OK, the gloves have to come off.
The Believers get my unending deference and respect. I grew up with the finest people in the world living "Christian" lives of great kindness and principle; they were worthy of their Lord, Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, I will be an apologist for the Religious every time, having studied the Atheists who seized power -- Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro. These non-believers have killed more and ruined more lives single-handedly than any historical identifable group of Rabbis, Priests, Preachers, Mullahs or Monks did collectively.
Of course, there is that minor detail: There is no actual God.
There is no historical evidence of a "spiritual" existence. No "chosen people", no Thunder God transmitting Ten Commandments to any Moses, no Christ redeeming anyone, no Prophet predicting anything, no vibration, no transmutation of no soul, no re-birth in another Lama.
Why mention this now?
Because the Fundamentalists are telling us they want to kill everyone. It is simply WHAT they are all saying. The Christian Fundamentalists have been talking this way for many years: Armageddon, the Rapture, Apocalypse. Fortunately, after the Huns and Vikings and Janissaries calmed down, the over-reading and over-reaching of the Church Militant also took a rest. And the whole Renaissance and New World opportunity provided venues for Science and Artistic endeavors. Believers stopped killing eachother for their beliefs. It stopped being "OK" to make other people die for their beliefs. It became OK not to kill everyone.
Now, Fundamentalism has once again emerged, dripping with blood. Islam is being used by those who claim to be its adherents as a means of stealing from the weak or uninformed.
Curiously, there is not a single publicly recognized Religion thriving today which was founded by a person who ever required his or her apostles to kill Non-Believers. For starters, Moses (an Egyptian married to an Arab woman) did require Joshua to kill Philistines (other Semites), but not because they were Non-believers. And the abundant and relatively recent archeology of Egypt and Judea clearly shows no evidence of erstwhile slaves rising out of Egypt and slaughtering Canaanites. Most of the origin legends developed by the world's tribes just never happened.
Jesus Christ taught and embodied kindness, the exact opposite of slaughter and militance. There is no physical or documentary evidence such a man or god-man existed. His cult first began teaching universal love approximately 100 to 200 years after all of his "disciples" were dead. No "original" Gospels or Letters of St Paul have ever been found. Note: "The God Who Wasn't There", puts the facts about the figure of Christ into perspective: http://www.thegodmovie.com/trailer.php.
There is no physical evidence that a man named "Buddha" ever existed. There is no School where he taught, no house in which he lived, no text he ever wrote.
Mohamed is one of the few "historical" figures now associated with a Religion. However, like Socrates, Jesus, and Buddha, he wrote nothing and was probably illiterate. The earliest copies of the Koran are clearly Arabic translations of Syriac/Chaldean Christian teaching texts. Mohamed never mentioned starting a Religion.
Another great and genuine historical religious figure is the Founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Joseph Smith. While Smith clearly existed, and is clearly the source of the Book of Mormon, for its part, the Book is not a "history". It is not what it claims to be -- dictated by an angel, translated by two rocks, composing a history of the lost tribes of Israel. There is no historical evidence of the "tribes" described in the Book.
Again, we are fortunate to live in a period of time when the Believers have generally calmed down. Yet, the exceptions are significant. There are trends. A cadre of pirates took over America and pillaged its treasure and sent 4000 of its finest warriors to their deaths, IN THE NAME OF RELIGION. The cost of THREE TRILLION is not insignificant. The election of Bush-Cheney was not a harmless swing to the "right". It was a wholesale rout of the treasury and resources which would otherwise have been available to enable free citizens to defend themselves and insure the survival of civilization, a matter now in doubt.
The other great danger is Islam. The last great expansion of Islam was the largely peaceful sweep through Indonesia all the way to the Philipines. Learning nothing from this historical success, the present expansionists of this most graceful of Religions, ardently demand bloodshed. Unarmed men, women, and children are the almost exclusive targets of this form of Fundamentalism. Ironically, most of the people being killed by Islam's Martyrs are other Islamic "believers".
Islam today is not "expanding" at all. The "ideas" of the Koran are not taught in schools, since as a text it is completely confusing -- the most learned scholars disagree about what it means. No one can "convert" to Islam since it is impossible to agree on its principles. No one can claim to understand the Koran in any language. It was first written in Syriac, a language now extinct. Scholars do not actually agree on WHAT the Koran should be -- various texts having been compiled from the teaching workbooks of Chaldean Christians and from collected battle lore inscribed on pieces of bark about 200 years after Mohammed, and ALL of his wives and apostles, were dead.
It is of course true that Arabs are reproducing. Inhabitants of desert regions are raising large families as a result of wholesale adoption of "Western" medicine coupled with prosperity accrued from oil extraction. Since their desert homelands cannot support large populations, these desert people are leaving their homelands.
Islamic religious practices are appearing in the West because Arabs, desert peoples, and Turks are appearing in Europe; they simply bring their Beliefs with them. These great people are the migrators of the 21st century -- enabled by oil wealth and an infant survival rate not previously enjoyed by their Bedouin grandparents.
In the Sudan, and in other large regions of Africa from the Horn to the Gold Coast, the expanding Arabs are slaughtering other tribes who occupy land they want. The fact that the murdered villagers also practice Islam does not give pause to the invaders. Thus, it is not Islam which is expanding, it is the over-populated Arabs who have chosen to leave their homelands to take over the homes of other tribes.
It is time to stop giving religious fanatics a free pass. Stop calling killers "religious". They cannot, cannot, can not, be "martyrs" in any sense.
And stop honoring those who enable murderers and thieves to claim a Religion.
No one is "religious" who fails to separate themselves from thieves and murderers. There is no hijab, no religious artifact, with any sanctity which survives the stain of blood. There is no "modesty" among those who kill others for their property.
No one can kill another human being in the Name of Islam. Call it what it really is: Murder, Theft. There are people who want to plunder what little other people have, and they do it in the name of the Holy. Such pillage is of course, utter blasphemy: It is proof of the non-existence of Allah, that a Mullah would be permitted to exhort one of Allah's creations to murder any other of Allah's creations.
Who kills what Allah has enlivened?
Who usurps what Allah gave to another?
These are not questions. What appear to be two simple questions, are indictments against murderers and thieves. They are explosives. These words are the road-side bombs that accompany every murdering mullah and martyr to the Heaven that is Not There, and the Hell that is.
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.