There’s One in Every Group.

Everyone wants to be different. Everyone wants to be special. For the most part, you are unique; however the laws of probabilities and averages weigh in and there is probably someone else out there that is just like you. Now, I am not saying that you have an evil twin with an eye patch; however there is probably someone that is like minded, dresses almost the same, likes the same food, and may even appear almost the same (sans the eye patch).

This is also true of ideologies and beliefs within religions, which are themselves ideologies and beliefs. Here in the U.S. we hear a lot about Christians and the “war on religion”.  Recently we had a local pastor in the small town of Samson Park, TX make a few headlines as he gave a sermon after the Orlando shootings about the “50 sodomites” and how “they’re the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now.”. This Arizona native came to Texas just a little over a year ago and after his church was only open for that 1st year, he managed to make it on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Active Hate Group list.

This local asshat aside, I want to talk about another group that has drawn my attention today. A group that I usually try to stick up for because they are demonized in the western media and they tend to keep to themselves when it comes to indoctrination and evangelism. I am speaking about Muslims.

Now before you start going into the “Another Stupid  American”, “He’s a Texan Republican” (Which I am not, FYI), or the “Dude, you are going to get bombed” spiel, let me be clear. When I say that I am an atheist, I mean just that. Theist meaning  the belief in the existence of a god or gods with the prefix “a” meaning not or without ( Examples: asymmetrical,. asymptomatic, apolitical). So, I am not “anti-Christian”, I think all of them are non-sense.  You may hear me talk about Christianity a lot but that’s because I live in a north Texas town that is approximately 9 square miles in size, has a population of roughly over 10K, and has 20 churches  in it (of which the majority of are either Baptist or Evangelical). So, that particular belief system is on my radar, a lot.

What has made me take a look at the Muslim community? A guy named Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb. He is the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, which is a very high position in Sunni Islam. He is also a well educated man and holds a Phd in Islamic philosophy from the Paris-Sorbonne University, and has been president of Al-Azhar University since 2003. OK, so he is well educated in his religion and it’s philosophies, but I am sure he took a few other courses.

He took to the airwaves, on his nightly TV show, and started telling the viewing audience:

…that atheists developed their opinions in the 18th century with some degree of politeness and respect toward those who believe in God but contemporary atheists, particularly after the events of September 11, have declared war against all religions, especially Islam.

Wait…What?

First, yes atheism historically did  formally start during the early 18th century and we were polite about it because of all of the persecution of heretics going on at the time. The rise of toleration and enlightenment only started because people were sick of the Spanish inquisition, the witch trials, the civil wars of England, Scotland and the Netherlands that had previously occurred. People were sick of all of the bullshit that had been done and that was being done by the church. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1700’s that tolerance of  other religions and beliefs was finally accepted in Europe, and atheism would be even tolerated to any degree. So yeah, we were kind of polite because we were afraid of that whole death or imprisonment thing. Oh, and post 9/11 it wasn’t just atheists that didn’t like Muslims. It was pretty much every bigoted asshole on the planet. Some atheist, some theist, and all misguided; however I thank you for proving my point.

No matter what the religious view, there’s always “one of those guys”.  Even the religion of Islam is declaring that there is a war on religion; however the muslims are stepping up the game:

Trending on Arabic #Twitter is this hashtag #نطالب_بقتل_الملحدين which translates to “We demand the killing of the Atheists”. scary times.

I tried translating this, and I got “We demand the transfer of atheists”; however when you isolate بقتل and translate that, it means killing. Now, some people are stating that this is just in regards to Atheists in Saudi Arabia and/or the Middle East, but it really isn’t clarifying that. The hashtag doesn’t say “We demand the killing of the Atheists here in the Middle East. Everywhere else is cool”. Also, it’s not just the middle east and it’s not just the religion of Islam. In 2015 2 men were murdered for speaking out against religion and superstition and the violence associated with it in India. Govind Pansare and his wife were attacked and he later died from his injuries, M. M. Kalburgi was shot dead at his home, a third man, K. S. Bhagawan was only sent a threatening letter, the leader of the militant Hindu organization that allegedly killed the other two men was caught and arrested.

Back to our friend The Sheik:

 He added that one of the major causes of the spread of irreligiosity and atheism in the Islamic world is that some Muslim youth do not have the support for firm thinking and belief and cannot assess what they hear, especially since those who spread atheism spread their ideas with simple and comprehensible explanations for the youth.

I searched Google to get a definition of “firm thinking” and I had to laugh at this:

Did you mean:
free thinking definition
formal thinking definition

I did find a site called firmthinking.com which is a “strategy and marketing consulting firm” but I don’t think that is what the sheik is talking about; however I do think that he means strategic thinking.

Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving success in a game or other endeavor.

Basically, I read this as: “Our kids need us to think for them, because if they think for themselves, then they won’t buy into our religious beliefs because the atheists are talking clearly and rationally.”.  But he goes on to say:

“Experts in psychology and large financial institutions support these ideas and the danger of these institutions is that their ideas can be considered as the weapons of the West,” he stressed.
OK, there it is. It boils down to atheism (in the form of psychology and money?) being linked to “The West”. I am sure when he says “The West” he doesn’t mean Canada or Brazil. Because all atheist are American. He goes on to blame international humanitarian groups for abusing religious freedom and blaming most of Europe for recognizing LGBT rights that “are hated and uncomfortable in the Islamic world.”  He then pushes for the idea to have religious classes taught in all of their schools and universities (and I don’t think he means as an elective) to “to ensure the culture of society against deviant thoughts”.
And we all know my thoughts on deviants.
Here’s my point, I don’t care what book you are claiming is “infallible truth” or what imaginary friend you talk to at night or 5 times a day while bowing and stretching. Every religion has a bunch of nutjobs in them. The guy 12 miles away in a small ass Baptist Church or the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar several thousand miles away are both the same guy.  They are both misguided by the ideology and dogma that comes from a book that was written thousands of years ago and has caused pain and bloodshed for thousands of years since.
And they are both afraid.
They are afraid of their culture, their religion, the meme that has lasted thousands of years dying. So, they are both acting out. One is throwing a tantrum and saying stupid hateful shit and trying to get his 15 minutes and attract the dregs to fill the pews. The other is hoping that his position and power will lead people to further his ideology of his religion and he is also saying stupid things and acting out. That’s what all of these things are: tantrums.
The world is changing and some people don’t want to change with it. So, they will become assholes, bigots and just full of hate and try to ruin it for everyone else. In the unfortunate case of these two, one has a Youtube channel, and the other has a national TV show. Then someone has a twitter hashtag that is trending, but not in a great way.
Regardless of what you believe, or don’t believe, can we just try not to kill each other?
Please?
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