If it’s virgins the Islamic fundamentalist martyrs want, they might consider a career with the Vatican: all the innocent young virgins you can get your hands on plus absolution and a Stay Out Of Jail Free card personally signed by the CEO. Also robes; silly hats; loads of hate for gays, atheists, women, apostates and every other religion on Earth and a really fucking creepy level of interest in other peoples’ sex lives. Additionally, you don’t have to pray five times a day and you can eat bacon & drink alcohol. Did I mention you get all this while you’re still alive and that after you’re dead it only gets better? God damn it, that’s one sweet deal – sounds almost too good to be true.var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-5094406-1”); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview();
Recent revelations that hundred of thousands of US servicemens’ rifle-scopes are carrying references Gospel verses have littered the web recently. Today it’s been revealed that Australian soldiers are using those very same scopes. The Bible references appear like any normal-looking serial number, for example ”2COR4:6” is a reference to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
The manufacturer, Trijicon, was founded by a fundie Christian over thirty years ago and its website carries this message:
”As part of our faith and our belief in service to our country, Trijicon has put scripture references on our products for more than two decades,” a statement on the company’s website said.
”As long as we have men and women in danger, we will continue to do everything we can to provide them with both state-of-the-art technology and the never-ending support and prayers of a grateful nation.”
Ah, nothing like militarised Christianity. Nothing like lining up your enemies’ skulls in a scope you know is blessed by the words of Jesus. Nothing like the old “God is in MY side but not YOURS’ gambit, used by everyone from Moses’ merry band of child-killers to the Crusaders to the loons who routinely blow themselves up to gain eternal paradise.
Unsurprisingly, defence chiefs from the affected nations including the US, Canada, NZ and Australia have stated they didn’t know these serial numbers were in fact Gospel references. Why does it not surprise me? Because, historically, the people most likely to want to sneak their religion into other peoples’ lives are the ones who cling to it the tightest (google “Dover Trial”). I could always give Trijicon the benefit of the doubt and say the fault lies, if anywhere, with the defence chiefs who didn’t research the company – but hey, how many generals or defence ministers would think to check their equipment suppliers aren’t using evangelising serial numbers on their products?
Now, notwithstanding the first amendment to the US constitution and the inarguably secular intent of the founders of that nation – not to mention the secular nature of their Allies who also use these scopes – I hope someone has realised that this is going to be more propaganda fuel for the Taliban and for many Iraqi insurgents who already believe this is some kind of war against Islam, a Fourth Crusade. When news gets out amongst the “enemy” that Allied forces have Bible verses inscribed on their scopes, those servicemen may as well drop the fatigues and start wearing white smocks with big-arse red crucifixes on the front. Seriously, this is one little speed-bump our poor bastards in the desert didn’t need.
Well, this is interesting. It seems Google is censoring itself when it comes to religious search terms:
In the search field type “Christianity is” and you will see recommendations of “bullsh*t, not a religion, a lie, false, a cult, wrong, fake, dying, Jewish, and not a religion t-shirt.”
In the search field type “Hinduism is” and you will see recommendations of “monotheistic, false, polytheistic, the majority religion of, the oldest religion, not a religion, fake, most commonly found, characterized by, and wrong.”
In the search field type “Buddhism is” and you will see recommendations of “not a religion, wrong, not what you think, bullsh*t, polytheistic, a religion, false, based on what concepts, the best religion, and atheism.”
In the search field type “Judaism is” and you will see recommendations of “false, not a race, not a religion, a race, a religion of the book, not Jewish, a gutter religion, monotheistic, a cult, and a religion.”
Try typing “Atheism is” and you will see recommendations of “a religion, dead, not a religion, wrong, the new fundamentalism, growing, a non-prophet organization, so senseless, illogical, a religion supreme court.” Clearly they are not holding back on the Atheists.
Now, let’s try Islam. Type in “Islam is” and you will see…
Absolutely nothing. That’s correct. Google makes no recommendations based on searches of “Islam Is.”
Why indeed? Why do search terms pop up for every religion (and even for atheism) except for Islam, the second most popular and perhaps fastest-growing religion on Earth?
Quick easy answer: because people are fucking scared of Muslims.
Why? Because people have seen what some Muslims across the world get up to when confronted with even the softest criticism of Islam, the most playful satire or the mildest offense. People know that anyone who doesn’t bow or scrape or kowtow when talking about Islam may well be subject not just to death threats but actual attempts on their lives. People know full well when the “Religion of Peace” is mentioned, the subsequent words better be chosen carefully or some rage-addict is going to start stamping his feet, throwing a tantrum, burning an effigy and maybe planning to end someone’s life. Don’t raise your eyebrow – it happened a few years ago to Theo Van Gogh, who made a film critical of Islam with writer & parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who lives under constant protection. Van Gogh was found shot & stabbed to death with a further threat pinned to his chest with a knife. It happened just the other day to the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, who drew Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and kicked off riots and protests and death threats across the globe. A crazed fanatic with an axe attacked Westergaard in his own home and the only thing that saved him (and his five-year-old granddaughter) was the fortified panic room he had installed … as a direct response to Islamic tantrums.
So, if I’m right, it’s really no surprise at all that the world’s most visible company wants to keep its buildings and employees in one piece – even they’re only facilitating other peoples’ criticism and not responsible for it. When adherents of the “Religion of Peace” will kill people because someone out there may not agree with their philosophy, self-preservation is paramount. If I’m wrong, well … hell, I’ll be glad to be wrong.
Tip of the tentacles to PZ Myers.
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From the Beeb:
At least eight women and one man are reported to have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.
The group, convicted of adultery and sex offences, could be executed at any time, lawyers defending them say.
Under Iran’s strict penal code, men convicted of adultery should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests for stoning. The stones used should not be large enough to kill the person immediately.
Men up to their waists; women up to their chests. Fair enough, I mean, you don’t want them to run away or be able to cower and protect themselves, but I suppose you don’t want to hurt their breasts or genitals either (or even admit they exist, this is fundamentalist Islam after all). Also, good that the stones shouldn’t be big enough to kill them immediately. It’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to cause someone immense pain through dozens, maybe hundreds of blunt force traumas first. You want to draw it out so the stoners can enjoy their work. They could perhaps have competitions to see who can blind the prisoner or break their nose first. Don’t throw too hard though – perhaps the vicious, sinful sex criminal could suffer some kind of brain damage first or even slip into unconsciousness which would mean they wouldn’t feel the rest of the stones hitting their face and body. Can’t have that – they have to realise the error of their ways before they slip into unconsciousness and have their heads bashed in.
I thought Catholicism and Christianity in general was Dark-Ages retarded (retarded in the literal sense of the word, as in “held back or delayed”). Most of the time when I rant I concentrate on Christianity because it’s the religion I’m familiar with, but I often seem to forget how Islam – which makes similar claims to Absolute Truth and Moral Certainty – always manages to eclipse Christianity in almost every way. Sexual discrimination/homophobia/sexual hangups in general? Islam wins. Brutal punishments like the above? Islam again. Strident demands to not be offended by someone who disagrees? We can all recall the Danish cartoon fiasco and the poor teacher in the Sudan who had to be spirited out of the country after her students, not her, named a teddy Mohammed – then she apologised!! Vicious demonstrations calling for the deaths of critics? Think of the infamous fatwa against Salman Rushdie (his is still in effect twenty years later – these people don’t forgive or forget). What about actual deaths of critics? Think of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. He was found gunned down & stabbed to death in the street. Pinned to his chest with a knife was a note, addressed to Somali-born, Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which said “you’re next”. As an apostate and vocal, public critic of Islam, Ms Ali has her own fatwa against her and requires 24hr protection wherever she goes. I probably don’t need to mention honour killings or 72 virgins or Bali, do I?
I got your Religion of Peace right here:
Of course, it would be completely unfair to characterise all Muslims as potential faith-based murderers. I won’t lie and tell you that some of my best friends are Muslims, but I have many Muslim co-workers and they’re all decent, gentle, caring people (this is a humanitarian organisation after all). The last thing on my mind would be to feel uncomfortable or frightened around them. What would not be unfair would be to say that, simply looking at the numbers, their religion, unfortunately, produces more than its fair share of brutal violence. Violence which, more often than not according to the very words of the perpetrators of such violence, is scripturally-inspired. How many pre-suicide bomb films have we seen where the soon-to-be martyr proclaims the greatness of Allah? Not even that – just look at theocracies like Iran & Saudi Arabi where punishments like stonings and beheadings are carried out daily and where Koran-based prohibitions on what an adult can do are ruthlessly enfored by “Public Decency Police” or what-have-you. Look at what happens to gay people/adulterers – even hetero, umarried couples who dare to defy their families in those countries (more often than not it’s the woman who takes the brunt of punishment). Look at the world Osama bin Laden & his ilk want to create – everyone under the bootheel of Wahabbi Islam, the strictest, most fundamentalist version that can be found.
Yes, obviously it’s always the extremists that cause the problems, that small minority that make all moderate, decent believers look bad. But when can we expect the moderates all over the world to say “No! That’s not our Islam, that’s their Islam, ours is about peace and quiet coexistence and acceptance. Those ranting muftis do not speak for us!” And what if the moderates did stand up for decency? The extremists would say “Their moderate Islam is wrong; ours commands us to spread the word of Allah by whatever means are necessary; our Islam demands we wage jihad! Their Islam is weak and diluted and corrupted by decadent, permissive, infidel Western whores!”
That, by and large, is my biggest problem with religion. With so many different competing sects, versions and levels of literalism when it comes to interpreting the texts, how can anyone be sure that theirs is the right one? How can any of these people, apart from the fact they were marinated in it for their entire lives, actually know they’re doing it right? This is a point frequently raised by atheists/agnostics/rationalists and to my knowledge it’s never been adequately addressed by a believer or priest or theologist. What if your moderate version of the religion is actually wrong and God actually wants you to behave like an illiterate desert shepherd from two or three thousand years ago? What if he actually does want you to execute infidels and de-converts and people who work on weekends? What if he will condemn you to hell for the slightest infraction? Face it, you and your sect have evolved & adapted your faith to conform with your own personal morality and that of your modern society. But you had absolutley no right to do that; God’s word is law and it’s the only law you need. How dare you defy God’s will and make up your own rules? May God have mercy on your soul!
Sam Harris and others have said that it’s the moderate form of any religion which provides the environment in which the extreme element survives (after all, pretty much all religions start of as fundamentalist and then evolve toward moderation through time – today’s fundamentalists are just getting back to basics). The moderates provide cover for the extremists to grow and thrive, like weeds in a cornfield. Some weeds manage to exert a disproportionate influence on the rest of the crop though – in cases like Iran and Saudi Arabia, the weeds have full control. It’s not the spread of Islam that the world must be on its guard against (it’s the fastest-growing faith in the world and it’s everywhere anyway); it’s the stunted, poisonous, parasitic weeds that Islam allows to grow and spread that we should stamp out and uproot wherever we find them.