Sunday, 31 January 2010

Book: John Paul II used belt to whip himself - The Vatican-

Oder the Postulator promotes Carol the Flagellator.

There is an unseemly rush to make John-Paul II a Saint. Files and boxes of evidence is being put together by a bloke named Monsignor Slawomir Oder to make a case and all that is needed now is evidence of a miracle attributable to John-Paul’s intervention. I just wonder how crazy this all has to get before someone cries, “Stop! ‘Christ died for sinners to bring us to God.’ He was whipped so you wouldn’t have to be.  Only God is good and a saint is someone who trusts God. Someone so filled with self-loathing that he whips himself needs a therapist not sainthood.”

At a news conference Tuesday, Oder defended John Paul's practice of self-mortification, which some faithful use to remind them of the suffering of Jesus on the cross.

"It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.

In the book, Oder wrote that John Paul frequently denied himself food — especially during the holy season of Lent — and "frequently spent the night on the bare floor," messing up his bed in the morning so he wouldn't draw attention to his act of penitence.

"But it wasn't limited to this. As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed each summer.

While there had long been rumors that John Paul practiced self-mortification, the book provides the first confirmation and concludes John Paul did so as an example of his faith.

Book: John Paul II used belt to whip himself - The Vatican-

Saturday, 30 January 2010

BBC News - Sceptics stage homeopathy 'overdose' to discredit drugs

Homeopathy sceptics have staged a mass "overdose" of homeopathic remedies, in a bid to prove they have no effect.

Protesters ate whole bottles of tablets at branches of Boots in places such as Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, London, Leicester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

I am no fan of homeopathic remedies and would probably agree with the arguments presented by these protestors. However, I can’t help regretting that such a thing is done in the name of Scepticism and not some more positive outlook on life. If they had a happier cause they might throw their weight behind some of the positive science they purport to believe in. Still, it’s all grist to the mill I suppose and gives us something to think about.

BBC News - Sceptics stage homeopathy 'overdose' to discredit drugs

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Is Google Making Us Stupid? - The Atlantic (July/August 2008)

From Socrates and writing through Gutenberg and printing to Google and the Internet new technology has been changing the way we think, the way our minds work. Should we be worried and is Google really making us stupid?

If your too busy to click through and read a thoughtful and challenging article then this may be talking about you.

Is Google Making Us Stupid? - The Atlantic (July/August 2008)

Friday, 8 January 2010

BBC News - Muslim protester denies plan to upset Luton parade

Muslims desecrated the proud occasion when  the Royal Anglian Regiment marched through Luton town centre at a homecoming parade on 10 March last year. As British citizens expressed their pride and gratitude to brave British troops a group of Muslims hurled abuse and insults, calling them murderers and baby-killers.

“A Muslim protester accused of calling soldiers murderers at a parade claims he did not intend to upset anyone.

Munim Abdul told Luton magistrates he did not expect to cause offence because his group had spoken ‘the truth’.”

Their defence is that if its the truth then it is not abuse. Remember this the next time you hear an hysterical Muslim crying “Islamophobia”; if it is the truth then it is not abuse and therefore not a prejudice. Here are some truths about Islam which I hope will cause no offence because their true.

You will hear people declare that Islam is a peaceful religion and that “Islam means peace!” This is not the truth. Islam means submission and even if you submit to Islam there is little chance of peace since within 50 years of the prophets death Muslims were at each other’s throats and have been murdering each other ever since. Have you ever wondered why Muslims would blow up Mosques?

It is a fact that not all Muslims are terrorists but the majority of terrorists are Muslims (read who said it here). Islam is historically, culturally and temperamentally a vanquishing and subjugating religion. The Christian Crusades are a complicated historical phenomenon but make no mistake they were a response to a violent Islam that fought and butchered its way to the South Iberian Peninsula and posed a real and present threat to Christian Europe. Many of the countries and communities we today regard as Muslim were, in fact, Christian and only became Muslim by conquest. Eastwards, Islam warred its way as far as SE Asia in the same way. Ask the Hindu how he sees the history of Islam on the Indian continent.

Of course, any religion is a mix of dogmas, cultures, traditions and other influences. That is why it is quite reasonable to say that my Muslim neighbour and yours are decent, peace-loving people whose concerns in life are common enough, family, security, community, etc. But does he share our values because of his religion or in spite of his religion?

Jesus told his disciples to “Go into all the world and tell the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:15) He said “But I say to you, do not resist evil, but whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:39)

Muhammad declared, “Against [the unbelievers] make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of God and your enemies, and others besides, who ye may know, but whom God doth not” (Q 8:59-60)

This Muslim group have abused the very freedoms fought for by those soldiers, freedoms not available under Muslim rule. We must welcome the stranger and proffer our hospitality and those who seek to live among us, as one of us, are welcome to adopt and embrace our values. However, those who seek security in the notion that, if you concede a little territory, accommodate a little sharia,  allow cultural ghettos in the name of peace and liberal values then all will be well, are tragically mistaken. Remember the fable of the camel's nose:

One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. "Master," he said, "let me put my nose in your tent. It's cold and stormy out here." "By all means," said the Arab, "and welcome" as he turned over and went to sleep.

A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, "I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here." "Yes, you may put your forelegs within," said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.

Finally, the camel said, "May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do." "Yes, yes," said the Arab. "Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us." So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.

BBC News - Muslim protester denies plan to upset Luton parade