Nearly all the posts are bilingual.
Presque tous les articles sont bilingues.

English spoken. On parle français. (وكمان منفهم عربي، حبيبي)

Most of this blog's contents is subject to copyright. For instance, many of the latest illustrations I've made myself. I'm the cooperative type. If you intend to borrow some material, please contact me by leaving a comment. :-)
La plupart du contenu de ce blog est soumis aux droits d'auteurs. Par exemple, nombre des illustrations les plus récentes sont faites par moi. Je suis du genre coulant. Si vous comptez emprunter du contenu, SVP contactez-moi en laissant un commentaire. :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

''Call me Ishmael'' - (Herman Melville)

It is the Mecca pilgrimage season.
My official Arabic language dictionnary defines the Adha, also called the Eid-El-Kebir, as "the celebration of the slaughter", an-naHr. People should get informed a little better, it would avoir cultural mix-ups.
For instance, the EuroNews network described it, in a report on the Hajj, as "the commemoration of the sacrifice Abraham almost made of his son Isaac". Three mistakes in one single little sentence, my they're good!!!
1°- Abraham didn't "almost" anything. The Adha celebrates the sacrifice that he well made to Allah, and that muslims emulate at home or during the Hajj (the great Mecca pilgrimage).
2°- It's not the sacrifice of his son, but that of the sheep, by definition. I do believe the Arabs know what they're talking about.
3°- According to the Qur'an, the son who had a close shave(!) was not Isaac, but rather Ishmael, Abraham's true first-born. Surah 37, (As-Saffat), verse 102.
Yes, I know, in the Old Testament / the Torah, the story version is slightly different. The thing is, both Books aren't from the same editor...
But there is far worse than EuroNews. At least they have the excuse of not having read the Koran. But what about some muslims, who furthermore present themselves as "the most pious of all, fundamentalists", and who betray the tradition? 4°- It says, "slaughter A SHEEP". And yet, every year, islamists "celebrate" the Adha by killing humans. As a sacrifice to please Allah, I presume, those good devouts... They slit the throats of Westerners, or perform "martyr-actions" (read : kamikaze bombings) that often target muslims themselves. Such as this year, in Kirkuk. A real butchery, but not exactly Halal alimentation!
Same with Ramadan : couldn't we also fast a little on the deadly operations during that month, instead of tripling them? So much for "following the instructions to the letter", as advocated by Brother Osama and his Mummah Lobstar. Do as I say, don't do as I do, amen!
I know, I know, those who do this would claim that "Kurds are not muslims". (Neither are Afghan women?!?) But... what's a Kurd's religion, then? As far as I know they pray in the Koran, don't they? May Saint Sherlock assist us against this mystery!
It's like that weird quirk, to respectively consider that "Shiites / Sunnis, they aren't genuine muslims", so let's merrily kill each other, yo-ho-ho, and a happy Christmas children! So much for the spirit of unity among Believers, on which their COMMON Book so heavily insists. The more people are alike, the less they can stand each other.
I wasn't aware there was such a thing as counterfeit muslims. Crikey! Another trick from China? And what about them Uyghurs they have in China, are they authentic or all a trick?
It's amazing how many One True God you can find in the world. I'm telling you, my brothers and sisters, there must've been one heck of a traffic jam at the Creation of the Universe. Hey, you Witnesses with your Jehovah, get back in line like the rest of the Cosmos! What in the world are you thinking?
(In the WORLD, that's a good one. :-)
Almighty then, happy various holidays to all, and don't let the children play with knives, nor the whackoes play with explosives.
"Good luck, Jim." Fem-fire-tre-to-en... Bim-bam-bom!

The nearly full Moon announces the 10th day of Zhul-Hijja, date of the Adha.''S'il te plaît, égorge-moi [plutôt] un mouton'' / ''Please, sacrifice me a sheep [instead!]''La Lune presque pleine annonce le 10 Zhul-Hijja, date de l'Adha.


C'est la saison du pèlerinage à la Mecque.
Mon dictionnaire officiel de la langue arabe définit l'Adha, également nommée l'Aïd-El-Kébir, comme "la fête de l'égorgement", an-naHr. Les gens devraient se renseigner un peu mieux, ça éviterait les confusions culturelles.
Ainsi, la chaîne EuroNews l'a décrite, dans un reportage sur le Hajj, comme "la célébration du sacrifice qu'Abraham faillit faire de son fils Isaac". Trois erreurs dans une seule petite phrase, ils sont doués!!!
1°- Abraham n'a rien "failli" du tout. La fête commémore le sacrifice qu'il a bien fait à Allah, et que les musulmans reproduisent chez eux ou durant le Hajj (le grand pèlerinage à la Mecque).
2°- Il ne s'agit pas du sacrifice de son fils, mais du mouton, par définition. Il me semble que les Arabes savent ce qu'ils racontent.
3°- Selon le Coran, le fils qui l'a échappée belle n'était pas Isaac, mais Ismaël, le véritable aîné d'Abraham. Sourate 37, (As-Saffat), verset 102.
Oui, je sais, dans l'Ancien Testament / la Torah, la version de l'histoire diffère un peu. C'est que les deux Livres ne sont pas du même éditeur...
Mais il y a bien pire qu'EuroNews. Ils ont au moins l'excuse de ne pas avoir lu le Coran. Mais que dire de certains musulmans, qui se présentent en prime comme "les plus pieux de tous, fondamentalistes", et qui trahissent la tradition? 4°- C'est un mouton qu'il faut égorger, il vous a dit. Or, chaque année, les islamistes "fêtent" l'Adha en tuant des humains. En sacrifice pour plaire à Allah, je présume, les braves dévots... Ils égorgent des Occidentaux, ou font des "actions-martyres", autrement dit des attentats kamikazes, qui souvent visent des musulmans même. Comme cette année, à Kirkouk. Une vraie boucherie, mais pas vraiment du Halâl alimentaire!
C'est comme pour le Ramadan : on ne pourrait pas jeûner un peu aussi sur les opérations meurtrières durant ce mois, au lieu de les tripler? Autant pour "les instructions au pied de la lettre" prônées par le Frère Oussama et son Homard Ramollah. Faites comme je dis, pas comme je fais, amen!
Je sais, je sais, ceux qui font ça nous affirmeraient que "les Kurdes, c'est pas des musulmans". (Les femmes Afghanes non plus?!?) Mais alors, leur religion c'est quoi, aux Kurdes? Ils prient dans le Coran, que je sache, non? Que Saint Sherlock nous aide face à ce mystère!
C'est comme cette manie, de considérer respectivement que "les Chiites / les Sunnites, ce ne sont pas de vrais musulmans", alors on s'entretue joyeusement, yo-ho-ho, et joyeux Noël les enfants! Autant pour l'esprit d'unité des Croyants, sur lequel leur Livre commun à TOUS insiste si lourdement. Plus on se ressemble, moins on se supporte.
Je ne savais pas qu'il existait des musulmans de contrefaçon. Sapristi! Encore un coup de la Chine? Et les Ouïghours, en Chine, c'est des authentiques ou des autres en toc?
C'est fou le nombre de Dieu Unique qu'on trouve dans monde. A la Création de l'Univers, il y a dû y avoir de l'embouteillage en diable, mes frères et sœurs. Hé, les Témoins avec votre Jéhovah, à la queue, comme tout le monde!
(Tout le MONDE, elle est bonne celle-là. :-) C'est vrai quoi, c'est un monde!
Allez, bonnes fêtes diverses à tous, et ne laissez ni les enfants jouer avec les couteaux, ni les fous jouer avec les explosifs.
"Bonne chance, Jim." Fem-fire-tre-to-en... Bim-bam-bom!

6 comments:

Joe Dick said...

Whether you go with the Muslim, Christian, or Jewish version (I think the Christian and Jewish versions are the same, but I'm not certain), God still comes across as a colossal douchebag. I mean, asking the guy to sacrifice his own son? What a psychotic, sadistic prick.

By the way, why would the sacrifice of a goat impress God in any way? I know why - and it's an amazingly primtive idea.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

A Lebanese guy is DEAD jealous about his wife, getting absolutely paranoid that she might be unfaithful to him. But... he's got nothing solid to back his doubts! So he takes a bold, manly decision.
He goes home, and without further ado says to his wife: "If you EVER cheat on me... look!"
And then he slaughters the cat.


I've always felt that some of the details by which an Almighty and confident God is portrayed are objectively pathetic.
Clearly, the Old Testament (to narrow the discussion down a bit) is brimming with elements that present God as a narcissic insecure tyrant, sounding far too human in personality. Unnervingly reminding of the "divine" attribute claimed by many an Emperor, a Pharaoh or a Caesar back in these days. Heck, even the kings of Europe were all crowned "by the authority of God and the Church". My conclusion? Assuming -for the sake of simplicity- that this religion is indeed about God, and that God exists, then there have been mountainloads of added parasitic stuff to His true message, making a brazen amalgam between God and THE CLERGY, or the Church, or whatever human religious structure you're considering.

I mean, since we're taught that God is the only One there is... what harm does it do to worship, pray, or sacrifice to FALSE GODS? None possibly. Not to God. At worst, we harm ourselves by getting lost like the Prodigal Son, which shouldn't earn us either the merciless ultra-fierce wrath of a quite bizarrely vengeful God. No human can hope to threaten, intimidate or even offend an all-powerful Creator. Would you worry about what an ant does? And yet, we are less to God than ants, since some ants can harm a human.
Not even fuckin' Satan. Satan is a fallen angel. "Enemy of God"? So what? Unless he knows something we don't about the Etrenal Immortal one, even Satan may harm US by leading us astray, and that's the worst he can conceivably do! Big deal. Ooh, God is trembling for His safety. NOT!

This always brings us back to the one fundamental question: how can anybody PROVE to me, rationally, that something is God's word, or that something "was said by God speaking to somebody", with a more solid argument than "I believe, and you MUST believe too"?

I've been raised in a religious school, and in a religious family. So, of course, I gave credit to what I was taught.
I asked God with all my heart to speak to me. So far? Nothing. A deafening silence.
And I'd rather not attempt some "special techniques" like fasting, or trances, or sunstroke, or extreme physical strain of some sort. These are medically proven to cause a lot of nutty behavior which very often has OFFICIALLY nothing to do with God.

I'm giving Him the benefit of doubt, in all trust. I do consider that God exists. But clearly, He doesn't bother to reassure a trusting child, probably considering I have to find my own truth using my intelligence and loving nature.

I very strongly suspect that most of those who claim to speak in the name of God, or to have heard God's voice, are simply exalted folks taking their wishes for a reality. Imagining stuff to be originating from "Above".

And what's to say this hasn't existed for milleniae, with some traditions being passed as transcendant Truth by similar charismatic gurus? The argument that "this is older than Time itself" doesn't convince me, because it stands on no other ground than itself. A castle built on the heavenly clouds of passionate faith... or should I say belief?
Being very anciently accepted tradition/practice has never been an excuse for slavery or women's oppression, that I know of!

Too many blatant discrepancies cannot stand honest logical scrutiny.
But of course, zealots will nuke you with the supreme argument: "You are clearly a heathen, since you are so bold as to dare question. True faith is blind and never hesitates."

Yeah, that's what that guy at Waco also said.

Too many people lie to us. Most of which don't even have the excuse of being clearly sincere, to us or to themselves...
I've always been ready and willing to Believe. I was brought up that way. But I was born with a hopelessly functioning brain! Countless expositions of pedophile priests, psycho preachers, incestuous bigots and sex-obsessed moralists have forever convinced me: no human can claim to understand God better than my own common sense. Especially if they are so arrogant as to declare that they hold such superior understanding.
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame, um, uh... you won't fool me again!" -- (Saint George Walker Bush)

A recent neurobiology article on "the religious phenomenon in humans" reached this rather predictable conclusion, but pleasant to see confirmed, that "the human mind has a striking readiness to accept beliefs of a religious nature, and by essence, the more a belief relies on violation of common sense and natural laws (such as a virgin giving birth, or the dead rising on their own, etc.), THE MORE LIKELY IT IS TO BE ACCEPTED AND FOLLOWED".

Now I understand. I *am* hopeless, as one very pious aunt told me many times. My brain is just too fond of cartesian reason, and too wary of con people of all sorts, so I'm naturally un-receptive to cults. I was born that way.
Born that way. This means, if anybody's to blame for this NATURE of mine, it's God.
"I didn't ask to be born that way." ;-)

Back on topic, this same scientific analysis might as easily explain the murderous fanatics phenomenon. The more passionate and irrational a speech you feed some people with an acute readiness to "religious thinking", the better its chances of convincing. Basicall, the less you tell them to think, the more they'll thank you (if your name is Zarqawi).
This explains why, even with a religion that makes perfect sense and preaches tolerance, it is possible to "invent" a "cult-within-the-religion" which forgoes all the internal logic of that very religion, and will convince its followers that they are SUPREMELY pious.
These people are like crack-heads: they have an addiction to religion, always wanting more, more often, higher doses, harder stuff. We need a law, and to target the dealers!

"I have no objection to any person’s religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person don’t believe it also. But when a man’s religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him." -- (Cpt Ahab, Moby Dick)

Perhaps you have heard that chant on TV, just before the war, of the crowds gathered around the late Iraqi dictator: "Birrooh! Biddam! Mnefdeek ya Saddam!"
Translation: "With our soul!... With our blood!... We shall serve you Saddam!"
This chant is near-universal in the arab world. I've heard it for countless political leaders.
Basically, "we're yours body and soul, we'd sacrifice our first-born if you asked us".
I guess this attitude is as old as the Bible itself...

Joe Dick, Ph.D. said...

In the end, even if God's been misrepresented, he's still a tyrant at the head of the kingdom of Heaven and living there would be like living in North Korea.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Depends, really. A LOT.

First, it depends on the definition of "tyrant". Originally, it simply meant "ruler with absolute power". History holds many cases of enlightened, benevolent tyrants. They had absolute power, like most rulers past, but used it wisely, for the good of the people, often creating the complete opposite of North Korea in the process.
But, as fate has it, the corruption of power means that with time, both became synonymous, and today "tyrant" automatically implies "bully".
If you consider God as being both Absolute Power and Absolute Good, well, it IS possible.
If a flawed human can do it, even just one, even imperfectly, then by definition God can.

But this is all theoretical. Or theological. Because it also all depends on what God is. "Misrepresented"? What an understatement!!!
Voltaire was both a firm believer, and a fierce anticlericalist. He LOATHED the Church and its personalities. Very understandable, considering that the modern scandals we're hearing of are nothing new. Corruption, obscene luxury, promiscuity practically in the open, pederasty... they did it all! It's no wonder they accused the Templars of such horrors: the accusers themselves were very familiar with everything nasty you can accuse someone of! Like picking a thief and murderer as Minister of Justice: nobody is more expert about the problem. :-P
Voltaire also was equally critical against the Jews and the Muslims (read about him opinions on Wikipedia.) I suppose he trusted no organized religion, and considered they were all equally bad.
One most famous saying of his: "If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him."

I believe Man, from the very beginning of our species, did just that: invent gods. Spirits, great animals, powers of nature, super-powered Olympian humanoids, more or less anthropomorphic beings with more or less body parts... and ultimately the Abrahamic God of the three Monotheisms.
Just from the discrepancies between the three religions, and the very incoherences amidst each one taken alone, it's blatant that men kept relentlessly inventing a God to their terribly flawed image.
Just because you feel it deep inside you, doesn't mean it's God's voice. It might also be indigestion from that spicy lamb feast...

One thing, and one thing alone, is certain: We know not who or what God is, we can't even find hard proof of divine existence! Therefore, EVERYBODY will be very surprised after death.
Except me. Why? Very simple: because I have no naive expectations, I'm ready for anything, I expect the unexpected!
And because I've already discarded the masses of blatant contradictions which bigots so love to cling to. They're preparing their own painful surprise, all of them, from Jerry Falwell to Mohammed Atta to colonist rabbis to the Albino Monk.

The single-track mind of fanatism is not trusting, it's narrow. Since the first day a religious book was first written. I think the Ancient Egyptians counted no less than SEVEN pieces of a human soul. Anubis, Lord of the Beyond, must've been fond of jigsaw puzzles...

My own vision of God is also anthropic, of course. I too have a conception to my image, or rather to my notion of an ideal. I believe in a very unconventional version of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. For one, no God of mercy and love would send ANYBODY to an ETERNAL damnation. Forgiveness is always possible for those who repent, and I'm not talking about sins such as skipping church and having premarital sex! "The only sin is absence of Love." That's my motto.

My belief is: Hell is our own doing. We create Hell from within and carry it around with us, as a gaping void of selfishness and bitter guilt trip. Same for Heaven, it's a state of mind. You cannot escape damnation because you can only remove it from WITHIN you by changing your inner darkness. Darkness is nothing but absence of light. Cold is absence of heat. Hell? It's absence of compassion and love. Including, fundamentally, true love for oneself distracted by hollow satisfactions. THIS is the true burning coal that consumes the damned soul in an eternal torment.

Have you seen that movie, The Mission, with Robert de Niro? That merciless Governor's story, in the first half, illustrated amazingly how we all create our Destiny. Hell, when this undisputed tyrant sentenced himself to die in an unlocked prison cell for his horrible crime (the foolish murder of his own brother), after he became aware of his own ugliness. Purgatory, bearer of redemption hope, when he imposed upon himself an ordeal beyond human in the sole hope of paying before he finally died. And Heaven... when those same natives whom he merrily and remorselessly slaughtered in a recent past, saw his remorse in the impossibly hard penance he had inflicted upon himself, and at the moment he hoped to finally be killed by them as he felt he deserved, instead of rightful vengeance... they FORGAVE him, at that very moment, and accepted him among them, with unconditional love.
What makes this film so powerful, is that it tells authentic historical events. This story truly happened, it's not a fiction.

My own vision of God is also cartesian. I *know* that nobody has the knowledge, including myself. There are only hypotheses.
But at least, I make mine with sense, love, and my spirit of humanity. Not from fear, superstitions, archaic attitudes and some dusty old book which you never really know who wrote it and under which "substance".

I'm a christian because I was educated that way. But I could just as well have been a buddhist, a jew, a hinduist, a baha'i... It's not the label that matters, nor the wrapping, it's what's inside the human.
God must know that. Otherwise, an omnipotent jealous God would never have tolerated such a diversity of cults. At best, only one of them is "proper". At worst, none.
Or, "at best best", cult is irrelevant to God, it only matters to HUMANS, and God only cares about the person we are. Our soul, our deeds.
Not the texts of our prayers or what dishes we eat.

This is what I tried to summarize with one word in my profile:
Religion: Respect.
Respect of what makes a human being worthy, no matter the color, origin, language or praying style. Or absence of praying style. I have nothing against atheists.
:-)

You can mock the God of bigots worldwide as much as you like, use any names you want. If no flaming meteor homes in on you, then I too am cool. You're not offending God by doing this. You're merely insulting a hollow scarecrow.
But do beware of the Skarekrow kultists. THEY are very real, very mad, and very dangerous.
"All hail King Kobra! Death to the Flash! Hisssss!"

Psychoanalytically, we view God the same way we view our parents, hence the sempiternal Father name. With good parents, you can believe in a God of infinite love, laid back and understanding, "flowers, peace and free love". But with a totally fucked-up upbringing? Chances are you'll view God the same way you've been parented.
Just another invention. It's a trick of the mind. God cannot be a big meanie. And these hyper-strict upbringings are both a crime against childhood and an offense to God.

Pity the fire-and-brimstone foaming-at-the-mouth fanatics and other religious zealots. They're not even aware of their intrinsic pain, they live in denial.
And denial demands that you project your anger at someone else, that you find a scapegoat. Hence the inquisitions, the frantic prudeness imposed on others, the endless wars spawned by too much religion and not enough true knowledge of God.
It's quite pathetic, really.

So sad.

Can you hate somebody for whom you feel pity? No.
This is why I have no hatred in my heart. There can be no hatred in the Heaven within.

Still, should they come to bully me into abiding to their stupidity, I'll shoot first, and forgive later! Like Captain Ahab said.
The ignorants are already skipping school, you just can't let them replace the teachers and impose a taliban madrassa!

Joe Dick, Ph.D. said...

I was of course using the modern English definition of tyrant. I'm aware of its original meaning. Even if they were benevolent, to a modern person living in a democratic nation it's still not a very good system. Even if, as you said, power didn't tend to corrupt eventually.

God could not be Absolute Good, that's a logical impossibility.

Voltaire was both a firm believer, and a fierce anticlericalist.

I'm not so sure about this. He was a deist, not a theist, and that's about the best you could hope for before Darwin.

Just because you feel it deep inside you, doesn't mean it's God's voice. It might also be indigestion from that spicy lamb feast...

You can't trust your senses. Little things make them cheats. God's voice might be an undigested bit of beef or an underdone potato.

My own vision of God is also cartesian. I *know* that nobody has the knowledge, including myself. There are only hypotheses.

The fact that no one does know, or has any means of proving it (at least in life, where it would do us some good), there's no reason to believe that any afterlife exists. Why waste your time? If there's something, there's something; if nothing, nothing. Your namesake was all about feining belief, but why bother? And there is a danger in praying to false gods. If it turns out God is Baal, he'll be pretty pissed.

God must know that. Otherwise, an omnipotent jealous God would never have tolerated such a diversity of cults.

The fact that God, if he exists, tolerates a lot of things existing means He would have to be an incompetent bungler lacking omnipotence and omniscience, or apathetic.

God only cares about the person we are. Our soul, our deeds.

The only problem with that is, by what standard does he judge us to be a good or bad person? Depending on whose standard he chooses, we might do well or not. I do not believe there is any universal moral standard laid down by God. There would have to be, though, for this idea of yours to work.

This is what I tried to summarize with one word in my profile:
Religion: Respect.


I have a different view, more in line with Sgt. Hartman of Full Metal Jacket. To me, all religions are equally worthless.

Or absence of praying style. I have nothing against atheists.

The religious rarely do, they will often say that it's enough atheists will burn in Hell. I guess God must prefer the Pascal believer - he who feigns belief to the honest unbeliever.

This is why I have no hatred in my heart. There can be no hatred in the Heaven within.

I don't believe I've ever truly hated anyone either. I've never felt that strong emotion.

Joe Dick, Ph.D. said...

Btw, when you read my comments - bear in mind I have a Ph.D.

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