Geloof en onderzoek: Schepping, intelligent design, evolutie (5) De atheïstische fundamentalist

De ‘overbodige’ God

Een opmerkelijk verschijnsel in de wetenschap is dat je zelfs daar af en toe op een duidelijke vorm van fundamentalisme kunt stuiten. Nu is dat karakteristiek voor mensen in het algemeen, dus ook voor (bepaalde) wetenschappers.

Sinds de ‘Verlichting’ is men alle vormen van godsdienst gaan zien als vormen van onderdrukking van de mens, die daarvan ‘bevrijd’ moest worden. En de nieuw verworven wetenschappelijke inzichten werden in dienst gesteld van dit streven: kennis zou de mens vrij maken.

Allerlei natuurverschijnselen, ooit toegeschreven aan ‘de hand van God’, kon men nu wetenschappelijk verklaren. En men nam optimistisch aan dat op den duur alles zo verklaard zou worden. God werd voor de verklaring van dit soort zaken dus meer en meer ‘overbodig’ en schoof daarom steeds meer naar de achtergrond. Aan het eind van dat proces zou je Hem dan zonder bezwaar kunnen ‘afschaffen’.

Ik wil er hier met nadruk op wijzen, dat voortgang in de wetenschap niet noodzakelijk leidt tot de conclusie dat God niet bestaat; de wetenschap werd alleen in dienst gesteld van een streven die conclusie te bereiken en te onderbouwen. Anders gezegd: wetenschap leidt niet tot atheïsme, maar het atheïsme begon de wetenschap te gebruiken voor haar eigen specifieke doeleinden.

Het failliet van een idee

Dat ‘overbodig maken van God’ lag echter vooral in het verklaren van de natuur. Maar er is meer, zoals bijvoorbeeld alle ethische kwesties.Daarom begon het humanisme de gedachte te ontwikkelen dat de mens van nature goed is, want als ethiek niet van de godsdienst komt, moet het ergens anders vandaan komen. Om dat aannemelijk te maken, werd erop gewezen dat oorlogen altijd werden veroorzaakt door de godsdienst. Dus:

schaf godsdienst af en je hebt geen oorlog meer.

Nu werden veel oorlogen inderdaad godsdienstig gemotiveerd, maar daarom nog niet door die godsdienst veroorzaakt. Maar vooral het marxisme heeft deze gedachte innig omhelsd. En omdat de mens nu eenmaal niet weet wat goed voor hem is, werd het atheïsme desnoods met geweld afgedwongen. Inmiddels zijn we enkele wereldoorlogen en een paar fascistische en stalinistische regimes verder, en het failliet van deze leer is de meeste mensen (niet alle!) intussen wel duidelijk.

De Bijbelse leer dat de mens van zichzelf slecht en zelfzuchtig is, en dat alleen een continue oriëntatie op God er nog iets van kan maken, is intussen naar alle maatstaven van wetenschappelijk bewijs volkomen overtuigend empirisch aangetoond. Nu zou dat juist voor evolutionisten niet vreemd moeten zijn, want een eenvoudige evolutieleer, gebaseerd op het overleven van de meest geschikte variant (‘survival of the fittest’) zou het bestaan van ethisch besef juist moeten uitsluiten.
Immers, hoe zelfzuchtiger een variant, hoe groter zijn kansen om te overleven. Het probleem is juist gelegen in het feit dat ethisch besef niet allang totaal afwezig is, weg geselecteerd door de evolutie.

Het eerste slachtoffer van een oorlog

Maar fundamentalisme laat zich nooit gemakkelijk overtuigen. Beginjaren ’70 van de vorige eeuw werd door sommige evolutionisten een aangepaste opvatting over het evolutionaire proces voorgesteld. Daaraan werd vervolgens een wetenschappelijk congres gewijd. Dat is normaal: niets is wetenschappelijker dan voor- en tegenstanders van een opvatting met elkaar te laten discussiëren. Maar toen het Amerikaanse blad ‘Science’ daar een themanummer aan wijdde, leverde dat een ingezonden brief op van een verontwaardigde lezer die het de redactie kwalijk nam aandacht te hebben besteed aan deze controverse: dit speelde ‘de vijand’ in de kaart.      Laat dit even op u inwerken.     Hier werd serieus voorgesteld een mogelijke stap voorwaarts in wetenschappelijk inzicht geheim te houden omdat ‘de vijand’ daar anders wellicht voordeel uit zou kunnen trekken. Dit is geen wetenschap meer, dit is godsdienstoorlog! En we kennen allemaal het gezegde:

het eerste slachtoffer van een oorlog is de waarheid.

De fundamentalist achter deze brief beschouwt zich als voorvechter van een absolute waarheid, die desnoods met behulp van leugens moet worden verdedigd. En van dergelijk fundamentalisme zijn nog andere (ook meer recente) voorbeelden te geven. En let op dat de in het geding zijnde ‘godsdienst’ niet het christendom is, maar het atheïsme.

Een voorgeprogrammeerde mens?

Veel gevaarlijker is echter het streven van bepaalde fundamentalisten uit deze hoek, die het hiervóór besproken probleem van het bestaan van ethiek proberen te omzeilen, door daar toch een ‘evolutionaire’ verklaring voor te geven.

Onzelfzuchtig gedrag zou weliswaar ongunstig zijn voor het individu, maar juist gunstig voor het voortbestaan van de soort; we zouden dat dus breder moeten zien. Het bekendste voorbeeld van deze opvatting, is het boek ‘The selfish gene’ (de zelfzuchtige genen) van Richard Dawkins. Onze genen, zo betoogt hij, zijn door het evolutieproces zo geprogrammeerd dat ze streven naar de maximale kans op het blijven voortbestaan van onze (eigenlijk hun) erfelijke eigenschappen, ook wanneer dat ten koste gaat van de individuele drager van die genen en die eigenschappen. Daarmee wordt ethiek dus niet verklaard, maar integendeel juist weggeredeneerd: uiteindelijk is (volgens Dawkins) ook schijnbaar ethisch gedrag gebaseerd op een vorm van zelfzucht, alleen op collectief in plaats van op individueel niveau. En alles wat we doen is op die manier al in onze genen voorgeprogrammeerd. Maar als we dat consequent door redeneren, komt dat er op neer dat alles wat nuttig is voor het voortbestaan van de beste erfelijke eigenschappen (ongeacht de ethische consequenties) daarmee gerechtvaardigd is, ook wanneer dat naar andere maatstaven volslagen onethisch is (ethiek is immers alleen maar een illusie). Die opvatting hebben we echter al eerder beleefd: dat heette toen ‘eugenetica’, wat inhield dat je het recht (of zelfs de plicht) had om alle ‘inferieure’ levensvormen (zowel lichamelijk als geestelijk minder goed uitgeruste soortgenoten) uit het voortplantingsproces te elimineren. Vooral de nazi’s zijn daar druk mee geweest, maar het is uiteindelijk toch niet erkend als een triomf van verlicht menselijk denken. En dat is maar goed ook, want veel verder kun je niet van God verwijderd raken. Maar atheïstische fundamentalisten hebben die hoop kennelijk nog steeds niet opgegeven. Want doorgedraaid atheïsme is ook een vorm van godsdienst en in godsdienstig fundamentalisme is, in naam van de grote ‘god’, alles geoorloofd.

R.C.R.

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Voorgaande

Schepping, intelligent design, evolutie – Ontstaan en ontwikkeling van het leven op aarde (1)

Schepping, intelligent design, evolutie – Ontstaan en ontwikkeling van het leven op aarde (2)

Schepping, intelligent design, evolutie (3) – Godsbewijzen van heidense filosofen en horlogemakers

Schepping, intelligent design, evolutie (4) Het ontstaan van het universum

Angst voor ouderwetse regels en verlies van christenen

In het Nederlandstalig gebied van West-Europa zijn er heel wat die extreme ideeën hebben. Beiden maken elkaar bang en willen de anderen doen geloven dat zij deze contreien gaan of moeten overheersen.

De grote toestroom van immigranten doet veel mensen denken dat diegenen die zich hier willen komen vestigen, zich niet zullen aanpassen aan onze westerse samenleving en dat zij hun geloof aan de anderen zullen gaan opdringen.

Velen die zo bang zijn vergeten dat het enkel diegenen die zwak in hun eigen geloof staan bekeerd zullen kunnen geraken. Doch bekering loopt niet zo van een leien dakje. Wij moeten echter bewust zijn dat sommige geloofsgroepen weinig vergen om een bekeerling op te nemen en dit doen met aanlokkelijke slogans maar weinig diepgang. Gevolg hiervan zal zijn dat sommige van die bekeerden na een tijdje wel de waarheid zullen gaan inzien en die gemeenschap dan ook de rug zullen gaan toe keren. Hiertoe moet de rest van de maatschappij ook openstaan en er voor zorgen dat die ontmoedigden dan terug opgevangen kunnen worden in een ordelijke maatschappij.

Dat uit een studie van 2013, die nu zeer in de belangstelling is, blijkt dat in Nederland en vijf andere Europese landen tweederde van de ondervraagde moslims hun religieuze wetten belangrijker vinden dat de wetten van de landen waarin zij leven moet ons niet verwonderen. In wezen zouden de geloofswetten voor elke gelovige de basis waarden moeten vormen voor hun leven. Ook in het Christelijk geloof wordt er gevraagd om uit de wereld te stappen en zeker nooit akkoord te gaan met staatswetten die indruisen tegen de wetten van God. Bij de meerderheid van de Christenen is het echter zo dat zij zelf veel wetten van God niet na leven en eigenlijk weinig of geen interesse hebben in de beleving van het geloof of van God. Waar zij zich hoofdzakelijk aan houden zijn de heidense feesten en de menselijke tradities die eveneens meestal gebaseerd zijn op heidense gebruiken.

Dat er zo veel jongeren aangetrokken worden tot het islamitische geloof zou de mensen in het westen meer vragen moeten doen stellen. Indien veel christenen zich zouden gaan bekeren tot de islam zegt dat niet meer over die christenen dan over de islamieten?

Men kan er niet naast zien dat in de jaren 6070 van vorige eeuw heel wat Turken en Marokkanen naar hier zijn gekomen om meer te verdienen en zich een beter leven op te bouwen. Van die gezinnen bracht de meerderheid een conservatievere levensstijl mee dan de meerderheid in hun land. Die zeer oude conservatieve godsdienstbeleving bleef hier in hun kinderen ingedrukt geworden. Ook zij moesten zich houden aan de klassieke geloofsbeleving meet al de gebruiken van hun ouders hun heimat. Door hun afzondering en dikwijls het leven in ghettos kon hun geloofsbeleving stagneren en gingen velen niet mee met de tijd.

Door institutionele uitsluiting en stigmatisering kon de ‘underdog’ groeien en kreeg men uitvergrote verkeerde beelden. Bepaalde politieke partijen zagen hierin de kans schoon om zich te richten op hen die anders zijn dan de plaatselijke bevolking.

WLM - roel1943 - Koran

WLM – roel1943 – Koran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In beide groepen, moslims en niet moslims geraakten valse beelden aangenomen gedachten die niet altijd kloppen met de werkelijkheid. Zo hebben bijvoorbeeld moslims in Duitsland aanmerkelijk minder rechten dan in Nederland. Sterker nog: in geen enkel Europees land hebben moslims zoveel rechten als in Nederland. Nochtans voelen vele moslims in Nederland onterecht behandeld. Ook in België geraken meerderen ook meer gefrustreerd. Vooral de media die mee helpen om een angstpsychose te creëren helpen er aan mee om de ontevredenheid aan te scherpen.

Ook al willen de leden van het Christendom, en voornamelijk dan de Katholieken, geloven dat zij de grootste ware geloofsgemeenschap is, kan de Islam zich veroorloven te zeggen dat 1 op vier Islamiet is. Van de totale wereldbevolking in 2009 (6,8 miljard) werden er namelijk 1,57 miljard mensen als moslim geboekstaafd. Er leven ook meer moslims in Azië dan in het Midden-Oosten. Ook al zou slechts vijf procent van de Europese bevolking of  ongeveer  38 miljoen mensen, aanhanger van de Islam zijn moeten wij er rekening mee houden dat er een veel grotere groep is die niet behoort tot de algemeen erkende geloofsverenigingen of Moslimexecutieven.

Het zijn die anders gelovige moslims die zoals anders gelovige christenen toch ook een belangrijke geloofsgroep vormen. Ook in België zegt men dikwijls ‘de christenen’ maar doelt men op de katholieken en vergeet men heel wat christenen die heel andere gebruiken en geloofsovertuigingen hebben dan die Rooms Katholieken. Zo  ook  zijn er onder de Islamieten heel wat verschillende strekkingen die niet allemaal dezelfde regels hebben, laat staan de zelfde geloofsopvattingen.

Erg is het gesteld met de fundamentalistische groepen die zo veel aandacht krijgen in de media dat de gewone mens wel begint te geloven dat zij ‘de Islam’ voor stellen. Vooral de Moslimexecutieve of in het algemeen de Islamitische raden hebben hiertoe bij gedragen door niet tijdig tegenwind te geven en er op te duiden waar Alquada, ISIL, ISIS, IS of Daesh en Bokoharam dingen deden die indruisen tegen het ware islamitische geloof.

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life bracht in 2009 naar voor dat Islam is de tweede godsdienst in de wereld na het Christendom, dat ongeveer 2,2 miljard volgelingen heeft. Nu zeven jaar later ziet het Christendom de zeer grote groei van die Islam als een bedreiging aan en beseffen velen dat er heel wat meer moslims zijn dan de geregistreerden.

In België is dat duidelijk te zien aan de vele streken waar meer dan de nu normale 25% moslims kan vast gesteld worden.

Die enorme groei van de laatste jaren, waarbij ook veel meer vrouwen met hoofddoek een gewoon straatbeeld zijn geworden, boezemt velen angst in dat het nog meer gaat doorzetten door de toestroom van migranten.

The Balkans Chronicles getuigt van zulk een angst in de volksmond. De auteur wil de mensen doen geloven dat de meeste mensen gewoon niet bewust zijn dat de islam niet zomaar een religie, maar een totalitaire politieke cult-achtige ideologie is, die zijn volgelingen dwingt tot blinde gehoorzaamheid, leert intolerantie, brutaliteit en alle moslims en niet-moslims vergrendelt in een strijd die rechtstreeks voortvloeien uit de 7e eeuw nomadische, roofzuchtige, Bedoeïen culture. {Islam is hier om Europa over te nemen!}

Waar hij dit vandaan haalt mag Joost weten. Hij schrijft verder

Deze politieke ideologie heeft als doel, de wereld te onderwerpen,hetzij vreedzaam door middel van zending en migratie, hetzij met geweld door middel van de heilige oorlog of jihad… {Islam is hier om Europa over te nemen!}

Zonder oog te hebben wat bepaalde zogenaamd christelijke groepen hebben uitgespookt de vorige eeuwen, hun moorddadige acties in de doofpot stekend, kijkt hij wel naar tegenreacties van Islamitische groepen.

Ook wijst hij met een boze vinger naar de migratieproblematiek waarin hij een verder gevaar van islamisering ziet. Hij schrijft:

In landen waar moslims met oorlogsvoering de sharia niet dwingend kan opleggen, daar wordt gebruik/misbruik gemaakt van migratie. Indonesië, Maleisië, Centraal Azië en delen van India dankzij migratie werden geïslamiseerd. Migratie is slechts een verkapte verovering en het zal pas eindigen wanneer de hele wereld is veroverd.Er zijn nu 57 staten waarin de islam regeert…

Europa wordt binnenkort een ‘islamitische staat’, waar de shari’ah geldt! De opkomst van de islam, betekent ook de opkomst van de sharia wetgeving in ons rechtssysteem.Veel menende term ISLAMISERING niet helemaal begrijpen.Met islamisering wordt niet alleen de toename van de moslimpopulatie bedoeld, en ook niet de militaire verovering van het land door moslims of de stichting van een islamitische staat. Islamisering is een proces waarbij de religie sluipenderwijs alle aspecten van het leven gaat domineren. {Islam is hier om Europa over te nemen!}

Dit lijkt wel Vlaams Blok of Vlaams Belang praat en is niet gestoeld op werkelijkheid maar getuigd ook van een onderschatting van het huidige staatsapparaat. Alsook onderschat het het vermogen van de Europese Unie als gemeenschap van federale staten die ook zelf hun eigen zeg in eigen land mogen doen.

Londen is een mooi voorbeeld hoe zijn gedachte over de komende twintig jaar, werkelijkheid kan worden en er niet alleen  genoeg islamitische kiezers in dat Europa zullen zijn, maar dat er ook anderen er voor zullen kiezen om op een Islamiet te kiezen als burgemeester of als President!  Heeft men er in het verleden zo veel vragen bij gesteld als het een Katholiek, Protestant, Niet gelovige, Humanist, Boeddhist of anders gelovige was die zich kandidaat stelde in een gemeente of in het land voor een kiesbare plaats?

Hebben die Christenen die zo bang zijn dat hun geloofsgemeenschap zal verminderen zich zorgen gemaakt toen atheïsten de burgemeesterposten gingen opeisen of parlementszetels gingen innemen? Waar waren dan die bezorgde christenen toen wetten werden goedgekeurd die tegen hun christelijk geloof ingingen? Toen leek het allemaal heel gewoon of moest iedereen maar mee op de kar van de vooruitgang klimmen.

Wat heeft men gedaan toen men gemeenschapsscholen or rijksscholen oprichtte, of protestantse Bijbelscholen of Joodse scholen terwijl men nu bezwaren heeft tegen sharia erfenissen, sharia scholen, en sharia banken in Europa?

Dat in Amsterdam polygame huwelijken officieel worden geregistreerd door de gemeentediensten is dat niet gewoon der werkelijkheid voor waar nemen? Trouwens heel wat Belgische blanke mannen houden er ook meerdere vrouwen op na, zonder dat zij al doende geregistreerd zijn. Is hun buitenechtelijke verhouding dan zo veel beter dan de echtelijke verbintenis van diegene die openen bloot voor meerdere vrouwen zorgt en hun goed behandelt?

Heel wat zogenaamde christenen zien er geen bezwaar in om seks te hebben voor het huwelijk of om met nog anderen seks te hebben als zij al door de echt met iemand anders verbonden zijn. Sommigen houden er zelfs van om van de verscheiden geslachten te snoepen en enkelen vinden het heel aangenaam om met meerderen tegelijk de liefde te bedrijven en vinden er zelfs geen bezwaar in om er mee te pronken.

De normen en waarde in onze westerse samenleving zijn zodanig laag komen te staan dat bepaalde bevolkingsgroepen terecht een halt toe roepen tegen die decadentie. Dat het voornamelijk Islamieten zijn, getuigd alleen maar hoe weinig christenen echt met het geloof bezig zijn en zich aan de regels van hun heilige boeken willen houden.

Sommige debatten zoals rond de hoofddoeken zijn dikwijls zaken die wij eerder bij de katholieken ook gezien hebben. De kinderboom generatie hebben hun ouders nog weten gescheiden zitten in de kerk en zagen hun moeders nog gesluierd en ofwel met hoedje of met hoofddoek de straat op gaan. Voor veel jongeren vandaag is dat niet meer gekend, maar dat wij ze gerust eens onze familie albums eens voor leggen.

Vele christenen zijn vergeten hoe de nonnen hun kapsels waren of hoe priesters in habijt rond liepen. In sommige landen is dat nog gewone praktijk.

Kan men niet inzien dat bepaalde islamitische groepen nu in een zelfde fase zitten als de christenen in de vorige eeuw hebben mee gemaakt?

Ook bij de moslims ziet men een duidelijke trent dat jongeren hun geloof minder diep beleven dan hun grootouders en ouders. Maar dat er terecht nu een opleving komt in geloofsbevraging is een feit waar wij in het westen beter zouden nadenken wat er in onze eigen cultuur verkeerd is gelopen. Indien christenen zo bang zijn dat het christendom zou ‘overwonnen’ worden door de islam, zouden zij zich dan niet beter aan de regels van die christelijke leer houden?

Betreft regels aan anderen opleggen moet iedereen die in het westen komt wonen zich aansluiten bij de rechtsbepalingen van dat land. Anders moet hij of zij dar niet wonen. Indien dat duidelijk wordt gemaakt aan hen die naar hier komen mag dat ook geen probleem vormen.

Iedereen, moslims maar ook christenen moeten zich er bewust van zijn dat geen enkele religie het recht heeft zich op te dringen aan anderen.

Analoog aan de uitspraak de Spaanse minister van Justitie López Aguilar (op 11-09-2004 ), geldt ook hier hetzelfde wat de Australische minister van Onderwijs Brendan Nelson zei:

“Indien u en uw achterban niet van plan zijn onze wetten, waarden en omgangsvormen te accepteren, hoort u hier niet thuis en dient u de koffers te pakken, paspoorten in te leveren en Australië te verlaten!” …

Maar dit hoeft niet in te houden dat zij niet hun eigen gebruiken en wijze van geloofsuitvoering zouden mogen hebben.  Zolang zij de vrijheid van een ander niet beperken en niemand schade berokkenen met hun geloofsbeleving moet deze ook vrij blijvend kunnen uitgevoerd worden.

Nederlands: Hans Janmaat, fractievoorzitter va...

Hans Janmaat, fractievoorzitter van de centrumpartij, tijdens een televisieuitzending in de zendtijd voor politieke partijen. Nederland, 8 februari 1984. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dat een stem voor de PvdA, SP, Groen, Groenlinks, CDA, CD&V, N-VA, Liberalen of D66 een stem zou zijn voor Sharia, voor de burka’s, hoofddoekjes, moskeeën, gescheiden zwemmen, gescheiden klassen en ga maar door is een onterechte uitspraak. Mogen wij er ook op wijzen dat wij, die nu nog leven, zelf nog dat gescheiden zwemmen hebben gekend.  Natuurlijk moeten wij niet terug naar die oude tijd toen onze ouders nog met die lange zwempakken het zeewater in gingen en wij niet met ontblote benen en armen mochten lopen. Misschien kan de oudere generatie de jongeren daar misschien even terug aan herinneren. Ook al hebben deze, zoals de schrijver van dit stuk, zich ook heftig tegen die ouderwetse ouders en de maatschappij verzet. Wij zijn er zelfs de barricaden voor opgeklommen in 1968 en hebben er niet tegen opgezien om naakt te lopen of in communes te leven. Zo is de wereld van één uiterste naar een ander gegaan en ziet het er naar uit dat de wereld nu terug naar een ander (vroeger) uiterste wil gaan.

Om te zeggen

Nergens ter wereld bestaat er een goed functionerende islamitische samenleving...

is de waarheid geweld aan doen en er niet in geloven dat zoals het christendom geëvolueerd is, de Islam ook zal evolueren en gebonden zal zijn aan het tijdsgebeuren..

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Lees ook:

  1. Veroverende geloofsgroep
  2. Angst en verlossing van het kwaad
  3. Eerste moslim-mensenrechtencommissie start deze maand
  4. Sharia een kwaad voor Islam
  5. 15 jaar cel geëist voor leider Sharia4Belgium
  6. Nieuwkomers, nieuwelingen, immigranten, allochtonen en import
  7. Wat heeft zovelen ertoe gebracht naar Duitsland te willen emigreren
  8. Migratie en veiligheid even geherformuleerd
  9. Overzicht voor het jaar 2015 #1 Dreiging en angst
  10. Islamofobie
  11. Is Islamfobie uitgevonden door fundamentalistische regime
  12. Interview P-magazine // Overbevolking: hoe gaan we al die vluchtelingen opvangen?
  13. Denemarken zwicht onder druk van anti asielzoekers
  14. Wanneer de jongere oor kreeg voor Arabische klanken
  15. Verbod veruiterlijking van overtuiging
  16. Boerka moet weg uit Frankrijk
  17. Fundamentalisme en religie #2 Frankrijk en België
  18. Fundamentalisme en religie #3 Vluchtelingen en racisme
  19. Fundamentalisme en religie #5 Verguisde Koran
  20. Fundamentalisme en religie #6 Versplintering
  21. Het Raadsel, Salah Abdeslam
  22. Waarom jihadi’s niet onze eigen schuld zijn
  23. Het failliet van de war on terror
  24. De nacht is ver gevorderd 2 Studie 1 Zijn het de laatste dagen? 1 Intro
  25. Het gevaar om niets te doen tegen de oorzaak en de kwaal
  26. Volgens vele Belgen over tien jaar in de problemen door te soepele asiel opnamen vandaag

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Verwant aan het christen zijn en bekering

  1. Overdracht van mening te vrijwaren
  2. Moslims, Christenen en Gratis Heilige Boeken
  3. Onze God ook deze van de moslims
  4. Antwerpse tien dagen moslima voor sociaal experiment
  5. Bekering een ‘keerpunt’
  6. Christenen die het juiste hart hebben om anderen te roepen om naar God te komen
  7. Wie zichzelf kent, is mild voor een ander
  8. Wat betreft Wees de beste…
  9. Door verkondiging ook geruster
  10. De rol van de Vader en zijn Zoon

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Verdere bedenkingen van anderen
  1. Help mijn vriend doet aan de Ramadan!
  2. Religie, democratie & vrijheid
  3. Aanslagen en tegenslagen..
  4. Tegen IS, niet tegen de Islam
  5. De moslimburgemeester
  6. Ontbreekt het respect in Almere?
  7. Module: De succesvolle moslim door Ustaadz Suleyman Van Ael
  8. Leugens (FB column voorjaar 2015)
  9. Tijd voor Verandering
  10. Selvforsvar (upassende begejsting)
  11. Fremgang for ordentlige skoler
  12. Mental Health: Muslim Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviour
  13. Should we wish a ‘Blessed Ramadan’ on our Muslim friends?

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Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend

Death, fossils and pumpkins

National Fossil Day, established to promote the scientific and educational values of fossils, on Wednesday of the second full week in October may perhaps been overlooked by many, though they would love to look into the death beings this and the coming month. there was in some countries even a Chucky, the Notorious Killer Doll Day (celebrated annually on October 25).

In many countries October is also the month of the pumpkin. In America it is even one of America’s favourite dessert which gives it it’s own special day.  October 21 annually celebrates National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and fall is the perfect season to enjoy this delightful and delicious dessert.

In certain countries at the end of the month there is a “National Knock Knock Joke Day.” Annually celebrated on October 31, it is a holiday for jokesters of all ages to share their knock knock jokes throughout the day. But at night many go out to bring ‘ogre’ jokes. The want to bring the shudder onto others. Several people on the 31st of October love to get the creeps for fun. In Belgium such ‘fun’ started already this weekend in the amusement parks. This year some people were a little bit disillusioned or undeceived because since 1921 we had the warmest October weekend and the sun was present for a longer time than usual. On television we could see the many special attractions for ‘Halloween‘.

Ancient Celtic feast still popular today

An ancient Celtic feast gets a lot of attention also by people who call themselves Christians. They do not seem to bother that they join in such a heathen or pagan festival. Coming from the time people were frightened of evil spirits, strange animals and strange natural effects, they would dress up in costumes and make noise in the streets in order to make the spirits go away. When Catholicism was brought into our regions the church had to face a very strong traditional holy day. In fear not getting the people to their religion they took over a lot of the Celtic festivals in their religion and gave them an other name. The Spanish and French explorers brought Roman Catholicism to what is now the United States in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and took with them those pagan rites, imposing them on the local population. Later many Irish people settling in the North of America brought their end of Summer festival tradition with them.

English: Saint Patrick stained glass window fr...

Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Ireland and Scotland the inhabitants celebrated the end of Summer on the 31st of October and called it Samhain or Calan Gaeaf.  The 31st of October was also the eve of the new year in both Celtic and Anglo­Saxon times and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spir­its. The date was connected with the return of herds from pasture, and laws and land tenures were renewed. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister sig­nificance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Hal­loween was thought to be the most favour­able time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

In about the year 388, the devil was said to be so enraged at the piety of St. Patrick that he assailed the saint with a whole band of witches in Scotland. The story goes that St. Patrick fled to the river Clyde, embarking in a small boat for Ireland. As witches cannot pursue their victims over running water, they flung a huge rock after the escaping saint, which fell harmlessly to the ground, and which tradition says now forms Dumbarton Rock. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Scotland}

The belief in magic which appears to have been common in Scotland until a late period was taken with the sailors to other regions far away from the homeland. In the pages of Adamnan, Abbot of Iona (ca. 625-704C.E.), St. Columba and his priest regarded the Druids as magicians, and he countered their sorcery with what was believed to be a superior celestial magic of his own. The actions of Druids was kept alive and they continued to make up stories which many people believed.

In the 17th century while education and even scholarship were comparatively common at this date in Scotland (more common in fact than they were in contemporary England ), the great mass of Scottish people shared abundantly their sovereign’s dread of witches and sorcery. Protestant reformer John Knox, who was accused by the Roman Catholic Church for having by sorcery raised up saints in the churchyard of St. Andrews, when Satan himself was said to have appeared and so terrified Knox’s secretary that he became insane and died. Knox was also charged with using his magical arts in his old age to persuade the beautiful young daughter of Lord Ochiltree to marry him.

The efforts of Knox and his associates had brought about momentous changes in Scottish life, but if the Reformation rejected certain popular beliefs, Presbyterianism (the particular form of Protestant Christianity that came to power in Scotland) undoubtedly tended to introduce others. For that stern Calvinistic faith that now began to take root in Scotland nourished the idea that sickness and accident were a mark of divine anger. This theory did not cease to be common in the north till long after King James’ day. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Scotland}

Three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pum...

Three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pumpkins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Immigrants to the U.S., Scots and Irish liking to control the witches and ghosts, introduced the Halloween customs that became popular in the late 19th century. Mischief-making on this occasion by boys and young men included overturning sheds and outhouses and breaking windows, and damage to property was sometimes severe. In later years, the occasion has come to be observed mainly by small children, who go from to house, often in costume, demanding “trick or treat” (the treat, often candy, is gene given and the trick rarely played).

A common symbol of Halloween is the jacko’-lantern (the name possibly was derived from that for a night watchman). It is a hollowed-out pumpkin carved in the appearance of a demonic face and with a lighted candle inside. In Scotland a turnip was used, but the native pumpkin was substituted in the U.S.

The tradition to pull grotesque faces or grin (Scottish verb, “to girn”), may find its origin in the name of a medieval fiend, the last shadow of some Teutonic or Celtic deity of unlovable attributes.

All Hallows’ Eve

Pomona who scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman. – Nicolas Fouché, c. 1700

All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day) may even found its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds and wood nymph, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain“, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”. It is thought that in this liminal time the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) can more easily come into our world and be particularly active. {Monaghan, p.41; O’Halpin, Andy. Ireland: An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford University Press, 2006. p.236}

In Druidism, and/or Wicca picked the belief of Samhaim being a Celtic Death God was accepted as valid, but this is one of the most tenacious errors associated with Halloween. No such God ever existed.

Witchcraft and, more commonly, sorcery, malevolent magic, appear to have been practiced in the earliest historical and traditional times in Scotland. It is related that during the reign of Natholocus in the second century there lived in Iona a witch of great renown, so celebrated for her marvelous power that the king sent one of his captains to consult her regarding the issue of a rebellion then troubling his kingdom. The witch declared that within a short period the king would be murdered, not by his open enemies but by one of his most favored friends, in whom he had most special trust. The messenger inquired the assassin’s name. “Even by thine own hands as shall be well known within these few days,” replied the witch.

The pagan observances influenced the Chris­tian festival of All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on the same date. By the late 1990’s many secular sources such as newspapers and television programs had picked up the error of the Samhaim god and propagated it widely. It is now a nearly universal belief, particularly among conservative Protestants.

Gradually, Halloween became a secular observance, and many cus­toms and practices developed. In Scotland young people assembled for games to ascer­tain which of them would marry, during the year and in what order the marriages would occur. Many Halloween customs have become games played by children, but the last few years adults are again participating more.

Modern-day Samhain

Modern-day Samhain is the day when many Wiccans believe that their god dies, later to be reborn. [Wicca is a Neo-pagan, Earth-centered religion.] For those witchcraft practitioners and for many Satanists Samhain is not a god of death; it actually began as a yearly observance of the death of a god.

There may have been a little known character named Samain or Sawan who played the role of a very minor hero in Celtic mythology. His main claim to fame was that Balor of the Evil Eye stole his magical cow. His existence is little known, even among Celtic historians. He was a hero, not a god. It is likely that he was named after the end of summer celebration rather than vice-versa. {Isaac Bonewits, W.J, Bethancourt III, a.o.}

The Irish English Dictionary, published by the Irish Texts Society, defines Samhain as follows:

“Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered.” {Patrick Dineen, “An Irish English Dictionary” (Dublin, 1927), Page 937}

Scottish Radiance writes about Samhain:

“The Celtics believed, that during the winter, the sun god was taken prisoner by Samhain, the Lord of the Dead and Prince of Darkness…On the eve before their new year (October 31), it was believed that Samhain called together all the dead people.” {Scottish Radiance, “The Story of Halloween,” at: http://www.scottishradiance.com/}

Ignorance around Halloween

Most people are ignorant of what Halloween is all about and for that matter don’t care. They often excuse their childish attitude of going up so much in this festival, by saying it is just for fun for the kids. Strangely enough they try to frighten their kids and later when their child is afraid of a spider, of the dark or something else, they say to it not to be silly, though they forget they created the fear for such things.

College students dressed up for Halloween.

College students dressed up for Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Americans have grown up trick or treating, not knowing exactly what it means ‘to shoot some one’ ‘or ‘to kill some one’ and not knowing what it was all about, like many in Europe do not know it any more. In several countries there are also church communities which do not mind having haunted houses even in the attic of their little country church or in their parish hall.

In Belgium lots of kids go from door to door, like on the evening preceding Epiphany (twelve days after Christmas) or on ‘three kings’ (January 6 feast of Epiphany) wanting to get as much candy as they can get. This time they say “Trick or treat”. You can wonder why their parents learned them the “trick” as a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the home-owners or their property if no treat is given to them.

Practice of souling

This practice of going from door to door came from the “practice of souling” – going from door to door on or about All Souls Day to solicit gifts of food in return for prayers for the dead – evolved from a pagan ritual that was practised all over Europe, possibly as early as the 10th century. In the 14th century it was mentioned by Chaucer as a common Christian tradition. It is still commonplace in many Catholic countries, notably Ireland, where soul-cakes are left out for the departed. In several southern and northern European countries also food and candles are left on the graves to please the dead.

The first reference to the practice under that name in England is John Brand’s Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, 1779:

“On All Saints Day, the poor people go from parish to parish a Souling, as they call it.”

The tradition is that the dead could come out of their graves when they would not find enough for them to live decently in their underworld. If the living would forget them or not give them enough they would come to punish the living. So the living would avoid such punishment by the dead by buying themselves out.

Dressing up and pleasing the dead

In modern times people like to dress up for Halloween and All Hallows’ Day in all sorts of frightening figures with preference to the darker figures and in characters from the underworld, like all sorts of devils. Children and adults alike are made afraid that the devils will catch them and bring them to an underworld where they shall be tortured for ever and burn in hell.

On the night of the last day of October many wear a most evil, horrible, grotesque, rubber mask and have in their hands a pitchfork. Then they go round willing to have the visited home-owners to believe the souls of the dead returned to their original homes, there to be entertained with food. If food and shelter were not provided, these evil spirits would cast spells and cause havoc toward those failing to fulfil their requests.

In the past centuries sacrifices were offered on this night to the dead spirits because it was thought they visited their earthly dwellings and former friends. But seeing it still happening in the 21st century we only can wonder if they really would not believe such a thing, why do they still do it?

It is known that there was a prevailing belief among all nations that at death the souls of the good men were taken possession of by good spirits and carried to paradise. Likewise the souls of the wicked men were left to wonder in the space between the earth and the moon, or consigned to the unseen world, underneath the earth, where unending fire was waiting for them. These wandering spirits were in the habit of haunting the living… But there were means by which ghosts might be exorcised.

To exorcise these ghosts, that is to free yourself from their evil sway, you would have to set out food and provide shelter for them during the night. If they were satisfied with your offerings, they would leave you in peace. If not, they were believed to cast an evil spell on you.

Fellowship with the devils

In modern day Satanism and Witchcraft covens, the 31st of October is the day when Satan himself comes to “fellowship” with his followers.

Central to Satanism was the idea of magic and that extraordinary miracles, if not performed by God in answer to the prayer of one of his servants (i.e., a Christian), had to be accomplished by the devil in cooperation with someone who had made a pact with the devil. On the 31st of October those going around from house to house want to let the other believe they have a pact with that devil so they can arrange thing with the devil for the good but also for the bad.

Once the idea of the pact became commonplace, it was but a short step to the notion of an organized community of devil-worshippers. Some substance was provided by the small pockets of paganism that had not succumbed to the church’s evangelical efforts. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Satanism)

Satanism had plainly declined by the end of the 1970s; however, in the mid 1980s reports that it had merely gone underground began to surface and the last two years in our village and in some other places in Flanders ritual meetings where the ‘Books of Satan’ (Satanic Bible) were read by ‘clergymen of Satan’ and a sort of Black Mass (a parody of the Roman Catholic Mass) was celebrated in the fields and in the woods. No real infant was been offered, but the sacrifice of an infant-puppet on the bonfires, and the invocation of Satan for the purpose of working malevolent magic (sorcery) was presented in many places.

Throughout the ages many changes may have occurred, but one thing has stayed the same, the practice of giving an “offering” is still kept. Many may say they do it under the name of fun but what is the real meaning for them deep in their heart? Is it so different a practice than in the previous centuries? We do not believe so.  It is still the same as in the old days.

In many parts of the world it is true that even Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, but is it not high time that Christians do think about it seriously?

It may well be that these solemn customs are less pronounced in favour of a more commercialized and secularized celebration in other regions, this also should not have Christians taking part in it.

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 Preceding article:  Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

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Find also to read:

  1. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  2. The imaginational war against Christmas
  3. Halloween custom of the nations
  4. The Soul not a ghost

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  • 5 Things You Never Knew About Canadian Thanksgiving (hellobee.com)
    Canadian Thanksgiving began in 1578 (43 years before American Thanksgiving) as a feast to thank God for the harvest. However, it didn’t have a set date until 1957. We have a 3 day weekend, while most Americans have 4 days.
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    Though a dessert-table staple, pumpkin pie differs in Canada. Ours is spicy-sweet, with ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, while typical American pumpkin pie is sweeter and often contains custard. Or so I’m told. Correct me if I’m wrong (either sounds good!).
  • The Ultimate Pumpkin Recipe List: 56 Recipes for Fall (followinginmyshoes.com)
    Everything mentality that all grocery stores and Pinterest embrace this time of year.  And, I’m not just a fan of pumpkin flavored coffee, baked goods and treats … I love pumpkin chili and soup and, at least back in my “pre-grain” free days, pumpkin pasta dishes.  Oh, Mamacita!  “Bring it all to the table” is my mantra — hence, the Ultimate Pumpkin Recipe List you see today.
  • Fall’s Golden Days (homeschoolmosaics.com)
    Fall is a time in our home to catch our breath and hold on…everything starts, school is amped up and running, and we are just trying to get used to our new schedules, hoping I have the brain power to remember we need dinner. We are hoping to implement some Sabbath rest weeks into our school year to give us respite…but, right now, we are nose to the grindstone. I thought it might be fun to share some lesser known holidays for October…maybe you can find one to color your month, bless someone else, or just create a memory together.
  • Halloween Pet Safety Tips (lakeside.com)
    Get special dog treats for Halloween to steer them away from Halloween candy! Children’s candy can be a toxic temptation for pets. Dogs love chocolate, but chocolate does not love them. It contains theobromine which is toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. A few bites of milk chocolate which contains the least amount can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Baking chocolate contains the most — even the smallest amount can kill a dog.
  • The Perfect Pair: Halloween and The Hot Glue Gun (blogs.walmart.com)
    As a working mom of two crazy little boys, I don’t get the chance to flex my crafty muscles as often as I’d like, but I try to make it a priority for Halloween. For my oldest son’s first Halloween, I convinced my mom to knit him a brown bear costume. My husband went to the UC Berkeley, so she trimmed it in gold as a nod to the Golden Bear mascot.
  • 35 Ways to Make Your Halloween Party Food Ghoulish (tipjunkie.com)
    Halloween is the perfect time to get creative with treats, and these Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats are no exception. They even come with a free printable tag so they are perfect for gift giving. These will be the hit of any Halloween party! {{high fives}}
  • baby halloween costume images (zeehd.com)
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Witch Hats (berries.com)
    How do domestic goddesses (and gods) throw fabulous Halloween parties? The easy way, of course. And nothing’s easier, or more fabulous, than these delicious strawberry witch hats. They’re inspired by our witchy Halloween collection.
  • Will Food Allergy Hysteria Destroy Halloween? (vice.com)
    What would Halloween be without candy? Well, an organization known as FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is trying to find out. This group is putting forth an effort to raise awareness about how soul-crushing Halloween is for children with serious allergies by starting the “Teal Pumpkin Project.” As they state on their site, “The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies—and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.” They are encouraging people to hand out non-food gifts this year, as well as painting your pumpkins teal to signify to trick-or-treaters that you’re doing so. Teal, as we all know, is the official color of food allergy awareness. Their site even offers suggestions as to what kind of non-food items you can provide for children, some of which include: playing cards, kazoos, stickers, coins, and bookmarks. Sure, these items definitely beat getting raisins or—god forbid—an apple. But the problem is, these items are not candy.

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Since 1872 when the UK Parliament authorised public meetings, very Sunday, Londoners gather at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Hyde Park to talk, debate and preach about whatever they choose.

In the 1970ies wherever you went in London you could find street corner preachers of which some also presented themselves as prophets. They where full of fire and let their spirit go over many listeners and curious onlookers.  Often they acted as if they were deeply concerned about the fate of souls. With those who disagreed with they were willing to show their way of thinking was right.

The street corner preachers are gone, but today we have the online preachers. Their attitude does seem to be quite similar like their old colleague’s. John Blake from CNN does find you can tell that those contemporary street corner preachers relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

MSN Classic sign-in screen

MSN Classic sign-in screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I had my MSN blog and reacted on several MSN Groups I encountered often very unchristian attitudes and even got several viruses especially send to my mailbox. Some reactors or so called Christians would not have hesitated to put shit in my mailbox. It was incredible how some people who I did not know personally, and who did not really knew me, reacted and called me all sorts of names. Those Christian shouters were all the time Trinitarians defending their belief as the only one belief. Non-trinitarians were called heretics and even nonbelievers, though according to me everybody does belief something.

 

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Gr...

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin, from a 1566 edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle who could not be called ‘a believer’ in his Nicomachean Ethics believed already that people could study ethics and by doing so could become good, and in so doing become a virtuous, flourishing, fulfilled, happy human being.
The agnostic as a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty, may have an open mind about religious belief, especially the existence of God, but often believes that because there is no reference to any concept of gods or the supernatural that it does not mean there would be not such special power or not something after death.

The humanist, who wants to take a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church, may believe that moral values follow on from human nature and experience in some way. Most humanists would agree or believe that people should work together to improve the quality of life for all and make it more equitable. According to some, humanism is a full philosophy, “life stance” or worldview, rather than being about one aspect of religion, knowledge, or politics.

With many who say they are “non-religious” we can find the believe in humanity. Many of them look for the way and sense of life. Even when they reject the idea of any supernatural agency, they are aware of the universe and the placing of the human being in the whole ‘creation‘. They also belief we should look for ways to make the best out of the world.

Sceptics as either doubter, cynic or a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events, perhaps may swear that they do not believe in anything, but already by swearing they confess a certain believe. It is their belief that there is doubt about all the many religious sayings, myths, supernatural or “paranormal” beliefs. More than one cynic believes that people always act selfishly and that people are malformed by their upbringing and cultural environment..

 Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Charles Camosy, who teaches Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York City may find those who give criticism, those who go against somebody his thoughts, are justified to do so, and we should understand that they sometimes react in ways we would not expect. His academic work focuses in biomedical ethics, but he is also very interested in the confluence of ethics, theology and politics in our public sphere more broadly.

In his work the Roman Catholic got confronted with many opinions. He did not mind to look at discussable subjects, like we would like to tackle on this platform. As such he has spent considerable time working to find ways to dial down the polarization in our public sphere and fruitfully engage difficult issues like abortion, euthanasia, treatment of non-human animals, and health care distribution.

According to him and us, the key of understanding and ability to talk about such subjects is to be open for an other opinion and to have

intellectual solidarity with those who think differently.

In his second book Camosy engages the first sustained and fruitful conversation between Peter Singer and Christian ethics — and once again considers a wide variety of bioethical and social issues. As a non-typical Catholic moral theologian he questions how Singer can push Catholic ethics to greater depth and how Catholic ethics can push Peter Singer to greater depth. For example, on the issue of abortion, the differences appear insurmountable. Singer not only holds that abortion can be morally licit but also infanticide.

In Camosy his work he points out several areas of commonality, and that is what many Christians overlook. Being part of the same body, the Body of Christ, using the same book as their base, the Bible, they should have more things in common or otherwise it would be clear that they are not following their so called teacher Jesus of Nazareth.

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

According to John Blake who witnessed some of the nastiest religious arguments online

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script.

He gets the source of frustration for some atheists.

They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Whatever a person may believe or how he may look at those who believe certain things, he should know that everybody may have a field in which he may know a lot. We should know that we can not know everything and can not have enough knowledge in the many fields of science. For many it is difficult to accept that there is a limit to knowledge also for themselves.

To debate about religion should not mean to go to war against those who think differently. In case we are interested in religion we may encounter some extreme interpretations and reactions, knowing that many thoughts come from the emotional heart.

In interviews after the Rutgers event, Singer and Camosy each gave the same answer: dogmatism. Camosy elaborates:

Furthermore, I think most disagreement comes – not from differences in evidence in argument – but because of social or emotive reasons. Someone is turned off by a group of people who hold a particular view, or part of their self-identity comes from not being like another group, and thus the arguments are built on top of that first principle as to why such a group holds mistaken views. And so on.

James Goodrich writes:

We would be naïve to think that there aren’t overly dogmatic persons or those who define themselves by their opposition in both camps. Given this thought, could it be the case that we ourselves, in some sense, are responsible for a lack of ethical progress? Could progress be made if we all were all actually able to sit down together with open minds and our best arguments? I think it’s not irrational to be hopeful. It is unlikely that we can completely do away with some level of dogmatism, but if the reason disagreement persists is in part due to social reasons, then perhaps given enough time progress is indeed obtainable.

We might come to find, at least with respect to ethics, that religious and secular thinkers really did just start from different places at the base of the mountain and will someday meet at the peak.

According to it’s probably one of the most intractable and complex questions in philosophy to know how free will, determinism and moral responsibility work together. Those who call themselves Christians should have a certain moral and an attitude to all people who are according the Bible created in the image of God and part of His Masterwork. Of those who call themselves children of the Creator God you would expect moral responsibility.

Charles Camosy

our will needs to be, at some important juncture, determined by something we identify with as ‘us’.  What specific kinds of things might these be?  Well, the normal things you might imagine: our interests, goals, values, moral convictions, characters, motivations, processes of deliberation, etc.  (And additionally, these things need to be left up to us and not ultimately determined by some other mind with their own interests, goals, etc… among a few other clauses which space won’t permit.)

In many religious groups though, we may find that the disagreements there are should not always be such a terrible stumbling block. Lots of time many similarities can be found, or little details which are not as important to the outcome, they may think.

As children of God we should respect the other creations of God, and accept that they may have their own interests and their own believes. We should imagine a multitude of possibilities in this world, or models of the way the world could be. We also should accept that not everybody wants to choose the same things or the same order. We should leave them the liberty to choose freely,

pick between them based on our personal interests and values a la Hume.

When defining free will simply (and crudely) as “an uncaused will” or “caused by nothing but ‘myself’”, you get the kinds of tensions that keep some determinists up at night.  However, why define it this way?  Why not define it differently?

We all have a very real experience of free will, of choosing between live ‘options’, and of being morally ‘responsible’.  There is a very real phenomena I seem to be pointing at with these words that begs an explanation.  So it seems that there are really two separate kinds of free wills, or ways in which we use the term free will.  Specifically, ‘free will’ can refer to 1) a concept or definition or 2) a phenomena we experience.

Cupido

To understand this think of “Love”.  Love is an very real and powerful emotion, yet there are a thousand definitions and understandings of what it is and causes it.  Psychologists, sociologists, evolutionary biologists, and theologians all understand the term differently and operate on different academic definitions.  So in the first way we could, for instance, simply define “love” as “mutually altruistic pair emotional and social bonding” and then work off of that definition.  Then, in contrast, I could ask: What is this phenomena over here in front of me that we all experience and often call ‘love’? And, further, why accept this definition of ‘love’ as opposed to some other?  How should we define this phenomena and what characterizes it?

When we do have the capacity to take things in perspective we should try to understand others’ differing interests. Out of our love for the creation we should feel empathy and show understanding, trying also to learn from the other person his ideas, intelligence or sense. Each of us should know that it is not because we might have a strong personal opinion or interpretation of a subject that the other opinion could not be right as well or could not receive our sympathy as well. Though sometimes there may be a close similarity in appearance or quality; inherent likeness, we should be wiling to see. It just demands a free spirit who puts away the selfishness of the ego, liking its own ideas.

We better should look for the quality of fitting or working harmoniously with one another, trying to find ways to make this living space a better space for every one, whatever they may like or whatever opinion they would like to hold on.

Like we should treat kids we should take the right attitude to people around us. We should look at them with investigating minds, not condemning the situations or actions straight ahead. We should look for harmony between things, ideas, and where we see something going right or wrong we should mention the good things first.

Moral blame and praise (very different from punishment and rewards, btw), holding people accountable for their actions, and other moral considerations daily effect how we think about our choices and make our decisions.

Holding people morally responsible, promoting moral values, etc still has tangible and valuable effects on peoples’ conscious and subconscious deliberations and life choices.

agrees , but he also thinks

Even if ‘free will’, crudely defined, creates problems for moral responsibility, again, who cares?

Those who are aware of the Higher Being and belief that we live in a temporary system, should care, and try to come to good alternatives.

may believe that in the 3000 yr old tradition of Philosophy, the discussion about God and ethics was pretty much finished with Plato in the Euthyphro Dialogue. The question about what ‘right’, ‘good’, and other moral terms actually are may still be on many tongues. We as citizens should listen to the worldly lawmakers, but should always put the Most Important  and Most High Lawmaker in the first place.
Paul Chiariello who is currently studying for his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University and who is also the assistant coordinator and webmaster at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers University, gives a good answer:

So like ideal teachers, parents and legislators, God instead commands and loves what is already right and good, independent of his commanding/loving it.  God has, in a sense, figured out ethics already (being omniscient and whatnot) and then tells us about it.

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Please do find to read:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Being prudent – zorgvuldig zijn
  3. Choices
  4. Choosing your attitudes
  5. Not the circumstances in which we are placed constitutes our comfort
  6. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  7. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  8. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  9. How us to behave
  10. Not liking your Christians
  11. Who are the honest ones?
  12. Greatest single cause of atheism
  13. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  14. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  15. How we think shows through in how we act
  16. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  17. If you want to go far in life
  18. People should know what you stand for
  19. The manager and Word of God
  20. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  21. A learning process for each of us
  22. Are Christadelphians so Old Fashioned?
  23. Feed Your Faith Daily
  24. Followers with deepening
  25. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  26. Unconditional love
  27. Life and attitude of a Christian
  28. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  29. Work with joy and pray with love
  30. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  31. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  32. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  35. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  36. It is free will choice
  37. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  38. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  39. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  40. Ask Grace to go forward
  41. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal
  42. Spread love everywhere you go
  43. Don’t wait to catch a healthy attitude
  44. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap
  45. Finish each day and be done with it
  46. Christadelphian people

Those who understand Dutch can also find:

  1. Uitkijken voor de steeds groter wordende kloof tussen wereld en kerk
  2. Zorgvuldigheid of oplettendheid
  3. Grootste oorzaak van atheïsme in de wereld zijn de Christenen
  4. Niet houden van dat soort Christenen
  5. Woede Oordeel en veroordeling
  6. Niet de omstandigheden waarin we geplaatst zijn vormen onze troost
  7. Hoe we denken schijnt door in hoe we handelen
  8. Onze houding naar anderen belangrijk om te overtuigen
  9. Een norm waaraan de verstandigen en eerlijken zich kunnen herstellen optrekken
  10. Als je ver wilt gaan in het leven
  11. Mensen moeten weten waar je voor staat
  12. Tot bewust zijn komen voor huidig leven
  13. Je verliest alleen energie wanneer het leven saai in je geest wordt
  14. Vergeet niet dat wie je bent slechts zo belangrijk is als wat je doet
  15. Beoordeel niet elke dag door de oogst die je plukt
  16. De Bekeerling, bekeringsactie en bekering
  17. Christen, Jood of Volk van God
  18. Christen genoemd
  19. Christenmensen met ons geloof
  20. Welk soort leven moet een Christen hebben?
  21. Christen worden iets anders dan lid worden van een kerk.
  22. Volgelingen met de vrucht van verdieping
  23. Hoe ons te gedragen
  24. Handel alsof alles wat je denkt, zegt en doet uw hele leven bepaalt
  25. Neem afstand van het kwade
  26. Kleed jezelf met compassie, zachtheid, vriendelijkheid, nederigheid, en geduld
  27. Vraag Genade om voorwaarts te gaan
  28. Christadelphian mens
  29. Zijn Christadelphians zo ‘Old fashioned’?

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Additional reading:

  1. What’s church for, anyway? (by )
  2. Four Reasons Why Determinism is Irrelevant to Ethics & Free Will
  3. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  4. Peter Singer & Christian Ethics
  5. Seeking common ground
  6. A Quick Report from ‘Christian Ethics Engages Peter Singer’ this Past Week at Oxford
  7. Euthyphro’s Dilemma: Why Atheists & Theists are Stuck in the Same Ethical Boat
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. You Blind Guides! You Strain Out a Gnat But Swallow a Camel
  10. “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard
  11. Cultivating A Gospel Shaped Attitude
  12. Relationship with God
  13. You are not limited to who is in charge
  14. 3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless
  15. Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice
  16. The Yes Face
  17. Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’

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  • Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views…. (healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com)
    41,000 denominations of Christianity in the world. Wow.

    That’s a lot of people, getting a lot of what God wanted us to know – wrong, and who knows who is right???

    I’ve put my very un-theologically sound views in there, which surprisingly has been welcomed by some – but I think hey – if they are all arguing with each other and getting a little personal with each other in some of their opinion, I might as well interject with some psychology based opinion too. Of which some have agreed with, men included.
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    I have no desire to be a preacher, no desire to lead in Church, in fact I can’t think of anything worse for me. But, I don’t see a compelling argument either way and all the theologians can’t get it right and agree.

    But, I do like seeing all their views and thinking about them and seeing some of their confusion, some of their rigid religious beliefs and some of their..well… silly arguments.

    Cognitive distortions are responsible for some of it, religious idolatry responsible for some of it, narcissism some of it, ego some of it, doctrine some of it, peer pressure some of it and some is just well…stupid.

  • #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets (themisinterpreted.com)
    What frightens us is that we’re not seeing something that is false, but something that is very real. A mirror is up and if we don’t like what we see then maybe we should begin to do some internal soul searching. The sooner we own up to that, the sooner we can face the realities that there are significant flaws and brokenness within our Christian leadership (and community). This show represents what we have nurtured and fed for decades. We have supported, encouraged and enabled
    arrogance,
    entitlement,
    a misplaced rationalization of prosperity,
    egoism,
    narcissism,
    sexism,
    position worship,
    emotional & spiritual manipulation
    et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
  • Why can’t I warm to street preaching? (christiantoday.com)
    Street preaching was encouraged as Biblical practise when Jesus came to Earth and has been since.

    Those who are brave enough to take to the streets are therefore following the footsteps of Jesus and spreading the word of the Gospel as we are asked.

    Even so, I cannot help but think that street speakers actually scare the public away from Christianity. We’ve all seen the eye-rolling of passers-by and it gets me wondering about the effect street preachers actually have on religious conversion.

    +
    There is certainly an argument that we must take the Word to the street because most people avoid Churches and religious buildings entirely. But I wonder whether the public aren’t encountering the right kind of street evangelism?

    Some evangelists preach discreetly in the streets by framing unintimidating picture boards for example, or by engaging in casual conversations. Others perform Christian music busker-style. These methods may be better suited to today’s society. After all, Jesus introduced street preaching over 2,000 years ago and modern society has changed profoundly.

  • Moderates, good deeds and religious fanaticism (samizdata.net)

    John Stephenson argues for the need to ask religious moderates about the motivations behind their actions. Are moderates – seeing faith as virtuous – tacitly defending fundamentalists (who are the genuinely committed believers), allowing them to become the “tail that wags the dog”? Moreover are religious moderates actually engaged in religion because they are “humanists in disguise”?

    One of the problems with engaging religious folk in conversation is the fact that, before falling victim to the charge of being “angry” or “strident”, we find that the rules of discourse and logic are warped and violated beyond recognition. Find me a religious fanatic who doesn’t endorse his faith through the actions supposedly committed in its name and you will have probably found me a liar.
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    The fact that what we perceive as a sense of morality is innate within humanity as opposed to religion is evident by virtue of the cherry-picking so commonplace among moderate believers. Among casual Church of England Christians for example, the Sermon on the Mount may be advocated yet the more abhorrent elements of Deuteronomy or Leviticus will be ignored. I suspect that a large proportion of these individuals are religious in name alone and that, for the most part, their attendance comes as a result of habit or an intrinsically vague idea that to attend church constitutes as a “good thing”. These people have often given very little thought to the doctrine their religion entails, but understand church to be a place of warmth and community – things that most of us are drawn to.

  • Can Faith Ever Be Rational? (ronmurp.net)
    When the question, is it rational, is asked of faith, the method by which a belief is maintained, then no, faith is not rational at all. Faith is the antithesis of rationality. Faith is what you use when you want to believe something, or are otherwise driven to hold a belief, when there is no reaason or evidence to support the belief. And faith can result in belief in spite of counter evidence and reason.

    When the question is asked it may be asked of faith, the system of belief, such as Christianity or Islam. So, can Christianity be rational? Can Islam be rational? Well, they can contain elements of reason, rationality, in the arguments put forward to support them, but that does not make them consequentially rational.

  • “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle (noneedtomindme.wordpress.com)
    In the passage, “Nicomachean Ethics”, by Aristotle, he explains about good and evil are the main contributions to our happiness, it crafts our character, and our virtues. I totally agree with his concept, because our virtues can help distinguish other relationships, and help relate to other people’s intention and emotions.
  • Political Correctness and “Bashing” (fggam.org)
    The adverse impact of “political correctness” on American culture cannot be overstated. Its sinister influence has been monumental and subversive in the extent to which it has reshaped American values, literally driving the population farther away from its Christian moorings, and redirecting civilization toward hedonism, socialism, atheism, humanism, and a host of other anti-Christian philosophies.
    +
    It is ever the case that error and falsehood are self-contradictory, and typically guilty of the same malady it imagines in others. Observe that those who express their disdain for “bashing” do not hesitate to bash the ones they accuse of bashing, and to do so publicly. They openly express to others (people who have no real connection to the matter) their rejection of and dislike for specific persons and groups who have had the unmitigated gall to express disapproval of a false religion or an immoral action.
  • John C. Richards Jr. Cuts Through the Focus on the Prosperity Gospel to Expose a Better Way for the Church (blackchristiannews.com)
    The pulpit has always been sacred space for the African American community.
    +
    The pulpit was reserved for the pastor. A sacred space for someone who recognized the sacred duty. Like Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, a preacher was to recognize they were standing on holy ground. As God’s mouthpiece, the preacher would deliver a message that was to deliver the people of God from bondage and sin. Recognizing this, the preacher’s accompanying humility-laden approach to sermonizing would cause others to grow deeper in their faith. As John Wesley puts it, the preacher’s duty was to “catch on fire” so “others will love to come and watch you burn.” Have we doused the fire in the Black church? Have we grabbed our extinguishers labeled “prosperity,” “tradition,” and “justice,” and forgotten about the Gospel? Do we just run across the pulpit as a shortcut to our next destination? Have preachers forgotten about that sacred space?
  • Does God Exist? (crain207.wordpress.com)
    I’ve often thought on that long-ago neighbor’s sad statement of belief. I’ve wondered if he only wanted to get rid of a visiting preacher, if deep down he still believed but responded in shock-the-preacher fashion because the parson on his porch reminded him of wounds he felt he received in church.
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    I often think of Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe that God exists and rewards those who search for him.”
  • Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up (rhythmraveradio.wordpress.com)
    The new reality series on Oxygen’s ‘Preacher’s of LA’ has caused quite a sir, especially when two of the ministers on the show , Bishop Clarence McClendon and Deitrick Haddon got into an argument .