Tag Archives: USA

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is doing it again! And Richard Dawkins is on her side! – Battling fundamentalistic Islam

A friend of mine sent me his weekly letter where he addressed “the remarkable twist of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, darling of the liberal crowd, a modern day hero in Richard Dawkins’ book, is now appealing to Christian churches to wage a propaganda battle against Islam by starting new Christian schools, sending Christian volunteers into city neighborhoods and spreading the Christian message!”

Today we have again an article in SVD on the Muslim extremists, we speak about the need of dialogue and understanding each other.  Some years ago, our own Dick Erixon wrote in “Nyliberalen” that he considered Ayaan Ayaan Hirsi Ali as the worldest foremost debater especially in regards to the question of the survival of Western “Civilization” (notice the quotation marks!) – and how to deal with fundamentalist Islam in a free society. In August 29, 2005 Ayaan Hirsi Ali was awarded the annual Democracy Prize of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party “for her courageous work for democracy, human rights and women’s rights.” She received the prize at a ceremony at the Swedish Riksdag from the party leader Lars Leijonborg.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia is a Dutch intellectual, feminist activist, writer, and politician. She is the estranged daughter of the late Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She is a prominent critic of Islam, and her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh’s movie “Submission” led to death threats. Through the worldwide spread of this instance she became know to a wide international audience. Since van Gogh’s assassination by a Muslim extremist in 2004, she has lived in seclusion under the protection of Dutch authorities.

When she was eight, her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia, and eventually settled in Kenya. She sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, under circumstances that later became the center of a political controversy. In 2003 she was elected a member of the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Dutch parliament), representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

In 2005, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Now she is doing it again!

Let me quote from my friend’s letter: In her new book, Nomad, she continues her campaign against radical Islam. She is presently in Holland promoting her book, which quotes arch-atheist Dawkins on the cover saying: ‘This woman is a major hero of our times.’

Solution

Europe is sleepwalking towards its downfall, she warns, a cultural, ideological and political downfall; because churches neglected the immigrant ghettos. But there is a solution, she suggests. Mobilize the churches again! If Saudi-Arabia can invest millions in Koran schools and religious propaganda, why not the Catholic Church, with all its wealth and millions of faithful followers? She says that churches could be active in Muslim communities and offer there the same services that radical Muslims now do, by building schools, hospitals and civic centers, and doing the same civilizing work they did in Africa during the colonization period. 

Now, is there any white person who could get away with saying that?! Westerners have looked on for too long while Muslim scholars won souls, she continues. Churches of all persuasions must enter the competition of systematic religious propaganda with Islam, to curb its growth. Churches should revive such Christian institutions as schools, Christian volunteers in urban neighborhoods, and the spreading of the Christian message!

The West is losing the propaganda war, she says, and the Church can help Muslims assimilate. Motivating immigrants to adopt Western values has been neglected for too long. European leaders–including church leaders–have for decades neglected to take the newcomers into their flock.

“It’s maybe paradoxical to call in the church, while advocates of the enlightenment always fought the Vatican,” writes Hirsi Ali, “but Christianity has changed and the Church has become a much more tolerant institution.” (Dawkins may be reading her books, but she doesn’t seem to be reading his!)

Choice Muslims don’t need to give up their faith to assimilate, she allows. They can pray, keep Ramadan and other Islamic practices.  But they need to give up the social-political side like Jihad, Sharia, the oppression of women, intolerance against homosexuality or those born Muslims but who want something else. “That is a choice. Immigration is a choice. Nobody forced them to come here. Everybody came here willingly.” “In my opinion,” she was reported as saying, “many Muslims are searching for a God that answers to the description of the Christian God. Instead they are being given Allah.” Those Muslims who want to believe in a Creator and eternal life should choose for Jesus as their spiritual leader, she suggests.

The new approach of Ayaan Hirsi Ali to stop the “Radical Muslimization process” will without a doubt call forth many responses and reactions from both Muslims and secular people. She offers an alternative, the only alternative, to a challenge that has been left unchallenged for years because of its political un-correctness. The fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali sees no other way out in spite of her anti-religious foundational stand makes one wonder whether she is starting to see light in the tunnel. (Of course could one wonder about her discernment in regards to earlier Christian missions and the present liberal stand of many churches, but what the heck, she is at least daring to speak out as usual!) She does need protection, so pray for her because many snakes will be rattled out from the fundamentalistic nest trying to bite her!

John

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Michael Jackson died a long time ago… the reality of Neverland!

Thousands of shows, newspapers and articles (here, here, here, here, here, here and here, here and  here)are reporting that 1.6 million people have signed up to be part of the lottery which gives the opportunity to get one of the 11,000 tickets available for the memorial service of Michael Jackson at the Staple Center Arena in Los Angeles tomorrow.

Quite an interest for someone who died a long time ago! The fact is that the Michael which people called the “King of the Pop” was nothing more than a mere empty shell of the true Michael Jackson.

Documentaries, special programs and whole weekend editions in papers and magazines are spend to evaluate Michael’s whereabouts, his accomplishments and his history. Sad to say, but besides his great accomplishments in the music industry, his life has been a gathering of chapters filled with clutter, odd and empty attempts and material describing his (re)creation of his life. In that process of self-re-invention the real Michael got lost and the world has run after an idol which had no life left.

It’s a sad reality when the A, B, and C celebrities of our world become the locus of so many people and their own ambitions and dreams. They are all like lost dreams in paradise, the reality of Neverland! The Neverland’s of so many shattered dreams, desires, and ambitions.

There is a truth in the fact that we become like the idol that we worship; who are you worshipping, or what are you worshipping? Whom or what are you becoming? Michael Jackson died a long time ago… his life has only been an empty shell for many years…

Maybe you and I, and so many more, are indebted to creating that kind of life for celebrities like him whose lives are formed by the very people who worship them…

It is hard to be an idol… It is hard to remain truly human. Maybe we were never intended to ever become objects of worship. Maybe we should worship Him to whom all worship belongs with all out strength, all our hearts and all our souls… to truly become whom we were meant to be. His name? King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

World Values Survey – 2008; reasons to be happy?

Among the last hundred people visiting my blog today were people from 24 different nations of our world (Sweden, Australia, Canada, United States, Denmark , Netherlands, Romania, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Finland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Nicaragua, Hungary, Chile, Mexico, India, Turkey, Switzerland, Singapore, Greece, Hong Kong and Bulgaria). Honestly speaking this was the broadest category of nations represented on one and the same day visiting my blog. The reason for that? I can only guess, but I am inclined to believe that it is related to an article in Science Daily called: “Despite Frustrations, Americans Are Pretty Darned Happy”

The article proudly stated “We’re number 16 … in world happiness. Feel the joy. The United States ranks ahead of more than 80 countries, but below 15 others in happiness levels, according to new World Values Survey data released in the July issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.”

The fact is that I in an earlier article addressed the World Values Survey (WVS) as I gave some pointers: WVS – another way of looking at cultures.

I am happy that the Americans are happy to be among the top 16 nations in world happiness. Dr. Inglehart argues that improving economic conditions and rising political and social freedom can improve satisfaction within whole societies long term.

For example, the United States, though ranking relatively high in many factors that contribute to happiness, has room for improvement in such areas as social solidarity and universal health coverage, says Inglehart. “To some extent, well-designed social policy can help raise U.S. happiness levels even more,” he says. “Policies that help increase the society’s sense of solidarity and tolerance may also help.” But, as the article clearly declares: “Even so, researchers note that wealth is important for happiness. Not surprisingly, three of the world’s poorer countries with long histories of repressive government–Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe–are at the bottom of the happiness list.”

As we all know; studies and polls can be interpreted and angled in many different ways no matter “how scientifically” the different measuring tools and surveys might have been designed. An observation that I want to give has to do with one of the graphs drawn by the organization which conducted this enormous research.

The ones scoring highest on the happiness scale, have according to the researchers also scored high on greater economic growth, it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of democratization and political freedom.

My personal observation and question:

When looking at the graph below we see that almost all of the highest ranking nations have a common history; they are historically protestant societies. Could it be that this fact has influenced and transformed the make up of the nations and its inhabitants to such degree that even now, after many years of secularization we still are reaping some of the positive and good fruit of this, (for many nations), once natural and fundamental ground for life, namely a personal faith in Jesus Christ?

Without a doubt we know that freedom, democracy, equality and tolerance have been advocated by these communities and believers… Economic growth has been a natural consequence as economic lift was experienced by people who had become believers throughout the history of the Church whether in their own or in the generations following them as they were taught to be good stewards of their abilities and possessions. Their lifestyle based on stewardship and accountability was changed with as result a greater economic responsibility and thus transformation.

Again… could this fact be the real reason behind our still positive outlook on life and expectancy even though we have in many different areas of life become secularized?

What do you think?

For me, this is the Way I see it!

John



We thank them that they came to Gnosjö! Will we, and the Sverige Demokraterna learn a lesson from this?

Yes will we learn from this? With the Sverige Demokraterna passing the 4% of votes which would give them a place in Riksdag after next election we don’t know what will happen with our nation, and our asylum- and integration politics.

Yesterday I wrote a blog about “Is Sunday morning 11.00 am the most segregated hour of the week among Christians?” and I addressed the way I have experienced the different Swedish and ethnic churches in our country who stay away from each other adding even more fire to the segregation issue.

Fokus magazine did a great job for the second year in a row to map out the reality of our integration praxis and politics. The sunshine story of the Gnosjö municipality is worth to be copied throughout our nation and SVD’s Per Gudmundson continues his thoughts on this. Of course we have to realize that the sheer demand of workers in the different industries in Småland adds to the openness of integration and hopefully assimilation. It would be interesting to hear from some of the Småländare how the assimilation process in regards to relationships, friendships, participation in church and other associations is going. Maybe we could even learn more from them!

A few questions to my readers:

  1. Personally I am very interested in hearing how church life looks like; is it as I described it and have experienced in the largest part of Sweden? And is it unjust to say that also in Småland there is segregation in the churches… I don’t know, please help me by responding!
  2. In regards to the situation in Botkyrka I wonder if integration is only measured by being part of the work force or is there true integration and assimilation besides the work place as well in new social networks with Swedes and new-Swedes?

To finish things of; the attitude as expressed by Lars Åke Magnusson as he received a diploma and flowers on behalf of the community from Fokus chief editor Karin Pettersson says it all: We want to them that they came to Gnosjö!

What a welcome to many of those who for many different, social, political religious and economical reasons have searched for a haven. By the way let’s not forget that between 1865 and 1914 over 1.2 million people (almost 20% of the Swedish population) left Sweden as emigrants to search for a better future and economical possibilities. Most of them; people between the ages of 15 and 35, crossed the ocean to the USA and there many were able to create for themselves new opportunities and a new future, many of these came actually from Småland… Life is interesting isn’t it? This is what we might call: life revisited!

That’s what I have for now, and this is the Way I see it!

John


It’s horrible – and yet not the end! – A view on divorce.

Newsweek has the last couple of weeks spend quite some leverage on issues of divorce as the looked back on what they called the “Divorce Generation”. It was 1968 when my (our) dad left home with a good friend to the family. I remember my reaction; although I was loathed by the way my father had been treating us in the family, his departure shook our existence because families (couples) did not divorce and especially not in the Southern part of Holland where I came from and where people had a Catholic background.

The shame and isolation one went through was unprecedented and seems to be totally ill-founded when compared with the consequences of divorce and the way we look at it today. However, since then I have been confronted with many different divorces and people getting together again after having been divorced.

In my hometown everyone knew about the divorce and people showed little understanding for the consequences in the lives of the members of the family. After I became a Christian, the hate towards my father for leaving us and his negative influence in our family (I cannot describe this here in public), was dealt with by Jesus Christ and in a miraculous way I got healed from wounds on the inside of my being. The young kid who had to grow up too quickly, too soon and who had lost his years as a child playing was brought back to life!

The whole concept of divorce has since then played a major role in my life as I met and got involved in many different counseling situations addressing this issue. The sanctity of marriage and the depth of commitment meant to be given and experienced in it have directed my mind on this matter to such depth that I even today refuse to watch a film where adultery and divorce are portrayed as entertainment. The fact is that there has been a radical shift in attitudes toward divorce in a matter of only a few decades. I realize that. Having seen it up close now so many times, I have gotten used to divorce as a fact of contemporary life. But I have not changed my theology of divorce. I still see it as a terrible thing. Unavoidable in many situations—but still terrible.

I checked the figures from the Barna Group which does intensive research and polls in many different areas and who specify decisions and lifestyles by Christians…their information shows a chocking reality on the area of divorce among Christians. Personally I think that we in the church need to rise up to the occasion and talk, teach and pray more on this and many other matters where we as Christians have gone astray from the specific guidelines God gives us in the Bible. Without trying to put blame on people who have already gone through divorce and who are aching under the trauma of it, I still want to say that divorce is serious and horrible! A person who had gone through two different divorces came to an acquaintance of me and said: “You know what I want?” he asked, with tears streaming down his cheeks. “I want to hear two things from the church. One is that divorce is a horrible thing, that it is one of the biggest failures a human being can experience. The other is that this is not the end of my life—that God may still have good things in store for me.”

That, my friends, is also the Way I see it!

John

Population Segment

Have Been Divorced

No. of

Interviews

All adults

33%

3792

Evangelical Christians

26%

339

Non-evangelical born again Christians

33%

1373

Notional Christians

33%

1488

Associated with non Christian faith

38%

197

Atheist or agnostic

30%

269

All born again Christians

32%

1712

All who were not born again Christians

33%

2080

Protestant

34%

1997

Catholic

28%

875

African-American

36%

464

Hispanic

31%

458

Asian

20%

128

Conservative

28%

1343

Moderate

33%

1720

Liberal

37%

474

Outsourcing – Wombs for rent, globalization gone mad?

Although I have read articles about it since the beginning of 2000, I cannot refrain from thinking that it is now taking off like never before. In a time when many decide for abortions to get rid of unwanted babies, others go to extremes to secure themselves of children, yet, outside their own wombs! The latest fad is on its way and takes the concept of outsourcing beyond its boundaries:

Busy career women are hiring wombs of other mothers to carry their babies rather than take time off work. Businesswomen, models, athletes and actresses in the US are choosing for ‘social surrogacy’ to help cope with career pressure.

Other women are applying to clinics to rent wombs to avoid painful childbirth and stretch marks. One 35 – year old Californian mother of three sons hired a woman to carry her fourth child to ensure she had a daughter and to protect her career prospects.

· Too busy with your career; rent a womb!

· Too expensive to deal with national systems; rent a womb in India!

· Afraid of loosing your figure or of the nasty birthmarks; rent a womb, be a mum, and keep your shape all at the same time!

Newsweek, Marie Claire, The Wall Street Journal and lately even Oprah have addressed this issue. Is this yet another example of third-world exploitation? Is it globalization gone mad? A movement is set into system where underprivileged and/or underpaid women are being used for the ultimate outsourcing, Although most articles deal with women in India (great healthcare available with the English language as great asset), another group which is targeted is found among the women married to American (low-paid) military man.

The interest to seek such social surrogacy is most evident in India and other poor countries, since their systems avoid the legal red tape and the potential legal aspects and consequences of relationships, and agreements gone sour.

What is there more to say about it? This is for me yet another side of the excesses of career thinking, consumerism, and a self centered, self-serving society which has gone mad.

Well, probably you have your own conclusions… What do you think of this?

John