Archive for January, 2018

Freedom to choose, believe in or leave a religion

January 30, 2018

Nasir Khan, January 30, 2018

In the following article, I had some specific oppressive and coercive states in sight where laws of the countries and religious authorities stand in the way of freedom of conscience and thought.

One fact we need to keep in mind is that no large sections of the populations of a nation willingly leave their religion and their customary ways.

http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/70227-freedom-to-choose.html

dove

by Nasir Khan

Freedom to believe in any religion can also extend to freedom to change one’s religion. For example, when Christianity arose as a major religion, millions of followers of Egyptian, Roman and other Middle Eastern religions accepted Christianity, which had already split and developed into divergent sects.

Likewise, when Islam arose in the seventh-century Arabia and Islamic political power replaced the Byzantine and Persian empires of their possessions in Egypt, Syria and other countries, it gained millions of new followers. The Arabs vanquished the great Persian empire by force of arms and its ancient religion Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam.

One fact we need to keep in mind is that no large sections of the populations of a nation willingly leave their religion and their customary ways. It was also the case during the early Arab conquests and the expansion of the Islamic empire.

Now, imagine a situation where Islamic victories led only to an expansion only in the political power and domination, but Islamic rulers found no converts to the new faith. That would mean Egypt, Syria and Palestine at this time would still be predominately Christian; Iran would be mostly Zoroastrian. But we know things changed drastically.

Millions of vanquished people converted to Islam. However, it would also be a mistake to assert that all such conversions to Islam took place because of imperial force and coercion. In fact, many conquered people and nations were also deeply influenced by the egalitarian spirit of the new faith. That made their transition to Islam easy. Therein lies a cardinal factor that explains large scale conversions to Islam in its early history.

The same thing happened in the Indian subcontinent. The conversions happened due to the missionary activities of Muslim saints, preachers and traders whose behavior and practical modes of living had an immense effect upon the people. If the Hindu rulers and communities had followed the example of the fanatics of present-day Muslim countries and punished anyone leaving the ancestral Hindu faith by beheading and torturing people, then there wouldn’t have been any Muslims in the part of the world I come from – India, Pakistan and Kashmir!

But why should any state or any society reject individuals’ freedom to follow any religion or stop them from converting to some religion as a matter of choice and convictions strikes at the roots of the notion of freedom to believe and follow one’s conscience.

The Qur’anic teaching on this matter is quite clear when it says: “There is no compulsion in religion (Arabic: La iqra fidd-deen). But what the present-day Muslim rulers, oligarchs and clerics say and do surprises the non-Muslim world.


Gods in the Nordic countries

January 15, 2018

Nasir Khan

Contrary to the popular image of the eternal existence of the supernatural beings, such as gods and demons, human history bears the testimony that beliefs in deities have also been subject to change. From time to time, old gods were banished but people replaced them with new ones. This was so in many old civilizations, such as Sumerian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, Persian, Greek and Romans, etc.

The people of Nordic countries had their own religions and gods, such Odin, Thor and demons. However, when Christianity finally made inroads in in the Nordic countries, old gods were replaced by a new god. He was Jesus Christ, born as a human being but was believed to have been the eternal god who took on a human form in the shape of Jesus Christ. Despite, the general acceptance of this new god, many people clung to their old traditions and the old gods didn’t completely vanish.

Now, we see a growing number of people in many Nordic countries moving away from the belief in the Christian god or the Christian view of god. The case of Iceland illustrates this growing trend.

Such new developments within the realm of religion, theology and historical traditions in Nordic countries that traditionally had worshiped the Christian God for about a thousand years may come as a surprise to believers in some Afro-Asian countries.

0.0% of Icelanders 25 years or younger believe God created the world, new poll reveals

By Staff

  • Iceland seems to be on its way to becoming an even more secular nation, according to a new poll. Less than half of Icelanders claim they are religious and more than 40% of young Icelanders identify as atheist. Remarkably the poll failed to find young Icelanders who accept the creation story of the Bible. 93.9% of Icelanders younger than 25 believed the world was created in the big bang, 6.1% either had no opinion or thought it had come into existence through some other means and 0.0% believed it had been created by God.

    The poll, which was conducted by the polling firm Maskína on behalf of Siðmennt, The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, an association of Icelandic atheists, found that 46.4% of Icelanders identify as religious, which is the lowest figure to date.

    Younger people and inhabitants of Reykjavík are least religious
    Older people are far more likely to profess religious beliefs and to identify as Christian than those who are younger. 80.6% of those older than 55 identified as Christian and only 11.8% said they were atheists. At the same time 40.5% of people who were 25 years or younger said they were atheists, and only 42% said they were Christian. Traditional Christian beliefs also seem more common outside of Reykjavík, where 77-90% of people identified as Christian and 7.1-18 were atheists, compared to 56.2% of people in Reykjavík who identified as Christian and 31.4% as atheist.

    0.0% of people younger than 25 believe God created the world
    The poll found an even more dramatic difference between different generations when it probed how people believed the world had been created. Of those younger than 25 93.9% said the world had been created in the big bang and 0.0% believed God had created the world. 77.7% of those between 25 and 44 years old believed the world had been created in the big bang and 10.1% believed God had created the world. In all but the oldest age category a majority accepted the big-bang theory. Only 46.1% of those older than 55 believed in the big bang, and nearly a fourth, 24.5% believed God had created the world.

    People in the oldest category were also most unsure about the origins of existence, as 16.6% of those older than 55 saying they either didn’t know or had no opinion on the origin of the world.

    Growing support for separation of Church and State
    The poll also found a growing percentage of Icelanders support the full separation of church and state. Out of those who expressed an opinion on the subject 72% supported the full separation of church and state and 28% oppose the separation of church and state. Currently the Icelandic constitution stipulates that the state church of Iceland is the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church.

     

Some religious people do good work, some don’t

January 13, 2018

Nasir Khan, January 13, 2018

My Swedish friend, Lars Djerf, who is a Christian believer and a firm supporter of the cause of the Palestinian people wrote a short comment in reply to my post ‘Feuerbach on Christianity’.

I reproduce his comment here, followed by my reply:

Lars Djerf wrote:

As you know Nasir I don’t agree with Feuerbach because there are a lot of examples that there are persons who thanks to their Christian belief could get a purpose to fight the evil here on earth

Nasir Khan‘s reply:

Lars Djerf, Yes, I know. Some Christians and some (not all) followers of other religions also try their best to fight the injustices in the world. They make an enormous contribution to the cause of peace, helping the victims of wars, poverty and destitution. I always respect such people, and see them as noble friends.

But there are also religious people who kill others, spread hatred against the followers of other religions, victimize religious and ethnic minorities in their countries, support their governments if they invade other countries to kill and plunder the weaker nations and people.

We should also keep in mind what the former US president, George W. Bush, a devout Christian, and the former British prime minster, Tony Blair, another Christian, did, by invading Iraq and their allied forces killed hundreds of thousands Iraqis and destroyed an Arab country. They are Christian leaders and now they are living in peace and comfort.

We had seen that during this barbarian bloodbath and the destruction of Iraq many fundamentalist Christians and Christian Zionists fully supported the war of aggression. These are some simple facts.

AHED TAMIMI: Who am I?

January 2, 2018

Who am I?

I am a Palestinian girl.
Before I was born, the occupation took most of my village’s lands to build a new settlement called Halamish.
Then they arrested my father. When my aunt went to visit him, one of the soldiers pushed her over the stairs of the court and she died.
Since I was little the settlers of Halamish keep stealing more and more of our lands to expand the settlement.
Our home has demolition order because it is in Area C. The settlers are allowed to build on our land, but not us.
In 2005, the settlers made the spring of our village part of the settlement and prevent us from using it, even though many of us are farmers.
All these things happened with great support from the Occupation army and government.

When the people of the my village started to resist the injustices with protest marches, my father was arrested again.
My mother was arrested too. My uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins – all of them were arrested too.
My cousin Mustafa was killed by the Israeli army. My uncle Rushdi was killed by the army too!
Later, an Israeli sniper shot my mom in the leg and she couldn’t move for long time.
Almost every week, the army breaks into our homes to arrest one of my family or to confiscate our laptops or phones.
During our marches, they shoot us with tear gas rubber bullets – my cousin is in hospital badly injured because he was shot in the face the week before.
A few days ago, two soldiers came to our house to take positions to shoot at the demonstrators from my village. I stood with my family to prevent them, the soldier pushed me and I slapped him.
And now I am in jail!
My mother and my cousin are in jail too!
The occupation government and media call me a terrorist.
Do you know who I am?
And what would you do if that was your life? Or the life of your child?
#ahed_tamimi
#youth_activist
#100%Palestine


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