Sunday, October 28, 2012

#72- Safety Concerns

Some people are sensitive.  Some people are very sensitve.  Some people are very sensitive, very religious, and very violent.

Just a few days ago a man gunned down another man at Creflo Dollar's World Changer church in Atlanta, Georgia.  This was done in full view of a host of people from what I understand.  Details are still coming out on the motives but I would not feel comfortable going to that church for a while. Not to mention the religious implecations of a good diety and violence being done so brazenly in his/her sanctuary.

My blog is pretty obscure right now.  But the world and some people are very unstable sometimes.  I've written on topics that are near and dear to my heart and have enjoyed it very much.  But with the internet being so wide open and social media being so prevalent it is a wise thing to take precautions against the "Abrahams" of the world.

I want to make it clear:  I do not endorse violence in general.  I hope the world becomes more peaceful and that people become more rational.  I find religion and religious people interesting but I don't necessarily respect everything they think, say, or do.  I wish we could all be cordial but that's not reality.

For a while I worried about the health of people I've cojoled and inspired to leave religion.  Now I wonder about me.  How safe am I?  Is there anyone who wants to harm me or my friends?  There is no way to know the future but right now all is well.  As I become more famous things may change.

Some of my fans may know of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's story and subsequent living arragements.  I don't envy her life.  Her money would be nice but I want to live a life free of fear.  But how can I say what I think and yet stay safe?

Well, that is a tricky question.  I can use the usual safety methods:  use a pseudonim, use a P.O. Box, grow a nappy beard, and get tattoos all over my body.  But how long will that last?

Tonight I wonder who exactly would my humble blog piss off so much that they'd want to bust a cap in my ass.  Is it a Muslim?  That's an easy alligation to make, isn't it?  All the bad guys seem to be Muslim.  But the Creflo Dollar guy probably was not a "slave of Allah". 

Will it be a Christian?  Odd are it may be just based on the demographic numbers, right?  But as soon as that person makes a threat the other believers will just say "that's not a true Christian".  We've all heard that one before.  It's also convenient for both Christians and Muslims that there are 1000s of different sects and flavors of each.

One morning while jogging I had a vision of mixing it up with some Black Hebrew Israelites.  They are real fun to talk shit with.  They are cocky, loud, and motivated.  But unfortunately I think they are much more serious about their insane love for the Bible than the wanton average hypocrite.  So, I haven't messed with them in a while.  Plus I've matured, too.  I'm not about forcing my thoughts on no one.  We can either discuss things as mature homo sapiens are not.
What about them Jews?  What about them?  Them boys just keep to themselves.  I like that.

#71- Abraham and his Almost-Sacrifice

Today is a holiday for my Muslim friends all over the world.  Therefore let me say the appropriate "Eid Mubarak!" to you all.  For those of you who are unaware, today (28 October 2012) is "Eid al-Adha".

Is this what YOU call a good time?
Admittedly, this post was inspired by another blog:  The authors were kind enough to leave a message here on my humble blog.  I have since returned the favor and have read some of their posts.

Now to the business at hand.  This story is insane and barbaric.  I don't think many people give it much thought.  It is my opinion that the character Abraham, like most of the folk heroes in the dessert tales, was either insane or mental maladjusted.  This is what Muslims are celebrating for this weekend.  Then they wonder why people strap bombs on themselves to do harm.  This story sets a number of bad precedents for believers and people who live in the real world alike.

Does listening to voices give you the right to do things to people?  What was the way that the ancient peoples of the East determined if a person was a sound mind?  Who witnessed this exchange between Abraham and Ismael (Isaac if you know the original)?

Would any Muslim be ok with a fellow Muslim who had ritually slit the throat of their son or daughter?  What if the son or daughter had agreed to be killed on this holiday no less!

Let us assume the same crime, I mean event, happened in 6 different countries the same way.  What would happen to the person who re-enacted Abraham's role believing that some invisible, inaudible, superbeing was going to interveing in his or her place?

The settings are as follow:

1.  Port-au-Prince, Haiti
2.  Southampton, England
6.  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Please give a verdict for each city.  Guitly or Not Guilty will suffice.

I would put the person in jail.  I would also have their head examine.  When it is revealed that a religious story is the motivation for the killings I would make sure all the religious leaders who subscribe to this tale tell their constituents that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

#70- Ecclesiastical International Laws

You lost, Patna?

I am currently working in Afghanistan where religion is an integral part of everyday life for the locals.  This is my second deployment in a Muslim country.  These places are quite different from what I am used to even though I discovered that America was quite religious after the election of George W. Bush in 2004.
It is hard not to bring my Haitian-American values into this setting.  The differences are especially present when I try to take advantage of whatever leisure time I get.  I am fortunate to receive a free internet account via wifi where I can communicate with the rest of my friends and family.  That I am very grateful for (actually, I found out that American dollars are paying for the service).  What I don’t like is the blocking of certain sites and services.
The older Haitian women wear things like this
There have been many laws and agreements made with the Afghan government and people in order to honor their sensitivities.  These include bans on sites such as YouTube and Netflix.  Those two sites I happen to frequent a lot.  There are bans against pornographic sites and sites that involve gambling.  I understand the ban on porn-even though it is annoying, and I don’t care for gambling much.  But all these efforts to appease the Muslim palate got me thinking if they ever consider the feelings of Allah when it comes to all things “haram” in other places.
In other words, someone somewhere is enjoying YouTube, porn, gambling, alcohol, immodestly dressed women, and other things that would upset Muslims, Muhammad (PBUH), and Allah (SWT). 
This reminds me of my old church and their rules.  I say their rules even though they derive in out of the Christian Bible popularly known as “The New Testament”.
We had 2 churches in 1 building.  One side was the older, more “Haitian” service.  This comprised of older Haitians who were set in their cultural ways and other Haitians who probably just came to the United States not too long ago.
That more traditional side had rules that included: women should cover their hair with a veil or a hat and women had to wear skirts-no pants.  Women had to dress modestly.  Do you detect a theme here?  It was mostly about women.  Men had rules too but they were much relax or easier to follow.
I attended the younger, more “Americanized” side of the church.  I used to visit the “gran moun” (elders) side just to maintain my Haitian some semblance of my Haitian identity.  It was the most boring display of narcissistic, drab, and pseudo-piety one can imagine.  Everything was rote and flavor-less.  That is exactly how those stiffs liked it.  It was a little bit of home in the strange wilderness that is America.
I wish girls at the church looked like this.
It was about that time that I asked myself if the God of the known universe cared about trivial fashion habits of some Haitians in Miami, Florida.  Were the women who wore skirts and covered their hair more pious, more lucky, more blessed in any way shape or form.
What about the younger women on the English speaking side?  They almost never covered their hair.  Most wore dresses and skirts but you can catch an occasional pair of pants here and there.  The younger women were more flashy and seductive clothes.  The men’s wardrobe was more modern and less formal as well.
The same question loitered in my brain for the English side:  did God/Jesus care about how we dressed?  If so, why was that?  What is the relationship between what you were and the success that came directly from it?
Men in Scotland wore “kilts” as part of their traditional garb.  The manlier men wore the kilts without undergarments (to prove how brave they were?).  I know that there is such a thing as women’s pants.  Furthermore, the men depicted in the bible stories look just as ragged and destitute as the women.  I’m pretty sure there were no pants during that time.  Eventually I read the sexist Bible verses that inspired these Haitians to copy the dead Jews’ clumsy fashion advices.
Underwear is for pussies
Just as in the case of the Muslims I wondered if the Christians thought about the extent of their laws.  Obviously these rules were only for those who cared to obey them.  Women from the West are well advised to obey local Islamic laws if they ever visit a Muslim country.  Rules and values depend upon where you are on the planet and the humans you are around.  There are no gods, ghosts, ghouls, angels, or anything or anyone halfway mystical that enforces these rules.

I always wondered if the gods spent their time perpetually fuming with anger since a large swath of the humans of the globe are either unaware of indifferent for their  rules.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#69- HIStory: Is it not enough?

It would not be fair to say that everyone who knows the history of Haiti will become an atheist.  However, I don't understand how people who know the history of that nation can look at Christianity in a favorable way.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Bartholomew De Las Casas' book called "A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies".  It is an awesome read and I highly recommend it.  It described the behavior and the deeds of the Europeans he traveled with to the New World.  But even before that as a child in Haiti, we learned about Christopher Columbus landing in the Caribbean.  The history books acknowledged that he met people and really didn't discover anything but his own ignorance.  Columbus is still lauded as some sort of a hero in the West.

If you think this is disturbing read the Bible.  Example 1 Samuel 15:3
Subsequently, many of the European power nations of the day visited, pillaged, and terrorized many of the local islands.  Wherever they landed the natives suffered via disease, heartache, or destruction.  As the stock of free labor died off from slavery and foreign plagues the squatters decided to look for more people to exploit and subjugated.  Off course back then many of the Europeans did not recognize the Indigenous people as humans and certainly not equals.  They had an even lower opinion of the people from Africa that they took, bought, captured, and enslaved. 

While the motives of slavery and exploration where tauted as having a financial motivation, religion was certainly used as an excuse, a conduit, or a lubricant to the raping of the dignity of the New World.  The religion that most of the colonial powers shared was a very pagan and malleable version of the Jewish myths called Christianity.  The dominant form of which was Roman Catholicism. 

This mental virus was used liberal as a ready excuse to make fodder of men, women, and children.  The Europeans reasoned that the natives were but brutes who were lucky to have contact with them.  They saw them as unwashed savages that monks like De Las Casas could try to convert and thus save from eternal damnation.

The Africans who were brought over to work the fields of Hispaniola are the predecessors of today's Haitians.  They came from various groups with various languages, traditions, and religions.  They all suffered the trauma of harsh treatment and brainwashing.  The effects of these things are still noticeable in the Haitian culture today.  Some Haitians have taken to do their best to mimic Europeans.  Those who look like their former owners tend to do better in Haitian society.  French is still the official language of the nation.  Roman Catholicism is also the premier recognized religion of Haiti.

De Las Casas telling you to "talk to the hand".

I don't think it is too far of a statement to say that the colonizers of Haiti instructed the Haitians to hate themselves and each other.  In regards to religion this is made readily apparent.  The most popular of native spiritual traditions, Vodou, is treated with ire and the most vile contempt.  It has been blamed for everything from the nations poor economic standing to the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people and left an untold amount maimed for life.  All this while even the enemies of Vodou acknowledge its role in the seminal moment of Haitian independence the meeting at "Bois Ca├»man".

That revolution is still celebrated by Haitians and non-Haitians alike.  Unfortunately it has not surpassed the popularity of Christopher Columbus.  In the same vein, I argue that the evils and treachery of the colonizers that were specifically motivated by their Christian religion has yet to be fully brought to trial.  Vodou  is still framed as villainous while the other religions get a carte blanche.  Even during the 2010 year people where attributing a very natural and understood phenomenon to gods, ghouls, and devils.

It is for this very reason that I felt compelled to shed some light in the insanity.  There is no reason why this should persist.  Many of the other nations of the world have pulled themselves out of the depressive and vacuous world of superstition.  Ironically, the so-called age of "Enlightenment" found fertile ground in the nation that suffered the wrath of the Haitian Revolution, France.  It is my dream and passion to share that narrative with as many people as possible; especially Haitians.