Happy Eid al-Adha !

Today begins the three-day holy holiday of Eid al-Adha where Muslims celebrate Abraham’s willingness to kill his son to honor God.  In Pakistan, today, the holiday began with 40  killed by a Muslim suicide bomber who also felt he was killing people for Allah.  When are we ever going to reconsider how sick our religious ideas are?

I couldn’t find a photo for today’s bombing, but such God-killings are generic :  This photo is of:  12-year-old Tarana Akbari as she cries among a pile of dead bodies after a suicide bomber’s attack at a crowded shrine in Kabul, in this Dec. 9, 2011 photo (source).


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

29 responses to “Happy Eid al-Adha !

  1. Such sad things – I am certain if there is a God He weeps at the actions of His creation as they do evil in His name – and this covers all religions.

    Happy Eid al-Adha to my Muslim friends who are all good kind generous people.

    Anna :o]

  2. Earnest

    Happy Eid al Adha to those who use this opportunity to hang out with family and celebrate the past year rather than killing random people in an attempt to win a debate.

  3. @ hypercryptical: Sure, many people celebrate Eid al-Adha innocently but it is based on a sick idea — very sick. It is an idea (a meme) the nurtures violent religious ideas.

    @ Earnest: Why not just drop this holiday. Islam needs a reformation or two.

  4. TWF

    I can’t figure out why anyone would want to celebrate that kind of perversely unquestioned devotion to anything. And I think it is fair to call it “perverse,” given that even God (eventually) spoke out against that same kind of sacrifice.

    Celebrating such a perversion of morality is not a good thing, but I have nothing against celebrating men of faith for their morally good behavior.

  5. @ TWF: I absolutely agree. I think a reformed Islam could work in a civil society — but it would take a lot of reformation.

  6. Isn’t it leaning toward propaganda to post a photo and comment such as this. I mean, if you want to make people think about atrocities committed in the name of religion then, to be fair, you should have an atrocity for each of the major religions. Such events and images are easy enough to find for Christians, Jews, Hindus and even Buddhists – so why just point the finger at Islam? In singling out one religion in this way you are feeding the propaganda line which seeks to demonise a particular religion.
    If you did this for any other religion people would be outraged. Having said that, there is no doubt that a responsible and reasoned comment on excesses being committed in the name of all religions, well, the major ones, would be seen as fair and would therefore trigger less outrage.
    I think your post is tasteless, bigoted and unworthy of you Sabio.

  7. Excerpt: The problem of indiscriminate holy war is particularly difficult for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to eliminate from within because it’s so deeply rooted in their scriptures and traditions. The same religious traditions that affirm God to be compassionate, merciful, and just, also include more disturbing claims that promote religious hatred and intolerance, and sadly have provided a rationale for aggressive holy war. (here)

    The Urban Myth: “There are no Buddhist Terrorists”…all religions have terrorists. (here)

    There is nothing more dangerous than bigotry. Perspective is all.

    Hindu violence – attacks on Christians and Muslims. (here, here)

    Hindu extremists assassinated Mahatma Ghandhi and Rajiv Ghandi; Sikh extremists assassinated Indira Ghandi.

    The horrors of Hinduism: A bride burned every hour. (here)

    And then there is Christian terrorism. If you do a search on religious terrorism and violence Christianity comes up trumps every time as the most violent and murderous of all religions. But even if we want to ‘forget’ the terrorism of past, less enlightened times, there is plenty of modern-day christian terrorism to be found and even beyond shooting those who provide abortion facilities or bombing their clinics.

  8. @rosross,
    This post is about one ridiculous holiday, two fanatic bombings and yet another twisted use of religion. If felt no need to balance it by talking of other religions — I have done that on other posts. But if it makes you feel good to come here fill this thread with examples of more religious violence, you are welcome. In fact non-religious violence abounds too, of course. This is not a general post about violence or about religion. It is about one dangerous idea wrapped in a holiday on one particular day.

    I’d love to see how much violence is inspired by astrology — but I am sure you’d pull out the “No true Astrologer ….” caveate.

    PS — I cleaned up your loose linking and multiple postings — to avoid the flooding appearance.

  9. Sabio, we both know this is not about one ridiculous holiday and two fanatical bombings. You are an intelligent and educated person and the distortion of your post is obvious.
    It doesn’t make me ‘feel good’ but it does make me think and feel that posting something approximating balance provides a level of integrity. After all, you are the one who seeks information and balance as you have suggested more than once.
    Of course there is non-religious violence but your post is about religious violence only as it pertains to Islam which is, well, unbalanced and verging on bigotry.
    Your comment on astrology was tedious and immature. I have no idea how much violence has been inspired by astrology but I would suspect in its earliest times there was plenty. Given that for most of its existence it has sought to enlighten and inform, I would guess not much violence has been the result for most of its existence, but I am more than happy to be corrected should you wish to pursue this course.
    As to ‘cleaning up loose linkings’ you have that right because this is your site but in reality there was nothing wrong with the linkings and they were more functional, I believe, as they were because people could have greater knowledge of ‘where they led’ before choosing to link. I have no idea what you mean by a ‘flooding’ appearance since such posting of links is extremely common, more so than inserting as you have done but since you are very ‘hands on’ in management of your site, I have no problem with you tinkering with them so they suit your ‘look.’

  10. rosross: I am ignoring your personal attacks.

  11. I onse wrote that Saudi Arbia is the second biggest threat to world peace and justice after the threat of US militarism. I wrote that because of the perception that I have that it has been Saudi money that has been the root cause behind the spread of the idiot branch of Islam that the Saudis support.
    I have to reconsider that view. I have long recognized that it is really completely stupid to think of the United Kingdom or of Israel as being actual independent countries. That is another story however. I of course have known about the close links to Saudi rulers and the powers that be in the Unitted States. In the past I have always thought of Saudi rulers as being allies of US rulers. That might be the case. Both sets of rulers are after all big time billionairs who would have a common interest in preventing threats to their rule in their embryonic state. Similar goals and strategies would naturally lead to similar policies.
    Recently I have been thinking though that Saudi policies have since the biggining of the current dynasty so much in the intrests of the US military industrial complex that I bet if the truth were told we would find out that this dynasty had the backing of poerful US institutions even BEFORE it came to power.
    It is often reported in the US that intervention by the CIA in Iran and Guatemala were the precendents that encouraged intervention in the internal affairs of other countries over decades to come. Yet such intervention early in the 20th century would explain why the Saudi leadership has no backbone what so ever. Obviously when it was created it was created without one.
    Someone might say that there are instances in which the Saudis and Americans do not seem to be working hand in hand, for example Afghanistan and Pakistan. Is that really the case that the Saudis are not following orders from the US MIC in that region?
    If the Saudi rulers are subjects of higher level rulers I think that would strenghten my belief that there can not be change in the world until there is a real change in Washington. How will we know when there is real change in Washington. When neo con criminals become neo convicts.(or neo corpses).

  12. Sabio, it isn’t personal. The comments are made in regard to your post and in terms of your ‘ownership’ of the site. Given that you don’t use your real name anyway how can any of it be personal. Sabio doesn’t exist so even if I were talking about Sabio in a personal sense it could not be personal.
    My comments relate to your post and your site, well Sabio’s.
    Perhaps Sabio needs to reflect again on what he says is the purpose of the blog.

  13. @Judas,
    There is no doubt that Saudi fundamentalists have fuelled fanaticism but one could lay the same charge at Christian and Jewish fundamentalists in terms of the Middle East. Hindu fundamentalists have been and remain destructive in India. One reaches the point where religions are really more trouble than they are worth. I wonder if it is because they are so easily hijacked by those predisposed to fanaticism and obsession?
    But the other reality is that no one nations controls another and never have. All of the most powerful nations at any point in history have believed they could or did but events always proved them wrong. The chaos exists I suspect because there is no control only power wielded destructively and often irrationally.
    There is also no doubt that those in ‘power’ can make use of religion to serve their own ends without the followers really understanding how they are being used.

  14. I murder Christain fundmentalist, and zionists on a regular basis.
    But I have not yet murdered a Hindu or a Buddhist fundamentalist.
    This idea that all fundamentalists or extremists are equal is a bunch of baloney. In 1964, when I was four yers old it was proclaimed throughout the
    Of course knowing what Liberty or Justice is is really quite the challemge.
    The important thing is that I must define it. Of course I must define it with help from my friends. You have my permission to call me an insane dictator I do not care. I know that if I do not define Liberty and Justice someone else will.
    Just who in the hell will that be? Romney? Rommel? Obama? Osama?
    Most people through out the world say thart Liberty and Justice should be defined by having a vote the subject. Yet those with some training know that having a vote can only bring good results when intellegent, well educated, honest people take part in the process.
    Now be honest if all of the criminals, mentally retarded, and illeterate people of the United States were removed from the voting roles who would be left to
    cast a ballot except me and my friends? The litmus test of whether or not a society is ready to handel democracy is that they would do what I think should be done before I even tell them. That would not make me a dictator
    because I would have dictated nothing. When a society reaches that point
    there will not be any need for a vote anyways becasue everyone will already
    know what the correct policy should be.
    Here is a short list of several of the answers:
    1. Increase the tax on gasoline 25 cents a year until the price reaches 10 dollars a gallon or the price of gasoline in Germany, France, and Italy which ever is higher.
    2. Reimpose a very progressive income tax and inheritance tax.. Income over a million per year should be taxed at 100%..If a rich person objecdts he should be stripped naked covered in honey and placed on a pile of flesh eating antts.
    3. Nationalize the gambeling industry. That is the way it works in Sweden. Of course native American Casinos are already government owned so they would not be effected. If anyone objects they will be waterboarded in a vat of boiling olive oil.
    4. Greatly reduce the size of the American military and make it a mostly reserve force. For example ground combat forces could be reduced to two corps each with three divisions over a twelve year period. The navy could be eliminated all together. An Empire needs a navy. A peacefull republic needs only a coast guard. The Air Force should have a comparatively higher percentage of active duty personnel Those who object should get a pistol six rounds of ammunition and a one way ticket to Iraq and a sign that says I am a war criminal allow me to repent.
    5. Eliminate the Federal Reserve. No one will object.
    6. Impliment my secret program to reduce gun violence in the USA.
    No one running on such a platform could get elected in the USA today.
    Thsi platform lies outside the reservation that has been constructed for American minds. America and the world deserves the leaddership that Americans need not the leadership that they think that they want..
    Only those extremely against the current extremist US leadership can do what needs to be done. Why its all for fun.

  15. There is another kind of extremism that has a long history on the planet.
    That is this really stupid idea that the head of a countries government should try to hold on to his position for as long as he can. To me it is just incredible how stupid this idea is and what is even more incredible is that this is the rule on the planet rather than the exception. As far as I know,
    at least on an official basis only the US and Mexico have had term limits for the head of the government. Anyone who would want to be in power for more than 12 years proves by their behavior that they are unfit for power.
    If a person monopolizes power, and I would say that staying in power over 12 years is by definition monopolizing power, is failing to prepare their subordinates. It is perfectly acceptable for a former leader to exercise soft power once he has left office.
    An even more enlightened understanding of power would be to abolish positions like President, Prime Minister, Chancellor, or King all together and make the highest level executive institution in any country a Central Committee (Council, Board). If two heads are better than one than seven or nine heads are even more likely to be better than one. Of course there are no guarantees but is a good rule of thumb.
    Of course it is possible that in some countries the official head of the government is not the actual ruler of the country. Way back in Roman times
    Roman Generals got the idea of placing a figure head in front of the masses while the General ruled behind a curtain of secrecy. Such a tactic helped to prevent the assassination of the real ruler. Of course Generals all over the world would be aware of this tactic. Perhaps in some countries
    the rulers are not changed by the military to give the impression of stability to the masses. In other countries the figureheads could be changed to make it appear that there is a change in leadership when there really has not been a change in leadership. How are those who are not insiders really to know for sure? Is it because we have faith that our leaders do not lie to us? Of course that only happens in other countries. Or would only an extremist suggest such a thing?

  16. I find it interesting that this post has evoked such sermons.

  17. @Sabio
    Digressions on a theme perhaps. 🙂

  18. Interesting. I find it interesting that celebrating being submissive to the point of killing children is a good thing. But then again, submission is not something I value highly.

    There are other theological interpretations I value on this particular story. Like Ramban, who talks about how we can sacrifice our children on other altars: ego, work, unreasonable expectations, etc. I find that compelling.

    Killing in the name of God should be an oxymoron, but sadly, it’s not in the least. I mourn along with you dude.

  19. WOW, just commented without reading the comments. Fascinating! And not in good ways.

    On a side note: I was reading about the history of Islam recently and was shocked to see how Sufism was the major form back when Islam was doing interesting things like inventing zero, algebra, great poetry, and an ecumenical Spain. Since that “fall” more narrow and literallistic sects have been on the rise. So there’s a case to be made for mysticism and reform.

  20. @ Luke,
    Thanx for stopping in. It would be interesting to know how various people over the centuries took this story. Overall, I imagine it said, “You should do whatever God tells you and trust, even if it is against your sense of right-and-wrong, that all will work out.”
    This thought then is used to control people when they tell them what God wants. I have a feeling this was the original purpose of the story and the most common usage to date. I am sure there are lots of other creative interpretations but ….

  21. I wonder if Abraham’s willingness to kill his son is celebrated in Judaism too. Probably not. It is not celebrated in Christianity either. Isn’t it funny how three religions, sharing common texts, give different emphases and interpretations of them?

  22. @Takis,
    Abraham’s willingness to kill his son is honoured in both Christianity and Judaism and while it may not be ‘celebrated’ although that word is debateable, the same incident is part of religious dogma in all three religions.

  23. Taki,

    Christian celebrate Abraham offering Isaac when they take communion.

    See here among many.

    I guess it is suppose to be sanitized here, because the killing is done by others.

    Also here if you’d like a narrated slide show.

    I know you know this stuff.

    The story similarities are amazing or:
    (a) Texas Sharpshooter
    (b) Jesus was made to match

    (our evidence from Matthew, is that the story was contrived to match the Jewish story).

    In Judaism, the story of Abraham offering Isaac is read during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) with the Shofar (ram’s horn) blown as a reminder that God allowed Abraham to sacrifice a ram (sheep) instead of Isaac his son.

    Interestingly, Mormons believe that Abraham was almost sacrificed to the Egyptian sun god, Shagreel. But Jehovah freed him. This colors the story even more — Joseph Smith was very creative — I don’t care what others say. I wonder if Romney is president if we will get new national holidays!

  24. Thanks for the responses to my remark. I was just saying that I don’t think there is a special holiday for Abraham in Christianity. I know, of course, Christians believe in it, I was taught about it at school. But, somehow, the emphasis is not on Abraham.

    Romney is not that stupid to openly promote mormonism. Of course, mormons will rejoice and, perhaps, get a few perks, but I think that Romney will keep his mouth shut regarding his faith. Maybe I’m wrong (in which case, we will have lots to write and laugh about).

  25. Like I said, Takis, “Abraham Sacrificing Isaac” is celebrated every time Christians celebrate communion — every Sunday for many Christians, more for others. In the Roman Missal (Western Mass), it is said:

    “Be pleased to look upon them with serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.”

    Apparently, the Eastern Orthodox churches (your background), don’t mention OT sacrifices in their mass.

    Also, October 9th, in the Catholic liturgical calendar date to commemorate Abraham, if you were really interested.

    I am talking about remembering and honoring the sacrifice of a human being (I don’t want to quibble about being a holiday or not).

    Source: Abraham in the Catholic Liturgy

  26. Thanks Sabio. I would be the last person to defend Eastern Orthodoxy, but my comment was, certainly, biased due to cultural upbringing. For example, it was a surprise for me to learn, relatively recently, that some people think of the communion as the literal transformation of the wine and bread into blood and flesh. I was so surprised that I denied it. “No, it can’t be true”, I said. “No matter how stupid religious people can be, I don’t think you’ll find anyone who believes that this transformation takes place.” I was wrong. People had to point out to me explicit references.

  27. ” Overall, I imagine it said, ‘You should do whatever God tells you and trust, even if it is against your sense of right-and-wrong, that all will work out.'” -Sabio

    I have the Talmud in my office, I can check this out and get back. It could be. Yet I also have the hunch that this is the most popular translation that has won out over history and we’re projecting it backward. I’ll test this out and get back with you. I’m very interested now!

  28. Many rabbi’s uphold your claim, even Maimonides who is a giant in Jewish interpretation. However, there’s a large segment going on the midrash that Abraham misunderstood God’s request. It has God saying “Did I tell you ‘to slaughter him?’ Rather, I told you ‘Bring him up.'” Which is a wordplay in Hebrew.

    Confusing text that has been used as both a You should do whatever God tells you and trust, even if it is against your sense of right-and-wrong, that all will work out.” as well as a “Even Abraham failed to understand God.” Since the first is easier to preach, seems that it’s the popular. Plus it gives a religious leader a little more control and recognizing that even religious leaders and ‘heroes of faith’ get it wrong sometime.

  29. Earnest

    @ Luke: what a terriffic angle, that this was mis-hearing the command of God! I love it! Even if it is fabricated, it allows me to finally fit this really problematic Bible story into my religious world view. Thank you.

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