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The Virtue of “Sin”, and the Great Satan

June 14, 2016 by  

2016-06-14.riverA university student I know naturally was concerned about the June 12, 2016 murder, by an Islamic Jihadist, of 49 people in Orlando, Florida – many of whom reportedly prefer members of their own sex, sexually. Those murdered, it is believed, were murdered because of who they are attracted to or love. Being my friend, the university student naturally condemns the act, and does not share the murderer’s negative views on homosexuality. On facebook.com, he wrote the following:

“Islam is homophobic by nature. Muslims who tolerate homosexuality do so in spite of their faith, not because of it.”

The response came swiftly from another student at his university: she commented that he is a “hater”, and that she was sad that he hails from the same university. In lieu of actually addressing what the first student had written, she posted a tweet of a young man named Shawn who said he is both gay and Muslim. I can only imagine the “quality” of the arguments she makes in her university essays.

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In point of fact, Islam – like many other religions – condemns homosexuality. Take for example this passage from the Qu’ran, which Muslims regard to be the literal word of Allah:

“…For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds…. And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)”.

Or from Hadith:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Loot, execute the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.”

If I want to know what position the religion, Islam, takes on a given issue, I think I’ll turn to what Muslims regard as the word of god, rather than to the twitter tweet of “Shawn”.

There’s nothing “sad” about a Brock student stating a truth. In fact, discovering and stating truths is kind of the reason for going to university. Some truths hurt. Most university students used to accept that. The better students grew because of it. The rest ran for public office (and won).

The fact is that most religions – I’m talking not religious people like twittering Shawn, but about the words of the god with whom one chooses to associate – are anti-homosexual. And the fact that Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.. can consider and call themselves Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc., yet prefer same-sex or bi-sexual relationships, is a good thing for them, and for freedom, but not for the religions that they claim to embrace.

We are often told that we are freer in the West “because we were founded on a Judeo-Christian” religious base or tradition. The opposite is the truth: We are freer in the West because of widespread refusals to obey the dictates of those religions. We are free because we choose to “sin”.

We lend money for interest. We like doing it on payday, in particular.

We have sex with those we love – or don’t – whether or not we’re married, as the height of our expression of love and happiness. Sometimes, we just do it for the physical pleasure. Many of us do it for money. Many more of us (and I most certainly am not talking about myself) consider it a distasteful joyless chore, a means to another end, and the price of something else, or longer term (you know who you are, and I’m not judging you for it).

We work on “the Sabbath”. Sometimes we charge extra for that.

We eat cheeseburgers. We find them particularly good with bacon.

We gamble. Sometimes we do that with cards, other times with ballots.

We drink, or smoke pot, or drop acid, or snort cocaine, or shoot heroine into our veins. For the most part, that stuff’s illegal, and a bible thumping politician will certainly let your child rot in a prison for years if he chooses to do any of that stuff (except the drinking: hey, have you seen the tax revenues?). Strangely, the government of Ontario is going to be handing out free pills that will allow you to kill yourself instantly, if that’s what you want to do. So, I guess we’re really only against pain relief and slow suicides. But I digress.

Perfectly legal pornography is reportedly over 50% of Internet usage. Hopefully, that half of us will zip up for a few minutes to read this essay of mine.

We listen to Ozzy, but also to the Pet Shop Boys. We sing “Doo-wah-diddy” instead of “Allah, I’m not worthy”. And we dance (we really have no shame).

We build monuments to great people, like Sir Isaac Newton. Hell, we even build monuments for complete monsters. How many old tin Lenins are sitting in the scrap yard these days?

We loudly sing the anthem of our country. We proudly don images of our flags on our backpacks, and fly them on our front porches.

Most importantly of all (admittedly, some of the stuff above isn’t important or good at all), we value reason and science. We manipulate genomes. We harness the power of water, wind and sun, let machines do our dishes, and let baseboard heaters save us the trouble of building a fire in the frigid north’s winter. “Sweat of the brow”? Hell no! Not with the air conditioning in our North American pick-up trucks.

Yet Allah – through his messenger, the Arch-angel Gabriel – told Mohammad:

“Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

Only a small handful of Muslims ever choose to obey that, yet they continue to consider themselves Muslims. In the West, most of us don’t find such a thing outrageous or surprising. We idolaters kind of, um, expect it.

Jesus said:

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

For the most part, Christians do not hate their parents, siblings, spouse and children, and would not do so if you put a gun to their head. But self-described Christians just ignore Jesus’ words and consider themselves Jesus’ disciple anyway. Take that, Jesus.

Jesus said:

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

For the most part, Christians put their fingers in their ears when it comes to such instructions. Oh, they’ll put a couple of bucks in the collection plate, but they’ll spend an afternoon in their 2400 square foot, $500,000.00 centrally air conditioned homes, watching a game via satellite that’s occurring thousands of miles away, on a 60″ 4k screen with surround sound, barbequing some $15 steaks on a $2,000.00 system while wearing a $600 pair of Revo sunglasses. We are not merely not trying for perfection and a place in Heaven. We are assiduously pursuing what the holy books regard as imperfection, and we are enjoying heaven on Earth.

And, in the West, we have been like that since we – in the 17th century – finally agreed with Aristotle that scientific observation, experimentation, reason and effort – not doing rain dances, or getting on our knees to pray to “gods” – are the necessary means of achieving happiness for ourselves. We don’t beg for happiness as a gift: we earn it, and get it while we are living, through the use of our minds, words, and deeds.

We only give lip service to religion. Our lives, in practice, are an exercise in what those backward old holy books call “sin”. All we really take from religion – those who do take from religion, anyway – is a circle of friends, fear that if we do the really bad stuff (and we all decide what that stuff is for ourselves) we’ll go to Hell (or not go to Heaven, or will be reincarnated as a tree slug, or what have you), and a veneer of good will toward man.

We are free and happy in the West because we “sin”. And, for the most part, we are pretty happy about our sinning. “The Great Satan”? By the standards of those holy books, yes, you can bet your ass.

Truth be told: when 49 people are murdered – or 130, or 2606 – or what have you, these days, it’s almost always because someone decided to stop “sinning”.

The lesson here – except for self-loathing Jihadists: We’ll all be better off when we put those holy books into storage in the basement, along with the Anarchist Cookbook, the collected works of Kant, “Mein Kampf”, “Better Baking with Tofu”, and “1001 Newfie Jokes”.

Put no god before you! Embrace your life on this Earth, not a mythical afterlife. Embrace the power of reason and effort, not faith and prayer. Pursue your own happiness as the first order of business. Take no other person’s life, liberty, or property without his or her consent: doing so will only hinder your efforts to achieve happiness in the long run, and not doing so will have the added side-effect that your neighbours too can make their own choices, and pursue their own happiness or misery. When they’re happy, it’s because they are producing values and, if they’re producing values, there are values for you to buy or otherwise earn. Freedom’s a win-win.

In short: “Sin” like your life and happiness depend upon it because, brothers and sisters, they do.

{POSTSCRIPT (June 20, 2016): Apparently, since posting his tweet about being both “gay” and Muslim, Shawn Ahmed has suffered repeated attacks on Twitter…by Muslims saying that he cannot be a Muslim because he is “gay” (my readers will know that I put the word “gay” in quotation marks because I believe sexual orientation to be a Man-made category, used primarily for emotional or political reasons).}

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