Religious Wars

It is a tired and inaccurate argument made by atheists and the generally ignorant that religion is the main cause of war and strife in the world. We hear it time and again that if humanity could just eradicate religion, the world could live in peace. The argument is common, lazy, and wrong.

Vox Day did much of the heavy lifting in destroying this argument by presenting the evidence against it in Chapter VI of his book, The Irrational Atheist, published in 2007.  Day looked at the historical evidence put together by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod in their Encyclopedia of Wars; a three volume set which catalogued 1,763 wars in the recorded history of mankind and the reasons and motivations behind them.

Day went through their work and tallied up all those that were attributable to religion and found that the number was,

“123 wars in all..[and]…that these 123 wars represent only 6.92 percent of all the wars recorded in the encyclopedia…It’s also interesting to note that more than half of these religious wars, sixty-six in all, were waged by Islamic nations, which is rather more than might be statistically expected considering that the first war in which Islam was involved took place almost three millennia after the first war chronicled in the Encyclopedia, Akkad’s conquest of Sumer in 2325 B.C.”

“In light of this evidence, the fact that a specific religion is currently sparking a great deal of conflict around the globe cannot reasonably be used to indict all religious faith, especially when one considers that removing that single religion from the equation means that all of the other religious faiths combined only account for 3.35 percent of humanity’s wars.”

“The historical evidence is conclusive. Religion is not a primary cause of war.”

Two points can be made here.

1) It is not in the least bit reasonable to blame “religion” for all the wars and strife around us since just under 7% of all wars had religious motivations. The history of humanity is the history of war; war has always been a part of mankind and will be until the end of time. Men are evil by nature and the outworking of this evil culminates ultimately in the wars between peoples and nations.

2) If one were to look at the violence that has been done in the name of religion, history teaches us that Islam stands atop them all. Islam bore responsibility for 3.57% of wars while all other religions combined were responsible for 3.35% of wars; quite a large discrepancy that highlights the violent nature of Islam.

This should help to dispel with those who argue that religion is the primary driver of discord in the world. Human history is a bloody one and at times religion did play a part in this, albeit a more minor one than people naturally assume. And yet, it is nothing compared to the body count of more than 100 million people that lost their lives under the atheistic regimes of the 20th century (Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al). It will be hard to beat the body count that occurred under the godless totalitarians of the previous century.

 

The Coming European Conflict

Last weeks terror attack in the UK by a British Muslim was just another in a long list of Islamic terror attacks across Europe in the last several years. These attacks are increasing in frequency and will continue as long as we are afraid to stand up and name the enemy: Islam.

The British Muslim population has seen a steady increase over the last couple decades to almost 3,000,000 now in 2017. At current birth rates and immigration rates, a couple studies show that England will be a majority Muslim nation some time between 2060 and 2080. If this occurs, will we still be able to say that England is English? The answer is, no.

A nation is its people. England is England because it contains English people. The character of a nation is determined by its people and the common values they hold. Men are tribal and nations that thrive are homogeneous in culture and values. Take all the Irish out of Ireland and it ceases to be Ireland. We may still call the land mass Ireland but it is no longer Irish in any meaningful sense once the people are removed or replaced.

There is no “magic dirt” that makes Muslims living in England English, or that will make immigrants coming there something they are not. This latest attacker, even though he was born in the UK, was not British and no amount of thinking it will make it so despite what his passport might have told us. The more diverse a population that a nation has, the greater the conflict that comes with it. Diversity is not strength, and in fact the opposite is true. This is an observable fact and this latest attack is more evidence that there is a cultural divide between Islam and the West. The West is committing societal suicide by allowing the migrating horde of Muslims to invade, and it is an invasion by any definition of the word. England will cease to be England once the English people are supplanted and become a minority in their own land.

In a generation Europe will be transformed into a barbaric Islamic cesspool (imagine the Middle East without oil revenues) with all it’s customs that are antithetical to the tolerant West. It will be a bloody 40 years ahead. Europeans will see their lives threatened and transformed and there will be war, if human history is to be our teacher. An invasion of this scale has always led to conflict and it will again. If the British want to remain British and preserve their nation for their posterior, they need to expel every Muslim and immigrant in their midst; it is the best solution for both the British and for the immigrants as it will avoid a most certain, future bloodshed.

We will watch as things continue to crumble in Europe; our wives and daughters raped and exploited, gay people beaten and murdered, those of other faiths executed and those that reject Islam honour-killed. The British, the Germans, the French, the Dutch, and others have all handed over their birth-rite to those that want to rule over them. This will continue unless good men rise up to reclaim their nations and preserve them for their children. The history of humanity is the history of war and these have always been fought along tribal lines. It will be no different now.

The American Dichotomy

I’ve spent many years and miles driving through various parts of the US. It is a beautiful country in so many respects, yet hard to look at in others. It is a nation that bears testimony to the power of freedom and hard work.

Being “the land of opportunity”, some of its people have amassed great wealth while others live and suffer daily in crippling poverty. Opportunity will never knock on all doors equally. This is a fact of the human condition and cannot be changed.

America showcases its opulence and at the same time tries to hide some of the most saddening displays of poverty. For every coastal mansion or large yacht there seems to be an unending supply of rusting mobile homes that house the impoverished and forgotten. You can’t drive through small town America without seeing the ruins of a people left behind.

I am for the free markets and the free movement of capital but one cannot survey the landscape of the US without seeing what greed and the corrupt nature of man has wrought. Despite the irrational rantings of liberals and those that seek to redistribute the wealth of a nation, the poor will always be among us. There will always be those for whom opportunities seem fleeting and unattainable.

I do know what the solution is. I also know that man will not do, nor can he do, what is necessary. It will get worse. The divide will grow. Hope and despair will always live side by side.

Civilizational Cycles

It’s an historical fact: eventually all societies die out or collapse. They are conquered by another or they collapse under their own decaying weight.

Civilizations are born from struggle and undergirded by virtue. Individual responsibility and personal restraint are its foundation and have proven time and again to lead to happiness and prosperity. But prosperity is a double-edged sword for with it comes the tendency towards complacency and complacency to laziness and entitlement. These in turn lead to the rise of vice and the ever increasing need for self-gratification.

Personal restraint and virtue are mocked by the progressives who have a new vision for the world and begin to undo all those things that were the very requirements for civic prosperity.

Foundational pieces are removed or done away with one by one as gratification becomes the ultimate attainment for the new narcissistic classes. Once a sturdy foundation is removed or altered a house cannot stand, and it collapses and disintegrates under its own weight. And the next generations fail to learn the lessons of those who have failed before them and begin again with a new found zeal to repeat it all over again.

It is almost axiomatic: Virtue leads to a prosperous society, and prosperity leads to complacency, vice, and the rise of a liberal progressivism; and this progressivism leads to cultural decay and disintegration.

This cycle will continue as the very nature of man dictates that it necessarily will. Weak men create weak, decaying societies. Out of the ashes of a weak and rotting society will arise strong men. Strong men will once again create strong societies until vice is allowed to rule and the cycle will continue. Very few ever see the walls crumbling around them until they are buried in the rubble.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

This photo was taken on my second trip to Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona in 2016. Clouds and lighting change the look of the area with its mineral-rich coloured rock and dark water. It is a breathtaking vista at any time of day as one looks out over this picturesque bend in the Colorado River.

It’s a 1,000 foot drop down to the river and many tourists venture perilously close to the edge. It’s an easy walk from the parking lot and an absolute must-see when in the area.

Thoughts On Abortion

During World War II, the Nazis referred to the Jews as “rats.” Amidst the Rwandan genocide of the mid 1990’s, the Hutus called the Tutsis “cockroaches.” Written into the US Constitution during the time of slavery, the Three-Fifths Compromise defined each black slave as three-fifths a human being, or put more succinctly, less than fully human.

The same thing has occurred in the modern abortion debate: a human life, a baby, is now unaffectionately referred to as a fetus, removing from it the human connotation and making it appear to be less than what it really is. When one defines their opponent in such a way as to make them appear to be an animal or sub-human, their eventual extermination becomes more palatable to the average person. (For more on this phenomenon read Less Than Human: Why we demean, enslave, and exterminate others by David Livingstone Smith). We see this same tactic used in much of what passes for political discourse these days. Demonize and dehumanize the object of your scorn and you subtly delegitimize their value.

Both sides struggle to frame the abortion debate in ways that make their own positions appear more acceptable. Is a person pro-choice or pro-abortion? Is another pro-life or anti-choice? No matter how one characterizes themselves or their opponents, we can never lose sight of the fact that at the very heart of the issue we are talking about life, not just a clump of developing cells akin to a growth or tumour. To define a baby in such a way is to make it’s termination and extraction seem far more remedial a procedure and far less distasteful to the average person. We are a culture where our personal comfort is the “value” we cherish most, while doing what may be difficult (raising a child of an unplanned pregnancy) proves to be too much of an inconvenience for many.

Words have powerful meanings. Those that have sought to exterminate their enemies in times past have known that and have defined them in ways that questioned their humanness. We must be just as strong in exposing this tactic and calling it what it is: evil. But that assumes one even has the categories of right and wrong, good and evil, in their vocabulary to begin with.

There is much more I will say on this subject over time, but for now I leave you with this:

How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the conceptus? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized. -John Stott

Time Almost Stood Still

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath,
Before I start off again
Driven on,
Without a moment to spend
To pass an evening
With a drink and a friend

-Time Stand Still, Rush

This past weekend I was cleaning out a few boxes and came across an old photo a friend had gotten signed for me circa 1996. Most would think it a kind gesture, but the story still makes me scream, “Are you kidding me?!!!” in my head.

I have been a die-hard Rush fan my entire life and recounting this story brings back a weird mixture of feelings between loss and silliness. I’ve never been one to hold celebrities in high esteem but this represented two thirds of the greatest rock band in the world! So it was different.

This friend of mine, who I’ll call Tom, use to frequent a restaurant in Toronto called Pronto. At times a little stuffy, Pronto was known for a good wine list and on occasion would host some high-end wine tastings. Another frequent patron of Pronto was Alex Lifeson.

It was another Friday night wine tasting and Tom found himself seated across from this funny blond guy who really liked his wine. They got to talking about their wine collections, their love of golf, Toronto restaurants, and places they had travelled. At the end of the evening, the funny blond guy told Tom he was having a few friends to his house the following night for a little food and wine and he’d like to invite Tom to join them. Tom thought it sounded like a fun night and accepted.

While not really into music, Tom was able to connect some dots and figure out that Alex was in some Canadian band called Rush.

Tom showed up Saturday night and instantly the wine was flowing. There were six of them in total exchanging grape-flavoured tales, and one of the fellows present was another guy in the band named Geddy. Weird name, he thought. After awhile the conversation turned to stories from the road and music.

At one point, Tom said, “I have a friend who is just crazy about you guys but I had no idea you were actually quite popular.”

“We’re just getting going. Call him up and invite him over. There’s plenty of wine,” said Alex nonchalantly.

“Yeah, call him him up!” Geddy replied while raising a glass.

One of the other men present said, “Do it. I’m sure he won’t even believe you.”

Now it’s at this moment I cannot believe the turn the story takes. It seems like an invite of every Rush fans dream. Tom had just one job at this point. One job. Pick. Up. The. Phone. But something happened in Tom’s brain that to this day remains inexplicable.

“I would, but he’s not really a wine drinker,” Tom stupidly muttered. “If you guys could just sign something for him that would be great.” Now to be fair, 20 years ago I wasn’t much of a wine drinker but have come to enjoy it over time. But I certainly could have faked it for a night.

The night continued well into the morning. More wine. More stories. Headaches had by all.

Monday morning came around. Tom called me early at work and said, “I’ve got something for you, let’s meet for lunch.” We met at our usual spot and Tom began recounting the story I’ve just told. I remember it almost word for word as I went from despair, to disbelief, and back to despair. I almost didn’t believe him until he handed me this:

Alex: “Join us for a drink next time”
Geddy: “Too bad you don’t drink.”

Tom had a big smile on his face, thinking he had done something good. I looked at him like he was insane.

“So let me get this straight, Alex and Geddy want you to invite me over to hang out with you guys, and you don’t think that’s a good idea? Are you really that retarded?” I said to him incredulously.

At that moment Tom realized the gravity of his error in judgment as he sheepishly said, “But, I was drinking.”

We are still friends to this day. But we have never spoken of this incident again.

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

In 1919, Rudyard Kipling published his poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings which represented the time-tested and proven wisdom of old, pitted against the new ideas and moralities that proved pleasurable and fleeting, yet in the end, destructive.

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Kipling seemed prescient in his ability to see where the “new wisdom” would lead, and in fact did lead, and how the principles of old held true time and again in the face of those who denied them. It is far more pronounced today and the progressive experiments we see all around us, that deny that which works and the way things were meant to be, will ultimately fail. But the progressive mind is not one that understands nor learns from history; and becomes evermore puzzled as to why they are doomed to repeat it.

Peace Will Come

“Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you.”

“Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done,
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more.”

-Kerry Livgren, Kansas, 1977