Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magic, minarets, and solar retinopathy

Greetings.

Jewish date:  16 Kislew 5770 (Parashath Wayishlaḥ).

Today’s holidays:  Saint Day of Frances Xavier (Roman Catholicism), Feast of the Annihilation of the Prophet (Thelema).

So much going on religiously…  So little time to blog about it if I want to apply for jobs today…  Anyone who knows of someone who would pay me to blog about religion, please let me know.


Topic 1:  Eastwick, episode 9:  “Tasers and Mind Erasers”.  The writers have clearly come out on the side of making Darryl Van Horne not the Devil.  Yes, he is a manipulative, self-centered pleasure-seeker, but in this episode he is at his most vulnerable.  Jamie has attempted to poison Darryl, but he accidentally poisoned art critic Greta Noa instead.  Greta is in critical condition, and Daryl spends much of this episode begging Kat to use her healing powers to save Greta.  Whatever Darryl is, he still has human feelings and is not completely evil.  Either that or he is doing an excellent job of hiding his lack of caring and has a powerful motive for pretending to care for Greta and coercing Kat into healing her.

Also in this episode:  More use of magic and preminitions by Roxie, Kat, and Joanna, with Roxie adding mind-reading to her repertoire.  More plotting by Bun and Eleanor to kill Darryl, including informing Jamie that he is Darryl’s son(!) and nudging Jamie towards killing Roxie, as he has already been predicted to at least try to do.

Topic 2:  “Switzerland votes to prohibit the building of mosque minarets”.  Almost everyone has probably heard about this by now, and there is a definite issue of freedom of religion.  Keep in mind that freedom of religion exists only when it applies as broadly as possible—and that includes the freedom to believe and practice religions others find repulsive and loathsome.  While many may not like seeing minarets, do keep in mind that a minaret does not, in and of itself, harm anyone.  At best, minarets are symbols of something else truly offensive.  If so, why are they not going after what is truly offensive in the first place?

Also:  “Can we blame the Swiss?” by Tawfik Hamid.  This article gives an introspective Muslim perspective on what happened.  Rather than attack Swiss Christians for being a bunch of rotten people, he looks at how Muslims behave, both in Europe and in Muslim countries, and asks what Christians are supposed to think about them.  Do Swiss Christians really want their country Islamized?  Should anyone expect them to feel unboundedly tolerant Muslims in Europe when Christians in Muslim countries are treated so shabbily?  These questions at the very least give some context to why the minaret ban passed in the first place.

Topic 3:  “Hospital sees increase in eye condition after Knock 'visions'” by Pamela Duncan.  This article deals with people staring at the Sun at a Roman Catholic shrine in Ireland and unsurprisingly hurting their eyes.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, only this time in uppercase for emphasis:  WHATEVER GOD EXISTS OR KARMA DOES NOT RELIABLY PROTECT PEOPLE FROM STUPIDITY, NO MATTER HOW ALLEGEDLY PIOUS IT IS!!!  I know it sounds judgmental, but that is the way our universe works, like it or not.  There is an entire Web-site, What's The Harm?, dedicated to showing the harm done by falsehood and stupidity, including stupidity in the name of religion.  Keep in mind:  if YHWH did not want us to think, He would not have given us huge brains.  If being stupid were pious, wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes and Proverbs) would never have made it into the Hebrew Bible!

Peace.

Aaron
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