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Religious War?

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  • Robin
    Citizen of Tanelorn
    • Apr 2011
    • 235

    #16
    I'm more of a "self-defensive atheist" - although I don't even like the word atheist.

    I was brought up in the Church of Scotland (although I couldn't help noticing my dad never went to church - the most I ever got out of him on the subject was "You never know, they might be right". And he could talk, entertainingly and knowledgeably, on a huge range of subjects. So his reticence made me suspicious...). Anyway, I payed attention - read as much of the Bible as I could and thought about it. Even won the prize at Sunday school for having the best knowledge of the Bible - the prize being another Bible, which struck me as more than slightly illogical. And, for good measure, I had a look at the Koran too (at one point, my dad had left a copy lying around). I wasn't convinced by any of it though "Hmmmm, sounds like more of that Santa stuff...".

    In day-to-day life though, religion mainly reared its ugly head in traditional West of Scotland protestant v catholic bigotry - it looked very much to me that the main function of religion was to get people at each other's throats and make money out of it. And that was just minor stuff compared to what I see now.

    Militant Islam looks very much like a creation of the West, and I can't believe it's anything but deliberate. After all, who benefits from it? We've had decades now of our governments making us poorer, eroding the value of our money with "quantitative easing" (a lovely bit of Newspeak), etc. - and at the same time raising the spectre of terrorism as an excuse to spy on us in ways that would have made the Stasi green with envy and trample all over our rights and civil liberties. In the UK, we now have the highest density of "security" cameras anywhere in the world, and in the USA there's a president who made it legal for him to order the killing of anyone he likes (well, I suppose "anyone he's been told that he doesn't like" is more accurate) - even American citizens are fair game : no legal representation, no trial, no warning, they just get blown out of existence (along with anyone else in the vicinity - "collateral damage", I know Orwell would have loved that one). And they claim almost 100% accuracy for their drone strikes - seemingly based on the assumption that anyone they hit must, by definition, be a terrorist.

    Personally, I never talk about religion - unless someone else starts on me. Hence "defensive atheist" - I don't try to impose my beliefs on others, but I'll be damned (as it were) if I'm going to stand for anyone trying to impose theirs on me, especially when I know beyond any doubt that they are not only wrong, but being used by some insidiously evil organisations. And I don't only, or even primarily, mean churches. But I do try not to offend (after all, they're generally sincere, well-meaning dupes), which is more than a lot of the "religious" types do. Anyway, if it's ok for the religious to preach their message and try to convert everyone else - to "save their souls" - what's wrong with militant atheists trying to do the same? I just can't be bothered doing it - anyway, I seem to be more intrinsically inclined towards winding people up and annoying them, and you never convince anyone that way. I try not to offend, but I'm really not very good at it...
    Last edited by Robin; 07-14-2012, 08:15 AM.

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    • Kymba334
      Eternal Champion
      • Jun 2011
      • 3167

      #17
      Hello!

      Originally posted by Robin View Post
      I'm more of a "self-defensive atheist" - although I don't even like the word atheist.

      I try not to offend, but I'm really not very good at it...
      My apologies Robin,for missing your arrival last year.If i may be so bold i have a book to recommend to you and any others who might want a laugh at least : The Word of God by Thomas M.Disch,his final novel and this might just be my final plug for it.Cheers!
      Mwana wa simba ni simba

      The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom

      Comment

      • The English Assassin
        Champion of the Balance
        • Feb 2007
        • 1673

        #18
        Originally posted by Robin View Post
        Militant Islam looks very much like a creation of the West, and I can't believe it's anything but deliberate.
        Err... the Iranian revolution is the creation of the West? The Taliban? Sayyid Qutb? While it's true that some of their ideology were influenced by revolutionary Marxism and some of their activities have been part supported by the CIA or been indirectly caused via the aftermath of colonialism or foreign policy, BUT Islamism as an ideology has clearly not been created by the West! (I suppose the US created the USSR too?!) It might have been demonised or exaggerated, maybe... and become somewhat self-fulfilling... but all of the evil in the world is not the sole responsibility of the West. So called moderate Muslims have to take responsibility for their own fascists, I'm afraid and the left in the West have to stop patronising the rest of the world by suggesting that they are all just puppets to American foreign policy. I'm not saying that colonialism and capitalism aren't at fault, but the idea that they created Islamism is, to my mind, totally unfounded.


        Originally posted by Robin View Post
        Anyway, if it's ok for the religious to preach their message and try to convert everyone else - to "save their souls" - what's wrong with militant atheists trying to do the same?
        Now on this point I agree, except I'd argue that an atheist isn't necessarily trying to convert anybody, they're trying to detoxify someone who's self has been polluted by a particularly pernicious meme. Ultimately atheism for me isn't a belief, but a sceptical attitude to a specific set of assumptions (creation, the afterlife, morality) and stating what is probably a safe bet based on the evidence. I don't really care what someone personally believes in or not - I'd sooner they took a sceptical position to all things because I think scepticism is a vital component to intelligence, although I'm not naive enough to imagine that atheism is the only destination of an enquiring mind. There is a long held sceptical tradition in most of the world's religions too. Dawkins et al go further by trying to make their own scientism assumptions a vital component to atheism. While I personally agree with much of their conclusions I don't hold onto them so tightly.
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        • Pietro_Mercurios
          Eternal Champion
          • Oct 2004
          • 5800

          #19
          Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
          Originally posted by Robin View Post
          Militant Islam looks very much like a creation of the West, and I can't believe it's anything but deliberate.
          Err... the Iranian revolution is the creation of the West? The Taliban? Sayyid Qutb? While it's true that some of their ideology were influenced by revolutionary Marxism and some of their activities have been part supported by the CIA or been indirectly caused via the aftermath of colonialism or foreign policy, BUT Islamism as an ideology has clearly not been created by the West! ...
          Islam was not created by the West, however, the West has been busily involved in the Middle East since the Ottoman Empire started to keel over and the internal combustion became big business. As far as Iran is concerned there's the historical fact that the Shah was a political puppet of Western interests and the Ayatollah Khomeini in exile was a considered by the French to be a sort of pet that got out of hand when returned to his natural habitat.

          As for the Taliban and Al Quaida, where would the be, without all the training and finance from Pakistani intelligence and the CIA, in the fight against the Soviets, back in the 1980s?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone

          History, eh?

          Comment

          • Kymba334
            Eternal Champion
            • Jun 2011
            • 3167

            #20
            ...

            Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
            Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
            Originally posted by Robin View Post
            Militant Islam looks very much like a creation of the West, and I can't believe it's anything but deliberate.
            Err... the Iranian revolution is the creation of the West? The Taliban? Sayyid Qutb? While it's true that some of their ideology were influenced by revolutionary Marxism and some of their activities have been part supported by the CIA or been indirectly caused via the aftermath of colonialism or foreign policy, BUT Islamism as an ideology has clearly not been created by the West! ...
            Islam was not created by the West, however, the West has been busily involved in the Middle East since the Ottoman Empire started to keel over and the internal combustion became big business. As far as Iran is concerned there's the historical fact that the Shah was a political puppet of Western interests and the Ayatollah Khomeini in exile was a considered by the French to be a sort of pet that got out of hand when returned to his natural habitat.

            As for the Taliban and Al Quaida, where would the be, without all the training and finance from Pakistani intelligence and the CIA, in the fight against the Soviets, back in the 1980s?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone

            History, eh?
            Well,to be fair to The English Assassin the term used was Islamism and not Islam.Also he did indeed refer to the West's culpability in meddling in the political affairs of the near and middle east.
            I would also hazard a guess that Pakistan still has some level of support for both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda; how else did Osama bin Laden evade detection for so long?
            Okay...i'll shut up now.
            Last edited by Kymba334; 07-15-2012, 08:41 AM.
            Mwana wa simba ni simba

            The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom

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            • The English Assassin
              Champion of the Balance
              • Feb 2007
              • 1673

              #21
              Cheers, Kymba!

              Yep, obviously in the modern world any movement is going to have a pretty confusing history and I'm well aware of the role the West played in the Iranian revolution, but backing various factions is not the same as creating an ideology.

              I don't want to overstate my objection to criticism of Western foreign policy nor the impact that colonialism has had upon creating the environment where Islamism can flourish. Maybe this is what Robin meant..? But ultimate responsibility for any ideology has to come from those who develop it and those who follow it and to those who turn a blind eye or excuse it.
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              • dreeness
                "Love in the Time of Sakutia"
                • May 2012
                • 191

                #22
                Osama bin Laden was a bit like a Charles Manson with a trust fund, after the Cold War his CIA wranglers more or less lost track of him, and its never a good idea to leave an unexploded megalomaniac just wandering around. ...Maybe back then he could've been kept in the fold, if they had done something like a big fancy ceremony for him at the White House, you know, something with the presentation of a bright shiny medal or something, like maybe "outstanding achievement in the field of bloodlust", anything to feed his messianic ego. And then he could have been shuffled off somewhere, something prominent-sounding but essentially harmless, and eventually he would've fit right in as a pundit on Fox News.
                The Ralph Retort

                Comment

                • Robin
                  Citizen of Tanelorn
                  • Apr 2011
                  • 235

                  #23
                  Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                  Originally posted by Robin View Post
                  Militant Islam looks very much like a creation of the West, and I can't believe it's anything but deliberate.
                  Err... the Iranian revolution is the creation of the West? The Taliban? Sayyid Qutb? While it's true that some of their ideology were influenced by revolutionary Marxism and some of their activities have been part supported by the CIA or been indirectly caused via the aftermath of colonialism or foreign policy, BUT Islamism as an ideology has clearly not been created by the West!
                  My apologies - I knew what I meant but I didn't explain myself.

                  And you were right - what I was getting at was that, as you said, the actions of the West have created the fear and resentment that allows the ideology to thrive - allowing the Islamists to provide a "solution" or, at least, what looks like a way to fight back. The bombers are just the "daft boys" who are manipulated using religion as a tool - which, as I already mentioned in terms of the religious bigotry here in Scotland, has always seemed to me to be the main function of religion.

                  And I also had in mind that the CIA (and not only the CIA, the UK and France are usually deeply involved) have had a hand in supporting a lot of their activities - and still are right now, when the West (whose activites are often referred to in terms of Crusades - a word the Islamists know presses the right buttons) appear to be arming, amongst others, al-Quiada activists in Syria. They talk about "unforseen consequences" but I don't buy it for a second.

                  That's why my main point was that, as I said, "I can't believe it's anything but deliberate". With the demise of the Soviet Union, the West needed an enemy - and, in particular, the USA needed an enemy to justify being responsible for fully half of the world's military spending. For the "defence" of one country? Particularly a country with no rival remotely powerful enough to constitute a threat.

                  Except, possibly, for China at some point in the future. And when the USA is building up its forces in South East Asia - particularly in the Philippines and South China Sea (it's not getting a lot of coverage here but it was a hot topic when I was in Manila recently), I have more than a vague suspicion that, after the "pacification" of Syria, then Iran, are out of the way, that's where the real target ultimately lies.

                  At least, there are enough signs to make it worth considering...

                  Comment

                  • Morgan Kane
                    Lost in the multiverse
                    • Jun 2006
                    • 1428

                    #24
                    W Bush junior and his friends needed a war......... And Halliburton also .....


                    Seriously, you are giving our western so called leaders more insight than they have where i can see foolishness and arrogance .....

                    Remember that after the fall of URSS the fashion was to " The end of History " seen as the the triumph of the western model, capitalism and free market included.

                    In fact our so called leaders could not imagine that the world can change and that some people don't agree with them.

                    More strangely, the so self-claimed freedom fighters are against the freedoms and the rights of the workers, of the women, of the gays, of the atheists and so, not seing that the free market human being is beyond that and free from family ties and other moral luggate.

                    Psychological and sociological experiment have shown that given a moral dilemnas, rich and well-educater choose more often profit than the moral solution than poor people ......

                    Now, about the religion war, the fundamentalist move which is showing off in islam is also showing itself in christian countries. To killa doctor who practices abortion respecting the laws of the place he is living in is small terrorism but it is terrorism nevertheless. It is only one exemple.

                    What is manifest is that in international forums, the representants of the monotheistic religions are able to agree about many subjects, as women rights or freedom of thought and speech.





                    I feel that
                    Last edited by Morgan Kane; 07-16-2012, 10:56 AM.

                    Comment

                    • The English Assassin
                      Champion of the Balance
                      • Feb 2007
                      • 1673

                      #25
                      Originally posted by Robin View Post

                      And I also had in mind that the CIA (and not only the CIA, the UK and France are usually deeply involved) have had a hand in supporting a lot of their activities - and still are right now, when the West (whose activites are often referred to in terms of Crusades - a word the Islamists know presses the right buttons) appear to be arming, amongst others, al-Quiada activists in Syria. They talk about "unforseen consequences" but I don't buy it for a second.

                      That's why my main point was that, as I said, "I can't believe it's anything but deliberate". With the demise of the Soviet Union, the West needed an enemy - and, in particular, the USA needed an enemy to justify being responsible for fully half of the world's military spending. For the "defence" of one country? Particularly a country with no rival remotely powerful enough to constitute a threat.

                      Except, possibly, for China at some point in the future. And when the USA is building up its forces in South East Asia - particularly in the Philippines and South China Sea (it's not getting a lot of coverage here but it was a hot topic when I was in Manila recently), I have more than a vague suspicion that, after the "pacification" of Syria, then Iran, are out of the way, that's where the real target ultimately lies.

                      At least, there are enough signs to make it worth considering...
                      Aye, we pick and chose what Muslims are good and bad from week to week. It'll be interesting to see the US government back peddle over various groups in Egypt et al (assuming some variant of democracy actually materialises there) as certainly the US have been less than favourably inclined to the Brotherhood over the years... still, I imagine both sides will reinvent their positions to suit their own needs in the near future.

                      I think the US is in an interesting position at the mo, as it is hard to see how they can continue to justify their military spending considering the debt mountain they face. War just looks like a way they can lose even more traction to the BRICS (although their situation is far from secure). The UK too! How can we justify the fourth biggest army in the world in terms of spending? Crazy! But I guess the economy has become the new battlefield and to be honest a more interesting or at least nuanced one imo.

                      But back on topic: I'm really not very familiar with the Scottish situation - but over the years I've become increasingly aware of the sectarian situation there and how bad it really is. I guess in the national press the Irish "troubles" always drew the eye more and I guess it always looked like a football problem to an outsider, but I think it is increasingly obvious to the rest of the country that there is a nasty underlying problem there... Or maybe I was just slow to grasp the scale of the problem!

                      I really don't think there's much sectarian violence in England (unless someone knows differently?) I'm actually lodging with a Ranger's fan at the mo. In chatting with him he said his second team (pah!) is Chelski (double pah) because they're a Protestant club. I found that interesting because I had no idea of what denomination Chelsea actually was or indeed what most clubs is and it seemed so alien to me that such a fact would really be important to anybody with even a few brain cells (I chose my teams in sport because I like their kit - a far better system!). I'm of course familiar with the situation with the clubs in Manchester and Liverpool, but I've never heard of any real sectarian angle to their rivalries. It strikes me that none of the London clubs or their supporters really care about sectarian rivalries (but I could be wrong), instead most of their hate is anti-Semitic or racist. Hardly an improvement, I know... Jew seems to be the generic insult to anybody they don't like.
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                      • Heresiologist
                        Mothra Worshipper
                        • Jan 2012
                        • 1009

                        #26
                        Lot of good points in here.

                        I'll just throw some more mud in the water concerning the west's role in creating its enemies.

                        Back in the '90s I worked with a guy who was in the FMLN (Salvadoran resistance). He told me about taking part in meetings of low to mid level leaders where they talked about how there must be a double-agent somewhere in the upper echelons. Often these meetings would veer into everybody seriously wondering if the whole war, the leadership on both sides of the conflict, was ultimately controlled by foreign interests. Then he told me that two of the top level commanders, the most hardline, table pounding marxist, no compromise ever leaders, were now known to have been CIA assets.

                        Anyway, not to discount any of the other insights people have made. It is anecdotal data, so mileage may vary.

                        Regarding the ongoing Scottish sectarianism angle to this thread, this guy is supposed to be my great great uncle:

                        Last edited by Heresiologist; 07-16-2012, 12:06 PM.

                        Comment

                        • zlogdan
                          Hex data reader and professional pawn
                          • Mar 2012
                          • 1931

                          #27
                          I can tell you something about one of the BRICS, the B as you guessed ;-)

                          Since 1994 we are progressing in all means in external issues, still things remain the same internally. Back in 2002, when the so-called leftist Lula ascended to the presidential position and with him his party PT ( Worker's party ) they sort of used the whole poorest and illiterate population to maintain their status so they remain at head of Brazil up to this date. I can tell you that until 2002 I supported them, shame on me, but once I realized they were the same old crap with a different cover, I stopped supporting them. In fact I hardly support any politician these days. If I ever met one, I would run, fearing for my wallet.

                          Out of 200 000 000 of Brazilians, around 60 000 000 are called middle class, and we are mostly people that have at least a degree from an University. We have been suffocated, smashed, crushed and squeezed and our blood has been sucked off from our veins. So while things are fine for the poorest, we are suffering recession in bad terms. Ok, it is good that the poorest have better lives, but our government is using it to maintain them in the position of power and they are openly stealing public money, more than any other previous party did in the past. They, our leaders, are not entitled to claim to be a progressive nation, which such grandiose delusions.

                          I like our current president by the way. She is a woman. She looks to me as an island of moral among a sea of robbers. If it was not for her, things would be far worse. She is the only hope we have as of now.
                          Last edited by zlogdan; 07-17-2012, 09:41 AM.
                          "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                          "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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                          • Robin
                            Citizen of Tanelorn
                            • Apr 2011
                            • 235

                            #28
                            Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                            Then he told me that two of the top level commanders, the most hardline, table pounding marxist, no compromise ever leaders, were now known to have been CIA assets.
                            I wonder why that made George Galloway's name pop into my head...

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                            • The English Assassin
                              Champion of the Balance
                              • Feb 2007
                              • 1673

                              #29
                              Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                              Then he told me that two of the top level commanders, the most hardline, table pounding marxist, no compromise ever leaders, were now known to have been CIA assets.
                              I don't doubt this and I don't doubt that during the Cold War many public figures here in the UK would have been on the payroll of the KGB and vice versa (although I doubt that the Soviets were as compromised as NATO was during this period from what I've heard). It's obviously a murky world that I wouldn't try to profess to understand or know about very thoroughly, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that some high ranking Al Qaeda types wouldn't also be compromised to some extent. Indeed, I'd be surprised if they weren't! Which only goes to show that we sceptics of ideology should never underestimate or simplify fanatics. No matter how indoctrinated, I'd suggest that we're all capable of being compromised or compartmentalising our beliefs to suit ourselves. Nothing and no one is absolute.
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                              • Schopenhauer
                                Moonbeam Traveller
                                • Aug 2012
                                • 3

                                #30
                                After coming into contact with a religious man
                                I always feel I must wash my hands.

                                Friedrich Nietzsche

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