Theistic madness round-up for 14 December 2009

manicstreetpreacher shakes his head in disbelief at another day of faith-based stupidity on the eve of the second decade of the 21st century.

I have come across quite a lot of the above during my lunch and doss time at work today.

Apocalypse Soon

Kicking off is a trailer to a rather scary movie called Waiting for Armageddon (IMDB / RichardDawkins.net) about the 20 million or so demented members of the American population who are convinced that the End Times and The Rapture will happen within the next 20 years.

My post on the afterlife deals with the religious obsession for this miserable little world to be over, so I won’t repeat my arguments.  Suffice it to say that this is not the kind of thinking that will ensure the long term survival of our species.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins’ Left Behind series of novels are either cashing in on pre-existing public opinion and/ or have a lot to answer for!

Bishop to the UK Forces praises Taliban then retracts comments and pleads “context”

An interview with the Right Reverend Stephen Veneer appeared in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday where he apparently praised the strength of faith of the Taliban:

We’ve been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban.

There’s [sic] a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the west could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation because it’s not honest really.

The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.

We must remember that there are a lot of people who are under their influence for a whole range of reasons, and we simply can’t lump all of those together.

To blanket them all as evil and paint them as black is not helpful in a very complex situation.

Afghanistan is going we hope in the end to find a way to live together with justice and prosperity for all.  In order to do that we have to involve all the people of Afghanistan to find it.

It is that lasting and just peace that will in the end justify the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made.

The uproar was immediate as one can imagine.  Edmund Standing has labelled Veneer as “deranged”:

Disgusting.  This man should be relieved of his post immediately.

What would he have said during World War 2?  That we should admire the conviction and loyalty of the SS?

The Right Reverend Veneer has backtracked immediately and you can view his interview with BBC News from their website here.  Veneer now claims that his remarks were taken out of context by The Daily Telegraph.  Apparently, he was trying to express sympathy with some Afghans who are being misled by the Taliban ringleaders.  I’m not altogether convinced, but he wouldn’t be the first to accuse Jonathan Wynne-Jones of such underhand tactics.

I can kind of see where the Bishop is coming from now he has clarified his comments.  If and when the hostilities in Afghanistan cease, those Afghans who supported and even perhaps fought with the Taliban will have to be included in the peace process in some way, shape or form whether we like it or not.

But perhaps the good reverend’s faux pas today shows that Christ’s edict to “love your enemies” is totally unworkable outside of scripture and therefore quite foolhardy.

Tony Bliar… sorry, BLAIR, hides behind his religious faith now he’s out of Number 10 and the clutches of Alistair Campbell

And finally, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has taped a nauseating and saccharine programme on his religious faith with the fawning Fern Britton, which can be downloaded from BBC iPlayer here.   (RichardDawkins.net has a thread on the programme and the comments are not complimentary!)  Watch out for that Paxman interview in 2003 at 21 minutes, when Tony squirms at the suggestion that he and George W Bush pray together!

UPDATE 29 January 2010

BBC iPlayer has stopped streaming the programme.  The YouTube playlist begins here.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am no supporter of Saddam Hussein or the irrational leftists who have used the Iraq War as an excuse to attack the US, as embodied in Michael Moore’s reprehensible Fahrenheit 9/11.  As Hitch said in his review of the film:

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia.  Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed.  If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD.  You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture.  Rock the vote, indeed.

Anyone who doubts that Saddam had links with international terrorism, al-Qaeda or committed crimes against humanity on his own watch should read this report by Deroy Murdock, Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University and get acquainted with just what a monster the man really was.

The truth is that I have not made up my mind about the Iraq War.  I don’t support it.  But I can’t bring myself to oppose it either.  My natural tendency is as an historian rather than an investigative journalist.  Hindsight is 20-20 vision: the cheapest form of wisdom.  I like to form my opinions long after the fact.  When the dust has settled, when emotions are not running so high and when a cold sense of objectivity can be maintained.  But one thing I can be certain of is that this world is a better place without Saddam and Iraq will be a better country, I hope sooner rather than later.

I am also certain of my distain of Blair’s recent attempts to use the card of religious faith to wash himself clean of the lies, the hypocrisy and the attempts to manipulate public opinion that took our country to war.  The manipulation of the press and public opinion, the misinformation, not least of which was a dossier into the 45-minute WMD claim partially culled from a PhD paper that was 12 years old has left a taste in my mouth that has been impossible to wash out.  I’m not ready to call Blair a war criminal yet, but I hope the Iraq War Inquiry probes deep and hard.

The programme unwittingly demonstrates the sheer futility of religious faith.  Blair himself admits that his faith was of no help in making the decision to go to war, but at least it helped him through all the heartache that followed.  Just well perhaps; if Blair had thought for a minute that his faith did help him make the decision, he would have to accept that God put him in Downing Street to make what many now see as a terrible mistake.

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2 Responses to “Theistic madness round-up for 14 December 2009”

  1. Nadia Naeem Says:

    “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful”

    Sir,

    A WAR was not needed to eliminate Saddam Hussain. It could have been done otherwise.

    Who then is responsible for the crimes of Jail Abu Gharaib?

  2. TD Says:

    Great article, I agree with you whole-heartedly!

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