Posted on July 30, 2010 by Bonald
I just saw this on First Things. Assuming it’s accurate, I take back many of the positive things I’ve said about Islam over the years. Anyone who accepts the idea of a fixed-term marriage (for terms as short as five hours!) has no idea what marriage means.
Shi’ite Muslims believe that “sigheh,” a fixed-term marriage that is automatically dissolved upon completion of its term, is an institution established by Allah through Muhammad in the Qur’an. So to aid pious pilgrims who are looking for a little short-term matrimony, the Iran has sanctioned
brothels marriage chapels at Imam Reza’s shrine in Mash’had. Here are the details outlined in a document obtained by Planet-Iran.com:
In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.
To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two-year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage. The period of the contract will be considered as a part of the employment experience of the applicant. The period of each temporary marriage can be anywhere between 5 hours to 10 days. The prices are as follows:
· 5 hour temporary marriage — 50,000 Tomans ($50 US)
· One day temporary marriage — 75,000 Tomans ($75 US)
· Two day temporary marriage — 100,000 Tomans ($100 US)
· Three day temporary marriage — 150,000 Tomans ($150 US)
· Between 4 and 10 day temporary marriage — 300,000 Tomans ($300 US)
Our sisters who are virgins will receive a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100 US) for the removal of their hymen.
Filed under: Iran, Islam, Sex | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 29, 2010 by Bonald
My last post was unnecessarily rude to Michael Liccione. I’ve adjusted it to make the same point with a more respectful tone. I apologized to Mr. Liccione (if he’s read it) and to all of you.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Posted on July 29, 2010 by Bonald
S. M. Hutchens makes important criticisms of the Manhattan Declaration (a supposed declaration of principles for conservative Christians) here. He points out that the Declaration conflates necessary Christian beliefs (e.g. opposition to legal abortion) with secular Enlightenment beliefs (e.g. democracy and freedom of religion) about which Christians traditionally have and legitimately continue to have varying opinions.
Over at First Things, Michael Liccione defends the Declaration, and in particular the capitulation of traditional Christianity to Liberalism on the issue of religious freedom. Mr. Liccione is by no means a mindless defender of classical liberalism; he acknowledges that Christianity has nothing to do with democracy, for example. He does think that Christianity, rightly understood, demands freedom of religion. His reason offered seems to me deeply flawed:
Surely, though, Christians of most stripes have learned from history that they cannot reasonably claim religious freedom for people who share their theology while denying it to those who don’t, or who have no theology at all.
Let’s see how well this reasoning holds up for another case:
I cannot reasonably claim a right to tell children that it’s good to eat their vegetables if I don’t endorse the right of somebody else to tell children that it’s good to eat poison.
But yes I can!!! Here’s one difference that it’s reasonable to note: the one belief is true and beneficial while the other belief is false and harmless. When I allow one to advocate the former belief but not the latter, I’m not giving myself an unfair break over the other guy. The judgement has nothing to do with me versus him; it has to do with one belief versus another. We are certainly not obliged to judge all beliefs to be equal. Not only may be discriminate between beliefs, it is impossible in practice not to. If there’s anything unreasonable about using state power to promote some religious beliefs and discourage others, Mr. Liccone has yet to show it. (I’m assuming, for the moment, that he’s defending the American conception of religious freedom.)
Filed under: Modern fallacies | Comments Off
Posted on July 29, 2010 by Bonald
Just when I thought that Taki’s Magazine had completely gone to hell, they give us this dead-on parody of the arrogant but clueless atheist.
I got worried by the first paragraph’s “I wish the rest of the world was like me.” It seemed like the satirist was laying it on a bit too thick. Most real atheists aren’t that obvious about their self-adulation. He really hit his stride in the second paragraph, though, in which he describes his great childhood triumph of discovering that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist. He perfectly captures the importance Santa Claus (or something equivalent) holds for the cruder type of atheist. In the minds of such simpletons, this harmless bit of childhood foolishness is the great template on which all culture is explained. Their entire adult intellectual lives are an attempt to recapture this, their greatest triumph: the realization that Christmas presents come from your parents, not Santa Claus.
Next, he goes on–like many a real atheist would–to equating Christianity to belief in Santa Claus, because thinking men should notice contradictions in the Bible. He gives the example “no infallible God would establish an “eternal” covenant, only to change His mind, revoke it later, and then suddenly pull a New Covenant out of his ass.” Now, the satirist must have known that this would be just about the worst possible example for a real atheist to give, since the fulfillment of the Old Covanent in the New is perhaps the most impressive case of God’s consistency–how He fulfilled His promises in a more spectacular way than could have been imagined, not only inspite of the unfathfulness of the Jews, but actually by means of their unfaithfulness. For example, by having Christ belong to David’s line, God did better than just make sure that descendents of David would control some piece of land perpetually; He made one descendent the eternal king of the universe (even, remarkably enough, before David himself was born).
Finally, the author excoriates liberals for refusing to alter their worldview to accomodate “facts”. He then lists a number of “factual statements” that liberals should accept. Like a real atheist, he seems not to distinguish empirical, ontological, and moral facts–”women commit domestic violence” vs “collective guilt isn’t real” vs “ends don’t justify means”–and speaks as if they can all be verified in the same way. I’ve seen this in real atheists; for admirers of David Hume, they stumble a lot over that is/ought distinction. (How many times have you heard that democracy or sexual equality are “scientific”?) This part was done with just the right amount of subtlety.
Maybe there is more than just celebrity gossip on Taki’s now.
Wait, this was a satire, right?
Filed under: Modern fallacies, pseudoconservatives | Comments Off
Posted on July 23, 2010 by Bonald
Whenever elections come around, Republicans always start pleading for a “truce” on social issues. This truce is, of course, entirely one-sided. It’s not like they’ve made an agreement with the ACLU or the gay activists for an end to agitation on the other side. That itself should tip us off that the truce in question is actually an unconditional surrender. In any event, social conservatives, and the pro-life movement (or as I like to call it, the “fetal-rights movement”) can never lay down its arms for a second. If it did, it could never pick them up again.
Let me start out by stating a fact that everyone knows but no one at any point on the political spectrum will say, because it’s in no one’s interest to say it: abortion will never be restricted in the United States in any serious way. Never. Not in a million years. Americans would legalize cannibalism before they would restrict abortion. They would elect Darth Vader president before they would restrict abortion. They would turn over the country to foreign conquerers before they would allow any woman to be denied the right or opportunity (including, if necessary, the funds) to murder her prenatal child. The stated purpose of the pro-life movement–to illegalize abortion–is utterly hopeless.
Filed under: biotechnology, Culture, History of conservatism | 9 Comments »
Posted on July 22, 2010 by Bonald
Posted on July 20, 2010 by Bonald
Despisers of Christianity, i.e. the “spiritual but not religious” crowd, will often cite Buddhism as their ideal of what religion should be: private, nondogmatic, and nonmoralistic. This has no doubt prejudiced me severely (and probably unfairly) against Buddhism, both because I’m a Christian and because I’m a communitarian moralistic dogmatist (and proud of it). As a conservative, one of my chief concerns is to maintain the sacred aura surrounding family and community. These are things I don’t want the Buddhist ethos of detatchment to touch.
Fortunately, our reader Daniel has posted some fascinating comments on the positive and negative aspects of Buddhism. Daniel has studied this religion extensively and even spent some time as a member, so his opinions carry far more weight than mine. Our exchange can be read here. Below is a crucial part of his analysis.
[Buddhism] is indeed a religion of renunciation and, especially, detachment. The goal of the good Buddhist is to sever all ego-attachments, up to and including the attachment to enlightenment. The very excellent side of this detachment philosophy hinges on the doctrine of EGO detachment. One is meant to differentiate between one’s ego, which is temporal, and one’s true nature (or Buddha-nature) which is eternal, and therefore is the property of Brahman, or God. One studiously renounces the immanent self in favor of the numinous Self.This is actually excellent practice, I still believe.
The problem with Buddhism is something I think you hit on very squarely in your original post. It assumes that the immanent is somehow different in kind from the numinous self. I have come in my own life to reconfirm that the sacred and the profane meet together in the human soul in a way that is inextricable. That is, what makes us fallible is the very same stuff that makes us the brothers of angels. Selfishness and ego-centrism, to be sure, are still to be avoided. But extinction of the “small” self is not desirable or even possible, because it is the “small self” that one should desire to make large. Not large like a rival of God (that is Satan’s way), but open and peaceful and strong, like Christ. But still one’s SELF… not just some released flame. Christ and God save individual souls, not abstractions.
I’m not sure who said it first, but I heard it first from a fellow Anglican with Buddhist training (or Buddhist with Anglican training), Alan Watts, “Buddhism is Hinduism stripped for export.” That is, it takes the metaphysics of the classical Indian world and strips them of all particularity, leaving pure philosophy behind.
Of all the major world religions, Buddhism is the one of which I’m most suspicious, not necessarily because it’s the most intrinsically destructive, but because it’s the one that is least incompatible with the liberal system. The liberals will have much less trouble crushing our historical religion if they can offer a people a more pliable spiritual outlet. I can imagine the widespread adoption of a new religion: hedonistic Buddhism. (Yes, I know, it’s oxymoronic, but just you wait.)
Filed under: Down with Buddhism, The sacred | 2 Comments »