Miracles or Massacres

There is a vast misconception in mixing religion with science; like mixing water with oil, for religion is based on faith and science is based on (as Penn Jillette mentioned on his showtime show Penn and Teller’s Bullshit) evaluation, survey, hypothesis, observation, testing and debate. Notice that the final stage is “debate” which means other questions and more reseach. And as we can see the two approaches for a belief are incompatible ; one is complete, the other is not. To understand this statement more let’s define each:

  • Faith in religion: a belief and trust in and loyalty to God, belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, firm belief in something for which there is no proof, complete trust.
  • Science: a knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific methods, such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena.

In other words; faith is based on a belief of the complete unknown, while science is a path to discover the unknown. Knowledge through faith is a complete doctrine, while knowledge in science keeps wavering according to the available evidences. And to mix the two; theologians and scientists are making a big mistake.

If you believe in complete dogmas of your religion, then you just take it as it is without testing its authenticity. But once you start your research on finding proofs, then your belief is not solid, and the mere fact of checking the evidences would prove your doubt.

Moreover; your search would be so agonizing. You will try every trick on the book to prove what you were supposed to believe in without questioning. And at the end; you will only make a fool of yourself and strike a big blow to your belief when you prove that it’s so shallow.

Take a look at the program of The Eighth Islamic Conference of the Miracles of Quran * that is held in Kuwait this week. And let’s check some weird titles:

تميز بول الغلام من دلائل النبوة الخاتمة
Translation: the urine of male children is the characteristic proof that the prophet Mohammad was the last messenger of God.

Now just reading that title one gets nauseated; The title itself is insulting. Does the prophet need little boy’s urine to prove that he was the last messenger? Or do the faithful need any proof, let alone such degrading and shallow proof?
The so-called doctor (as the capital D in front of his name indicates) spent time and effort to research and present his paper. Wouldn’t it be more productive if this doctor researched scientifically in the areas of his field, and discovered a cure that is acknowledged internationally? But with his paper, he not only defied himself, he also destroyed the reputation of the school that gave him such a degree, and more dangerously he ruined his own faith by degrading the prophet’s tradition and insulting all Moslems.

Let’s take a look at another title:

تأثير العسل على عوامل التجلط في الفئران
Translation: the effect of honey on elements of blood clotting in Guinea pigs.

Now what does that have to do with miracles of Quran? This fact was known since the ancient Greeks. Ancient Egyptians described it as an effective treatment for wounds. Why should Quran get the copyright of this supposedly so great a discovery? Or more logically; does Quran need any miracle to defend itself, if God Himself declared that the only miracle of Quran is its infallibility? Surely God does not need others to question that.

I will not go over the rest of the titles, most of which are old researches done by others and can easily be found on the Net.Then why eight conferences? mako shigul?

But the fight between science and religion is not only correlated to Moslems. The Christian West also had and still has much trouble in coexisting with science. Any new theory or discovery raised rages throughout history, and at times it escalated to violence through religious believer’s circles.

Take evolution as an example; since publishing Charles Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species” a fierce fight broke between religious groups and scientists. In one incident a young Tennessee science teacher was convicted of teaching evolution when a religious verdict act prohibited it. And thence the famous Monkey Trial took place and occupied headlines in the media of the early twenties (click here for more on that ).

And lately religious groups came up with the new trend of teaching “creationism” as a science subject in opposition to “revolution”, although creation as a theory will still be based on faith and not science. And to the faithful it should not be treated as a theory but as an unquestionable fact.

In conclusion;

So much time an effort spent
On science and decedents
One of which is still evolving
The other is beyond doubt

May be someday paths cross
Or may be not
At the end each one is free
On the face of the revolving
To submit
Or to not

Now let’s watch evolution taught by Mrs Garrison and then Richard Dawkins

* Thanks DA for providing the link
An update
I don’t know why the youtube video clip disappeared, anyway this is the link:

Advertisements

The Unethical Ethics of Islamic Preaching

Few days back I was walking my two Eskimo Whites and enjoying the beautiful weather. A car came very close to a point that it grabbed my attention and reflexively I looked to see who it was. The driver was a veiled woman in her mid fifties with a comforting face, but a complete stranger that I have never met before. She smiled at me and I smiled back. Then I heard her polite “excuse me” and naturally I thought she was lost and may be looking for direction so I got closer to offer help. Then with a (very polite) gesture she started lecturing me of Islam’s view about possessing and walking a dog, she concluded her lecture with some traditions about the prophet and so on.

In another incident; my twenty-year-old nephew was in his car, in front of his sister’s school waiting for her while listening to some of his CD’s. A bearded man approached him and (very politely) started lecturing him of Islam’s view about music and emphasizing that listening to music is like copying the infidel West, which is not proper for Moslems.

Now both the veiled lady and the bearded man were very polite in their offering advice. And their drive was stemmed from the cultural preaching of what we Arabs call “qeera 3ala eldeen”. The literal translation of that would be jealousy over religion. Islam also encourages this trait; “wa id3o alnas bil 7ikma wa elmo3itha el7asana”, i.e. call onto them with wisdom and good advice. And also through “ alamr bil ma3roof wa alnahi 3an elmonkar”, i.e. force the good and stop the evil.

And although jealousy in the general sense is not a good trait, but to Arab societies it’s not only considered a very desirable trait, but also mandatory, especially for men. If a man does not possess this trait then he is not a man. A man should be jealous over the women of his family, his properties as well as his religion.

And it is part of the ethics in Islamic preaching that is considered as one of Moslem’s duties, which supposedly displays a gesture of good intentions, but in reality embeds evil. For this is like assigning each individual as a police over others. Not only that, but it also encompasses enforcing one’s beliefs over others in his society. And no matter how polite they may sound, it is still unethical and impolite to nose in people’s puniness.

The veiled lady did not have any right to intrude my privacy and waste my time with her lectures, nor the bearded man had any right to do so with my nephew, they should have respected that we have our own brains to seek the advice in its proper place, if we desired to do so. What makes them think that they are so superior to others? This is arrogance. And didn’t that lady think how embarrassing this situation would have been if I turned out to be a Christian, while she was insulting them with her very polite words?

الدور ياي علينا

حلقة طاش ما طاش التي لم تعرض
بس علشان لا تقيم الحد علي يا سعود 😀

An Update
A very good move from the Council of Ministers. Apparently; even the Central Tendering Committee is corrupt in this country when it comes to Islamists.

Despair

Undoing my bra in despair
Suffocating for fresh air
I look east, I look west
But there’s no room in this crowd

Circles, all winding around in circles
Of greed
While I tread on the ground waiting
For Elpis in spare time

Time that ferocious foe
The fugitive that’s only found
Before we know where we belong
In traces on our faces

Each thought is a groove
Each word is a spade
Each sentence is a grave
And each grave embraces traces of silence

A silence in which I don’t belong
On a time to which I don’t belong
It’s foolish to anticipate
A piece of mind

I Want my House to be Better than Rashid’s

“12 MP’s submitted a request to hold a special parliament session on the 27th of November to discuss dropping personal loans of citizens.” Kuwaitna .

Now I’m not an economist to know how much this will affect Kuwait economy, but my limited knowledge, and own logic tells me that we have a disaster in store.
A friend of mine who got a Range Rover about few months back is awaiting this decree to pass with impatience. He got his car over monthly installment and he’s thinking to sell it later to place a down payment for a Porsche; MORE LOANS. And he had already chosen his future car.

Now I’m not implying that all Kuwaitis are in the same situation as my friend. But a very big percentage are, you can hardly find any household in Kuwait with an individual who has no loan; if not to pay for a car, it’s for other consumable goods that, in most cases, are gotten to lavish in luxuries of life more than to provide for an actual need. The well that is constantly open to solve each and every problem a citizen puts himself in, will only create more people like my friend.

Nevertheless; I’m sure there are others who are deeply indebted and do need help, but instead of solving the problems of those few individuals, the MP’s are creating a bigger problem. If there is a problem, it should be diagnosed first by the economy experts, then different alternative solutions should be provided to solve the problem, and this is the role of the MP’s. And the learned individuals and writers, especially economists, should provide analysis and reasons to raise public consciousness, yet, except for few here and there, the majority are keeping a deaf ear. Dropping the loans will never solve this problem and on top of that it will create another generation of irresponsible Kuwaitis.

Not to say that this generation is responsible though; the majority is for dropping the loans. In other words; easy way out. But where is the role of the MP’s to balance the needs of the public with that of state. This incident will clearly unmask many faces of those MP’s, and I have a feeling that this issue will take rounds in discussions and procedures and eventually would be approved by the government, but not without a price, so what will be the price this time?

Taking a wrong route will only keep us in our old circle, the very strategy of dealing with important state issues has to be changed, and the MP’s should realize that not all citizens are so narrow minded, any patriotic citizen will never accept this, our martyrs paid their lives for this land, it would be a shame for us to ruin it for few KD’s. And using the cliché of 3ain 3athari (Kuwait spent more on foreign aids to countries that do not deserve it than on it’s own land) is another matter that should be monitored separately and it should, by no mean, be connected to this issue. And what about the citizen who has no debts?

And btw; I have loans as well.

Lovers…Regardless

Once a lover, always a lover
We can argue, we can fight
But we stay, in spite of what and where
Lovers

One word, only one
Gave away Aphrodite’s girdle
And soon forgotten
All the acrimony

One word and I felt a flutter
In my throat
And that creepy thing in my stomach
Moaned

I loved beauties many a times
Or may be that’s what I thought
But if this what it is to be in love
Then I think I’ve never been there before

My mind is light-years away
Not even my book can promise its stay
Within the lines, it voyage to another day
Marked with the little voluptuous games we used to play

What heartache! What ego!
I don’t know what you’re talking about
All what I know is
You’re here

Alms; wa ma adraka mal alms

Are we going further in the well of the Islamic state? What is the meaning of imposing alms on merchants? Who are they to assign themselves as guardians on the public? And why bound more laws of state to religion? Don’t we have enough of those suffocating laws? And where does this money go to anyway?
First of all; alms mechanism differ from one sect to another, does this mean that Shiites have to pay khums to mullahs on top of zakat? Second there are Christian merchants as well, so what is the purpose of imposing one’s ideology on others? Is this fair? And how can we be sure that this money is not used to support terrorism and more killing of the innocent? Or how can we be sure that this money is not going to support one ideology over another?
Wahabism that Kuwait fought in years back is right here in the heart on the country, all I can say is: mabrook to Kuwait its great accomplishments.

Wi 7asafa 3alaik

Kuwait 2006-2007 (Part four)

The Bottleneck Period-Facts and Analysis

It is natural for the future ruler to have his allies (advisors) who help him reach his goals, and it is also natural for those allies (at times) to have their own agendas that may contradict with those of the ruler. This can inevitably lead to a complicated relationship frought with a number of sensitive issues.

The famous Italian writer Niccolò Machiavelli, in his book “The Prince” raised some important issues concerning this relationship when he stated that the new ruler should discard his lukewarm allies as soon as he assumes power.
He also menmtioned: “A prince must nevertheless make himself feared in such a manner that he will avoid hatred (1)”

In analyzing the political arena of Kuwait; we notice that our rulers depend highly on social liaisons with all classes to ensure the ruler-public relationship remains amiacable; they (“the rulers”) place great importance in participating in the social affairs of the citizens including weddings and funerals as well as other social events to gain empathy amongst a large number of people which is considered mandatory to the ruler. And here-in lies the role of the ruler’s allies… to fill in the gap between the people and their ruler.

Usually the ruler creates a strong alliance with the following factions:

  1. Merchant families: they have played an important role in establishing the country and supporting the Royal family -and Government- being it financially or morally.
  2. Tribal Shaikhs: most of Kuwaits tribal members have a blind loyalty to their Shaikhs and Princes.
  3. Head of political parties: factions who have a strong need to lead, control and direct their followers according to their ideology or policy.
  4. Social climbers: a social climber is a person who has no dignity or ethics, and is ready to do anything to gain the approval of his benefactors.

The problem does not lie in the ruler’s need of his allies, but rather, in the latter’s need to benefit from this relationship, especially when these needs are outside the scope of work concerning state and ruler benefit.

  • Businessmen rely on this alliance to gain more favors and increase their contracts and progressively increase their wealth.
  • Tribal Shaikhs rely on this alliance to gain the ruler’s blessing and approval, and to ensure payback, particularly in assigning members of their tribes to state posts, even if the chosen members are not qualified for these posts.
  • Political party heads rely on this alliance to gain key roles in directing policies of the country, each according to his direction.
  • Social climbers rely on this alliance because without it they do not have any importance in society and through their cunning they gain the prestige and importance they crave.

This ties in perfectly with the advice given by Machiavelli that “the ends justify the means*” urging the new ruler to gradually eliminate his allies as soon as he assumes stablity in his position as a ruler. This stands to reason, since the increase of the demands of the allies correlate conversely with those needs of the ruler, especially when those allies do not know their natural limits and start to uptake the power of authority and assume the ruler’s role, a matter that rises resentment towards those allies and eventually to the ruler.

And here we remember Micaville’s other advice: “A prince must nevertheless make himself feared in such a manner that he will avoid hatred”, where he summarizes the reason for fear transformation into hatred in two points: “What makes him (the prince*) hated above all else is being rapacious and a usurper of the property and the women of his subjects; he must refrain from this; and in most cases, so long as you do not deprive them of either their property or their honor (1)“, for the ones who are ravished of their honor and deprived of their daily earnings have nothing to lose.

And aside from Micaville’s theories we have witnessed many phenomenal behaviors of the ruler’s allies in Kuwait, and I almost can assure that the reader does not need examples or names mentioned to get him to agree with me on such behaviors of which some are clearly palpable in:

  • Handling of government institutions by the allies as if handeling their own private properties.
  • Consistency in breaking state laws as if they were not written to be applied on them.
  • Monopolizing some vital services that brings them riches and banning any thought to end this monopolization.
  • Their fierce dispute to keep illegitimate gains.
  • Spreading horror and fear among citizens toward their power; which is at times more than that toward the ruler.
  • Generosity in handling public financial demands especially when the allies do not have to pay from their own pockets, but that of the state’s.
  • Spreading corruption or corruptive ideas, since the corrupt can’t bear oxygen in fresh air and his survival is dependant upon “corruption dioxide”.
  • And the most sarcastic phenomena; the image of the innocent, resilient smile on the faces of those allies, as if trying to give the impression of “ poor guys, the public had treated them unjustly”.

And as we notice that these very trends have participated incisively in creating some negative reaction in the citizens toward their ruler and his allies- retinue- such feelings of pessimism and remorse, or the decline of patriotism among citizens when they compare state problems they’re facing to the lavish lifestyle of the ruler and his allies or retinue.

And accordingly; the ruler has to deal cautiously of how to best utilize his allies; he has to know who represents an asset and who is a millstone, and how can he utilize his assist and discard or lessen the impact of his milestones. The ruler is the emblem of the country and a great subject of citizen’s attention and trust, and he has to play the role of the merciful father to all the citizens without any discrimination.

In short; I honestly wish all the good and prosperity to this beautiful country. The events of the year 2006 had caused deep wounds in my heart, and I hope that they’d be cured by whatever event we are to face in the remainder of this year, in spite of the remorse feelings and skepticism that is spreading everywhere.

May God bless Kuwait.

(1) NiccolÒ Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa, ed. Peter Bondanella (Oxford: Oxford University, 1998).

* Editor’s note

Please add your comment here on Killah Matgoog’s original post.
If you have any comment regarding the translation or the translator , please add it here, thank you.

Previous Older Entries