[NOTE IMPORTANTE: ceci est uniquement la traduction en anglais de l'article précédent, je les ai séparés à cause de la taile inhabituelle du texte et de ses images.]
L'article précédent est mis à jour, relu et corrigé.
[This is the english translation of the previous french-only post, which I've split for convenience due to the unusual size of the text and images.]
Gee, it's been a while. Thank you for your patience, dear and loyal public, the time of your Reward has Come. Halleiluyah!
For starters, a small horde of lawyers (or was it a horde of small lawyers?...) insisted that I very officially state the following, and speak it very clearly:
"In faithful accordance with the adjacent profile to your right, this blog never did address, addresses or will address any insult to the holy beliefs of anyone, and if you ever see here a cartoon protraying a bearded man, with or without a turban, or even a bearded lady, it will never EVER be an allusion to Prophet Muhammad PBUH (Prayer Be Upon Him, as the dedicated formula goes)."
Say what? "Then who is this grumpy-looking middle-eastern man in a burnous, drawn with a little girl on his lap?" Uh... well... ahem... that's the local Santa Claus, hence his arab-type face! [Hastily deletes the comic that let room for multiple interpretations.] Yes-yes-yes, a part-time season job hired help, he fell head-first into a poorly swept chimney, it blackened and crumpled his hat like a turban, de-peroxydized his beard, stretched to the hips his singed coat, and he lost his boots and toy bag along the way. And on the ground this is not the Mecca desert, it's all the ashes that his fall scattered around. Let me tell you, Phurnacis the neglectful plumber will be hearing about this! Poor Sandy Clothes, what an insult to his image! There are hundreds of millions of children who Believe in Him, it would be most thoughtless to jeer at the symbol they so dearly worship and cherish. Can you imagine, kids rioting in the streets? They could get all worked up, heated up, catch cold, and it would be the death of them poor little darlings! Let us show a bit of respect and seriousness.
However, fiercely lampooning mere human mortals, sometimes VERY mortal ones when they obligingly blow themselves up, this I won't hesitate. So if they don't like it (provided they can read first, and especially read ME), they can go insert themselves a giant eucalyptus suppository. It calms the nerves, my herbalist assured me so. But... my herbalist is a tad on the effeminate side, so I'm not sure whether the relaxing effect is so much a result of the eucalyptus itself.
Ah yes, and another thing: my own religion, which IS NOT Salafism, fully allows me to share drawings of God, Odin or Jupiter, especially if they're not blasphemous. One of these days, I'll show you those I have in store. "Already published in Lebanon without sparking any riots or lynchings. Not even a disapproving grunt emitted in public."
There, I'm not hesitating to cartoon the entirety of Europe in one go, WHAM! :
A scene seen in an all-publics jewish movie (allowed in Lebanon):
Moses (the Prophet) comes down from Mount Sinai, carrying three large stone tablets rather awkwardly, because he only has two hands:
"Oh hebrew people! Lo, I have spoken with the Eternal! And I bring you these 15 [CRASH!] (oops!) uhm... these TEN Commandments!"
TEN, in french DIX, which amounts in roman numbers to 509 commandments, that's about the overall number of the rules in Deuteronomy. (Nice going, Pascal, and just how were you planning on translating that pun in roman numbers? You just can't!!!)
A jewish joke well known in Israel:
God is giving the Jewish Law to Moses Ben Ramses (it's his adoption name, after he was saved from the waters: Egypt wasn't always a barren desert where nothing grows except beards).
Excerpt from the dialogue (the decalogue?).
- Thou shalt not cook a calf in its mother's milk ; it would be cruel.
- Oh, so, to be sure it's not the milk of its own mother, we absolutely musn't cook meat with milk.
- No, Moses, I was just saying it's the principle of the thing. Come on, some things just shouldn't be done. It's not cool for the little critter.
- Allright, so in order for a hebrew to not risk sinning badly, there shouldn't be dairy products and meat served in the same meal..
- Oh, for crying out loud! No, it's just a matter of respecting the spirit of motherhood!
- Oh Lord, forgive your servant's ignorance. What you are really saying is, in kosher we should wait six hours after eating meat to drink milk, so the two are not in our stomachs together.
- No, Moses, what I meant to say is, don't cook a calf in its mother's milk, period!!!
- Ohhhhhh! So, if I got this right, this means we should always have separate sets of dishes for milk and for meat, so that we won't risk mixing tiny bits of the two unknowingly, and if we make a mistake we have to bury that dish outside.
- WHAT?!?? No, NO, I said... ah, whatever! You do what you want, come on, let's move on!
While we're here, you'll notice that Jews are the first to make humor at their own religion. All the time. If we weren't at eternal merciless war with the Zionist Enemy, I'd consider finding this cool, people whose culture carefully includes the sense of humor. But as the proverb goes, "you can choose your family, but you can't pick your enemies". Or something similar.
I'm hesitant. So very hesitant. In the Philippines, a HIGHLY Catholic country, every year at Easter, several "especially devoted" faithful congregation members get themselves crucified, for real, in order to pay tribute to the suffering of Jesus (PBUH). If I make an ironic cartoon about those zealots whom even the Vatican disapproves of, will I get into trouble? Never mind, it was a funny thought but let's forget all about it. "Lord, deliver us from Temptation, amen."
(Disclaimer: "several congregation members do it every year", doesn't mean they're the same ones! Come. On. Dang, people, must I explain everything to you?)
Next of those Announcer gentlemen, Jesus H. Christ. Yes, come on, you know, the son of Joseph the carpenter! The "H" was added by the anglo-saxons, they're people who just love initials in the middle of names. "H" because his middle name is Holly, as in Holly Mason. Except he's more like Holly Messiah. Think of the soccer star, Lionel Messi.
It's official, Jesus HCM was Jewish. Proof of this is, he believed his mother was a virgin, and she was convinced her son was God.
I didn't come up with that joke, so please hold your fatwas and your guillotines for a couple of heartbeats. I'm not "offending" the beliefs of either the jews nor the christians. The above joke is routinely told among the American jews and christians. In that country, they tell such stuff on television, and people laugh heartily. Or, they mumble in their mormon regulation-length beard, and switch channels for something more in harmony with the arbitrary beliefs they've chosen for themselves. (By definition, a belief is always arbitrary, otherwise it would be called an objective fact. You get the nuance?) Nobody in the USA starts riots in the streets, nor burns tires on the asphalt; and the FBI, the District Attorney, the General Security, or whoever, doesn't order the network shut down, its manager imprisoned or his entire lineage exterminated to purify the Cosmos from them. And nobody starts posting law proposals in Congress to question the First Amendment either. Unlike what happens in some countries.
Frankly, guys, you shouldn't take seriously everything you see on TV or on the internet! There's mostly ruddy crap, as Coluche would've said. And also advertizing, porn, and religious babbble, judging from the list of channels that I get with my salad dish (on days when the sky's not too overcast, otherwise the reception is poor). So, in a nutshell, 99% of "utterly pointless nonsense".
And now, for the sake of fair treatment, a muslim joke. So then, Muhammad, he... uh... well, to be honest, Turkish analyst Nédim Gürsel informs us that he wasn't overly notorious for his sense of humor. Unless you happen to be a disciple of Terry Jones, who claims that the ENTIRE Koran is nothing but one big joke. (And how about your mirror, Terry darling, what is it that you see when you look at it?)
More modestly, I've found ONE joke in the Holy Book #3 (by chronological order). In case you're curious, it's in the Sura of the Cow, (Al Baqara), verses [II, 67-71], you can read it yourselves. Very fine humor, that reminds me of Prophet Moses' milk-cooked calf. The thick bedouins that PBUH was laughing at probably didn't even realize it.
Hey, you have to account for the public's level.
End September 2012. After "did Mary have children «normally» with St Joseph?", there's a new question around that's bound to upset a few, a very Scorcesian question: "Was Jesus married?"
Some of the early christians believed that Jesus was married, a professor from the american university Harvard Divinity School announced at the 10th international Congress of coptic studies that was held in Rome (source: Harvard Gazette). Professor Karen King mentioned the existence of an ancient coptic papyrus on which were written the words : « Jesus said to them, my wife. » [yes, and?... "his wife" WHAT? is that all?]
« Christian tradition took for granted the fact that Jesus wasn't married, even though no historical proof exists to back that claim », she stated. « This new sentence doesn't prove that Jesus was married. Since the very beginning of christianism, christians argued over whether it was better or not to not be married [Referent's note: this AGAIN reminds me of Moses and his milky steak], but only a century later, well after the death of Jesus, did they begin referring to his marital position to back their own », according to the scientist.
The words « Jesus said to them, my wife », written in coptic, are on a 3,8 cm x 7,6 cm papyrus. [That's quite tiny, for a Holy Book...] While several of her colleagues are not questioning the authenticity of the brownish-yellow papyrus, « the final ruling as to this document's truthfulness lies upon deeper examination and other tests on the ink's composition », according to professor Karen King.
As for muslim tradition, it's a bit paradoxal on this topic: while insisting that "Issa (=Jesus of Nazareth) was the greatest of all Prophets, even greater perhaps than Muhammad", it suggests that he might have been impotent, which would explain his celibacy. Muhammad was better off: it was hinted that perhaps he was sterile, for in spite of his many wives he only managed to father one heir. And it was a girl!
But enough of those byzantine debates, their level is more embarrassing than their topic. The only thing the aforementioned papyrus proves, is that some of the early christians believed this or that, but they weren't sure about anything. The early times of the second Abrahamic Monotheism (in chronological order) were most fertile in hypotheses, suppositions, beliefs and other "heresies", it was a complete mess, a bit like today's suggested solutions to the Euro crisis or the new lebanese election law project. Naturally, this led to some lasting falling-outs. One might even say --notice the clever transition-- that it became caricatural!
Aah, caricatures... Can anything be laughed at? "Yes, but not with just anybody." -- (Pierre Desproges)
Not everybody has a sense of humor. And even fewer people have a UNIVERSAL sense of humor. Here, pull my finger. [TOOT!]
Even the great King David got caricatured a few centuries ago, and you have to admit, this portrayal is just as nudist and even uglier than those in Charlie Hebdo:
Regarding the position of your favorite Pharaoh on caricatures of respected figures, I'll just bring your attention for a second to the right of your screen. A little higher. Higher. More. There, that's it! That, is a caricature of yours truly and master (and so life-like!). Version 1.3. The very first edition (before technology allowed us to make one in color, in motion and in stereo) was in this blog's very first post, you can check the archives. I'll let you draw your own conclusions...
Need I remind you once again that a Pharaoh has a self-proclaimed living god status? It's worse that a Prophet's caricature: it's practically like one of Yahve/God/Allah! (Say, THERE's the three in One trinity, at long last I understand that Mystery!) With the slight difference that in the pharaonolatric religion, unlike the sunni tradition, it is completely permitted --and in fact advised-- to abundantly represent the mug of one's living god on all the tablets, slabs, obelisks, palaces, pyramids, coins, papyrus, postcards, postage stamps, credit cards... but preferably on my best profile side! Shiite muslims generally don't shy away from drawing Muhammad's face in frescoes of a very... iconic style, if I dare say so. (I'm not sure: is this comparison with christiannism likely to offend them?) At any rate, with my own "prophets", that is my royal spokesmen, it is also permitted to caricature them. As for me, not only do I make a very clear distinction between mockery/disrespect and actual insult, but outside diplomatic meetings (where protocol is necessary), even insult in my kingdom enjoys a great tolerance. It's been a good three weeks since I last had someone skinned alive in red ants then impaled on a burning stake for lacking respect towards the Pharaoh-Repherent.
Let's be honest: for the majority of bipedal primates with opposable thumbs who don't ask a lot of questions, the religion they follow simply depends on the place where they were born. Tradition. Of the approximately 85 billion humans that were born during the 100,000 years that we've been around, most followed cults that are extinct, forgotten, or no more than a mythology today. (In fact even I, the divine Pharaoh, am not alwas sure that I still believe in Me!) Ever since the ancient days when each city has its tutelary divinity, all the way to the militaro-political unification conquests of the Caliphs, if religion is so epidermically touchy for people, it is mostly out of sheer pride. It's like identifying with one's football club or one's political leader in Lebanon. Religion isn't the one that's feeling threatened, it's solely the ego of insecure mortals. Tell me frankly: how many perfectly distinct and incompatible Soccer World Cups are there? Hunh? There you have it. Amen, peace and love. [Soccer even has its own bloodthirsty salafists, they're called the Hooligans.]
The thing is, even if the whole spirit of all this is universal and praiseworthy, it's awfully hard to go against one's homeplace tradition, or even to make it evolve. Even the guy from Galilee didn't dare stand explicitly against the pious prehistorical traditions. He came to "not change one iota", and as for the adulterous woman that was supposed to be stoned, he just said: "whoa, hold your horses, among the men present here, let he who didn't pay for her services be the first to execute her". (I'm quoting roughly, from memory.)
One MUST have the free and absolute right to follow and practice the belief in which we were born, or which one chose for him/herself once intellectually mature. It is literally natural. But we have no right whatsoever to impose on others any sort of deference towards what we ourselves revere. Otherwise, no later than tomorrow, there'll be no way to criticize a single word about Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Attila the Hun, for there will unfailingly happen to be a few angry people that admire them very deeply and whom this would "offend" just the same. This is especially true for "beliefs" whose followers are accustomed to violence. "Hitler never exterminated the Jews, you dirty liar, as a matter of fact it's a pity he couldn't finish the job." There's always a huge part of irrationality in beliefs...
The only one that nobody is allowed to speak ill of, is Grendizer. I had to endure it too much as a child, when my parents would keep snickering at my spontaneous passion for japanese animated cartoons. So this is the reason why my subjects may call the Pharaoh any name they'll fancy, but anti-Antérak blasphemy is automatically deserving of termination by STAR THUNDER, YAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Go go Daisuke, you show them, you're the best!
To think my parents even told me once, merrily guffawing (how awfully cinderellically measly of them), that Grendizer wasn't real, that he only existed in my imagination, than no-one had ever seen him soar and frantically laserize above the Tokyo skies. Frankly now, isn't that a positively HORRIBLE thing to tell a child? They even nicknamed him "horn head", "cow skull" or "green grazer, ha-ha-ha-good-one". What a blasphemy towards a hero who had saved our planet countless times! No more, it's over with that, I made a law, so there! It was just too offensive, to me and to the entire huge worldwide community of his faithful fans.
Rationnal criticism is fine, but there should be limits!
Now, it's time to put my laser helmet away in a closet, and to set the automatic gearbox in philosophical mode. Starting postulate: the monotheistic belief of "Abrahamic" religions. A single and universal God, all-powerful, ineffable (and unblottable), our Creator, who is boundlessly benevolent, et caetera. Let us think this concept over with analogies, as René Descartes used to. By definition, if God/Allah/Tetragrammaton the Programmer of our Sim-Universe should decide so, in spite of his spectacular discretion in the laws of Physics and Cosmology since
Provided the touchy ones be capable of explaining anything to me. Do they even understand it themselves?
The power of words... If someone utters against the morality of my dear Mummy an insult which you can easily guess, it will never make her into that said ugly thing. To believe such stuff possible, one must be a follower of magical thinking and a believer in the Evil Eye, who sees in words a power to spontaneously realize things. This doesn't mean said insut wouldn't upset me. Because what would offend me in it, would be awareness of the wickedness that's trying to express itself by this means. In other words, it's not what he says, it's the fact that he decided to come and say it to me, with "magick" words whose intent is to attack and hurt. There IS something very ugly in this, but it's in the one who dealt it.
This, plus the likelihood that the cad won't stick to mere words.
Anyway, I've already said it once on this blog: if a woman finds herself forced to prostitute herself so that she can provide for her child, I consider this selfless sacrifice, I admire her bravery, and she retains my full respect. Besides, what's with all the obsession claiming that "sex is dirty, bad, impure"? According to Genesis, it is God who created us this way, before blessing us with his instruction to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill all of the Earth".
Speaking of which, "Mission accomplished!" -- (George Walker Bush). Perhaps it is time now to slow down a bit with the industrial growth and the demographic multiplication?
To me, and this is a belief of religious intensity, the only true sin is absence of love. I have a much bigger beef bone of grief to pick with husbands that betray a loyal spouse by going to the cathouse. (Same for wives who fool around, fair is fair!) And if their marriage isn't a happy one, well, divorce wasn't meant for dogs! Only Love makes it a holy bond.
But let's return to the bozos who insult the God of Love.
Let us think for a moment. God is All-Powerful, otherwise he wouldn't be God. Let's say Yahve can splatter any ing blasphemer. Like I would a common ant in my garden. An average ant is about ½cm in size. (Let's not dwell on the diversity of tall, small, fat, skinny, red, black, or brown ones...) Me myself (and I), to briefly round up the size scale, I'm about 2m tall. (Hey, I'm not about to set myself lower than my neighbor the DCCBAA!!!) Therefore, I'm 400 times more huge than an ant, and 64 million times heavier (400³, basic math). Between us and Allah, it's far more disproportionate, since Yahve is AT LEAST as immense as the Universe... if he even has a limited and measurable size in the first place! But I'm trying to keep it simple for the sake of argument.
SQUISH! End of story. Do I ask other ants to be my police and guard my hortensias, to keep aphids away from my roses (some do the opposite!), or to keep gnats from landing on my marble statue-effigy's heinie, or on its head, "symbolically above Me"? Nada! Couldn't care less. An insect is, by definition, insignificant, to the point that it's been made into a metaphorical proverb. Remember, I've created a garden several acres wide, what is a mite to my might? Nigh naught! In what way would I even need them to sing my praise, to be as big as I am? That's not worth making my chest swell with pride. My natural and intrinsic power doesn't rely on some videogame magic, a crucial "mana" that would increase in direct proportion with the number of my followers and the frequency of their prayers towards me. [Besides, unlike national rock musicians, I don't have any royal temples where people pray to me, for your requests you'd better check with my secretariat and make an appointment, I receive in person mondays to fridays from 10 to 14 o'clock.] I'll have you notice that since the very start, Adonai-Tetragrammaton has left the various people of the world pray whomever and however they fancy, its wasn't HE who invented missionaries or conversion wars. That damned fool Christopher Columbus, without him the native Americans would still be peacefully enjoying their millenia-old paganism. Instead of receiving forced "salvation", "by iron and fire". And firewater...
I just love the messianic text in the last image! F5, RESURRECTION!
Let us be clear: if some insects in MY garden displease me, I just send a gardener underling to smite them with a dose of DDT, or preferably of organic environment-friendly insecticide (like pyrethrum powder), or maybe just a spray of repellent, something 100% non-toxic and odorless to humans. But I also leave them to scuffle between themselves, conquer territories to implant "their" anthills in place of others'. And if these diminutive critters, which I used to fry with a magnifying glass for fun when I was 3 years old, want to stimulate their own fantasies of power by yelling "by the divine power of the human Pharaoh" or "Referent's Cosmo energy, GO!", well frankly, you want to know something? It's so ridiculous it might make me crack a vague smile of pity. I've never stomped over an anthill to help the other one vanquish it. Yes, this might come as a stunning revelation but it's the truth! Really, why would I fraggin' care the least bit about what insects think and say about me? They can even fart and go potty in my direction, it's got about as much hope of reaching me as Mullah Omar's spittle of hitting the dark side of the Moon. Through his pants. (Uhm... does he even wear pants, anyway?)
Anyways, do insects and I even have the same values, hunh? Hunh? There are so many Holy Books in the world, not to mention religions of oral tradition. So many ways to pray, life rules, names and numbers of gods, traditions, cultures, languages (officially "the Koran is in arabic, period")... Did Allah ever bother to standardize it all? I mean, in person, like me moving my Papal Magnet to the top of the bitmap? Yeah, sure, there's a lot of self-appointed prophets who spontaneously made it their personal duty to intimidate the billions of "infidel miscreants" by force, I haven't forgotten about the Crusades and the Colonization. But no Pillar of Fire ever walked in front of their armies to turn into dust whoever was slow in falling on their knees and bowing buttocks-up in front of the Great Religious Leader. (In Hiroshima, there was indeed a Pillar of Fire, but the Great Religious Leader was missing.) From which I deduce that God, in reality, slightly doesn't care. Maybe even a lot!
Let me tell you a little tidbit about ants: they're a gynocratic society. Only females have any kind of status. The males barely exist at all. Their sole use is to inseminate the queen (only 1% of them will), who then will spend her entire life laying eggs after one single wedding night of orgy but during which she was just doing her queen's job. The guys die right after getting laid(!). All of them. And, here comes the funny part, if they got off and all heated up, sometimes they even die by exploding, no less! True story. Some of them climax kamikaze style. I don't know whether at the moment of pressing the detonator they yell "oh, God, it's so good, I'm dying!" or maybe "Pharaoh akbar", but it changes strictly nothing to the result: they mated with ONE single wirgin, and then BOOM! No more males. On to the next item of business. It's over, guys. The anthill's soldiers? The workers? Exclusively females. I wonder if they sing my praise calling me "Great Stomping Mother and Supreme Egg-Laying Queen"? Perhaps they mistake my kid's searing magnifying glass for an avenging eye... which was indeed scrutinizing them from "above"!
By the Great Pharaoh brought down anew
While his roses' thist he watered
Quenches us with a Faith unbiased."
But let's get to the point. If some rebel-minded foolhardy ants start talking about MY birth, what will happen? Given that this is the only concept within their comprehension, for starters they'll picture my father like one of theirs: some useless insignificant, who only lived to fulfil his biological job one day, afterwards he croaks and is forgotten altogether. By the way, I should specify that ants "speak" using pheromones, not sounds. Otherwise put, they emit tiny ant smells, and other ants, if they're close enough or if they inspect the remains on the ground, detect these smells with their antennae and understand the informations. Now, itsy-bitsy ant antenna farts, disrespecting my daddy, the hard-working Great Pharaoh who bequeathed me a whole empire AND a divine status, what in Cosmos could it possibly matter to me? To even notice their tiny ant vapors, I'd need to gaze into an electron microscope while lying flat on my belly in the sand! And let us not forget that Allah is without comparison with me and my ants ("my ants and I"?). God isn't "only" 800m tall. But to be honest, if an 800m tall giant was wandering on my planet, I too would feel very small next to him, and I'd speak to him very VERY politely. Just to be on the safe side. But I ask you, how could a human blasphemy, even a collective one from 6 billion ants, possibly "touch/harm" Yahve? Has he even got a nose? Does he even smell the barbecue smoke from all those holocausts prescribed by Leviticus (and mainly by the priests that applied it to their minority of a people)?
Now, that it (basphemy) may touch/harm the ridiculously tiny pride of hillbilly ants who chant his name while exploding in the heinie of the Virgin Queen (Victoria?), or while charging vociferous to ferociously dismember those bitches from the anthill next door "who aren't even the same color as us", this I can perfectly understand. But to speak things the way I see them, it's a little pathetic. Pathetic, to see them take me as an excuse to symbolically feel as big as me, or a little bigger than the others at least.
Back in the day, one Jesus Ben Mariam said: "It is not all those that say «oh Lord, oh Lord» who shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do my Father's will." What the guy said isn't stupid. If ever, some place up there, there indeed exists an invisible 2,400 feet-high Great Gardener, it's not our words that matter to him, be they prayers or blasphemy. What will most count for him, is what good (or evil) we DO and ACT. And he can always go SQUISH on those he doesn't like. He's big(!) enough to know what he wants, and to do it himself.
Admit it, this is food for thought to any intelligent person...
One musn't leave the salafists trusting the mediatic monopole of piety these days.
Note that no violent abuse occurred during the shiite protests against "the movie".]
In Lebanon, before I attended an exclusive boarding school for the elites to receive a classy education, I had the opportunity to mingle with the riff-raff and hear out their colorful vernacular vocabulary. These fine albeit simple populations cuss at any given half-chance, and not just the chariot drivers among them. Sometimes they'll brazenly swear to the face of obvious evidence. "I swear on the life of Ali/of the Cross, my-darling-my-life, I wasn't out fooling around last night!" Among other things, in Lebanon, it has become as common as the american expressions m...f...er or n...er to grumble at someone "cursed be the religion of your Lord". Even among fellow believers! But not exclusively. On the roads, when civility declines, it is commonly heard. And it almost never ends in homicide. And it ABSOLUTELY never ends in a court trial for blasphemy!
Is insut more intolerable when it comes from far away? It is true that to measure two diffferent distances you need double standards...
For years/decades now, the fundislamentalist countries have been fiercely stiflling the St Valentine's Day celebration, punishing severely the slightest sale of flowers or the gesture of giving some... on that day! One wonders what bothers them the most: that this "heathen" holiday originates from "the competition", or that it celebrates a most un-jihadic spirit of sweet Love? All the while driving the young people to seeking something other than weddings arranged by their families?
Do as I say, don't do as I do. In Pakistan, self-appointed "land of the Pure" (translation: land of the extreme worship of religious purity, = fanaticism), during the recent "anti-movie" protests, I had to shake my head three times, vigorously rub my eyes, ask my virgin mother to pinch me at the fatty inside of my arm, and finally pour a cup of water over my divine head, to be perfectly sure I wasn't suddenly imagining outlandish things in a silly dream. The picture was plain surrealistic: to piously support their "sole true faith that admits no other, not even a vague hint", the Pure were brandishing collectively and in sychronism... the symbol of Valentine's Day!!! The theoretically taboo stylized red heart. Just in case you missed it, I'll help you to not die in ignorance:
(PBUH, you forgot PBUH! You buncha disrespectful miscreants.)
Religions are not the ones that are guilty or innocent. Even within the best of all religions of peace, tolerance and wisdom (that's probably the one you've picked ), there will always happen to be some morons, some twisted minds and some angry insecures who'll manage to interpret it in a stupid manner, or even a completely uncivilized way. This even applies to "religion zero", atheists. Do you think it is essential to fear Hell for someone to be a nice guy? Neither do I. The jitters are only useful as an incentive for bad people to behave. With luck. Didn't work too well on the pedophile bishops, in spite of how pious they are...
I'm sure Allah really likes us. I too realy like my bees. In fact, even the ants, if I see one while I'm walking, I'll move my foot a little so I don't SQUISH it needlessly. When they live their ant lives, why would I scare or harm them? Just because I'm so much more powerful, perhaps? God forbid, what an undignified attitude that would be!
Let us be objective: religion is, by essence, irrational. It is based on the ineffable, the transcendant, the miraculous, the unfathomable. Galileo can testify how it can view reason as not only incompatible, but also as a grave threat. Science is what we KNOW, the objective stuff, over which everybody can agree. Religion is what we BELIEVE, the subjective, perhaps even the instinctive, and not only will people never all agree over it, but even within the same religion, the same confession, the same community, the same family, there will always exist as many ways to believe as there are believers. Hence my skepticism towards the notion of theology, "the science of religion", which is supposed to be what we objectively know for sure about what we subjectively believe. Humour has been made with less material!
Even better (if I dare say so), science has retaliated by objectively studying, via the neuro-sciences, "the religious phenomenon in humans". And it has concluded indisputably that yes, in a way, there actually exists within us "a God-shaped emptiness that needs to be filled", a human NEED to Believe. To top it all with a cherry on the cake, this predisposition for the irrational is rather... absolute. The more a religion is irrational (translation: the more it speaks of miracles, prodigies, and various challenges to logic or to the laws of Physics), the more it will tend to convince lots of followers. For example, a virgin that gives birth to a child. Clear water turning into wine or blood. The dead rising again. In other words, if it is not "amazing" enough, it won't make a successful religion. Scientism, which consisted in worshiping scientific thought, practically became extinct on its own more than a century ago. It was just too "rational".
But you know something? This is normal. We're not just a "thinking animal", beings of reason. We're also creatures of emotions, instincts, dreams. Believing is part of our very nature. Even the atheists actually BELIEVE that "there is Nothing, there are no such things as gods or the soul". They believe it, because it's impossible to know it.
Only agnostics, pushing Reason to its maximum, believe/know that "it is impossible to ever know, nor to ever be sure about what we believe in". Whether it's a religion or atheism! They don't stop believing, but they accept the fact that their Belief is by essence and forever an uncertainty. Heisenberg and Schrödinger would be proud, because this wonderfully echoes the most advanced scientific knowledge.
"Blind faith" is an idiocy invented by the clergies, fearing for the durability of their authority over the People, and by those believers who are terrified at the thought of not always having all the answers.
And yet (this is something I personally believe in), there is nothing more wonderful than never being completely sure, never knowing everything out there. Otherwise, life becomes meaningless. And it would be positively awful to be nothing but a thinking brain, with no feelings, emotions, beliefs. That would make us horribly selfish psychopaths, unable to love or feel happiness. Mere machines.
Conversely, the problem with religion, appears when it tries to do more or less completely without rational thought. This leads to bigotry and fanaticism. And it insults an intelligence that only Vishnu or Wakan-Tanka can have created, if He exists! Both extremes are a same perverted corruption of human nature. And therefore a sin towards its origin, whatever name you want to call it. Crispation over a given belief as "the only possible truth" is worse than the weakness of ignorance: it's a grave mistake of stupidity. A blasphemy against human intelligence.
But don't let this turn you into a zealot of Absolute Averageness either, like François Hollande "the Ordinary President", who is so careful to avoid extremism that he's afraid to do anything not consensual. One also needs to show some balls in life! Or some ovaries.
People who worship terror must've had a very unhappy childhood.
This "religion" of fear and force against all the "bad believers" reminds me of a poem in a recent superhero movie:
"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship Evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!"
But as far as bright lanterns harboring genius genies go, green fundamentalism is more like getting lost in the darkness... And it gets worse by the day in the world. In Tripoli (Lebanon or Libya, it's all the same), the testy turban-bearing bearded blokes are mushrooming so fast, it would take a laser microscope to spot the last couple of inhabitants who are still wearing a suit and tie. "Turban or no turban", that is the question.
American cow boys have a very similar attitude to those who are theoretically their sworn enemies. Judge for yourselves:
"In darkest night, in brightest day,
No outlaw shall stand in my way.
Let those who live a life of crimes
Beware my starry badge that shines." - (The Green Sheriff's oath)
Today, considering the burning-hot current news, I'd like to ask for your collective, massive and enthusiastic support to petition and defend a worthy cause: pointing out the ill-minded racist people who keep creating a confusion between islam and violence. Damn right, we should expose them, they cause great harm to worldwide fraternity and harmonious coexistence between nations! This is NOT the spirit of islam. Let us reveal loud and clear the extremist intolerant imposture that so harms this noble religion!
Since the culprits are so many, I'll just mention a small number of the most relentless and most mediatic ones, roughly by rank of priority. And I'll eventually translate their names, so things are as clear as possible. All of them are infamously known for their "feats":
- The Taliban : "the students in islamic theology".
- Al Qaeda : "the Base, or the (religious) Rule".
- Ansar el-Dine : "the Partisans of Religion".
- Ansar el-Islam (take a guess!)
- Fatah el-Islam : "the Opening (the open-mindedness?) of Islam"
- The Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (did someone say "confusion"?)
- Abu Sayyaf : "the guy who brandishes the saber and lives by the sword".
- The brigades(!) of the Great Al-Aqsa Mosque's martyrs. (More like "future martyrs", unless their imam is miraculously summoning zombie armies out of the graves?...)
- The brigades(!!) Ezzeddine Al-Qassam: "pride of religion, the Divider".
- The Muslim Brothers (translate: show no brotherhood whatsoever towards non-muslims!)
- HaMAs : the Movement of the (armed) Islamic Resistance.
- Et cætera.
(No, "et cætera" is latin, it just means "and the rest as well". But there do exist a few fanatics of etcæterism...)
I ask you, aren't these miscreants most guilty of shamefully confusing Islam (= the Religion of Peace, etymologically) with barbaric violence? Heretics, all of them, enemies of religion, like the Devil turned hermit. (Inside some cave at the end of the world...)
I know this guy, a tireless pacifist, who went to demonstrate for Greenpeace (Green Peace, this sounds most fitting and islamic!), with a fake styrofoam atomic bomb hanging over his head. Unfortunately, the wind started blowing, and then his bomb was pointing forward, in a way that seemed most hostile. They kicked him out of the demonstration...
Personally, as a sincere friendly advice, I would suggest to my fellow monarch Abdallah Bin Saud modifying a tiny detail on his lovely green religious banner. In order to make it very clear that the country of Mecca is that of an enlightened religion, they should replace that sword (which feels slightly intimidating and ambiguous) with an open book. Islam is first and foremost a Book, isn't it? I like books. And it wouldn't seem wimpy at all, for Knowledge is Power!
The Great Gardener prefers flower loving dudes. Like, peace and love, man.
Flower power! Anybody want a Camomile, service with a smile? It's soothing and very relaxing.
Just like my herbalist's eucalyptus.