From BDS South Africa
REMOVAL OF THE PALESTINE SOLIDARITY BILLBOARDS
– Early in October 2012, several Palestine solidarity billboards were put up along highways by BDS South Africa and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) using various billboard companies.
– Late in October 2012, two of the over two dozen Palestine solidarity billboards were contracted out to Continental Outdoor Media. Continental Outdoor Media accepted the artwork for the billboards and accordingly erected the billboards. However, after the Continental Outdoor Media billboards were put up the company came under pressure from members of the Israeli lobby and in particular from the South African Zionist Federation and its sister body the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.
– On 30 October 2013, Continental Outdoor Media, under pressure from the Israeli lobby, removed the Palestine solidarity billboards. No prior notification, explanation or communication was sent by Continental Media to BDS South Africa before the removal. Instead, a joint email circular (click here) was sent out by the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies claiming credit for removing the billboards: “On contact with the owners of the billboard site [Continental Outdoor Media]… literally within 6 working hours of the [Palestine solidarity] billboard having gone up – it was removed.”
– On 01 November 2012, the chairperson of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said: “On being approached…[the Continental Outdoor Media] CEO expressed his most ‘serious and sincere apologies’ to the Jewish community and ensured that immediate steps were taken to remove it [the Palestine solidarity billboard]. Kol Hakavod [congratulations] to Ben Swartz [of the SA Zionist Federation] and Shira Goldblum for their excellent work in dealing with this matter….[However] it may prove to be only a temporary reprieve.”
– On 02 November 2012, BDS South Africa responded to the Chairperson of the SAJBD in a press release making it clear that: “The SA Jewish Board of Deputies, for as long as they champion Zionism, do not speak on behalf of all South African Jews but only on behalf of those who believe in the racist ideas of Zionism and the state of Israel –there are many principled Jews who do not consider themselves Zionists or supporters of Israel. Thus, the apology from Continental Outdoor Media to the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, is an apology to racism.”
During the course of 2013, BDS South Africa tried for several months through its representatives to resolve this issue. Continental Outdoor Media later claimed that the billboards were also removed because they were not allowed by the City of Johannesburg, because the billboard’s artwork violated certain standards and a host of other reasons. The removal of the billboards, BDS South Africa maintains, is an infringement on the basic principles of Freedom of Speech and Expression. BDS South Africa is forced to now go to court due to Continental Outdoor Media’s refusal to respect the contractual and constitutional rights of BDS South Africa.
WHAT WAS PRINTED ON THE
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY BILLBOARDS?
The Palestine solidarity billboards that were put up by BDS South Africa and the PSA graphically explained the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. In particular, the billboards in question (which were removed) depicted a shrinking Palestinian territory by an increasing Israeli Occupation over the years in a series of maps. Under the maps, “Palestinian Loss of Land – 1946 to 2010” was printed in large letters.Click here for photos of the Palestine billboards that were removed by Continental Outdoor Media.
ISRAELI LOBBY HAS HISTORY OF USING THREATS
AND INTIMIDATION TO SILENCE EXPRESSION
Over the years, the Israeli lobby in South Africa (primarily led by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and the SA Zionist Federation) has become known for its pressure, threats, bullying and intimidation against anyone that is critical of Israel and Israel’s Apartheid policies against the oppressed indigenous Palestinians.
– In 2010, the Israeli lobby in South Africa threatened to prevent Judge Richard Goldstone from attending the Bar Mitzvah of his grandson because Goldstone was part of a United Nations investigation that found Israel guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
– In February 2011 the Israeli lobby in South Africa, this time led by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, tried (but failed) to ban a radio advert from being aired on SABC’s 5fm radio station. The advert featured a message of support for the cultural boycott of Israel by Dave Randall (lead guitarist of the UK music band, Faithless). Click here to watch the SABC 5FM radio advert which was also put up on YouTube.
– In March 2012, the Israeli lobby in South Africa made financial threats against Wits University to have charges laid against students who had protested against an Israeli-embassy funded concert.
– In April 2013, South African activists laid charges against the South African Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). Charges were laid after a violent assault of two young women Palestine solidarity activists (including the daughter of a senior official from South Africa’s trade union federation, COSATU) and four others. One Palestine solidarity activist was left in a state of concussion due to the assault injuries.
– In September 2013, members of the Israeli lobby in South Africa forced a Ster Kinekor movie theater to remove a Tri-Continental Film Festival and BDS South Africa banner because it had a map of Palestine and a quote by Nelson Mandela. The quote by Mandela on the banner that was removed read: “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians…”
By Daniel McAdams
May 19 2014 “ICH” – “RPI” – – US Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be on a personal mission to draw the US into an invasion of Syria. At the least, he remains determined to continue backing the rebellion against the Syrian government until the country is completely destroyed.
Meeting yesterday in London, the self-styled “Friends of Syria,” including, in addition to the US and UK, such model democracies as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, andTurkey, determined to increase assistance to those who for three years have fought to overthrow the Syrian government.
Kerry took the opportunity at the meeting to again accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, apparently not at all chastened by his fraudulent claims to the same effect last year. “Raw data” suggests the Syrian government used chlorine gas recently, Kerry claimed this time. Very raw, no doubt.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on the same day that, “We’ve not seen any evidence” of additional chemical attacks. It seems that the US administration is at war with itself, with Kerry seeming to go rogue at every opportunity.
Recall last summer that Kerry said unambiguously that “we know” that Assad used chemical weapons in Ghouta. Also remember that he was completely wrong, having placed the US on the brink of invading another country on a trumped-up pretext.
But even though an agreement was reached last summer whereby the Syrian government agreed to give up its strategic chemical arsenal — an agreement that was kept — the US only intensified its support for regime change.
In fact, the US recently launched a pilot program to provide deadly TOW missiles to the “moderate” opposition. However, it has already been reported that these missiles almost immediately landed in the hands of radicals in Syria, including fighters from the notorious al-Nusra Front. In short, the US is providing some of the deadliest weapons in its arsenal to affiliates of al-Qaeda.
Were the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act actually enforced, Secretary Kerry and much of the US Administration would currently be in custody, held incommunicado without charge or access to legal counsel. But such laws do not apply to those in charge of making or executing them.
Tragically, this ramping up of aid to the extremist-dominated rebels in Syria comes amid the first signs of a way out from the three year long nightmare. In Homs, considered the birthplace of the rebellion, government forces and rebels reached an agreement for a peaceful rebel withdrawal from the city. The years-long fight ended and almost immediately the population began returning to their city to begin rebuilding.
Had the US propaganda about the Assad regime been true, we would of course have seen government forces slaughtering the people upon their return. But in fact the opposite was true, as the Syrian flag was raised again in the city and the people set out to return to what is left of their homes.
As even the Los Angeles Times discovered:
“… a group of Christian women headed into the Old City to view the remains of their family home. The Christian minority is generally effusive about the “liberation” of an area central to their ancient identity. “The Army has swept away all of the bad people from our city,” said Hannan Ragap, 45, a mother of two who sported spike heels and jeans as she walked toward the Old City. In the adjacent Zahra district, people were savoring a victory against what many view as an existential threat from a radical Islamist force.
By Margaret Kimberley
May 18 2014 “ICH” – “BAR” – Because of American intervention, Ukraine is embroiled in what can only be described as a civil war. For the past two weeks, the Ukrainians coupists supported by the United States and NATO have openly massacred their fellow citizens with the tacit approval of the White House and without exposure from the American corporate media.
The United States behaves like a caricature of action movie villains, an evil empire which foments violence around the world in order to have its way. Yet there is nothing cartoonish about the dead people in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia and Syria and now Ukraine. There is no great mystery to America’s awful but very simple motive.
The United States wants to maintain its status as the world’s only superpower and makes the rest of humanityits enemy in the process. If the United States controls the world the dollar will remain the world’s reserve currency. In order for this to happen the upstart BRIC nations have to remain upstarts and that means that they must be destabilized whenever and wherever possible. The project for a new American century can be realized and every nation will have to bow to America’s whims. That is the nightmarish vision of this president and of anyone who yearns to capture that position after him. The feverish pace of the Asia pivot meant to encircle China is matched only by the plan to dispatch Russia economically – and ultimately, militarily. American imperialism is on the march.
The Ukrainian catastrophe was unknown to most Americans until this February, when the elected prime minister was forced to step down by a mob financed and directed by the United States. But the chaos had been conducted in secret for a long time, part of a plan by a succession of American presidents from George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama to expand NATO and surround Russia with unfriendly nations.
Furthermore, he said that Israel seeks to undermine the presidential elections in Syria scheduled on June 3. “We were baffled by arbitrary actions and open interventions by countries that claim to be democratic but in fact have no idea of the meaning of democracy,” Mekdad said.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_17/France-UK-US-provide-support-to-Syrian-terrorists-Syrias-deputy-FM-2450/
Obeidullah Shanawaz’ farm is a mini-monument to recent Afghan history. The wealthy farmer took me on a walking tour of seemingly barren fields that will soon be sprouting winter wheat and vegetables.
“Over here,” he says, “are stables once owned by the king.” That would be stables built around 1900. “Over here,” he says somewhat more grimly, pointing to a splintered frame, “is where the warlords fired rockets at my front door.”
Shanawaz’ farm, on the outskirts of Kabul, was in firing range of warlords battling for control of the city in the early 1990s. After the Soviet Union withdrew in 1989 and the government they left behind fell in 1992, warlords who now belong to the Northern Alliance began a bitter civil war that caused more destruction to the cities than ever occurred during the Soviet occupation.
The main reason why people follow thousands of narrations (hadith), compiled by fallible men, over two centuries after the final Prophet is because they believe that the Qur’an does not answer all their needs. Their argument is: “Without Sahih Bukhari etc. we will not know how to make salaah”, etc etc. etc.
What does Allah say?
أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِهِمْ أَنَّا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَرَحْمَةً وَذِكْرَىٰ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book (the Quran) which is recited to them? Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder (or an admonition) for a people who believe.”
Which part of the words of Allah do they NOT understand???
Bukhari, Muslim etc. CANNOT OVERRIDE AL-QURAN!!
The author of Bukhari is Bukhari, and not the Prophet.
Will you prefer to follow Bukhari then instead of the Quran?
Bukhari calls for people to be stoned to death, the Quran does NOT.
Bukhari calls women the majority inmates of Hell, not the Quran.
Bukhari claims the final Prophet (a) married and slept with a child, NOT the Quran.
I have forever pondered over this, and feel the need to constantly re-evaluate the basis for my beliefs. Although I have acquired philosophical and rational justifications for my present beliefs, I used to believe for very practical reasons. Let me share some of those practical reasons, and how they gradually lost all validity for me.
The number one reason I always followed that which I followed is because I wanted to fit in. As a child, I am taught the ways of my parents, my uncles and my siblings, and thus observing their rituals and beliefs makes me fit in. I grew up in a community where the Muslims were a small minority within a larger Christian society. This meant that the Muslim family had to really establish a very strong attachment to its beliefs to prevent children from growing up and becoming assimilated into the larger Christian community, and thereby losing their original beliefs and identity. The mosque and other places where Muslims gathered were centers of entrenching the Muslim identity and insulating a Muslim psychologically from other members of society. I suspect this is what traditional Jewish born youngsters experienced in the past. Perhaps this is what all small religious communities do to ensure their survival. So the first reason I believed was because I had been psychologically and socially conditioned to believe the way I do. Now what if my parents had it wrong? What does the child of criminal parents think or do? Does he or she automatically just imitate their criminal activities? If I look at infamous crime families, then this indeed seems to be the case. Believing just to fit with the family or the community can in no way be used as a proof that you believe in the right stuff, and has consequently lost validity to me.
The second practical reason why I believed was because it made me feel better and more elevated than other lost souls. As a child I was always told that being a Muslim means you have higher standards of personal hygiene, higher dietary standards and higher moral standards. It felt good to be Muslim, because you hardly saw a drunk Muslim, a beggar Muslim or a Muslim lost in some vice like illicit sex or gambling. The comfort of this belief was disturbed when I first saw very poor (beggar) Muslims in other countries (and now locally.) It was also severely shattered when I learnt that Muslims in Afghanistan, are the biggest producers of opium as the hardest drug in the world. I also heard first hand, and from reliable sources, that prominent Muslim kings and presidents used alcohol, including some who hold prominent positions in Saudi Arabia. Yazeed, king of the Muslims, within 50 years of the death of the Prophet Muhammad (p), is also known to have imbibed alcohol. “But”, says the Muslim apologist, “those Muslims are not following the teachings of Islam.” My response is, then why are they elected or tolerated as kings and presidents? There is no law in traditionalist Islamic shariah that makes it unlawful to tolerate a drunk, gambling king. In fact, Sunni jurisprudence makes it incumbent to obey the authorities no matter how repugnant they are. (See “Reliance of the Traveller” by Noah Haa Mim Keller.) Even the bit about we are better because we value hygiene more is devoid of truth in reality. It is difficult to claim hygiene superiority when looking at many modern Western societies, which seem to reflect a higher standard of public hygiene than Muslim countries and societies. I have found the toilets in churches to be generally cleaner that those at mosques. What about dietary standards? Well, in 2012, the MJC, the body that 80% of Muslims in my area recognize, certified more than ten tons of pig hearts for consumption by the Muslim community. This happened because they just did not uphold the trust they were given to do thorough inspection of the meat they certify as Halaal. Not a single member of the MJC is known to have been disciplined for this gross violation of the MJC “Halaal Trust”. The “we are better than them…” basis for clinging to a belief-system turned out to be chauvinistic nonsense.
The third practical reason I believed was because it seems that worshipping and prayers, the way I was taught, guaranteed me a good afterlife. I would not like to end up in the nasty place called Hell, and by making some sacrifices in time and effort in worship and prayer would seem to be a small price to pay for eternal salvation. Other religions make the same claim, but as a Muslim, my prayers and my rituals are carefully defined and legislated by thousands of scholars, going back centuries. Certainly, these men cannot all be evil or misguided. The troubling thought however is that Jews also follow some tough laws and also have a lengthy tradition. They could not be right however because they oppress the Palestinians and are the masters of the interest-based banking system, I thought. But what if the Jews who do not oppress Palestinians or promote interest-based banking are then not perhaps on the right path? The other, more troublesome problem that perplexed me is which Islamic tradition was best? Sunni’s claim that Shi’ites will burn in hell, while Barelwi Sunni’s are condemned to hell by Tablighi Sunni’s. How do I know which Islam is going to bring me salvation? I was told to stick with the majority, but what if the majority happened to be Barelwi? Or Shia? It brings one back to reason number 1, above why people believe: “just follow what your parents taught you and hope for the best.” I have already invalidated this as pure nonsense.
The final practical basis I found to base my religious beliefs on was to identify an upright, heroic figure and to emulate his beliefs. By associating with such a figure, I could be somewhat in control, as well as experience moral and religious karma for having made some effort to avoid hell. The concept of Taqleed says that you can emulate a learned man, and delegate your key rational and philosophical life-decisions to him. There is a similar movement in the Christian world where it seems “charismatic churches” are based on some or other charismatic leadership personality. Upon closer examination however, I found that there are thousands of people who, in obedience to some leadership figure, end up at war with people that have done them no harm. By splitting society up into blind emulators seems to be a recipe for the formation of cliques. The reason for this is that (1) Clearly not all charismatic leaders are good, and (2) no charismatic thinker is perfect, so there will be plenty of conflict if this is the chosen route.
There can be no guarantee of salvation on earth or in the afterlife in
- following someone blindly,
- following a religion in order to fit in,
- following a religion in order to be superior to others
- or following a religion because it has majority support within society.
In the end, shaping a religious world view for myself will require of me to use my own intellect. Being an agnostic is no solution. Being an agnostic is equivalent to burying my head in the sand. There HAS to be a solution. Being an agnostic is like taking a tranquilizer and going to sleep. It does not answer my important questions, only amounts to me saying: “I can’t get answers, just let it be.”
What are those questions?
- Is there an objective truth?
- If there is such a Truth, how can I access it?
- If I can access it, how does it impact on my day-to-day existence?
The scientific and rational philosophical routes are based on the faith in the existence of rational coherence and inter-connectedness in the physical world. Mathematicians develop proofs, with the subliminal axiomatic faith that it will hold in all cases. 2+2=4 is a belief that holds for all times and spaces. The rational/scientific method therefore does not shy away from making “ultimate truth” claims. Why then should one not hope and yearn for the existence of a greater and broader universal Truth that transcends Science and Mathematics? In other words, a truth that transcends the realm of the physical. In pondering the natural world, which our senses behold, it screams out coherence and rationality. This to me is the first sign that points to the existence of an objective universal Truth that transcends the physically observable. After all, the temporal nature of all that is observable necessitates the existence of a non-temporal, higher frame of reference. I cannot conceive of any object without conceiving of its limits, thereby conceiving the existence of the “beyond”. If the physical universe/multi-verse has a finite existence, then there has to be a greater existence, beyond which these are founded; an Existence or Being beyond physics or nature. A realm that is of necessity unfathomable and therefore not limitable, because any object that is sensible has boundaries, and is therefore limited. The existence of an ultimate and transcendent Truth is therefore the natural conclusion one has to arrive at when contemplating the physical universe.
“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise.”
Statement released by Ubuntu
The South African election held on May 7, 2014 surpassed all previous levels of manipulation, bribery, corruption and fraud. Since the first multi-racial election took place on April 27, 1994 every election result has been rigged in the favour of the African National Congress (ANC). In an article in the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad under the title “Verkiezingen Zuid-Afrika oneerlijk: (Elections in South Africa dishonest), former president F.W. de Klerk admitted that he was aware that over one million ballots for the ANC “netjes in stapels” (neatly in piles) were placed in ballot boxes. He, however, decided not to object as wished “de natie vooruit te helpen” (to help the nation forward). http://www.rense.com/general/45/deklerk.htm
At that time a perceptive commentator made the observation that as the ANC, a compliant puppet of the international bankers, slowly ran the country into the ground and suffered a consequent drop in support, the party would have to resort to increasing levels of vote rigging in order to stay in power. In this election the ANC’s share of the vote declined by 3.7% from 65.9% in 2009 to 62.2%. In terms of the number of votes allegedly received, the decline was a trifling 213,827 from 11,650,748 to 11,436,921. This marginal decline occurred notwithstanding the fact that 50 % of the population lives below the poverty datum line, there is 40% black unemployment, there are over 16 million persons receiving a poverty reducing social grant, (pop. 52 million) and according to the Gini coefficient South Africa has the most unequal distribution of income in the world at0.7! In any other normal society the ANC would have been heavily punished for its appalling record of service delivery, high levels of corruption (R30 billion or $3 billion was unaccounted for in the previous financial year), uncontrollable crime and poor economic growth, and thus suffered a comprehensive defeat.
According to an article in the Mail & Guardian vote rigging was rampant, particularly in the province of Gauteng where Johannesburg is situated. http://mg-co-za/article/2014-05-10-gauteng-discrepancies-on-audited-results-anger-parties?utm When it became clear that the ANC was slipping below the 50% barrier, counting was delayed for over 24 hours in order to manipulate the results in its favour. Independent observers have revealed that many counting slips were not signed off by the counting officer, or where they had been, they were not signed by a party agent. There were results which had been signed off by auditors, but differed enormously from the scanned slips. There were also huge differences in the votes cast by opposition parties on the national and provincial lists, which is a clear indication that there had been tampering with the ballot papers.
The head of the Independent Election Commission, whose ironic slogan is “ensuring free and fair elections”, is under investigation for alleged fraud by the National Treasury. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Mrs Tlakula was pressurised by government, and in the case of the UBUNTU Party by the Reserve Bank, into ensuring that the correct result was obtained in return for a suspended sentence and a substantial golden handshake. In this regard it also needs to be mentioned that Jacob Zuma, prior to becoming president of South Africa faced over 700 criminal charges for corruption and racketeering.
One of the major victims of this disgraceful vote rigging was the UBUNTU Party, which offered to the people of South Africa for the first time in its history a proposal to establish a People’s Bank, which would create the nation’s money supply free of debt and interest. The benefits flowing froma People’s Bank would enable all government infrastructure expenditure to be financed free of interest, home loans at 0% plus a small handling fee,agricultural loans at 0% plus a small handling fee, as in North Dakota, free electricity for domestic consumers as a result of the electricity utility no longer having to pay interest on its loans, lower taxes, zero inflation and near full employment. The UBUNTU Party launched a sophisticated publicity campaign using leaflets, posters, radio ads in multiple languages, radio interviews, a mobi-fun cell phone campaign, e-mails, t-shirts, you tube clips and a trailer parked all around Johannesburg. In addition to its existing membership of 20,000, the party received thousands of offers of support and help and built up a supporter base of almost one million. Despite having a highly successful campaign, the party received a derisory 8,234 votes.
A spokesman for the UBUNTU Party said that they became aware that something was seriously wrong, when one of the party agents, who observed the counting of the international votes – the UBUNTU Party has a strong following overseas – reported that the party had received a quarter of the 18,132 votes cast i.e. 4,500, but only 16 votes were recorded on the scanned receipt.
The UBUNTU Party’s lawyers are currently studying the feasibility of taking this matter to the Constitutional Court with the ultimate purpose of having all the criminals involved in this voting scam exposed. They will also be canvassing for an increase in the two day time limit to lodge objections to five days, Perspex ballot boxes and for the use of Open Source Free Software in all future elections in order to prevent the endemic problem of vote rigging.
The standard premise that atheism rests on is the absence of evidence for the existence of God or a god. Oxfordictionaries.com gives the meaning of the word atheism as “Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.” Let’s define the word “god” or “deity”. The same site defines god as follows: “a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.”
The operative words here, if we ignore the nature or corporeal make-up of “god” would be the words “having power over nature or human fortunes.” Atheists certainly have no qualm with the existence of entities that possess immense power to affect nature and the fortunes of people. The only problem they have is that a “superhuman being or spirit” should possess such powers. We can therefore expand on the definition of an atheist as one who “disregards the existence of superhuman or spiritual being” but does not deny the existence of power over nature or human fortunes.
Now let’s have a closer look at the atheistic position and the words “power over nature and human fortunes.” Who, according to the atheist, currently wields such power? This power, says the atheist, lies in nature itself and the hands of people themselves. Nature is governed by the physical laws of nature, which has evolved by itself, while people make the rules affecting them, based on their own best interest. The mechanisms that people establish to collectively make the rules, represent the seats of power therefore, whether it is parliament, international treaties or any other recognized decision-making forum.
In days of old, pagan people delegated many a grave decision to the flipping of a coin. It is reported from ancient pagan Arabia that many crucial questions were often settled by drawing lots, akin to today flipping a coin. In other pagan societies the shape of the moon, the intensity of the thunder or an eclipse of the sun would be given similar importance in influencing their important life decisions. It is this sort of flippant invalid approach to settling serious human questions that religion came to dispel. Revealed religion de-legitimated the power of the “coin”, or the moon or the sun.
Now what if all decisions were simply referred to a mighty king or a guru of sorts? This was the case in mediaeval Europe and in many other pre-modern societies. In fact it’s still the method used in Saudi Arabia. Would power that is vested in such a king or guru be more legitimate? Authentically revealed religion says no.
Modern societies have shifted this power to a “people’s assembly” or a parliament and to international treaties such as the United Nations. Atheism will certainly agree with, and embrace a belief in these mentioned modern sources of power. They hold a “belief” in the validity and legitimacy of such means of acquiring guidance on the questions that vex us.
What the atheist perhaps fails to realize is that the issue of power and authority to influence the voluntary actions of people goes more to the heart of revealed religion, and NOT the corporeal essence of God. Muslims are in fact called on to refrain from contemplating the essence of God, and to rather occupy themselves with pondering His attributes. If we suspend the question of the corporeal make-up of God, then there is not so much difference between the atheist and the pagan. The atheist, as with the pagan, requires tangible, real world sources of power; whether it is (falsely) regarded as the sun, a stone or a congressional or parliamentary committee.
A knower of God sees the flipping of a coin, the edict of a king or guru or a parliamentary legislated piece of law all as devoid of reliability and legitimacy to a greater or lesser extent. The knower of God holds that there is an objective truth out there. Just as there was a proof to Fermat’s Last Theorem, conjectured by Fermat in 1637, and only discovered in 1994 by Andew Wiles, there is always a perfect solution to any vexing human problem, which may not necessarily be obtainable at a given moment. Knowers of God believe that an objective truth, independent of any created phenomenon, exists somewhere in the universe. We define God (no matter what the corporeal essence is that He possesses) as the source and maintainer of such truth.
Can such truth be accessed? How do we access such truth? The knower of God sees the mind of a true Prophet, such as Jesus, or Moses or Abraham as the recipient and holder of such perfect and unadulterated wisdom. However, we are not calling to blind obedience. Divine truth is like pristine water which can undergo contamination the moment it drops on the earth. But rain water can also be kept pure and wholesome for human use. Just as we have a duty to verify that the tap water we drink is safe, when we travel abroad, so we have to make sure the truths we take from anyone is safe to uphold. For that purpose we are given a healthy mind and some good survival instincts. When Israel’s foreign minister speaks on CNN, or when an ad for getting rich quickly comes on the radio, our bullshit sensors are activated immediately, just as our senses are activated when we obtain water with a foul smell. We are further convinced of the foulness of promoted truths when gullible people start dying after embracing such false truth claims.
Knowers of God hold that a divine stream of pure wisdom has reached humanity for thousands of years via the magnificent prophets; that they clearly used such wisdom to touch humanity in a very positive way; and that they left behind a sufficient legacy for us to continue to distill pure truth for our own salvation.
The atheist is a denier of universal and perfect truths, more than he is a denier of God. As with the pagan, the atheist prefers his truth from a tangible source. For the atheist, truth is the product of a human mind, not the inspired cosmic wisdom that enters the mind of a Prophet. Is the atheist not more of a pagan than the knower of God then? The knower of God is less cynical about the profound universal possibilities that exist for humanity. We find our direction from the deeply sublime, while atheists seek theirs in the mere mundane. Most fundamental to the definition of religion is not what the essence and make-up of God is, but rather what the ultimate source of power and authority should be for humanity. We hold that such power and authority should emanate from an elevated, sublime source, propagated through and manifested in sublime agents, while the atheist holds that the “here and now” is the best source of truth.
Oh! Supreme Lover!
Let me leave aside my worries.
The flowers are blooming with the exultation of your Spirit.
I long to escape the prison of my ego and lose myself in the mountains and the desert.
These sad and lonely people tire me.
I long to revel in the drunken frenzy of your love and feel the strength of Rustam in my hands.
I’m sick of mortal kings.
I long to see your light.
With lamps in hand the sheikhs and mullahs roam the dark alleys of these towns not finding what they seek.
You are the Essence of the Essence,
The intoxication of Love.
I long to sing your praises but stand mute with the agony of wishing in my heart.
[Rumi – ‘The Love Poems of Rumi’]