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First Amendment

That is from the newly re-instated yet still utterly reprehensible Islamic Awakening forum where they think it hilarious. I found it very disturbing. Brainwashed? Like all that rocking back and forward in the madrassah reciting the Qu’ran endlessly isn’t just that very thing? There are certain areas of science the Muslims got to before the West. That aspect of psychology is definitely one. The association of words with a specific physical movement is astonishingly effective, when repeated, at imprinting ideas. Hence rosary beads and all the rest. So maybe they didn’t quite get there first exactly but they did get there in spades.

How else would any family decide to kill their daughter unless they were the Manson Family?

I would not be surprised if this happened in the UK. I am shocked at it happening in the USA. It could, as the IA mob seem to suggest, be a put-up job but that girl looked genuinely scared to me so by any stretch it is not something to find amusement in. I don’t care about religion myself but I care deeply about religious freedom and a 17 year old is mature enough to form her own ideas. By the time she is 27 or 37 those ideas might be different. That happens a lot too.

My favourite of Aesop’s Fables is this one. The Sun and the Wind had a bet over whether they could get this guy to get his coat off. Well, the Wind went first and blew and blew and he merely wrapped it around himself tighter. The Sun then turned the thermostat up. And after a while of course he took his coat off.

I read that as a very small kid and it stuck.

I have no time for religions that base their attraction on fear rather than love.

PS Note that Islamic Awakening Forums use the same Orwell quote as a tagline as does Harry’s Place. That is their only similarity.


  1. El Draque says:

    It does happen in Britain. There is said to be an underground church consisting solely of ex-Moslems. Possibly exaggerated, but it rings true.
    Ref religion & fear:
    We have moved on a bit, though.
    In the mediaeval church, it was taught that the human mind could not invent a torment that did not exist in hell.
    So any psycho could devise a torture and say – without lying – that it was a description of eternal punishment.
    Hence the paintings of Bosch.
    One deranged monk in South America went further and added sound effects. He burned cats and dogs in ovens and told the listeners that it was the sound of unbaptised children.
    No wonder so many Christians love Jesus and are suspicious of the church . . . .

  2. Nick M says:

    Oddly enough ED I just watched the episode of the first series of Blackadder with the Witch Smeller Pursuivant in it. Yes we have moved on a tad!

    I just wish those ME fuckers would get with the programme. They were still in 2008 executing people in Shoddy Absurdia for “sorcery”. They were probs poor sods who said something like, “I hope your poorly little cat gets better soon” and were shopped to the religious police because, and this is the kicker, they would have been scrobbled because it got better or because it died equally.

    I haven’t met a Christian like that ever. Well, the Nottingham Uni Christian Union came close but they were utter arses. The Christians (of all stripes) I knew there tended to avoid them.

    They held a candle-lit vigil to protest the various Halloween parties on campus. I spent the evening drinking with my pal Phil who was VP of the Catholic society and flirting with an attractive bird dressed as a devil. Yeah, I know (and knew) it wasn’t going anywhere but the horns, those stockings and the tail… Harmless flirting. In anycase I was hoping the bird I wished to become my squeeze was gonna turn-up.

    It was just fun. ED, I have met a great many Christians who had a sense of humour and fun. And a few who are about as hilarious as bowel surgery. But I suspect that wasn’t their faith as much as the fact that some people just are twats regardless of their faith or lack of. Certainly the percentage of humourless gits seems pretty regular throughout faith groups. With the exception of the radical Marxist left who are about as amusing as having a leg amputated in a field hospital during the battle of Stalingrad.

  3. Paul Marks says:

    You should not be shocked by it happening in the United States – much of America is just as rotten with mulitculturalism and preverted “liberalism” as the rest of the West is. Such things can not stand (do not even try to stand) against a powerful force like Islam.

    Nor is it recent – after all Christianity was driven out of the government schools way back, starting at the end of the 1940′s (Supreme Court judgement pushed for by an anti Catholic bigot on the Court – it did not enter his small mind that a judgements against Catholics would also be used against Protestants), yet Christians and Jews were still made to pay taxes to support schools that not only no longer taught about God but increasing mocked those who believed in Him. I do not believe in tax supported religious schools – but I do not believe in tax supported “secular humanist” schools either.

    Athiests please note – the public schools do NOT mock Allah or Mohammed. “Liberals” or Progressives will only mock those people who will not KILL them – that is why “multiculturalism” (and so on) are in no way a force to be feared by Islam.

    Today Christianity (and traditional forms of Judaism) are openly attacked in the public schools and in the “mainstream” media – as are traditional Western values even when they are not religious ones at all. For example the Kinsey Report (again way back in the 1940′s) used phony statistics to try and undermine the family (not speculation – that was Dr Kinsey’s intention, he had a certain life style and he rigged the findings of his “studies” to try and make it appear that his life style was “normal” in the hopes that this would help bring forward the day when his life style really was normal).

    To the collectivists the family is a mortal enemy (as our all the institutions of civil society) – as it stands between the individual and the collective state (the “it takes a village to raise a child”). So of course they do all they can to undermine it – and the media and education system are enlisted in this cause.

    “What has the above got to do with Islam” – the law of unintended consequences. By undermining the West the “liberals” have opened the door, not for the Marxist collective they crave, but for Islam instead.

    When a Christian uses aggressive violence and disgusting cruelty (and sadly many Christians have) he betrays both the message of the Gospels and the life of Jesus – but when a Muslim uses violence and perverted cruelty….. well look at the life of Mohammed.

    The “liberals” did not start off strong in numbers and they are no heros (indeed they are terrible cowards). Back in the 1950′s conservative Christian Americans could have utterly crushed the liberals without even breaking a sweat – but the liberals played on the message of Christianity itself, they shamed the Christians (and athiest conservatives – still influenced by Christian ethics) into generally not using violence against them “if you kill us, you are not doing what Jesus would want you to do” was the message.

    The line “if you kill us you are not doing what Mohammed would want you to do” will not work. So the liberals have no response to Muslims in Minnesota (and other States) joining up to join the war in Somalia or anywhere else.

    And they would have no response to those Muslims turning on them at home in the United States itself – other than to try and find conservative Americans (Christians, Jews or athiests) to cry out “help, help, save us!” to. With the unspoken bit at the end that goes “and if you do succeed in saving our lives we will then prosecute you for human rights abuses”.

    Liberalism or Progressivism is a movement of parasites – they depend on a conservative nation to defend them against external and internal threats (and to feed them and clothe them – via private enterprise) yet they do everything they can to undermine that conservative nation, including brain washing the children via the education system.

    If Islam did not destroy them then something else would – parasites can not live after they have killed the host.

  4. NickM says:

    Wow Paul!
    That’s quite a comment.

    You are right about Islam and the proggies (I’m taking the word “liberal” back one post at a time).

    A couple of years back someone, somewhere on the ‘net pointed out an interesting fact. The BBC website had a load of stuff on the back-burner so to speak on the topic of religions. Sort of God in bullet-points. On Christianity it had a lot of phrases like “Christians believe” but on Islam it was all stated as fact.

    I agree with you on the war against families. I’m from the NE and I remember the horrors of the Cleveland child-abuse fiasco.

    But… I do believe it takes a village to raise a child. I believe though it takes the villagers and not the parish council if that makes any sense. Where I live now I can interact with the kids – they ask to play in the garden and stuff like that. In Manchester… If I found a distraught child in the street I’d get filled-in for making my own intervention and asking her where her mummy was. They would assume I was a peadophile. It’s toxic. It is the deliberate destruction of civil society. Of neighbours looking out for each other and friends looking after each other’s kids and all that.

    As to the USA… Phil at RNS picked up on the ludicrous child-care story I posted on and topped it with a worse one from America. I found out after I posted that the ladies in question were cops so them needing to be CRB checked for child-minding is beyond any normal human comprehension. Oddly enough I’ve been reading a book about Eastern-block jokes and a theme in it is that those countries travelled from tyranny to something close to farcicality.

    “and to feed them and clothe them – via private enterprise”

    You read my fisking of the latest insanity from Polly? She states that the most valuable and needed things in life are all from the state. She ignores real basics like food and clothes. She is thoroughly demented. If a dog was as sick as that you’d call James Herriott and he’d call it a mercy.

    There is nowhere left to run so all we can do is stand and fight. Or blog.

  5. El Draque says:

    Nick – I’ve long agreed with you that there obnoxious or priggish Christians because they are respectively obnoxious or priggish, and would be whatever the ideology. Their character remains as it was, maybe softened or hardened round the edges.
    You also meet the dedicated Christian who just lacks a little bit of empathy.
    And you have the feeling that he (or she) could do with a good randy affair, a thumping good shag, to bring them down to earth.
    Can’t really recommend it as a therapy though.
    Oddity of the Bible – Adam and Eve do not have names until after they sinned. Until then they are “the man” and “the woman”.
    Rabbinic commentary says this means that until people sin, they are not really human.
    Then they have to recognise it, and try not to, but not to forget it either. Humilty is all.

  6. El Draque says:

    Nick – I’ve long agreed with you that there obnoxious or priggish Christians because they are respectively obnoxious or priggish, and would be whatever the ideology. Their character remains as it was, maybe softened or hardened round the edges.
    You also meet the dedicated Christian who just lacks a little bit of empathy.
    And you have the feeling that he (or she) could do with a good randy affair, a thumping good shag, to bring them down to earth.
    Can’t really recommend it as a therapy though.
    Oddity of the Bible – Adam and Eve do not have names until after they sinned. Until then they are “the man” and “the woman”.
    Rabbinic commentary says this means that until people sin, they are not really human.
    Then they have to recognise it, and try not to, but not to forget it either. Humility is all.

  7. NickM says:

    Humility is all (I am afterall by training am an astrophysicist and that means I look at stuff I know I shall never touch) and personal responsibility is all as well. As a libertarian and all that is obvious…

    I see it, the belief in it, as the ulitmate guarantee of human freedom. And by freedom I mean real freedom – not do whatever the fuck you like “freedom” because that is always backed up by the state or sometimes no one. So you screwed the entire first team of Ipswich Town (a grim ordeal by any stretch) says the NHS doctor and got the clap… And the reserves, and the under 21s says her. Well who is to blame for that?

    ED, I have met, as you must know, being a long term reader and much valued commentator, some Christians who are wonderful people. As a christian I bet you’ve had the same experience.

    Can you do me a favour ED? I’m really interested in an in depth look at Genesis. Can you recommend me a book?

  8. berenike says:

    Re repeating prayers – fraid the Christians got there first too – viz. the “Jesus prayer”.

  9. berenike says:

    Re Genesis commentary – try St Augustine’s “De Genesi ad Litteram”, if not from cover to cover at least “dip and skim”.

    Ratzinger had some good sermons on the creation accounts.

    I don’t know how in depth you want. The Navarre commentaries on Scripture are very good, and have excellent and reliable essays covering various questions related to the whole Bible or parts thereof, though the commentary part itself might not be what you are after. Try a library to see if they have the Pentateuch volume. The series is designed to be useful for the intelligent amateur, and is useful (whether by design or not) for undergrads.

    I can’t find my reading lists from my own happy undergraduate theology days.

    A Random Passer-by.

  10. NickM says:

    Thanks berenike, and please return.

    Actually what I’m really interested in is…

    (a) Did God intend Adam and Eve to rebel?

    (b) The peculiar insight about giving birth in pain and linking that too knowledge. This is born (!) out by evolutionary biology. Basically the human brain and therefore head evolved faster than the pelvis.

    (c) In the beginning was the word. Not Genesis I know but clearly related. I’m curious about that one because I wonder how it might relate to John Wheeler’s “It from the Bit” interpretation of Q-Mech.

    I have questions that two Christians I have dated, a former Christian I am married to and a theology student I dated didn’t answer fully.

    Any help gratefully appreciated.

  11. El Draque says:

    Nick, too much for a short comment.
    Don’t know about the “It from the Bit” but I have learned much from keeping an eye on insights from physics, mainly that there is so much not yet known.
    As for the “rebellion”. Some say it was impossible for them not to be tempted, weak beings they were. Some fundamentalists say they could have avoided it and all the human race would live in bliss. I don’t see that at all.
    They are archetypes, not individuals.
    It’s a portrayal of the human condition – we are weak and fallible, and it’s a hard, tough world to live in. Genesis tries to give us a myth to live by, and creationists who read it as history miss so much.
    It’s more important than setting a date. The first word in the Bible is Hebrew Bereshit, and it doesn’t mean “in the beginning”. It means more like, “in the first place . . .”.
    So, the most important thing is to acknowledge that God created Heaven and Earth. from that, all else follows.

  12. NickM says:

    Thanks ED.

    The way I see it is basically as Douglas Adams (I think) put it life is a bet at odds that you wouldn’t take.

    Read up on Q Mech. It is profound. I had a sort of road to Damascus experience in lecture theatre B1, Nottingham in 1995.

  13. berenike says:

    So not Genesis, but a couple of questions about the fall, really?

    Er, okay, but not right away.

    Of course the two are related (John 1:1 and Gen 1) :-)

    back at some point :-)

  14. berenike says:

    Nick: Here is something. I don’t write enough, tend to leave out large parts of my though process, can’t correct my own stuff without taking at least a day’s break, and find it hard to judge what will convey to my interscriber the point I am trying to convey. So bear in mind that I may have completely failed to say what I meant to say :-)

    1) Did God intend Adam and Eve to rebel? Rebellion against God = bad. God never wills evil. Therefore, God did not intend Adam and Eve to rebel/sin.

    Easy. Was that what you meant, or was there more to the question? :-)

    2) The peculiar insight about giving birth in pain and linking that to knowledge. This is born (!) out by evolutionary biology. Basically the human brain and therefore head evolved faster than the pelvis.

    Well, it seems to me you are assuming that Gen 3 is not in some way an account of what happened (however the author came to know of it) but a literary/poetic picturing of something about which he had come to have an understanding, that knowledge is in some way the cause of childbirth being painful for women, that possessing knowledge is a cause of larger brain size, and that the kind of knowledge the tree was a tree of, is the kind that causes larger brain size.

    To me there isn’t much to say about this except “oh look, cool “echo””. For many reasons. Some of them are the reasons I suggested the books I did in my first comment, and are connected with the difficulty of reading a text as old as Genesis. It is a very difficult text for us to read. It is much more difficult if you are asking questions it wasn’t written to answer. It takes some time to learn to step back from it, to realise how difficult it is to formulate the question for the answer we want to get. And often the text cannot give us that answer. After all, it says nothing about whether or not God intended Adam and Eve to sin – or rather, it does, but it will not provide an answer acceptable to a peer-reviewed journal of analytical philosophy to the answer “How could an omniscient omnipotent God create beings that would sin, and still be a good God, if sin is not good?”. About the first thing that struck me on reading your comment a few days ago was that Gen 3 does not “link” knowledge and pain in childbirth – it links disobedience to God and pain in childbirth. That is, a bad thing follows from a bad thing.

    On the historico-archaelogical front: we don’t know when when Adam and Eve, the fall, etc. happened. Even if you decide you have an entirely reliable evolutionary scheme and chronology with which to work, you wouldn’t know where along it they would come.* I (and lots of people dead and alive, this is not some pet theory of mine) would say they would have to come in when the first rational animal appears. And I could argue about why this must be so. But nothing I would say would enable anyone to determine where along our putative line rationality appears. In any case, you might not accept my understanding of rationality, or of what it means to be human. And who would decide how we define rationality in order to spot it? And once in the philosophical mess, why should an increase in brain size be the result of gaining knowledge? Wouldn’t the brain have to grow first? You’d think then that “an insight” would be expressed in some story in which bad stuff happens and from it the people learn something or other.
    In considering what to write, I was thinking about the kinds of knowledge. Some are bad – for example, experiential knowledge of murder. And if one thought of knowledge as intelligence (I’m speaking loosely here) and assumed some causal connection with brain size, still, Gen 3 speaks of the knowledge of good and evil, which I cannot see in any way corresponding to intelligence/brain power, if you like.

    Ekcetra. So either all one can say is “cool, a sort of reflection. Nice one.”, or an awful lot, very carefully, involving exegesis of a very difficult text, philosophy of mind, history, archeology, …and the methodological expertise to work correctly within each of these disciplines and then judge the significance of their various conclusions for the question you have in mind. Indeed, to work out what the question might actually be.

    [*People are understandably fascinated by the question (see, e.g., this sort-of related post and its comments of varying sensibleness. And here's one touching on difficulties in reading the books of the Bible.]

    3) Never heard of John Wheeler, “it from the bit” or Q-mech, but you would need to start with a philosopher not a theologian. Of philosopher-physicists who know theology, try Andrew Pinsent ( or Michał Heller ( – the former might be able to suggest something for you to read, the latter ditto, or may have something published. That is, the latter does have things published concerning physics and philosophy which I think you would find enlightening, but I don’t know what’s out there in English. I don’t know if he mentions Q-mech :-)

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