02 February 2006

The Mohammed Cartoons

The following links have been provided by two of our members. The first shows the 12 cartoons published in the Danish magazine which have been used as an excuse by various Muslim groups to stir up trouble.


Note the link at the end of the article to earlier historical examples of depictions of the prophet, some from Islamic sources. "In response to the notion that the West (or Islam) has ever followed the prohibition against depicting Mohammed, Zombie has created the Mohammed Image Archive, which contains dozens of Mohammed images from throughout history."

This link, to a Saudi blogger, includes some of the same images in a spoof report to the Saudi ruling family:


Muslims should lighten up a bit, and learn not be so easily offended.

A Bit of Old News

I've been offline since 14th January due to problems with my computer, now resolved.

While I was offline one of the most annoying articles I read was one in The Independent (17th January) by Dominic Lawson "An unbeliever's defence of religious faith".

In this he cited Michael Burleigh The Third Reich: a new history in which Hitler, according to Martin Bormann, proposed "to solve the religious problem" by maintaining a "senile officiant" as Pope, supported only by poor old women. This is supposed to show that Hitler's declarations of christian views was just part of his climb to power. In the second part of his article he cites A.J.Ayer as a humanist who maintained that moral judgments were devoid of meaning, with the implication that these 'Logical Positivist' views are those also of Richard Dawkins.

I wrote to the editor of The Independent to the effect that Lawson (whose children were brought up as catholics - and who advocates following "the accumulated wisdom of the church") is an "unbeliever" in the same sense that he claims Hitler was a christian. And secondly that to criticise Dawkins by quoting Ayer is like criticising Darwin by quoting Lamarck - science and philosophy have moved on a few notches in the intervening years, while it seems Lawson has been asleep. The letter was not published.

I've just been catching up on things I've missed while offline over the last two weeks or so. Surprisingly the Lawson article that annoyed me seems to have been missed by everyone on secular newsline (I suppose they don't read the Independent -- nor do I often).

However, the "historian" he quotes, Michael Burleigh, was responsible for the programme "Dark Enlightenment" which was on More4 (which I don't see) immediately after part 2 of Dawkins' recent excellent series. I noticed this programming at the time and thought it a bit odd. This programme was commented on in secular newsline. It seems that Burleigh is a "christian historians" or apologist.

Neil Horsburgh said: "Dark
Enlightenment ... had some historian arguing that society without religion was an inherently naughty society (... drunken
yobs, the weekend cattle markets of our high streets, the French
revolution, Nazism and Communism) and that Pope Pius the eleventh,
along with religion in general, was great (and indeed necessary)? He seemed to have forgotten about the Inquisition and the Crusades.
Personally I thought that all he proved was that people who follow
leaders (real or imaginary) often do things that are wrong because
they believe they are doing the right thing.

Richard someone commented: There's something appealing about an "inherently naughty society".

Our member Allan Hayes wrote: "Of course the long history of Christian antisemitism and support of autocracy, Hitler's regarding himself as a Catholic, the church's failure to stand up to Nazism, the Catholic church's self interested arrangements with the Nazis ...the Dutch Reformed Church's support for apartheid and earlier Anglican support for slavery are overlooked. The fact is that only the growth of humanism and its influence in putting people first has humanised religions."
At our meeting I remarked on the unity we have seen in the peace movement between all its traditional supporters and many muslim people, and how the loudest voices for this particular 'freedom of speech' were from the right. I asked that we should consider whose interests were served by whipping up conflict between us. That was before I'd read this editorial from the daily 'Morning Star' Promoting Divisions..

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