People criticise Christians for saying atheism is a religion, set of dogmas or a belief. Atheism is indeed a belief. Saying it isn’t is mere denial of the obvious reality. If I do not know whether a cat in a box is alive or dead, it is not a question of it being both, it is a question of which of these alternatives you believe. One will prove to be correct, but up to that point, both believe. The one who says the cat is dead is not able to say he has fact on his side in view of the absence of evidence of life. The cat is in the box.
If God means, as He tells us He does, to save a people based on their choice in faith and love, then forcing them into faith by parading himself means that the criteria would not work and we would be forced back onto works salvation. In such a case we would need to be good, and there obviously is a problem with being good. I can’t do it and neither can you. That’s why the whole world from Creation onwards contains a structure whereby we may in good conscience believe that the Creator came into Creation to take the punishment so that we could be forgiven based on belief, and so does the Bible. The Bible contains things which invite you to either dismiss it in scorn or to try to see things through the eyes of God. We are told truth in a way that the proud will find it only too easy to reject, while at the same time they readily absorb the lies of the world, from abiogenesis through to the idea that Satan is not controlling politics. The faithful on the other hand find it easy to believe God’s word, and are ultra skeptical about the lies of the world.
So both are belief systems. One is a belief system whose proponents know or ought to know is a belief system, the other is a belief system many of whose proponents think is honest science.
Dr Jones, the Florida Pentecostalist Pastor who is portrayed – maybe correctly – in the media as a man who has bit off more than he can chew by organising a bonfire of 200 Korans/Qur’ans in a field next to his church, yesterday backed off his plan and cancelled the “koranflagration” as it has been entitled, having been called up by some bigwig Chief-of-Staff in the Pentagram, er, -gon.
He stated that he had made a deal with the local imams related to the ground zero Mosque in New York. However the Imam responsible for that particular mosque, whose name is Imam Rauf called the deal off within minutes, pretty much showing that the Florida Imam had been practising that noted pillar of Islam known as Taqiyya, which being translated is ” you’re allowed to lie to non-Muslims if it helps you or any other Muslims along, and in fact lying is even obligatory and not optional for a good Muslim if it’ll help save your skin from a kafir”. This certainly puts the Judaeo-Christian tradition of ” thou shalt not commit false testimony” and being willing to die for truth somewhat at a logistical disadvantage, especially as we seem to have a disease in our tradition of interpreting Islam through our own eyes, and assuming that it means something roughly similar to what things in the Judaeo-Christian tradition mean, when in fact it is pretty much wired around a completely different set of ideas, whenever you might say about the philological similarities. There is no similarity between light and darkness, and there is no similarity between faiths of freedom and enlightenment and the ones of enslavement, bullying and cowardly deception.
Nevertheless burning has not been called off even though it seems fairly apparent that whoever Dr Jones meets in New York today, he may as well be spending today in contemplation with Imam Bayildi. This is likely to be the fact that very few people in high positions of authority gave him any support, whereas all the great and the good, and obviously I use that term very loosely, seemed to be queueing up to either condemn him outright all reason with him to stop his planned action. Read the rest of this entry
Response to Father Christopher Howse’s article in the Telegraph on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
I am pleased to see someone underlining the risk of spiritual pride that a pure works-religion thing like a pilgrimage can bring. If my understanding is not wrong, pilgrimages started in Spain after the moors got cleared out and the common people needed to be appeased as that was one thing they had appreciated under Islam – a bit like the way in East Europe newly westernised states keep the communist holidays but rename them, as the communists did previously in some cases to the religious ones. The charm of pilgrimage in the mediaeval times was that it was the one time the feudal system was cast aside, and both serf and master would tread a road together. Relieved from their onerous chores and welcomed with refreshments along the way, the medieval pilgrimage was the nearest thing they had to the company outing, and the fashion spread out across the Catholic world from Spain. Read the rest of this entry