Blimp deflator: Letting out the gas

Don’t expect justice from God, says Bill Millward

Posted in islam, religion by Blimp deflator on February 25, 2012

Don't expect justice from God, says Bill Millward
The World Council of Churches is the bete noire of Christian Zionists, for reasons that become clear in the second paragraph of this letter to the editor of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper (August 29, 2011, edition). But it is the last paragraph, which states that “the Almighty may not be too concerned about . . . social justice”, that is most interesting.

Most religious people, and Muslims in particular, see justice, which has been defined as “the application of fairness to moral situations”, as one of the attributes of God. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a universal God, as opposed to a primitive tribal deity, who would be unjust — and favor one party not on the basis its rightness or claim to fair treatment, but on its racial, religious or other status.

The Wandering Who?

Posted in books, history, israel, palestine, religion by Blimp deflator on January 27, 2012

The Wandering Who?The Wandering Who? by Gilad Atzmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Essential reading for anyone interested in the issues of Zionism, Judaism, Jewish-ness, anti-Semitism, and history in general. (Atzmon maintains that Zionism “developed as a reaction to the emancipation of European Jewry”, when it was realized that this “might lead to the disappearance of the Jewish identity”. He further maintains that Zionism drew strength from a “created image of emerging anti-Semitism” . . . “a myth of persistent persecution”. Hence Herzl’s displeasure when French Jews, in the wake of the Dreyfus affair, showed signs of feeling “truly emancipated”.)

Elsewhere, Atzmon shows how a tribal cult like Zionism, which by its nature is exceptionalist, is incompatible with a universalist ethic, and suggests that nothing truly progressive can be expected from a state, such as Israel, that clings relentlessly to “a phantasmic, invented yesterday”. Appositely, he notes that Britain and America have also abandoned a “true historical discourse” in favor of a “banal and simplistic historic tale to do with WWII, Cold War, Islam, 911, etc”.

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EXTRACT: The Holocaust religion [as first postulated by Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz] is the conclusive and final stage in the Jewish dialectic: it is the end of Jewish history, for it is the deepest and most sincere form of ‘self-love’. Rather than requiring an abstract God to designate the Jews as the Chosen People, in the Holocaust religion the Jews cut out this divine middleman and simply choose themselves. Jewish identity politics transcends the notion of history — God is the master of ceremonies. The new Jewish God, i.e. ‘the Jew’, cannot be subject to any human contingent occurrence. Thus the Holocaust religion is protected by laws, while every other historical narrative is debated openly by historians, intellectuals and ordinary people. The Holocaust sets itself as an eternal truth that transcends critical discourse.

Fundamentalist Jews persecute Israel’s Christians

Posted in israel, religion by Blimp deflator on August 4, 2011

Fundamentalist Jews persecute Israel's Christians
Article from Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper, March 8, 1990. I have republished it here in connection with a debate at Shelfari.

American settler lawyer dismisses Palestinians

Posted in israel, palestine, religion by Blimp deflator on April 5, 2011

American settler lawyer dismisses Palestinians
Yes, Jews and Christians (though not all of either) do have a lot in common, including a contempt for the rights of indigenous peoples. The article is from the contemptible Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper, of March 14, 2011.

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The Pope taken to task on pedophilia

Posted in religion, sex by Blimp deflator on January 24, 2011

Pope calls for higher moral standards
A big problem for the Catholic Church has been coming to terms with its fall from “superpower status” in Western society — from the preeminent position it enjoyed in the first 1000 years or so of the Christian era, when it was a law unto itself. It was so powerful, it wasn’t answerable to anyone. And being closed, it was beyond scrutiny. Accepting that it is now no more than a bit player in society, and subject to the secular state outside the areas of religious doctrine and observance, has been painful. Hence the church’s reluctance to “come clean” on the sex crimes of its priests. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard, New Zealand, of January 22, 2011.
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Out with the ‘self-hating Jew’, in with the ‘narcissistic Jew’

Posted in israel, religion by Blimp deflator on December 28, 2010

'Proud to be ashamed'
Article from the December 2010 issue of Australia/Israel Review. The way in which Harvard psychiatry professor Kenneth Levin is brought in to explain the behavior of Jewish/Israeli critics of Israel reminds me of how the Soviet Union enlisted the services of psychiatrists and psychologists as it sought to discredit (and even compulsorily “treat”) dissidents during the Cold War era. It’s also a little ironic, as Israeli society is a society that is “rapidly closing in on itself” (see Jews for Justice for Palestinians) — as good a definition of narcissism as any, I would suggest.

Comment on Grace of God, a Sunday evening talk

Posted in religion by Blimp deflator on November 7, 2010

“With some – for instance Paul in his conversion to Christianity – this [change] is genuine.”

Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus can not be described as a conversion to Christianity, because Christianity did not yet exist.

Christianity is a creation of Paul himself; the followers of Paul, who included the writers of the canonical gospels; the ecumenical councils of the 4th century, and the edict of Theodosius in 380.

It’s not a fulfillment of Judaism, but a new religion that seeks legitimacy by anchoring itself in the Jewish messianic tradition (while incorporating a number of religious motifs from ancient Egypt, Persia and even India).

Christianity owes its success, in large measure, to (a) the extirpation of the so-called Jerusalem Church of the true followers of Jesus in the Jewish Revolt of CE 66-70, and (b) its appeal to world-weary Hellenists of late antiquity, at a time of social dislocation and collapse.

In short, it’s a pagan religion, and its saviour/redeemer is a pagan god. This has always been clear to the Jews, who have, rightly, rejected it.

One of the problems at Wennington School was that it was impossible to raise any historical or philosophical objection to Christianity without incurring the wrath of those in “authority”.

When I tried to do so, in an essay I submitted in the “religious history” program (a misnomer if there ever was one!), I was censured in terms of remarkable vehemence, and accused of being “tendentious”.

I was not, however, advancing any cause; I was simply making a number of observations – and expressing a personal point of view that deserved to be taken seriously.
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  • The “Sunday evening talk” was by Kenneth C Barnes, the headmaster of Wennington School, a coeducational boarding school in Wetherby, Yorkshire, which I attended between 1953 and 1959. You will find the text of the talk at otherpeopleschildren.org.uk/wennington/ under Documents/Kenneth Barnes Manuscripts.
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  • From Nile to Euphrates – It’s all Israel’s, says ‘Messianic Jew’

    Posted in history, iraq, israel, palestine, religion by Blimp deflator on November 3, 2010

    Stand with Israel, says David Silver (1)Stand with Israel, says David Silver (2)
    Article from Challenge Weekly of November 1, 2010. Is God the great Ethnic Cleanser?
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    Don’t ask awkward questions, says God

    Posted in religion by Blimp deflator on October 28, 2010

    Don't ask awkward questions, says God
    Cartoon from Challenge Weekly of October 25, 2010. (Doesn’t God wear cufflinks?)
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    Wake up, war is coming, says Christian

    Posted in iran, islam, israel, palestine, religion by Blimp deflator on October 15, 2010

    Wake up, war is coming

    The above article is from Challenge Weekly of October 4, 2010. Of interest, in connection with it, is an Associated Press article headlined “Ahmadinejad boosts Hezbollah with Lebanon visit”, by Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Bassem Mroue, dated October 14, 2010 (New Zealand time). This includes the following passage:

      A group of 250 [Lebanese] politicians, lawyers and activists sent an open letter to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, criticizing Tehran’s backing of Hezbollah and expressing worry
      Iran was looking to drag Lebanon into a war with Israel.

      “One group in Lebanon draws power from you … and has wielded it over another group and the state,”
      the letter said, addressing Ahmadinejad.

      “Your talk of ‘changing the face of the region starting with Lebanon’ and ‘wiping Israel off the map through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon’ (emphasis added) … makes it seem
      like your visit is that of a high commander to his front line,” it said.

    Note the highlighted section, in which the much-trumpeted allegation that Ahmadinejad threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” (he didn’t) has the words “through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon” added to it. This extension of the allegation is new to me.
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