Philosophy and Ethics

Philosophy and Ethics (24)

As the date of the UK General Election closes in on us the Conservative Party, fearful of losing out to Labour due to the harsh cuts they have made to public spending, are desperately proclaiming that they will "save" Britain from a suddenly hightened "threat" of non-violent extremism that has somehow cropped up at this convenient moment within the Muslim population. But does this campaign have any greater meaning than William Hague's embarrassing proposal (leading up to the unfortunate election of Tony Blair) to "save" the pound? Certainly, there are cowardly, Islamophobic individuals who attack Muslims, especially the more vulnerable women who dress in a specific manner.

However, since 9/11, curious and open-minded people from different religions and of no religion have come together to engage in public interfaith dialogue with the intention of doing their bit to foster peace, acceptance and understanding. Of course there are those who criticise interfaith dialogue too, but contrary to what the mainstream media and politicians like to tell us, religion, it seems, is no enemy.  Reverend Frank Gelli proposes that in reality, this is a clear-cut battle between good and evil, and here, he provides a sharp reminder of where that evil really is coming from. Enjoy Frank's article and remember to Like, Tweet and share. -Yamin Zakaria and the Team @ Radical Views 

‘Nice people talking to nice people about being nice’. In a rare outburst of veracity Archbishop Welby has damned feeble interfaith chat like that. A stronger brew is needed, he implied. I have a proposal. The Devil. Definitely not a nice guy. But a key interfaith figure OK. The Prince of Darkness would rescue religious dialogue from cosy, bland and boring banalities. The Devil is real, dangerous and real nasty.

The obligatory formula before any recitation of the Qur’an is: ‘I take refuge with God from the accursed Satan.’ A ritual stoning of the Devil also is an important part of the Haj, the Mecca pilgrimage. The Qur’an designates the Devil under two names, Iblis and Shaytan and his first, mega-evil deed is to provoke Adam and his wife to disobey God’s will and taste the forbidden fruit: ‘By deceit he brought about their fall’ says Surah 7. Although Muslim and Christian interpretations of that fatal event differ, Satan’s role is clear: he is God’s opponent and man’s eternal enemy.

‘It would be good if we were a little more intolerant’, a famous English divine once wrote. Why tolerate the intolerable? For example, why tolerate the fur industry? And fur-wearing persons? Those who kill animals, sentient beings, for the sake of fashion. For the pleasure of wearing their skin. Why put up with that? Top models once forswore wearing the hide of innocent animals.

But a Guardian article observes the gory backlash: ‘fur is back’. On the catwalks of New York, Paris, even London - Kate Moss, no less, was photographed with fur on. 69% of designers include fur into their collections. Although most English women are said to abjure fur, many, too many foreign ladies do not scruple to do the contrary. Take a stroll through the Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly, Mayfair, along Bond Street and…you will witness the sorry, intolerable scene with your own eyes.

The animal rights brigade, where are they? Do they now agree to tolerate cruelty, slaughter, immorality, the truly intolerable? Just for the sake of fashion…Why doesn’t anyone act? Consider the automobile industry, constantly churning out cars. As I look at the houses in my street, at the number of vehicles parked in their drives, I wonder: do they really need so many? Do they need to pollute the environment with their noxious emissions? (Road pollution is more deadly than traffic accident, a study says. Combustion exhaust causes thousands of British deaths.) Clogging up the traffic? Making people’s life a misery? Why don’t their owners take trains, the Tube, buses or even cycle to work, like less selfish, arrogant folks?

A hundred lashes for fornication – huh! Fancy that! Outrageous, no? But not so in those remote, sun-drenched islands, the Maldives. ‘Fornicate’ many would be able to spell it? It means sexual intercourse outside marriage. From the Latin ‘fornix’, a brothel. In the New Testament it often translates the nasty Greek word ‘porneia’, pornography, geddit?

The sober folks of the Maldives, a posh tourist paradise, don’t like fornication. Thus a girl found guilty of that was sentenced to flogging. It aroused the righteous wrath of Ms Polly Truscott, from Amnesty International. ‘Inhumane’ she called it. Bet most readers of the Metro paper, a free rag available in the London tube, would concur. Pre-marital sex is OK, normal, natural and fun, ain’t it? Those benighted Maldivians must be nuts! Let us pressurise them to allow fornication free rein – they will then join the blessed, civilised and progressive people of the West.

A good word for dictators – how perverse! And from a priest, a servant of Christ! Impermissible, surely? Forgive me. Just a little meditation caused by the hideous Egyptian slaughter and mayhem. Not quite Mubarak nostalgia – nobody liked that guy – and yet...

‘Dictator’ was the Latin word for an official appointed in emergencies. In ancient Rome not an arbitrary, despotic figure but a perfectly legal one. His purpose was military, as well as preserving the state from grave dangers. Thus the Senate gave noble Cincinnatus absolute dictatorial powers to fight Rome’s enemies but he stepped down and went back to his farm as soon as the job was done. Indeed, no dictator could serve for more than six months. Only later men like Caesar became dictators in perpetuity.

The 49-year-old widow of the Apple founder Steve Jobs has moved on, she has found her new partner; already the critics and sceptics are at it. It’s too soon, only two-years have passed by, how could she fall in love with another man so quickly? Does it mean she didn’t really love him? The cycle of speculation and gossip continues. One can understand grounds for criticism in cases where an aging octogenarian tycoon has left a younger beautiful widow, who runs off the next day with his fortune and a young male model, but that, is not applicable here.

In some religious cultures widows do not remarry at all, enduring loneliness until the end of time, whilst a widower is free to continue. For example, In Hinduism the marriage of widow is taboo, it is enforced rigorously by society among some castes; the logic is, if the widow remarried, she can possibly conceive her reincarnated dead husband in her womb, and a husband cannot be a son too, thus prohibition of marriage for widows. I assume they were not willing to take risks with contraception either!

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