Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and a common fantasy, like the Riders having a chance at the playoffs) together.

It’s frankly disturbing to think about how writing the paragraph above would get me killed and disgrace my family, if it was any earlier point in history. Hopefully, we don’t return to those dark days.

I’m not an atheist so much as an agnostic. I accept there may be super beings invisible and unknowable to human perception, but also it’s better to suggest that you’re open to belief in the unknowable. That’s in part to calm the fears of those who recoil at the thought of atheism, and partly because I think it’s wise to realize that what never seems possible, happens all too frequently.

Fisk On Harper

It’s articles like this one that make you wonder if the Canadian media is telling you everything you need to know. (Seriously though, that’s plainly obvious.)

Aurora

If Stephen Harper is serious about criminalising ‘barbaric cultural practices’, then he should arrest himself for even suggesting it

And while he’s at it, he can lock up all the other Western leaders who have savaged the Muslim world too.

Harper […] is about to push a truly eccentric piece of legislation through parliament in Ottawa. It’s called – and I urge readers to repeat the words lest they think it’s already April Fool’s Day – the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”. Yup, when I first read the phrase “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”, I felt sure it was a joke, a line from the “Big Bang Theory”…

“these “practices” are already forbidden by Canadian law

“…this unique legislation, [comes] from the Canadian minister of – you guessed it – Citizenship and Immigration. Now isn’t that odd?
[…]
Because in truth, the new Canadian legislation is about foreigners or – more to the point – Muslims.”

The man [Rashed] does not work for CSIS, Canada’s spy outfit, according to Ottawa government “sources”. But officially, CSIS, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – the guys who always “get their man” – and Harper’s office have all refused to comment. The Ottawa Citizen has been highlighting another new bit of Harper legislation, Bill C-44 this time, which would allow Canadian judges to authorise CSIS activities abroad “to investigate a threat to the security” of Canada, “without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state…”

Plenty to think about there.

And here’s more to think about, from Hedges, on what Bill C-51 and the new security state we live in means.

Don’t Be A Scared Tool

Here’s a song for radicalized Canadians to sing.

I’m white and scared (clap clap)
They want my guns (clap clap)
And veils are wrong (clap clap)
Except on nuns! (clap clap)

“I’m white and scared (clap clap)
you know it’s true (clap clap)
I’m scared of terror (clap clap)
Because I’m a tool (clap clap).”


Hat tip to Jay Bird

Conservatives Learning Lessons of History

I’ll give old clothes to Salvation Army, and shop in their thrift shops, but I wouldn’t attend a re-education camp of theirs.

Conservatives: Solve community problems by shipping the problems out of the community!

Global Regina Bullied by Racists Into Censorship

Racists who were criticizing the launch of a new mosque in Regina, forced the TV station to remove the news story from their Facebook page, rather than report and delete the offensive comments. Some of the racists were not even from Regina (one persisting is from the deep south).

When will this good-news story be shared again on the Global Regina facebook page so more people know about it?

Dr. Goldenberg – God’s Role in Government -Liveblog

At the Filmpool, , where an overfull crowd has gathered for the Herman Lecture Series (UofR religious studies lecture).
7:06 introductions are done by Luther College and another. Luther HS students present for a class assignment.

What is religion and what does it have to do with governments around the world? Huge question. You can see details everywhere.

She’s from Ottawa now; was from the States. American education didn’t prepare her to know Ottawa was the capital.

Museum of Civilization discussed. An exhibit last year about God(s) “a users guide”.
Ottawa not first place for this. Brussels featured it first. Quebec was to have it in Quebec City next.
Some rooms had fake clouds. Clothing. Depiction of Basilica. Text.
“Religion is too many things to be confined to one definition.”
“A grid for interpreting the world.”
“Hard pressed to name anything religion is not,” she says.
Ad for exhibit was to depict different religion representing same base understanding of the world.

In late 1800s some theologians realized Christian understanding was not universal. They had other religions. “Primitive prototypes of Christianity.”

Religions being thought of as able to be studied scientifically, is flawed I think. Isolating variables as broad as a religion, is not practical for a study.

“Peace, happiness, and harmony” are what we all want from our religion, that’s generally understood in Canada. This idea may not be the case, says I.

There is a lot of fear. Fear was not mentioned at the museum. Circumcision was not even mentioned. “Anxiety” was present. Open questions to panelists were closed down after an open-mic question about Islam set organizers on edge.

7:29 I didn’t get a seat facing the screen, I’m literally well behind the speaker. Without a proper chair, my back is protesting my backless makeshift stool.

The lecture is at a pretty advanced level. I’m missing some points for live notes.

Religion, and states.
– courts
– concern religion guides states.

Switzerland concerned about Minarets in a poster. Suggests a burka clad woman is a sign aggressive Muslim men are “getting a foothold in Switzerland”. Populace shows signs of concern about Islam challenging the state’s monopoly on violence.

“Dichotomy”, “vestigial states”, some of the heavy words being tossed about in an admittedly “dry” portion of the lecture.

Biden Bible discussed.
Reference to God in swearing-in of politicians.

Canadian Constitution. “Supremacy of God and the rule of law.”
A punitively superior power remained over Canada, no longer the King/Queen.

-Vestigial states called religions…

image

-Druids
Druids became dis-empowered. “A past sovereignty”. Wicca and pagans help her thesis that religions are vestigial states.

Jewish history.
Christians have defined their dogma as “not Judaism”, which also helps to define Judaism as “not Christianity”.
She proposes each is a container, for states in waiting. “Containment and survival”.

Foreign powers have been the guarantors of Jewish statehood.
The Torah once served as the constitution of Jews in Palestine.

Review of Schwartz.

Canada is not a religion just because God is in the first line of our constitution.

Religion becomes useful after colonization, to both sides.

“There’s no religion in the bible, its all about government.” She sometimes tells her students, after having described several understandings of the passage “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s & God what is God’s.” Divine power different and subordinate to state power, but possibly challenging given some circumstances.

She says we are not served well by the Museum’s thesis. Instead we should open our eyes, as a street artist said on a modified poster ad. View the history of religions as past states.

Questions. Should we ask rude questions?

image

Goldenberg wants religion to be studied critically.

She went at least three times to the exhibit. Paid each time. Is concerned of the sheep-like model for the exhibit when the motivation of the exhibit is fear and it’s skirted.

Question. Example of a religion that gained statehood? Israel an obvious example. They gained sovereign violence last century.

I think Iran ’79 could be an example.

She mentions violence against children allowed for vestigial states to use; circumcision of boys and girls. FGM.

Tony Blair in Britain granting some power to some religions.

Sharia law not mentioned explicitly yet.

Labeling law as religious law makes people nervous. Many step away from debate.

Question: is Queen being head of state and Church of England an example of state using religion?

Yes, push me, pull me.

I ask a question if CFL and Disney are proto-states in their corporatehood. Many people describe the Riders as their religion. She says there is regulated male violence in it.
She needs to contemplate it more.
– Geno is an MLA. Szarka was on City Council. (Military day at last Rider game. Ticket featured soldiers in Afghanistan holding Rider flag. Hawks flew over stadium to launch the game.)

Shea M. brings up Quebec values charter maybe coming out of Conservative “nation in a nation” strategy of a few years ago.

Constitution question, I missed too much while writing and thinking.

A bloody foundational event. Freudian.

Italian constitution based on a right to work.

Cliff’s question she disagrees with. God granted laws? “Just think about law. ” It’s all government, there are no religious laws.

image

-Question: brings to mind women trapped in sanctuary in Regina church. Protected from state power, for now.

She answers: Churches have power. They can sometimes counter government. This is probably a good thing to not have power concentrated in one source.

Something that didn’t come up were healing circles. I brought it up afterward, and she hasn’t looked into them a great deal. She’s suspicious they are permitted because they could serve as a means to let people who treat women violently, get off without state punishment. Assuming healing circles work to rehabilitate, that might not be as bad if the result is former criminals who no longer want to hurt people.

ADDED:
The discussion after included some mention of FGM, and comparison to male GM, both violent acts against children, but permitted by the state and religious groups. We brought up how there were researchers asking women in countries where FGM is practiced what they thought of breast augmentation, and the women were horrified by the idea. The reverse was true in American women surveyed.

Go To Wood Mountain #exploresask

The Wood Mountain Folk Festival is today, Saturday Aug. 24, 2013, at the Mergel Ranch. On Friday I drove down from Regina in my $50 rental car (for 3 days, from Enterprise). It’s getting 5.7L/100km highway driving in ECO mode. 2013 Elantra, Hyundai. I successfully passed a semi along the way in the hills.
Limerick, SK

Limerick, SK

Cloud finger at sunset
Is this a finger? Not photoshopped.

I looked through Limerick’s centennial garden.
Limerick, SK

Limerick, SK

If this wasn’t so far away, I’d take many more photos on this hill at Lakenheath.
Luthern Peace Church 1922 pano

Here’s a bell I hadn’t seen before, and the Melaval, Sask. inscription surprised me!
Lakenheath, SK

It hailed in Assiniboia while I was at a steak fundraiser dinner. $15, but my parents treated me.

Still plenty of time to make it to Folk Fest from Regina, it’s under 3 hours drive, and there’s only gravel for the last eleven miles. The music starts in the evening, after a farmers’ market. The music is $45, and includes free camping on site at the festival, on the ranch.