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Qur’ible

15-Sep-2010

As I was perusing various discussion groups regarding Pastor Terry Jones’ aborted “Burn a Koran Day”, I came across Christians comparing the Bible and the Qur’an. Some typical quotes are shown below:

Nothing in the Bible encourages us to treat Muslims or any other religious group with this kind of contempt.”

He [Terry Jones] should read the Bible a little more carefully, and spread the message of love and tolerance

The Koran encourages violence, but there is nothing in the Bible that encourages murder.

Oh, really?

I would think if a person believed the Bible was the “Word of God”, they would have actually have read it. There was a time that I believed the Bible was the “Word of God”, and I read it through at least 3 times. Even then, I knew the above quotes did not represent much of what the Bible contained. I rationalized many of those items away, but the fact is, my rationalizations were unjustified.

The Bible most certainly does encourage violence – particularly against those who do not have the same beliefs in the Judaic God. Jesus himself, as much as we have idealized his peaceful quotes, was not above approving of the use of violence.

Mosaic Law is where we received the revered 10 commandments. However, this law was also full of trite “crimes” worthy of capital punishment – much of the punishment to be carried out with death by stoning. (note that all Biblical versus are quoted from the New International Version or NIV).

Capital crimes included:

There are many more. These are but sampling. Worshiping any other God (intolerance of other beliefs) is also cause for death sentences.

Death sentences for being of another religion:

This does not even cover the fact that many were ordered by God to destroy complete towns, including all inhabitants. The most notable is Jericho (Joshua 6:20-21 ), but also other cities (Joshua 8:1-29 , Judges 18:5-28 , 1 Samuel 15:2-3 ) Note that this last one was “punishment”, which included execution of “children and infants”. The punishment was because the city waylayed Israel as they came out of Egypt. However, this “punishment” was about 200 years after the alleged crime. I guess those “children and infants” were guilty for their great-great grandfather’s “crimes”.

Even Jesus is not without violence. At the last supper, he orders his apostles to “sell your cloak and buy one [a sword]” (Luke 22:36 ). Many say he was being allegorical, yet he did not rebuke his followers when they produced 2 swords in the next passage. Nor did he tell them to get rid of the swords when they used one of those swords to cut off a servant’s ear (Luke 22:50 ).

Peter, too, caused the death of two people, merely because they withheld some money from the sale of their own property from him (Acts 5:1-11). That is hardly the model “love and tolerance” that the above poster says the Bible contains.

I am not here to say Christianity is an evil religion or belief. However, I am here to say that Christians who do not know the contents of their own scriptures are being foolish. Christianity matured and renounced the fire-and-brimstone condemnations, and evolved into a more peaceful belief. That is not because their scriptures lack extreme violence for even the most petty of things, but because as they have grown spiritually, they have learned that such things are not helpful to humans as a whole. But at least know where your beliefs originated from.

This brings us back to the Qur’an. Islamic belief advocates as much violence in their holy scriptures as does the Bible. Radical elements of Islam attempt to carry out the literal implementation of those violent passages.  However, can you imagine the violence that would occur should Christians carry out just the few passages I highlighted above?

There is no difference between radical Islam, Christianity or Judaism. The only difference in the faiths overall is the maturation of their followers. Consequently, if Islam is inherently evil, then so is Christianity and Judaism.

Moderate Muslims need to be encouraged, since they are following a well known path. The radical Muslims need to be condemned and dealt with just like any other radical element.  But there really is little difference between the Qur’an and the Bible. The Bible and the Qur’an are merely twin sons of different fathers.

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Koran Burning? Dead Soldiers? Nice!

8-Sep-2010

Pastor Terry Jones
Dove World Outreach Center
5805 NW 37th St
Gainesville, FL 32653

My Dearest Pastor Terry Jones,

First, I wish to thank you for your excellent service. Your blind ambitions have done more to advance my cause then could have been hoped for.

Second, congratulations on keeping “International Burn a Koran Day” alive.

Following up on Terry's inane book, "Islam is of the Devil", is his new title.

You did not cave into pressure from those fools who would put love, peace and human harmony ahead of hatred and bigotry. I am particularly impressed that you would resist pressure from the commanding general of coalition forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, who stated emphatically that your decision would result in the deaths of coalition troops. Your message trumps the petty lives of those pawns they call soldiers

Third, I am overjoyed by your partnership with Westboro Baptist Church. I have worked hard to link up your churches, and am so pleased to see you both publicly condemning to hell all who do not agree with your message. Perhaps we can get you to partake in Westboro’s celebrations of the deaths of US military personnel. I particularly like Westboro’s “Thank God for dead soldiers” signs that were displayed at soldier’s funerals. What a great partnership. Such possibilities.

Finally, a personal note. In my dealings with man, I have learned that never is a man so wrong as when he is convinced that he is so right. You my dear Pastor Jones are so solidly convinced of how right you are. Do not doubt your path or your faith. Don’t think things through. Just believe in how right you are. The more you are convinced of that, the greater your service to me.

Your Lord and Master,

Satan
Father of Lies

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Climatic gates come tumblin’ down

27-Jan-2010

For years, I accepted the supposed scientific consensus that the earth was warming, that warming above a certain point would be catastrophic, and that mankind’s “greenhouse” gas emissions were the primary cause. I believed that Aspen ski resorts were at  danger of closing due to lack of snow, the arctic would be ice free, and that the science is settled regarding human induced climate change.

However, the claims of a climatic tipping point led me to investigate further. I am an electrical engineer. I know that if positive feedback systems are not designed properly, they can fail catastrophically. Such systems are unstable. I found it difficult to believe that our atmospheric system was so unstable that there would be a “tipping point” of no return.

So, I investigated. I learned how the greenhouse gas theory worked; that CO2 would pass through the sun’s short wave radiation, but it would be opaque to the earth’s own long wave radiation – thus trapping energy. I discovered that even doubling or tripling the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere alone could not raise the theoretical temperature of the earth to the heights being warned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); that required positive feedback of water vapor which would provide most of the temperature increases. I learned the names of the major scientists warning of anthropogenic global warming (AGW): Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Dr. Phil Jones. I found out that there exists three primary surface temperature data sets: CRU, GISS and NCDC, and that here exist two satellite data sets: UAH and RSS – that are used to calculate global average temperature.

I also learned that the science is not settled, and there exist prestigious researchers who believe AGW theory is either over blown, or is fatally flawed: Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. I discovered that the positive feedback of water vapor is but a theory; different studies have inferred both positive and negative feedback and there is no conclusive proof this theory holds up. I found out that the three surface temperature data bases have 90% to 95% overlap of raw data, so the data between them is not truly independent, and that this data gets “adjusted” by the various entities who report the data. I learned that most of the expected dramatic temperature increases and consequences of those increases are derived from computer models – not from empirical evidence. As a firmware engineer, I am well aware that computer models are only as good as the assumptions they are programmed with.

Most of all, I learned that the absolute certainty and scientific unanimity of belief in AGW was a myth – AGW is a theory and observational data can and does contradict that theory.

Besides the scientific uncertainties came the behavioral ones. While skeptical AGW web sites, such as Watt’s Up With That, allows the free discourse of opinion, pro AGW web sites, such as realclimate do not. The opinions and scientific papers of the researchers who have skeptical leanings seemed to be marginalized. Then came the confirmation: climategate. The subject of climategate merits its own post. However, the leaked emails from climategate showed conclusively that the top pro-AGW climate scientists were colluding to assure that dissenting voices were not heard – either in the media or in scientific peer-reviewed journals.

My faith in the scientists who are pushing the pro-AGW agenda is seriously eroded. At this point, I believe that the available evidence shows that climate change IS happening – but it is not to the extent that we have been led to believe, and the cause of that change is natural variation. Climate change will ALWAYS happen: the very nature of the earth assures that. But the emissions of CO2 by man made causes are very unlikely to be the primary cause of future climate variations.

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Rants Returned

26-Jan-2010

My unannounced hiatus has come to an end.

For the previous year+, I have been away from my blog. For personal and professional reasons, I have been unable to post updates, and spread my unsolicited opinions to the world. A world denied my ranting and raving.

That time is now over.

I have spent the past time investigating two issues that I have personal interest in: Climate change and spirituality.

Climate change is covered by many bloggers, and I will highlight some of the ones I most admire in future posts. Suffice it to say that the previous 2 months has seen startling events within the scientific community of climatologists. The details of these events are covered far better by people much more knowledgeable than me – but I will still post my thoughts on those events.

Spiritual subjects are not something I have posted on this blog before. I may reserve my thoughts on those subjects for another blog thread – or I may post them here. I have not decided yet.

Influenced by other bloggers whom I admire, I will no longer be posting under a pseudonym, and will instead use my real name in my blog. Regardless, I am announcing my return to the blog community, and I hope that both of my regular readers welcome my return.

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Innocence Lost: The Travails of a US Citizen

23-Jul-2008

The war in Iraq has left me with muddled thoughts: I originally supported the war, now I oppose the reasons for entering it, but support completing what we started. The war has left me feeling betrayed, exhausted, vulnerable. In other words, politics as usual.

I feel America’s leaders have lied to us; either through gross incompetence or sheer deceit. I am leaning towards the latter. I thought President Bush spoke the truth when he said Saddam Hussein represented a real threat to the Middle East and Western civilization. I believed Colin Powell’s remarks to the UN about the strong evidence of weapons of mass destruction (and I think Powell believed them when he said them). I believed it was a necessary evil to use military force in Iraq – even if it would distract from the on-going efforts in Afghanistan. How idiotic of me.

Had Israel not destroyed the nuclear reactor in Iraq in the 1980s, then history may have been different. However, they did. We did not invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons, as politicians today try to re-write the reasons for the invasion. We nominally did it for security reasons. I now believe it was for a single reason: Oil. How could I have been duped so?

We squandered the good will of our citizens, the international community, and the resources in fighting the real battle against terrorism. All for what gain? Could I have been any more stupid?

I cringed at the so-called “Patriot Act”, because of how it impinged civil liberties – yet I did not actively oppose it. I thought it necessary in the wake of September 11 and our need for counter-terrorism. What I fool I have been.

The words of The Who resonate with me: “I get on my knees and I pray, we won’t get fooled again“.

I watched the Watergate hearings on television when I was young. Then, there was an aura of innocence lost. If the president could be so deceitful, what hope was there for integrity in any political process?

The feeling I have today is strangely reminiscent of that era.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Stuck in the Middle With You

18-Jul-2008

One thought has been nagging at me lately: Liberals and conservatives both have their galvanizing issues. Those on one extreme or the other get the majority of the press. But polls show that most of us exist in the middle – moderates. So why is it that the tripe spewed by Rush Limbaugh and Al Gore gets most of the play, when us, we the people, are virtually ignored.

Well, I think it has to do with the issues themselves. Moderates are, by definition, those who hold some conservative and some liberal beliefs. For example, I consider myself a moderate. On specific issues though, you could try to pigeon hole me into one extreme or the other. I believe the “war on drugs” is a waste, we should invest more in drug treatment and not in incarcerating users, I think we should invest in alternative energy solutions, and I believe in conservation. On the flip side of the coin, I look at abortion and can’t help but think the fetus gets the raw end of the deal of the body-rights issue, I believe in an armed citizenry, and I’m not convinced that “greenhouse gases” from humans cause “global warming”.

Now, another person may hold opposite views that I do (and I’m sure MANY do). Yet, this person too, could be labeled a moderate. Liberals and conservatives have a platform; but we moderates do not. I believe having a platform unites, but at the expense of critical thinking.

So, what are we to do? In my humble opinion, we should continue to debate. Talk about the issues. Keep an open mind. That’s the only way we can come up with new ideas, and bring innovation into the process.

The one’s who get the press SAY they debate the issues. Bullshit. All the Rush’s and the Gore’s do is mouth rhetoric, and their followers nod their heads – and the press reports on it. We, the majority, can refocus the spotlight, if we talk about our differences, and discover how we can bridge the gap between our varying beliefs.

Discuss. To that end, I will try to make sense of some of my ramblings, and commit those irrelevant ramblings to electronic ink. I would invite you to criticize, debate, and analyze my thinking. I will do the same with others’ posts.

Hopefully, all involved can grow just a bit wiser.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right

14-Jul-2008

Extremism is alive and well.

Especially when it comes to racial extremists. We are all aware of the white supremacists and the idiots who march around in sheets. But there exist extremists on the other side of the aisle too. First, let’s talk about the anti-everyone-who-does-not-share-my-inbred-genes groups.

Many people do not realize that white extremists still exist. They still march, still shout, still spew hatred, still try to intimidate. This news story tells of these bigots trying to stage a “rally” in Athens, Alabama last year. According to this news account, the people of the city made a stand against them. I hope that is accurate.

Most of these groups have been rightfully marginalized, and no longer have political clout or the grass roots sympathies they once did. That does not mean we can drop our vigilance of them – it just means that their effectiveness has been muted.

Which brings us to our second group – the black extremist.

In my area, the “International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement”, or Uhurus, has a significant presence. You may never have heard of them. However, they are often quoted in news stories relating to race issues in my area. The politicians here try to appease them, although such efforts are generally rebuffed. And this is why I consider the black extremists more dangerous than the white extremists: these groups are not marginalized, and have the ear of the media and politicians.

In the Uhuru’s own words, they believe every black person in prison is a “prisoner of war” and must be freed. They call the police an “occupying army”, who are stealing resources from African Americans. They state public education amounts to “criminalization of African children” and call for an “end to the white nationalists anti-African curriculum that is being used.” They also call special education “a system of mind control, tracking African children into failure and prisons.” They accuse the public health care system of genocide against African Americans. They call Barack Obama “WHITE POWER IN BLACK FACE“. The list goes on.

The Uhuru followers have been implicated in two riots in the City of St. Petersburg, Florida. And yet, instead of being treated like the terrorists they are, they are quoted by the media, and coddled by politicians who have no spine. In fact, my own work site restricts access to the white supremacist sites, yet allows access to the Uhuru sites.

You will gain nothing trying to appease terrorists.

We need to get past worrying about being called a “racist”, when in fact we are pointing out terrorists. Whether those terrorists are white, black or brown does not matter. Whether they call themselves Ku Klux Klan, Uhuru or Al Queda does not matter. We need to treat them all the same.

How’s that for equality for you?

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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