Christianity”

    That’s a pretty fair comment.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: