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The New Testament is all about love. Sure, there was some practices promoted in the old testament that could be considered a bit brutish by today’s standards, but Jebus fixed all that, not by recanting any of those barbarous edicts, but by saying ‘love your neighbor’. So you see, all you christian naysayers, the new testament represents a much nicer and loving image of god. Oh, yeah, one more thing, he also invented hell.

I was quite shocked to learn that the old testament doesn’t speak once about a lake of fire or eternal suffering anywhere within its dreary pages. Brimstone and torture that lasts forever was introduced by the new testament. Now up until I learned that, I was of the mind that the new testament was just as horrible as the old, but with this new tidbit of knowledge I find that the new testament is far worse than the old in terms of brutality and moral perversion.   Allow me to illustrate.

For this thought experiment, we need to be able to quantify the amount of suffering, or evil, that a person could do in his or her lifetime. Just for the sake of humourous triviality, I will call the units of this quantification “sin points”.

Let’s say we have an absolutely wonderful person, a real saint. Nice to everyone, very giving goes the extra mile to make the world a better place. Now, people being the fallible entities that they are, it wouldn’t be realistic to say that this person would acquire zero sin points throughout his life, so let’s say someone like that would only get one. The average person, let’s say, would get something like 1000 sin points in their life (that first guy was really REALLY nice) and your average rapist murderer type person would get 1 trillion.

Now, since we imagined one of the best people that could exist (only one sin point, for goodness sake!) lets also imagine the worst. This individual not only hates people enough to do horrific things to them, but through some unlucky circumstance, he also acquires the longevity and resources to take out this hate on more people over a longer period than anyone ever has in history. Imagine if, say, a Hitler type decided that anyone who did not have green eyes deserved much worse than death. So, this super Hitler successfully creates a worldwide totalitarian regime wherein he lives a long life of torturing billions of people death in the most excruciating ways possible. Even after his death, it takes the globe about 3 generations to recover from super Hitler’s reign of terror. Now this is one bad hombre. How many sin points does he get?

Well, a murderer gets 1 trillion. If the murderer uses torture, let’s say, it’s upped to 1 trillion squared. Multiply that by the number of people Super Hitler tortured to death (let’s say 10 billion people, just to say he was extra mean) and square that for all the suffering involved in the global recovery (a bit excessive, but we are making this guy the worst possible person) and just for good measure, lets square it again. Grand total that’s 1X10 to the power of 128 sin points (that’s 1 with 128 zeros after it, in case it’s been a while since your last math class).

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Personal Expression or repression?

Al Jazeera reports: “In the Canadian province of Quebec a furious public debate has erupted over Muslim women who wear the niqab – face veil.

Out of over 200,000 Muslims in Montreal in Quebec, only a few dozen women wear the niqab, but under a proposed new legislation they could be barred from receiving public services.”

When I think about this issue I get a headache.  The complexity and intersectionality of issues regarding women’s rights, religious freedom and society is staggering.  Watch the video for a little background.

Canada is a secular democracy.  I hesitate to fully endorse a law that prohibits anyone from wearing what they deem to be culturally important to them.  Conversely, the Niqab and the Burka are both symbols of the oppression of women by the patriarchal rules of a delusional following known as Islam.

Modesty?  Can men be immodest? Why is there not a male version of the Burka?

“No no no” you see the Burka protects women from men and their uncontrollable rape-happy urges.  So says the Mullah, so says the Patriarchy.  ‘Bullshit’ I say.  Stripping women of their identities does not make them safer, nor does it prevent rape as the commodification and objectification happens by default in any patriarchal society.

The rub comes when people bring their cultural traditions to a secular society and then expect them to be accepted without a hitch.  Whoa!  Cultural relativism warning!  Where do we draw the line when people bring potentially repressive traditions to our society?  How much respect should we accord them?  *gnash teeth*

The thing is that women choose to do repressive objectifying things to themselves all the time.  Is it enough to leave the argument at if women ‘choose’ (aka obeying repressive cultural dictates) to wear the Niqab, so be it despite all the negative baggage associated with it?

To be honest, I really cannot say for sure one way or the other.  What do you think?

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