When talking about religions we find ourselves often deconstructing arguments, these sometimes simply end in the will of humans, since the dawn of time, to control things. Many of the most terrible things humans have done to each other was when the falsely accused others of natural phenomena, witchcraft falls neatly into the category of humans killing other humans just because something happened to them (or they were afraid of something) to our disgust we discovered that the practice of burning witches has not yet passed from this world, even in 2013.
The following story happened only a few days ago, when a young woman (a mother) of 20 years have been burned alive for the suspicion that she was something she simply can not be, because witches do not really exist. Papua New Guinea is the place, it seems, where people still think that they can take out their sadness and frustration on other people, by killing them.
However insane this sounds to you, imagine a calm English village, in the 14th or 15th century, where witch hunting was a popular hobby of most people, and if you happened to be a older woman living alone or a man who likes to be alone, or even a child who plays in the field, you had a pretty good chance of getting yourself into serious trouble. In that village it was common knowledge that witches did exist and were in fact a very serious threat to normal life, if we had a chance to talk with these people they would probably be shocked to discover that we dropped the whole witch thing long ago.
This shows you how many wrong ideas humans can have, can be seriously passionate about, can even kill other humans because of those beliefs, and how difficult it is to part from those beliefs. Just like religion, witchcraft is superstition, and a very dangerous one indeed. Even though Papua New Guinea has tremendous challenges in moving into the 20th century it is a shame on its whole population that people are slaughtered in this way, and an example for the rest of us of what happens when you let superstition rule your life.
How lucky do you, the reader, consider yourself, using the internet and reading this blog post off a computer screen, hopefully reading in peace. The truth is that we in the West are pretty lucky, when compared to some parts of the world, there are a lot of places in state of war, chaos and trouble, but not many seem to be in the poor shape Egypt is turning out to be.
A mother and her seven children found themselves in the Egyptian prison for 15 years for (wait for it) converting back to Christianity, it seems that the mother was a Christian to begin with and converted to support her marriage to a Muslim man, when the husband passed away she wanted to go back to Christianity (just a thought… if it was so easy for her to drop Islam how did she not just drop out of religion altogether… one can not stop being atheist in this place) but when the authorities found out about it they simply did not accept that – converting to Christianity is not so simple in 2013 Egypt.
In fact converting to anything but Islam is not so simple in Egypt, it is just Islam, that is what this country is turning out to be in a worrying rate, a fundamentalist state with totalitarian aspirations, taking hostage the population of the country, their minds and hearts as they go – raping the entire population into a forced religious system. Orwell was never as close as now to a ministry of thoughts, where one needs to confess his or hers deepest beliefs and suffer for it.
If current news can be compared to a big city this piece of news is way (way) in the country side, out with the cows and occasional golfers. This one is just so strange that letting it slip away will be a crime…
Anyway, (some) Muslims are now offended by Lego designing a Lego set of Jabba the Hutt, because they think that the buildings in this Lego set (that’s Jabba’s home) look like the famous mosque of Istanbul, and some claim another part of this model looks like another mosque in Beirut. Confused? you should be, but this actually gets worst, because the religion of peace who takes offense to, well, almost anything, now finds offense in resemblance of toy models is also deeply offended by the fact that Jabba himself looks a little like a “terrorist” – hence a Muslim (??? not all terrorists are Muslim, and not everyone in a place that might slightly resemble a mosque is a Muslim, right?).
So (some) Muslims are deeply offended by the whole thing, Lego, Star Wars, Jabba the Hutt and the kitchen sink, they do not approve, it just brings up so much bad taste that this Lego set would be better off discarded in some remote corner of this world. Next they will target car designs and chairs.
The other thing here is that the famous Istanbul mosque used to be a Church, its not a “child of Islam” but rather a great Church of the Byzantine empire, who was robbed from the Christians and converted into Islam, so its not even something that was built with the idea of Islam in mind, but of Christianity.
France, one of the most important counties in the history of the modern world, the strongest European country to support the American revolution and allow for the formation of the U.S.A. as we know it, and old world leader in popular revolution, has been slowly sinking into an old fashion style conservatism that is unbecoming its general style of “liberte egalite fraternite”.
Massive demonstrations, some of them very violent, of anti gay marriage notion has been held for over two months in the country, some of those demonstrations had only a couple dozens citizens, often departing form the local church or city hall, however in this last weekend the capital saw an overwhelming crowd of about 800,000 French come to show their concern about a potential future change in the marriage law in the country.
Unfortunately we live in a time in which it is not necessary to point out why people object so strongly to what others do in their own independent lives, very much like you would not have to explain the “laws” of slavery to an 18th century American land owner, so we will not get into that, we will only mention briefly that the crowd has many conflicting, sometimes even bitter enemies, leaders of the three main religions find themselves shoulder to shoulder, when on their everyday lives they sometimes preach intolerance towards each other. This is targeted mainly at the Muslim community, mainly in France, who is purposely keeping itself in closed confinements, avoiding contact with the local culture, only to go out and protest the natural progress of normal modern people.
This regression in the French thinking is also tied into the rise of the popular right wing parties, who are against anything non French, they also find themselves on this ground, with the same crowd they detest, a strange mix. How the French became so intolerable is a anthropological question, but the route we are now on is pretty clear, a country that is now deeply socialist wants to regress its personal freedoms into traditional, religious values, this is as close as you can get to the revival of national socialism, a nicer name for leather boots and concentration camps.
While we should not be insensitive towards any group, religious or not, the amount of respect we need to show people who are obsessed about controlling the lives of others, most of whom have absolutely no effect on the lives of the religious should be minimal. There is nothing wrong with traditional values and behavior, and religious people can do whatever they like in their own homes – just anyone else can – maybe they will understand that for once.