Becoming Muslim in Texas

2 08 2008

Fascinating documentary I stumbled on about red state Christians in Texas who ended up converting to Islam.

It’s a bit long but worth a watch.

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It’s just a cracker

9 07 2008

One thing I’ve resisted on this blog is talking too much about my religious beliefs, or, to be more to the point, my lack of religious beliefs.

To be perfectly frank, the reason I haven’t is simply a matter of good taste; I believe that how we as people find answers in the world is always a personal thing and should remain that; if your answers come from the Christian or Muslim god, if they come from Darwin, Buddha, Krishna or Xenu and his prophet Tom Cruise then that’s up to you. Many of those close to me are religious and I respect that, but at the same time I don’t share their belief. So it would be churlish of me to spout on about my atheism constantly on here while saying at the same time that such things are private.

Having said all that though, reading things like this push me over the edge. Webster Cook, a student at the University of Central Florida, stole a Eucharist wafer from a Catholic mass. Perhaps that was insensitive, and yes, it was stealing. But what followed was quite staggering; the theft of that wafer caused a massive uproar in the Catholic church and now Cook has gone into hiding.

Susan Fani, a spokesperson for the local diocese, actually said the following regarding the incident.

” if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

Really? Might I suggest the genocide in Darfur as an alternative? Or jews in the gas chambers? Or doctors being murdered outside their surgeries by pro-life lunatics?

The irony of all this is that there is actually a real hate crime, or at least a potential one. Webster Cook is now in hiding because he fears for his life. For the crime of stealing a cracker, it’s entirely possible that he will be murdered.

And of course the other irony is, for me at least, that this kind of brutish pack mentality, in defiance of reason, logic or basic compassion and humanity, confirms that we’re all monkeys, risen from the sludge and we still have a LONG way to go.

Thanks to Pharyngula for the link, and specifically PZ Myers for his article on the subject which puts things very succinctly, albeit with far more vitriol than me.





Saudi Gang Rape Victim Jailed

15 11 2007

You remember Saudi Arabia right? Our partners in the war on terror? You remember Gordon Brown getting chummy with King Abdullah last month?

Well this is how they treat their people. 

Sometimes this world is more hateful, more vicious, more disgusting, violent and repugnant than we can even comprehend, never mind stomach. Fucking scum.





Finding Mecca from Space

1 10 2007

Couldn’t help but be fascinated by this story on Wired about Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Malaysian astronaut who is soon to go up on ISS and needs to solve riddles of how to properly pray when the qibla (the direction in which a Muslim prays towards Mecca) changes constantly.

I wish Shukor the best of luck on his mission and admire his dedication to his faith. Still, I can’t help but be reminded of that quote by Carl Sagan where he says the following –

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way. A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.