I was asked today if I was a ‘liberal’. Now in all honesty, until quite recently, I would just have said ‘yes’ and moved on. Simple, easy, checks the right boxes. But the world is not as it was; liberalism has become infected with some appallingly bad ideas that we have to stand up to and defeat. So when I analysed ‘what I am’ I came up with this: a socially aware, libertarian, scientific, secularist.
In an oral culture — one that is not written down — mythology evolves as it is passed from storyteller to storyteller. The Jesus myth was created in exactly this way, pasted together from earlier sources. This process is called ‘syncretisation.’
There is no fixed record of an oral tradition, by definition. In an oral culture or tradition, myths grow and develop to reflect the lived experiences and cultures of the people telling them. It was only when writing was invented that these traditions could be codified and by that time, they had been evolving for thousands of years. This means that there are many versions of the same myth, as different peoples carried it forward.
The Muslim legal code called Sharia specifies everything that is ‘mandated’ and ‘forbidden’.
In Arabic they are ‘halal’ and ‘haram’. Sharia — contained in a manual called The Reliance of the Travelleractually extends to over 1200 pages of text which specify every imaginable action or aspect of life. Everything from how to brush your teeth or how to put on your clothes, to how to beat your wife or kill your enemies. It is, literally, not just unnecessary for Muslims to think for themselves, it is haram (forbidden).
Muslims are obliged to follow Sharia all the time. There are punishments for transgressions ranging from fines to floggings to forced amputations to death. To reject Sharia wholly is de facto to become apostate, which demands a punishment of death.
Sharia is, by far, the most pernicious ideological evil that afflicts the world today.
Please do not take my word for this; I would rather you researched it yourself, for then you will know what Islam, with its debased code of Sharia, really is: the most anti-human and totalitarian ideology the world has ever seen.
So that you can do this research I have made a full copy of the Sharia code available HERE. Please download it and read for yourself. Be warned though, it’s a big file. At present I only have it in .pdf but I will try to make a conversion into .epub, which will be much smaller and easier to read.
A tiny selection of examples, comparing haram (forbidden) with halal (permitted), is below. (You may have to click the ‘Read More’ link.) If you are one of those duped by the platitudes of Islamic apologists or the ridiculous ‘regressive left’, they may surprise you. They certainly give the lie to the fallacy that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. Sharia is much, much greater than the tiny number of examples below but I have made this list to show that it is more than not eating pork.
I originally made this list using the words ‘haram’ and ‘halal’ but it seems to me that this is a form of dissembly, in using foreign, unfamiliar words. So I have used English translations instead. While ‘forbidden’ is a decent translation of ‘haram’, halal is more difficult. In all cases it means that the action is permitted, but in many it also means that the action is mandated or even obligatory. I have used ‘permitted’ and ‘mandated’. The latter means that it is something that Muslims should do, rather than that which they may do.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was one of the greatest English-language commentators of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His style was avuncular but this disguised a razor-sharp intellect and an incredibly wide base of knowledge.
Hitchens was a true man for all seasons; he could be funny, eloquent and incredibly gracious. But at the same time he was erudite and staggeringly well-read, with a brilliant mind. Enraged, as he often was by religious hypocrisy, he could focus a righteous anger on his adversary that was truly spectacular to watch.
Hitchens, throughout his life, was a passionate atheist. Not just convinced or committed, but passionate. He saw religion as fundamentally anti-human. His low opinion of it was fairly universal but he reserved his most scathing attacks for the Abrahamic cults of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, sparing or favouring none. They were, as far as Hitchens was concerned, offensive to the conditions of being human in general and to being a thinking individual in particular.
Christopher Hitchens was never cursed with false intellectual modesty and he suffered fools very badly indeed. He made no attempt to hide his own intellect or grasp of the subject to hand, in order to entrap his opponent. On the contrary, he adopted a thoroughly Nelsonic approach to debating which, like the great admiral’s view of the duty of a naval officer, was ‘to seek out the enemy and destroy him.’ Occasionally, you do have to love the English and producing a man like Hitchens is a good reason to. We shall but rarely see his like again.
So to celebrate the great man, journalist, raconteur, bon viveur and atheist, I give you Part One of a collection of his finest rapier-thrusts, posted on YouTube by Agatan Fnd. Part Two will surely follow.
It’s Easter. In fact, this is the 60th Easter I have passed on Earth, although I don'[t remember the first few. Or, for that matter a good selection of those that came after. However, Easter is an important time. It is the beginning of Spring, officially defined as the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and, perhaps more importantly, the moment when the year comes into bloom. I know this might not be apparent in Canada and suchlike airts, but still. You should have left them to the Indians.
As the beginning of the year of fertility, Easter is a great Goddess festival and was such, long before it was hijacked by Christians. Indeed it was celebrated in ancient Sumer, 7,000 years ago, when the High Priestess would take a young man as consort for the year. We do not know what his fate was at the end of it. Still it is a time of giving thanks, when we should express our gratitude. And so I do.
I am grateful firstly for my four wonderful children, without whom my life would have had no real meaning. I am grateful that I am still here myself, with all my faculties intact and even a full head of hair; so I must also thank my Martin forebears, who all went to their graves with luxuriant thatches. (The Flemings are all bald as coots by 40; I am grateful to have avoided that particular gene.)
I am grateful for something else too. I came to the Philippines in December to meet a particular woman, who regular readers might recall. However it was not as I had hoped and on Christmas Day 2015 we parted forever. For some weeks I dated girls here and really enjoyed it. It was like being at college again, only better. As a mature and sophisticated man, I have confidence that I lacked back then. Dating was a real pleasure and had you asked me in early January I would have said that I would have been happy to go on doing it as long as I had breath.
But at the end of that month I met a girl — well, she met me, to be honest. And the upshot of that is that now, on this Easter Sunday, I am grateful that I am passionately and completely loved by an incredibly beautiful young woman, with the face of an angel and the body of Botticelli’s Venus rising. She asks nothing of me; I even have to persuade her to go shopping for clothes. All that she asks is that I have time for her and return the love that she so willingly and generously extends to me. And I am very grateful for that.I do not know where this will go but I can tell you that I have never felt so loved by a woman in my life.
Any man who, in later life, finds himself alone and yet desires not to be, will discover, as I did, that there are many beautiful women who will make themselves available. Young, glamorous and sexy. And as long as the flow of money towards them is maintained, they will remain so. Some people call these women ‘high maintenance’.
But the fact is that not all women are like that at all. And the harpies who preach from the wings about ‘age appropriate’ relationships are wrong. There are no ‘age appropriate’ relationships. There are only people. If you love someone, that’s it. As I wrote in The Warm Pink Jelly Express Train, your soul is as old as the hills and as young as the dawn; and even curmudgeonly old atheists like me have soul, though we know we don’t have souls.
So my advice is this: ignore the Politically Correct whingeing of bitter old people whose lives long since ceased to have meaning, who are winding down into their long wait for death and seize the day. Yes, you’ll meet gold-diggers, but even that’s not all that bad, you know. The rewards can be considerable. Even if she only sees you as a way to have a better life, or to provide for the children fathered by another man, that does not mean she won’t be good to you, nor does it mean that you will not enjoy the experience. In the end, she might love you too.
Then again you might, just might, run into the real thing, as well: a woman who really loves you, who doesn’t care that the years have taken their toll and who will nurse you when you’re sick. Who never asks for money, and who says her old clothes are fine, she doesn’t need new — but who will be gracious when you insist. Who goes to market and shops thriftily, so that you and she can eat well together without spending a fortune. Who is as happy to stay home and watch a movie as she is to be dined out — as long as she is with you. Who is smart and will talk about religion and philosophy with you, if you so wish; or whatever you want to discuss, because whatever interests you, interests her. Who is so mesmerisingly beautiful that just looking at her brings tears to your eyes, and who refuses to go to sleep at night without caressing your face with her fingertips. Who even, incredible though it may seem, says she likes to hear you snoring because it reminds her that you are there, beside her, in bed. Who will turn your sexual dreams into reality and enjoy doing so. Who will staunchly defend you against all criticism and be your protectrice in the face of life’s travails.
If you are so lucky as to find a woman like this, then I advise you to give thanks. There is no ‘god’ and even the Goddess is a metaphor; but there is love, and it is precious. Happy Easter.