A Young Turk tries to show that suicide bombings have nothing (nothing!) to do with Islam

I was going to post the third part of my piece on sexual dimorphism in human traits (other parts here and here), explaining why that physical dimorphism suggests that current behavioral differences between the sexes also reflect evolution in our ancestors (and why those who oppose a sexual-selection explanation are ideologically motivated)—but I have a few more papers to read. Look for it (if you’re interested) tomorrow.

In the meantime, let’s consider the Illiberal Leftist lucubrations of Mr. Hasan Piker, identified on Puffho as “an entertainment and political journalist known for his explainer videos on The Young Turks that provide detailed analysis on the top news stories of the day. Aside from covering pop culture news on TYT’s entertainment channel, Pop Trigger, Hasan is also a regular contributor on Buzzfeed and TMZ’s TooFab.”

As we know, The Young Turks (TYT) is a popular “leftist” online news show, but one that has grown increasingly illiberal in its attacks on New Atheists and its noisome sympathy for all kinds of Islam.

In his new PuffHo piece of Muslim apologetics, “Why suicide bombings have nothing to do with Islam“, Piker has a hard case to make. Nothing to do with Islam? NOTHING?  Even if religion were an ancillary factor here (and there’s clearly more than simply Muslim theology involved), one would have to wonder whether suicide bombings of the kind we see regularly committed by Muslims (most against other Muslims) would be as frequent. After all, if religion has nothing to do with it, then if we eliminate religion, the frequency of those bombings wouldn’t change.

Piker’s thesis, as you might expect, betrays a naiveté with both what the Qur’an and hadith say, and how religion twists and manipulates its scripture to justify anything. We are, of course, well familiar with that in the Bible, which—particularly in the Old Testament, repeatedly justifies misogyny, genocide, and the killing of gays, those who curse their parents, or people who work on the Sabbath. If we adhered to a strict interpretation of Scripture, then we’d be murdering everyone working on Saturday. But we ignore that completely, and anybody who did these things, adhering to God’s dictates in the Old Testament, would be decried and jailed. If you’re following the Bible strictly, though, you’d kill your child if he said, “Damn you, Dad!” Now, of course, we don’t look down on those who fail follow the Bible in this way; we don’t call them “not good Christians.”

But this is exactly what Piker does when he quotes the Qur’an to show that suicide bombing is not Islamic because—get this—Islam prohibits suicide. Yes, this is what he says:

Suicide bombings have been around since the 18th century, but I want to talk about suicide bombings as a tool of modern terrorist warfare and how it became the archetype of Muslim violence. Because while popular culture depicts Muslims as trigger-happy suicide bombers, suicide has always been a cardinal sin in Islam.

I mention this distinction because, despite what both Islam’s fiercest critics and most fervent adherents say, there are no verses in the Quran that explicitly urge Muslims to take their own lives and many that describe suicide as a sin.

. . . While the Shia interpretation of the Quran offers some leeway around self-harm to allow for self-sacrifice, the Sunni interpretation strictly prohibited it.

Also, until this point only occupying combatants had been targeted, whereas now civilians were being victimized.

Suicide or Martyrdom in the Quran

By contrast, martyrdom – or when Allah decides when you die in battle while protecting your country – is sanctioned in certain verses throughout the Quran.

Frequently cited is the Al-Baqara verse:

“And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah, ‘They are dead.’ Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not.”

I mention this distinction because, despite what both Islam’s fiercest critics and most fervent adherents say, there are no verses in the Quran that explicitly urge Muslims to take their own lives and many that describe suicide as a sin.

So here he gets to the real issue—martyrdom—but later calls it a “perverted version of Islam.” As that verse shows, as well the ones cited below and others, there is justification for suicide in the Qur’an, if you do it in the course of fighting for Allah. And that’s all that Piker says about that.

Piker goes on, noting that some Muslim clerics and leaders began justifying suicide bombing against Israelis, for they were occupiers:

Sunni extremists’ adoption of suicide bombing that targeted civilians proved critical. Once attacks against civilians could be justified, the words in the Quran no longer meant anything. According to a 2012 study published in the National Counterterrorism Center, Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year where. More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities.

This perverted version of Islam that upends more than a thousand years of a consensus interpretation of the Quran has been used to indoctrinate youths in countries crippled by war.

One might as well call the perfectly clear Biblical call to kill your children who curse you as “a perverted version of Christianity.” In fact, the Qu’ran is full of verses extolling those who fight for Allah, and give their lives for that. They go to Paradise, of course. It’s not a stretch to construe countries like Israel and the U.S. as enemies of Allah; and once you see that, then the way is clear. No perverted theology involved.

And so, without going further into how suicide bombers like the 9/11 group actually justify their actions, or whether they see a connection between their acts and Islam, Piker exculpates the religion. But . . . he sort of admits that connection toward the end of his piece (my emphasis):

In states where citizens have very little access to the basic amenities that many governments elsewhere provide, young people with nowhere else to turn seek answers from religious leaders. And those religious leaders are not shy about pointing the finger of blame at western occupying forces and justifying attacks against fellow muslims as a means of advancing their own agendas.

. . . While power-hungry religious clerics – and other Islamic leaders – have promoted suicide bombings as a justifiable tool of war, the majority of Muslims condemn it – just like the Quran does.

Suicide bombings have always been used to achieve political ends and have nothing to do with waging holy war, no matter what western media, Islam’s critics or religious clerics will have you believe. The attack committed by the PKK on Turkish soil is merely the latest example. Religion is simply a recruitment tool targeting the undereducated, the vulnerable and the disaffected…a violent means for a violent end.

Umm. . . why do the youth turn to religious leaders rather than their parents? Why is religion such a potent recruitment tool? That has nothing to do with religion? And why are Sunni and Shia in such conflict, regularly killing each other? Because the Sunni and Shia disagree on who were the rightful heirs of Muhammed—the original cause of that schism. Were there no Islam, there would be no such division. Further, like the divide between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, religion (in this case Islam) gives people a way of “othering” others and building animosity toward them. Sure, the killers might not be aware of the finer points of Islamic theology, but all they need to know is that someone with authority—religious authority—sanctions their acts. The religion is important because it assures you of an afterlife, something you need if you’re going to throw away your real life.

But that’s not the main failing of Piker’s piece. That failing is this: those Muslims who engage in suicide bombing, or promote it, don’t see it as suicide—they see it as MARTYRDOM. Suicide is just offing yourself; suicide bombing is a way to destroy your enemy, please Allah, and gain virgins in Paradise. That this can be even more explicitly religious is seen in the way the 9/11 bombers purified themselves and recited the Qur’an before their deeds.

And martyrdom can be justified by referring to both the Qur’an and the hadith. This site gives many examples; I’ll show just two:

Qur’an 9-111. Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success .

Qur-an 61:10. O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment.

11.  That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know!

12. (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of ‘Adn – Eternity [‘Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.

And from the hadith, the traditional sayings of Muhammad, which have great authority. The Sahih Bukhari is particularly important.

Sahih Bukhari Book 52, Number 54:

The Prophet said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men amongst the believers who dislike to be left behind me and whom I cannot provide with means of conveyance, I would certainly never remain behind any Sariya’ (army-unit) setting out in Allah’s Cause. By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Al1ah’s Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.

Sahih Bukhari (52:46)- “Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.”
Low hanging fruit but eh! Article by Hasan Piker, of The Young Turks

There are more, and believe me, between the hadith and the Qur’an, Islamic clerics and scholars have found ample justification for suicide bombing, and it’s never not just self-killing but “martyrdom” in the cause of Allah—martyrdom that gains one paradise. And those believers really think they’ll go to Paradise! For Piker to underplay this is mendacious and misleading, but of course his task is to show that nothing bad can be laid at the door of Islam itself.

Such are the Young Turks.

bwzvpiaiuaagn9

Hasan Piker roars

h/t: Cindy

56 Comments

  1. Craw
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Your point about martyrdom is of course dispositive.

    His survey facts are bogus too. Ask most Catholics if suicide is a sin they say yes. Ask them if throwing yourself on a grenade to protect others is a sin they say no. It would be obviously dishonest to argue “Oh no Catholics oppose throwing yourself on a grenade to save children! Look at my suicide poll!”

    • Carl
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Very nice observation.

    • Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      “Oh no Catholics oppose throwing yourself on a grenade to save children! Look at my suicide poll!”

      Exactly the thought that came to my mind.

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      suicide is a sin in Islam but “martyrdom” i.e. death due to fighting those considered unbelievers is not. Christianity does not have any equivalent term; its martyrs die for other causes – usually sticking to faith in the face of persecution (in ancient times)

  2. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Excellent analysis of TYT’s latest apologetic.

    How about commenting on this, though? https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2016/dec/19/political-correctness-how-the-right-invented-a-phantom-enemy-podcast

    It clearly deserves WEIT deconstruction. While it makes perfectly valid points about the uses anti-PC rhetoric has been put to by the alt-right, it completely ignores how focusing on ideological purity, identity politics, and word-policing by the political correctness enforcers of the left has handed undeserved credibility and political support to the alt-right, and has contributed to the triumph of Trumpism.

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      I think Prof Coynes point is why doesnt more of the left focus on actual injustices, and when defending Muslims – focus, say on actual or proposed Trump policies or discrimination, or for that matter the plight of the Rohingya who are actually persecuted by another religion rather than an obsession with portraying Islam as something other than it is.

  3. Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    When I was in Al Anbar Province Iraq from 2007 – 2008 I asked as many Iraqis as I could; what do you know about this conflict and what is it to you? Over and over the same answer was that there was money involved if you could show a video or photo of killing or injuring any Military members. Most of the time, they end up hurting more of themselves trying to attack us. We were hit with a chlorine bomb in Ramadi and I had to carry Iraqi children who were in terrible condition into our Med Building but it was way too small. I had to hold a girl for what seemed like forever until there was somebody qualified available to treat her. I doubt she lived. That is my personal experience. They were not even that much into any religion. Nobody seems to have a clue what is going on, but are consumed by the situation. Even the military brass would say they do not think we should even be there, but they carry it out because it is their bread and butter. They would joke about how there is no Navy, no Airforce, etc. in Iraq but now we are training them to organize their own Army. The whole wanting peace thing became a joke and everybody embraced the term “We are going into theater” and that was the motivation for us to act. I don’t have a fix for any of the people moving so rashly, and since then I have wanted to separate myself from the ways of this insane world and just live a simple life where I try not to place burden on others, and I won’t be moved into regret. I know my personal experience usually goes against what people are talking about, but it is offered anyway. My heart is heavy with what I have seen people do to each other.

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Iraq is completely kin tribal – though settled it has the bedouin kin values whose tribes are more lineal and kin oriented than any other pastoral nomadic group on the planet (e.g. The Nomadic Alternative, Thomas J. Barfield). Much of these bedouin values permeate Arab Muslim and south Asian Muslim lands (e.g. Pakistan: a hard country by Anatol Lieven) Its by kin tribe but also every extended family group against every other against every clan what your grandfather, clan, tribe etc leader says or is allied to. As one hadith says there are 99 types of Islam and only one is right.

      The religion is very exclusionary and tribe oriented so it is usually complimentary to this but sometimes contradicts current kin allegiances/blood feud etc.

      Also extract from
      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/cousin-marriage-conundrum/
      which Cites Bittles – Australian geneticist I have referred to here before

      “Cousin marriage averages not much more than one percent in most European countries and under 10 percent in the rest of the world outside that Morocco to Southern India corridor. Muslim immigration, however, has been boosting Europe’s low level of consanguinity. According to the leading authority on inbreeding, geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, “In the resident Pakistani community of some 0.5 million [in Britain] an estimated 50% to 60+% of marriages are consanguineous, with evidence that their prevalence is increasing.”

      “In Iraq, as in much of the region, nearly half of all married couples are first or second cousins. A 1986 study of 4,500 married hospital patients and staff in Baghdad found that 46 percent were wed to a first or second cousin, while a smaller 1989 survey found 53 percent were “consanguineously” married. The most prominent example of an Iraqi first cousin marriage is that of Saddam Hussein and his first wife Sajida.

      By fostering intense family loyalties and strong nepotistic urges, inbreeding makes the development of civil society more difficult. Many Americans have heard by now that Iraq is composed of three ethnic groups—the Kurds of the north, the Sunnis of the center, and the Shi’ites of the south. Clearly, these ethnic rivalries would complicate the task of reforming Iraq. But that is just a top-down summary of Iraq’s ethnic make-up. Each of those three ethnic groups is divisible into smaller and smaller tribes, clans, and inbred extended families—each with its own alliances, rivals, and feuds. And the engine at the bottom of these bedeviling social divisions is the oft-ignored institution of cousin marriage.

      One study of 107 marriages in Beech Creek, Kentucky in 1942 found 19 percent were consanguineous, although the Kentuckians were more inclined toward second- cousin marriages, while first-cousin couples are more common than second-cousin pairings in the Islamic lands…..
      Cousin marriage averages not much more than one percent in most European countries and under 10 percent in the rest of the world outside that Morocco to Southern India corridor. Muslim immigration, however, has been boosting Europe’s low level of consanguinity. According to the leading authority on inbreeding, geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, “In the resident Pakistani community of some 0.5 million [in Britain] an estimated 50% to 60+% of marriages are consanguineous, with evidence that their prevalence is increasing….(Turks, however, are quite a bit less enthusiastic about cousin marriage than are Arabs or Pakistanis, which correlates with the much stronger degree of patriotism found in Turkey.)”

      Re kin tribalism and implications for democracy also
      “The Churches bans on consanguineous marriages, kin networks and democracy” by Jonathan F. Schulz
      http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/cedex-discussion-paper-2016-16.pdf

      • Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        That is very interesting. Thanks for sharing your study. What does your name mean?

        • somer
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          A sad situation with multiple causes. Doing your best in a hellish mess and I really hope you are finding peace. I suppose shia domination at least of the south makes more sense as they are way the majority in the south and certainly Saddam was both very oppressive and a warmonger in his own right.

          Actually Somer is not my first name but its French for Summer – from the French Hugenot strain of the family but theres mainly the Anglo and Irish Scots Welsh Celtic sides.

          • Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Finding peace is what I hope for all sides. I definitely found mine, so I guess I will never make the news! Yea that was definitely a jab at the interests of people and the media whores (which indicates I am not fully at peace) and self reflection is real). So many reasons to fight and condemn that I find myself falling into it over and over, but there must be a wiser angle…
            The name you use is beautiful. I like the simplicity of it.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment, and especially thank you for what good you tried to accomplish in that impossible situation.
      There must be a wide range of views from those that served in Iraq regarding the whole point of it all, but I have certainly seen many that are similar to yours: That the whole thing was insane and unnecessary and camouflaged in disinformation.

      • Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I appreciate your support. We need to learn to approach things with a wiser perspective rather than relying on being informed by data that blows us around like a frenzy. I have learned to be immovable in regard to certain ways of behavior that this world encourages constantly into, and could never believe myself to be so justified.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 21, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        I wanted to say pretty much just this, but you said it so well I’ll just say . . .

        +1

        I can’t really know your experiences travisthetraveler, of course, but I empathize with you. You are a good person.

    • Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your contribution. I do not think it goes against what is talked about here.

      • Posted December 21, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        I see that we all want to find out where to place blame, but it is not for resolution. I have faced death and I know what I would do when it comes down to it. Most people do not know who they are. They are just told who they are, then they fight about that. This is not confined to be a religious problem. It is a social problem at the core. The world is a victim crying out in pain for many reasons, and I have experience with victims in pain. They are dangerous, but they need pain acknowledgment before they will trust you to try to heal them. I only see people pointing fingers and asking for action but not willing to be the one. These people on this blog hate me. And they want to teach my daughter in school all the stuff that goes against what my family believes, and what America used to fight for before it became a federal corporation. My wife is a retired International Patent Lawyer and I am a Veteran. We wish people would look into things much more than they do.

        • Carl
          Posted December 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          I’m a veteran myself (different time, different war), so I may have more insight in this regard than some here. But you make too much of it.

          People here don’t hate you. They see you as benighted by your religious views. How widely read are you?

          • Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Hi Carl. Thanks for your service. I am glad you made it home my brother!
            What or how much do you make of the situation?
            If you want to see how widely or how relevantly I am read or studied, you can see RickFlick testing me on it here: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/cvss-non-response-about-their-sale-of-homeopathic-medicine/#comment-1429002

            Sorry for linking, I hate to do that but I can only spend so much time being tested on this site.

            • Carl
              Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

              Fine defense of aloe vera. I concur in that.

              I was thinking more along the lines anti-theological writing. I’ve read the Bible (carefully). I have several translations. I like the poetic qualities of the King James best. But for what the Bible means, who wrote it, and with what intention this is the gold standard.

              • Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                I find it surprising that you would favor Spinoza over the Bible. It is very binary in comparison. Many people think the Bible is binary but it has a way of living with you in your life. I think they read it with too much self intent. You call Spinoza the “gold standard” which I find even more surprising since I know the context of that word and how it is being used today. For example:


                The owner of Dior is insane, but people “eat of the fruit”. I can tell there are people who hate the message in the Bible, and they are in very high up places.
                The Bible mostly says that the world will hate a message of love. It teaches to stand up to that and have faith in truth, not confusion, and try to see past the deception. Without that message we would be deceived even more. It also says the churches are corrupt and fake. Rituals are for heathens. The message never sinks in for people and the struggle remains.
                And a secular perspective as well: You can be cloned because you are encoded with DNA which makes design self evident. People are just arguing about whether it is random design, intelligent design, Alien design, self design, nature’s design, creative design, etc.

              • Carl
                Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

                I tried. Result not unexpected.

              • Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

                What were you trying to do? Can you make that clear to me?

              • Carl
                Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

                I was trying to see if you had anything new or interesting to say from a believers perspective.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

                I apologize for rejecting your invitation. I was getting testy comments from many people last night and became too defensive. I am trying to be better in the moment. I am just a man trying to be sincere to the fullest.

                In general; Spinoza is actually interesting to me, but I have a few reservations, especially if there is a desire to remove Jesus. I do agree with his view on how God manifests, mostly. He avoids the name “Jesus” but uses the word “Christ”, which means he is leaning toward self atonement mixed with divinity… and that makes it easy to make your God any one of the Polytheist’s Gods by deception. But I really do like his take on being born again by recognizing God and the true wisdom of love, and going through a process, which is not a ticket like most denominations are looking for. The major churches are awful and always have been. I just keep noticing people wanting to remove Jesus specifically time and time again. That is the pattern I see the most. It opens it up to the New Age Movement. If he believes what he says, I don’t know why he rejects the literal offer that “Christ” gave to us. To understand the love that your Father died by your hand just so you could know him. No other man has ever effected the world more than Jesus. And he did it in a way that could not be insincere or without love. What a perfect example so that I know not to fall for other idols. It is good that he turned from the rabbi doctrines of confusion, but in the end, he still chose to crucify Jesus by reducing him to a guy who became God rather than that God foretold and willed it to be that he would come and walk on the Earth to show us the way. Why is God always rejected as Jesus? We want him to be anybody other than Jesus it seems like. I guess it baffles me after seeing it over and over, and how other Gods are very well received in entertainment and political symbolism….

                For me, parables work really well. I understand that way best. It is good to have left brain paths to find God because that is like driving cross country while looking through a microscope. It is more of a labyrinth when using rigorous logic. My wife is very left brained and I am very right brained, so we like to compare how our paths lead to the same place. She is often taken by how fast I can come to an accurate sense compared to her deductions of a situation. That is why I prefer parables. It speaks to my senses.

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                Travis, you completely misunderstand Spinoza. Spinoza was an atheist. “Spinozism” has been a widely used synonym of atheism for much of history. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say every thoughtful atheist today, whether they know it or not, is the intellectual heir of Spinoza.

                Spinoza adduced a tremendous amount of historical, linguistic, and textual evidence that the Bible was written by ordinary men, and pretty ignorant and none too bright men at that. His work is widely accepted by even religious scholars today, and his methods are standard for scholarly research into the Bible.

                He thought miracles, prophecy, providence, prayer, afterlife, anything supernatural, and above all the God you believe in were superstitious delusions. He thought Jesus was an ordinary man.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

                Look up “Pantheism Spinoza”. Is this false? I am probably not as familiar with him as you I am sure.

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

                Yes, Spinoza as Pantheist is a misinterpretation. Spinoza writes a lot about “God,” but you don’t have to read very closely to notice Spinoza’s God is identical with Nature (not babbling brooks, etc., but everything that exists). That’s why Einstein, when pressed whether he believed in God, replied he believed in Spinoza’s God: the entire universe, and the laws of physics. At the time, just a polite way of declaring himself an atheist.

                I will point out that some versions of Pantheism and even Deism don’t differ from atheism in any important way. For example, in John Toland’s Pantheism and Jefferson’s Deism, “God” has no goals, no purposes, does not guide history, is not a person in any sense, does not work miracles, nothing in fact that the common religious view does believe.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

                Here he is saying Jesus was the word of God, but he denies Jesus still? That does not make sense. At the end of the day Spinoza is into self design like all the heathens are. A rebel against their Father. How do you read this?
                “I do not believe that anyone has reached such a degree of perfection above others except Christ, to whom the DECREES of God which guide men to SALVATION were revealed not by words or visions but directly; and that is why God revealed himself to the Apostles through the mind of Christ, as he did, formerly, to Moses by means of a HEAVENLY VOICE. Therefore the voice of Christ may be called THE VOICE OF GOD, like the voice which Moses heard… Here I must point out that I am not speaking at all of the things that certain churches affirm of Christ NOR DO I DENY THEM; for I freely admit that I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THEM… If Moses spoke with God face to face as a man with his friend (that is , through the mediation of two bodies), Christ communicated with God from mind to mind.” – Spinoza
                So I know why he rejects the message of Jesus, the voice of God. He wants to do it all himself. Good luck I say! From my experience, mind will be deceived into trouble, but The Holy Spirit will reveal wisdom to you if you are humble and not so worldly and self centered as these mind power salesmen.

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

                You won’t understand what Spinoza is saying until you get past seeing your God when Spinoza talks about his (= Nature and Natural processes), as I explained previously. He thinks your God is non-existent superstition. Spinoza was a thoroughgoing Naturalist, he’s speaking metaphorically here.

                Claiming “not to understand” (he’s referring to miracles, resurrection, and such) is a polite way of calling it nonsense.

                The followers of Spinoza have remade the world, a world created by the followers of Jesus that was hell (!metaphor) by comparison.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

                Yea, I am not convinced that Spinoza is accurate in his view. This might be off topic but, I just looked at the Humanist Manifesto 2 and found a crazy quote. What do you think of this in relation to what we are talking about? Are you part of Jerry Coyne and his insane movement to wage war in the school system too? You might want to consider the reality of a Heavenly Court before choosing… “Expanding upon the role the public education establishment should play to bring about the goals described in the Humanist Manifesto II, John Dunphy wrote: “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being…The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved.”
                This is what the Harvard Professor running this blog is into. That is heavy stuff…

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

                Are you part of Jerry Coyne and his insane movement to wage war in the school system too?

                I’m not sure what this movement is. I agree with Prof. Coyne on a great number of things though, in particular how I understand his views on religion and “God.”

                As for the quote by John Dunphy (who I don’t know) I don’t like its tone, at any rate I can do without phrases like proselytizer for a new faith, divine sparks, divinity in every human being, religion of humanity. I wouldn’t use “rotting corpse of Christianity’ – it’s obviously offensive to many, though I do have a very low opinion of Christianity, basically the best thing that can happen is for it to fade away and for people to live by the guidance of reason.

                Evolutionary biology should be taught in schools, and Creationism and intelligent design theory should be recognized for the foolishness they are.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

                Are you a Humanist? This is from the Humanist Manifesto. It is gaining in signatures since 1933. It is happening in the schools right now. You idolize these people don’t you?

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

                I really am not very familiar with humanist or secular humanist organizations. From what I gather, they try too hard to ape religion, though without god. The religion aping does not appeal to me at all.

                If you want to label me: atheist, Spinozist, or anti-theist will do fine. I’ve been this way for 50+ years, my dog tags were stamped “none” where yours probably had “Christian.” I don’t idolize anyone, but admire many. Steven Pinker and Sam Harris are my favorite public intellectuals. Also highly esteemed are Rebecca Goldstein, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, and Jonathan Haidt. Of course, Spinoza is without peer across time and country in my pantheon.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

                Did you know what happened with Paul Kurtz in 2009? From a quick search I found CFI, the umbrella corporation for the secular humanists and a few other groups. In there it states that the founder was pushed out by the board. Here is an interesting quote from Wikipedia on it: According to Paul Kurtz, in June 2009, being at odds with new CEO Ronald Lindsay, Kurtz was voted out as chairman. Kurtz has described the direction of CFI under Lindsay as “angry atheism” in contrast to his affirmative humanist philosophical approach.

              • Carl
                Posted December 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

                I just saw your second post where you talk about Hegel. Where are you getting your information? Spinoza was not German, and he never interacted with Hegel, who was born nearly a century after Spinoza died.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

                I see I was confused because Hegel spoke about Spinoza. I was more familiar with Hegel than Spinoza.

              • Posted December 22, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                Spinoza was just one of the many German philosophers during that time of academic frenzy writing. There was a ton of pressure among them. I do like Spinoza and Hegel’s interaction. I have recently (a few days ago) made a post on my blog about the Hegelian Dialectic and the ethics Trolley Problem that follows the same pattern of giving you 2 bad choices with great intent. I am calling them Pharisee traps now.

  4. Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I find this line of argument (Piker’s) quite identical to what I get from Deutsche Telekom’s customer service hotline: “Well maybe a colleague told you that your internet would be connected today at 12, but I have no record of that. And actually it was not his job to say that, because that’s the technical department’s decision.”

    In short, trying to solve an internal problem by telling an external person who is inconvenienced by it, that the problem actually does not exist according to their guidelines.

  5. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Illiberal Leftist

    Somewhat off at a tangent I’ll offer another meme for SJW or Illiberal Leftist: Control Left. It’s not of my own making (I can’t find where I first read it) but for me it captures a particular relationship between two extremes of the Western political debate – Alt Right/Ctl Left.

    Both Alt Right and Ctl Left ends would probably despise me (a Classic Liberal) yet I really wish they could concentrate on the good that can be done now rather than the many (often imaginary) ills that cannot be addressed any time soon.

  6. David Jorling
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who thinks that Terrorism has nothing to do with the religion of Islam should be required to read the article “Why we hate you and fight you” that appeared in the ISIS on line magazine Dabiq (Now called “Rumiyah” which I understand to be the Arabic word for Rome).

    Here is the article (You may need to scroll to it) Alert – be careful when you scroll, there are graphic pictures of beheadings and other murders in the issue that are difficult to look at:

    http://www.clarionproject.org/factsheets-files/islamic-state-magazine-dabiq-fifteen-breaking-the-cross.pdf

  7. A Hermit
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s worth noting that the tactic of suicide bombing was pioneered by the decidedly secular Tamil Tigers…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104391493

    That’s not to say the use of the tactic by Islamist fanatics has nothing to do with religion, but the connection shouldn’t be over-stated either.

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      In the Middle ages in Islam – there was a Shia sect many of whose members were called the Assassins who dispatched their Sunni rivals
      from Wikipedia
      “While “Assassins” typically refers to the entire medieval Nizari sect, in fact only a class of acolytes known as the fida’i actually engaged in assassination work. Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, and over the course of 300 years successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans, and Crusader leaders.[3]”

      • somer
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        and my Apple online dictionary says this as origin for definition of Assassin as does Mirriam Webster

        a murderer of an important person in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons.
        • (Assassin) historical a member of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims at the time of the Crusades, when the newly established sect ruled part of northern Persia (1094–1256). They were renowned as militant fanatics, and were popularly reputed to use hashish before going on murder missions.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted December 21, 2016 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Hmm… And the fact that Tamils are Hindu while Sinhalese are Buddhists has nothing to do with the conflict?

  8. Joseph Stans
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    “…return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.”

    So no harm no foul. I like it. Much better than Chirstaiinty.

    I’m going to dash a note off to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, suggesting the addition.

    Especially the booty part.

    • Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      In the Koran, the number of verses related to booty and its distribution far exceeds that of verses related to work. An entire Sura (chapter), No. 8, is devoted to the subject.

  9. somer
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    A sad situation with multiple causes. Doing your best in a hellish mess and I really hope you are finding peace. I suppose shia domination at least of the south makes more sense as they are way the majority in the south and certainly Saddam was both very oppressive and a warmonger in his own right.

    Actually Somer is not my first name but its French for Summer – from the French Hugenot strain of the family but theres mainly the Anglo and Irish Scots Welsh Celtic sides.

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      oops. Posted in Wrong Spot, sorry

    • somer
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      I think a lot of the motivation for the war was a neo con lobby supported by Rumsfeld, which was especially concerned by Saddams increasing Scud missile attacks on Israel and military support for the Palestinians. And of course back in the 80s the Israelis had had to bomb his nuclear military installation before it was completed

  10. Joshua Thom
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Devon Tracy of Atheism-is-Unstoppable did a video on this that I think some would be interested in.

    https://youtu.be/hmB7vw6w02c

  11. Bhagwan
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    TYT made a video about this as well:

  12. JohnE
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The gospel of Matthew specifically states that Christians are not to pray in public. So I guess that the overwhelming number of Christians who are only too happy to open every public event with a prayer are not motivated to pray by their religion, right? The logic is irrefutable!

  13. Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Mr. Piker alleges that “…popular culture depicts Muslims as trigger-happy suicide bombers…” I’m not convinced that this is true. The overwhelming presentation of Muslims at least in Britain nowadays is of inclusive representations of hijabbed or bearded Muslims achieving something that most people would consider banal or non-controversial. She can cook, he can bowl. I suspect that you would find that right-wing, Christian-based depictions in outlets like the Daily Mail or Fox News would favour the ‘trigger-happy suicide bomber’ trope but they by no means constitute the whole of popular culture.

    On suicide bombing being “used to indoctrinate youths in countries crippled by war…” this does not explain IS’s preference for foreigners as suicide bombers. On entering the Caliphate, the foreign recruits are given classes in Islamic theology and the organization obviously values the works as carrots for the completion of their mission. The recruits’ wives and children are cared for, given honour and welfare. Contrast that with the 15 or so cases of LTTE suicide bombings in the 90s. The group persuaded suicide-bombers in a totally different way. They threatened reprisals against the bombers’ family members if they did not comply. The Tamil Tigers used coercion, the jihadists use a reward system based on old Koranic ideas. Somer points out above the Assassins’ use of pre-modern technology in their suicide attacks: the knifing of a dignitary was expected to lead to the attacker’s death.

    Piker alleges that, ‘Religion is simply a recruitment tool targeting the undereducated, the vulnerable and the disaffected…a violent means for a violent end.’ The numbers for European recruits to IS are in their thousands and there is no evidence I have seen to show that they are under-educated or even relatively under-educated in relation to the average for their country of origin. IS recruits from MENA tend to be slightly better-educated than the norm in their native land. To claim these recruits as ‘vulnerable and disaffected’ is a circular argument as it does not introduce an exogenous explanation. Needless to say, IS recruits from many countries which are not ‘crippled by war’: at best foreign recruits will be attracted by utopian pictures online of the Caliphate but to describe their home countries as war-torn, in this age of relatively few wars, is to be in thrall precisely to the weather of popular culture – the internet, television, instant news – which gives the false impression of a world in perpetual battle. It is Mr. Piker who mistakes popular culture for the reality.

    I do not know the back-story of how 1890s anarchists came to use suicide bombing as a tactic, but the numbers of them were vanishingly few. Piker says that, “Suicide bombings have been around since the 18th century…” That’s news to me and I would be interested in a reference.

    • Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Wise comment! Thank you for speaking with discernment my brother.

  14. Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Yes, nothing to do with Islam — which is why they leave those videos explaining they are doing it for Islam and they often shout Allahu Akbar during attacks.

    Right, nothing to do with Islam.

    The phrase “completely impervious to data” comes to mind.


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