Saturday, July 30, 2016

Love Your Spouse Challenge

Love Your Spouse Challenge is a Facebook meme, where a lover posts a romantic photo of him/herself and his/her spouse.

They do this for 7 days. And, they, also, nominate 2 other individuals to consider taking the challenge, every day for the next 7 days.

Friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances continue the meme by posting their own romantic pictures and nominating others, too.

This sure beats the current endless slug of politics and religion!

Evidently the first Challenge originated in the Philippines.

"...the Tagalog word kilig refers to the feeling of excitement due to various romantic situations..."

"...such as making first eye contact with one's crush..."

"There is no exact equivalent English term for kilig."

"Kilig is usually felt in the first phase of romance,
particularly during courtship or honeymoon..."
Skilty Labastilla
Ateneo de Manila University
Sociology and Anthropology Department

Oxford English Dictionary, March 2016
kilig: shudder, thrill
adjective--exhilarated by an exciting or romantic experience

Our'Angles' photo with romantic halos at the Golden Gate Bridge:

In the Romantic Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Identity and Listening to the "Other"

from Musalaha, one organization working for reconciliation in the Middle East, and worldwide:

"Identity is complex, and in many situations, we find that others want to impose an identity on us. Yet, it is more important to know and discuss how we see ourselves. In many cases, what others call us is different from what we call ourselves."

"The way people discuss identity in conflict can be very combative, and we often find that people build their identities at the expense of others. As a result, identity tends to be the first casualty in conflict, something we and many others have observed in reconciliation activities."

[My own aside: Notice how this is happening to a very tragic degree in the current U.S. Election. Each side demonizes the other sides' identities, and in contrast, sees its own identity as heroic, just, and good.]

"...see how many identities we have in our small countries. Due to the mixed nature of this group, with secular and traditional Israeli Jews, traditional and religious Palestinian Muslims, and Palestinian Christians, we had a long list of identities we prepared for the activity:
secular Jew, religious Jew, Orthodox Jew, Jewish Israeli, Jewish, Israeli, Israeli Arab, Israeli Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian Muslim, Muslim Arab, Muslim, Palestinian Christian, Christian, Christian Arab, Immigrant, Foreigner, Arab."

"One of the important points we emphasize during our meetings is that we should allow others to self-identify."

"This is an instructive activity because it allows participants to define themselves, and it gives others the opportunity to learn why each group member identifies as they do."

"It also shows how diverse our groups are as we are not just Muslims, Christians and Jews, but many different types of Muslims, Christians and Jews."

"When dealing with many different types of identities, external forces seek to simplify them by imposing labels upon them. In Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine: Communalism and Nationalism, 1917-1948 by Noah Haiduc-Dale, he discusses important issues Mandatory Palestine’s Christian community faced as the British began redefining religious identification..."

"...the Palestinian women drew a picture of an olive tree, Jerusalem, a kefiya, and a number of religious sites. They wrote that their identity is comprised of religion, land, refugees, culture, existence and historical/religious sites."

"The Israeli group, in contrast, wrote at length about what it means to be Israeli, emphasizing parts they love about their cultures, issues they struggle with, and more."

"Afterwards, I asked the ladies to identify what was missing in each of their identities. As we usually see in these sorts of interactions, when we discuss our identities, we do not include the other side...."

By Salim J. Munayer and Musalaha Publications Department

Read the whole account
(and other thoughtful, reflective articles) at

In the Light of Reconciliation,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, July 25, 2016

Playing with Words

Montana’s History Lesson

Bulky Pompei’s Pillar
Towers over Yellowstone's Rivering,
A rugged brown bluff
Engraved with historic graffiti

With Clark’s signatur'd
Declaration still writ large
Behind Plexiglas for us to gawk,
But Lewis ended it all;

Still the icy water courses on
Toward our Big Muddy
Finally down to the Gulf,
Each of us a brief tag
In this
Muddled flow of history.

-Daniel Wilcox
First pub. in Lunarosity

"...history provides much evidence to show that the minds of poets have functioned like antennae."

"Poets express the beliefs, hopes, and ambitions that are eventually recognized by everyone. Ultimately, these values become part of a nation’s sense of identity."

"We learn what common experiences unite their people. We learn what they cherish from the past and what they aspire to in the future.
The practical language of the elected legislator [and the historian] supplies the record; the imaginative language of the [poet and novelist] gives that record both its meaning and its spiritual dimensions."

"But no matter how seriously we take these discussions of poetry, we must remember that poetry is also a form of playing...
with words, rhymes, and using their imaginations...the play of meanings...
the simplest kind of play with meanings is punning.
"The Elements of Poetry"
John Malcom Brinnin

Here is a playful rendition to nature, history, and human wording by a former teaching colleague
of ours at Perris High School in California:

Perris Valley

by Larry Yohn*

Join me now in seeing the beautiful playing of beings all around us,
Expressively sharing the biosphere of earth with us.

Dolphins frolicking, dashing spray at sea,
Squirrels with their tails flowing, leaping tree to tree,

An elk stag bugling, sounding his love call,
Peregrine falcons mating in free fall;

A timber wolf cocking her head quizzically,
Tiger cubs cuffing, sprawling clumsily;

Penguins popping up on the ice flow,
Humming birds hovering, darting to and fro;
A big dog bounding high to catch a Frisbee,
Kittens with their tiny claws having an unquilting bee;

Thoroughbreds at the gate, tossing their heads a prancing,
Elephants trumpeting, in the jungle dancing;

Otters sliding down the mud slide,
A white whale sounding, breaching high an’ wide.

All kinds of play are found round the world,
From chess in the Ukraine to bull fights in Spain,

From Olympic Games with banners furled,
To Death Games amid sand grains at El Alamein,

Yes, play is a word we use every which way,
From gun play to sword play to word play to foreplay,

From gamboling lambs in a meadow in May
Or a gambling man in old Santa Fe,

One space to play in,
One place to fly free south of L.A.

And in from the sea, diving away from the D.C.3,
High in the wind over Perris Valley, valley, valleeee, Perris Valleeee.

I close my eyes and see people at play,
Age in the night to this day:

A batter swinging in the box,
A climber reaching on the rocks,

A skier swooshing by on skis,
A glider gliding in the breeze,

A biker pumping by on a bike,
A tyke pedaling on a trike,

A bird watcher watching birds,
A poet stringing together words,

A caver torching in a cave,
A surfer riding on a wave,

A marathoner running the race,
A poker player playing an ace,
A gambler rolling on the table two dice,
A skater twirling on the ice,

A soap box speaker being verbose,
A late night comic being gross,
A gymnast swinging on the rings,
A guitarist playing on the strings,

Skydivers swooping to the formation,
[A band playing the National Anthem]

Chuck Anderson- yellow, Al Krueger - orange, Tom Henley - blue, Larry Yohn - black.
Photo by Carl Boenish

*From AP Wire:
"NOVEMBER 14, 1999
POMONA, Calif. (AP) - A parachutist died after crash landing into a guard
wall of a race track during opening ceremonies Sunday for the...NHRA Finals."

"Lawrence Yohn, 59...was part of a four-person team that
parachuted onto the Pomona Raceway as part of pre-race ceremonies...
The national anthem was playing while Yohn made his
jump onto the track."

"Yohn was a skydiving instructor at Perris Airport Sport Parachuting Center
and an Aztec Sky Diving Team member. He had jumped more than 2,500 times...
a 1-legged jumper who taught high school, and was an avid reader. Yohn lost his
leg in India on a motor scooter 30 years ago."

Under the Sky World

Under the sky world
Below the sloshing white caps,
Liquid life undulates down through
The watery sphere’s domain;

Deep down under

A soft brilliance of rays from
Above strike silver lines down
Through the deepening green
While strange denizens move in
Rhythmic concertos;

Deep down under

A great turtle flippers alone, dull-jade submarine;
Then sheened orchestras of under creatures
Tuna, halibut, and cod their way
In a Strauss waltz west with the current;

Deep down under

Snorkeling deeper,
Finned life multiplies to the seventh
Wide oceans crowded round,
Translucent, entrailed, scaled and numinous;
Scuttling down to endless flips of tail
Iridescent, orange, purple, yellow;

Deep down under

Suddenly spades-black ink billows out
Deep in the guts of the world’s water
To the side of the neon coral,
So mused reefs,
Expanding, darkening the undermost

Deep down under

Arms, arms, arms, and arms—
Many a league,
The fabled

--Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in The Greensilk Journal

Art Clasps

A Monet moment
splashes in vibrancy--

yellow-orangish irises
rise from blue and green
130 years after the paint.

Below the beauty

But the impractical clasping
of the momentary irises

by impressed paintbrush strokes,

scintillating eye glances

and shimmering lights up for us to see,

saved from
the oblivion of another time and place.

Likewise a fellow traveler, I clasp words

to this sheet, my own flat canvas--irised memories

For new eyes

-Daniel Wilcox
First pub. in Mississippi Crow Magazine

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Presuppositions: The Beginning and the End

After many years of trying to reason with those thinkers who claim that ethics are "subjective," that good and bad are relative, that there are no rights, no equality,
it has become clear that one can't reason to what ought to be, to what is true, to justice, and so forth.

This is because from the get-go, those who reject moral realism and claim "it is impossible to figure out ethical truth," that all ethics are "subjective," "nothing but your personal preference," that the Enlightenment is "subjective in the same way,"
do so as presuppositions, not as a conclusion.

When they state, "there is no basis for objective morality," no basis for the abolition of slavery, that slavery is "only wrong if we say its wrong," that opposition to some actions and many behaviors is only an "opinion"--
they are stating all of those points as presuppositions,
not as a conclusion!

Furthermore, many Enlightenment leaders and abolitionists and human rights leaders have the totally contrary presuppositions, from the get-go:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Even if all conscious life disappeared,
justice, truth, goodness would still exist in the same way that
mathematics would still exist even if there was no one to compute.

Steven Pinker, though, not taking a strong stance on this whole topic in his book, Better Angels of Our Nature, does show how the Enlightenment Declaration of Natural Rights has transformed our world in the last several hundred years.

"I think that the humanitarian movements that have gathered momentum since the Enlightenment will continue to make progress. The burning of heretics, gruesome executions, blood sports, slavery, debtors’ prisons, foot-binding, eunuchism, and wars between developed states won’t make a comeback any time soon."

"Most likely capital punishment, violence against women, human trafficking, the beating and bullying of children, and the persecution of homosexuals will continue to decline, albeit bumpily and unevenly, over a span of decades."

"...complex, instinctive and worldwide moral intuitions — led Hauser and John Mikhail (a legal scholar) to revive an analogy from the philosopher John Rawls between the moral sense and language."

"According to Noam Chomsky, we are born with a “universal grammar” that forces us to analyze speech in terms of its grammatical structure, with no conscious awareness of the rules in play."

"By analogy, we are born with a universal moral grammar that forces us to analyze human action in terms of its moral structure, with just as little awareness."

"The idea that the moral sense is an innate part of human nature is not far-fetched. A list of human universals collected by the anthropologist Donald E. Brown includes many moral concepts and emotions, including a distinction between
right and wrong; empathy; fairness; admiration of generosity; rights and obligations; proscription of murder, rape and other forms of violence; redress of wrongs; sanctions for wrongs against the community; shame; and taboos."

"The stirrings of morality emerge early in childhood. Toddlers spontaneously offer toys and help to others and try to comfort people they see in distress."

"And according to the psychologists Elliot Turiel and Judith Smetana, preschoolers have an inkling of the difference between societal conventions and moral principles. Four-year-olds say that it is not O.K. to wear pajamas to school (a convention) and also not O.K. to hit a little girl for no reason (a moral principle)."

"But when asked whether these actions would be O.K. if the teacher allowed them, most of the children said that wearing pajamas would now be fine but that hitting a little girl would still not be."

"The only other option is that moral truths exist in some abstract Platonic realm, there for us to discover, perhaps in the same way that mathematical truths (according to most mathematicians) are there for us to discover."

"On this analogy, we are born with a rudimentary concept of number, but as soon as we build on it with formal mathematical reasoning, the nature of mathematical reality forces us to discover some truths and not others."

"(No one who understands the concept of two, the concept of four and the concept of addition can come to any conclusion but that 2 + 2 = 4.)"

"Perhaps we are born with a rudimentary moral sense, and as soon as we build on it with moral reasoning, the nature of moral reality forces us to some conclusions but not others."

"Moral realism, as this idea is called, is too rich for many philosophers’ blood. Yet a diluted version of the not crazy."

"Two features of reality point any rational, self-preserving social agent in a moral direction. And they could provide a benchmark for determining when the judgments of our moral sense are aligned with morality itself."
"The Moral Instinct" by Steven Pinker

"Though I have always had a vague sense that a scientific understanding of human nature was compatible with a robust secular morality, it was only through the intellectual influence of my wife, the philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, that I understood the logic connecting them."

"She explained to me how morality can be grounded in rationality, and how secular humanism is just a modern term for the world view that grew out of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment..."

"’s this set of ideas, which I call Enlightenment humanism (pp. 180–183), which has driven it, and it offers the closest thing we have to a unified theory of the decline of violence (pp. 694–696).

But, relavitists immediately reject Pinker's evidence in Better Angels, pointing out that some minority figures of the Enlightenment, such as Jeremy Benthan, rejected the "Declaration of Human Rights."

Benthan called such rights "nonsense on stilts."

In a short essay, Benthan attacked the philosophy of the "Declaration of Independence."

His view was utilitarianism: "It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."

Tragically, this view has been used to justify the bombing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, the use of torture, capital punishment, first-strike war, slavery, and many other forms of injustice.

"We must rid ourselves once and for all of the Quaker...babble about the sanctity of human life."
Leon Trotsky

And I suppose Benthan's utilitarianism could be used for almost any action, if the greatest number of humans would be happier and only a lesser number of losers.

In contrast, the presupposition of innate rights,
holds the view that even if the entire human population
of the globe would be happier by the death of one child

or the torture of one human, such immoral actions wouldn't be justified,
but on the contrary would be inherently unjust, indeed, evil.

Secondly, Benthan wrote in The Principles of Morals and Legislation:

"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do."

"On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do..."

But "Nature" hasn't placed humankind..." That is personification.

According to nearly all biologists, evolution has no purpose, no direction, no meaning. It is an unthinking process that can't "place mankind under the governeance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure."

Again, we see that what rules is one's presuppositions.

And I point out the danger when they say, "If a group of people come together and find that they all agree to a common set of moral beliefs, that's a good foundation for building a society" and "The problem is that there's no evidence for objective morality.”

On the contrary, the whole basis of human rights is that equality, justice, etc. aren't based in what any society decides, but on what is true for everyone, universally.

Rights and ethics are, as many Enlightenment leaders stated, "unalienable."

For instance, over 80% of Egyptian parents have agreed that female mutilation of little girls is good and right, but that doesn't make it so.

For hundreds of years Christian and Islamic societies legalized slavery. Mauritania didn't outlaw slavery until 1981. But all of them were founding their actions on views contrary to human rights. Heck, we just sent a letter to Mauritania because it has arrested anti-slavery protesters (allegedly, slavery still is going on there).

That's not a good foundation for any society!

If every human in every society declared, that slavery, rape, mutilation of little girls, inequality, mass slaughter, etc. were right, that wouldn't make it so.

I do admit, however, that equality, justice, rights, and so forth are my presuppositions.

We humans can't get "oughts" from what "is."

Ought by definition is transcendent.

And that is a presupposition.

The Beginning and the End.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ironing History

"Call me Ismael...And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago.

Art by SNH

"It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:

"Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States.

"Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces—though I cannot tell why this was exactly...besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgments."
from Chapter One: Loomings, Moby Dick by Herman Melville

What an irony of history and literature, an ironing of reality, that we come round similar events and similar actions and similar beliefs now, 165 years later, today in July, 2016.

The first 3 ironies and history-repeaters speak for themselves. Are in the news, have been in the news for days.

But what of fate, of determinism, of qadar, of predestination?

Yes, that Medusa,

that Kali,

that Hydra

of philosophy and religion is making a huge return of late, too--

#1 In the take-over by Augustinian Reformed leaders of much of American Christianity in the last 30 years.

#2 In the huge popularity around the globe of Islam and "qadar," (which, strangely, is even defended by many secular leftists and "liberals" in the United States and Britain).

#3 By the massive support for and by most atheist leaders of determinism and the denial of human choice.

Famous determinists include neuroscientist Sam Harris ("Tumors All the Way Down"), biologist Jerry Coyne (no "moral responsibility," murderers and rapists have no choice), and biologist Anthony Cashmore (humans have no more choice than a "bowl of sugar").

And there is daily in the news, the horrific attacks by modern Ismael of innocent civilians such as the stabbing death of the 13-year-old young girl by a Muslim Palestinian youth this month.

How deep is the abyss of darkness overwhelming humanity,

Daniel Wilcox

Human Trafficking and Violation of Human Rights in Mauritania

from Amnesty International and other Human Rights Organizations:

"Diop Amatidjane, third vice president of IRA-Mauritania, was arrested June 30 by police at his home. Police also arrested Balla Touré, external relations officer. The whereabouts of Amatidjane and Touré along with four other IRA members remain unknown."

“Intimidation and violence targeting anti-slavery activists continues in Mauritania despite the government’s claims that reforms are underway to reduce the prevalence of slavery there,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs."

“The Mauritanian government should immediately disclose the whereabouts of the arrested activists, bring them to court if they are suspected of any crimes, or promptly release them.”

"Biram dah Abeid and Brahim Bilal Ramdhane, IRA-Mauritania’s president and vice-president, were released...after 19 months in custody for organizing a protest against the continued practice of slavery in Mauritania.

The State Department honored them June 30 for their anti-slavery efforts...received the U.S State Department’s Heroes Award for their work against human trafficking..."

It is alleged that slavery is still being practiced in Mauritania, though it was legally banned, finally, in 1981.

Please write a letter for this from Amnesty International:

Nine members of the anti-slavery organization Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA) have been in incommunicado detention since their arrests. They were charged on 12 July with rebellion, use of violence, attack against the police and agents of justice and membership of an unrecognised organization."

"Amadou Tijane Diop, the third vice president of IRA-Mauritania and Abdallahi Maatalla Seck, Coordinator of Section Sebkha, were arrested by police on 30 June at their home in Nouakchott. The police searched Amadou Tijane Diop’s house
and seized his personal documents and laptops."

In the following days, seven other members and supporters
of IRA-Mauritania were also arrested...Balla Touré...Jemal Beylil, Salem Vall, and Moussa Biram...
Khatri Rahel Mbarkek, President of IRA peace committee, and Ahmed Hamady, treasurer, were arrested on 3 July after organising a press conference calling for the release of their colleagues."

"None of them has been allowed access to their lawyers or families since their arrest. A member of the national committee of torture prevention mechanism, who was seeking to confirm their whereabouts and their conditions of detention, was also
denied access to where they were being held."

"Please write immediately in French or your own language:
 Calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the nine activists, detained solely for their peaceful
work on human rights;

 Urging the authorities to ensure that, during their detention, they are not subject to torture or other ill-treatment and have continuous access to a lawyer of their choice, to medical attention, to family visits and to all basic necessities;

 Urging them to guarantee that anti-slavery activists in Mauritania are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
President of the Islamic Republic of
Presidency BP 184 Nouakchott
Fax: +222 45 25 98 01

Minister Of Justice
Me. Brahim Ould Daddah
Ministry of Justice
BP 350 Nouakchott
Fax: +222 25 25 70 02

Salutation: Dear Minister
Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to:
Ambassador HE Mr. Mohamed Lemine El Haycen, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the United Nations
2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 202 319 2623 I Phone: 212 232 5700/5701 I Email:"


Stand up for those wrongly imprisoned, denied their human rights.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Leave the Door Open" or Birth Control?

Historians are puzzled by the extremely low rate of birth in some Quaker communities in New England in the late 1700's. They speculate and ponder on whether this was a natural occurrence, or because of stringent abstinence or a method of very successful birth control.

With all the current tragedies, controversies, disasters, and debates centering in the news, we seldom hear any more of the ethical question of birth control, except from the creedal wing of Christianity, the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

But, historically, and now in the news again, birth control has been a huge controversy.

After the American Revolution, "it seems clear that Quakers had begun to practice some kind of family limitation involving birth control. Such planning did not occur in the generation before 1730..."

"The questions of how and why Quakers began to practice birth control cannot be answered with any certainty."
The Quaker Family in Colonial America by J. William Frost

"Quakers on the whole remained conservative on matters of sexual ethics until the early part of the 20th Century."

"The first open discussion of sexuality by Quakers came in 1924, when a group of British Friends published, "Marriage and Parenthood: The Problem of Birth Control."

"This pamphlet advocated a qualified use of family planning and opposed the idea that the use of contraceptive devices promoted promiscuity."

from The voice of Whittier College:

"Access to Birth Control Is a Right"

"In the U.S., 68 percent of women who are at risk for pregnancy use a form of contraception. However, the use of birth control by women is still often stigmatized. People who are against the use of birth control argue that it promotes sexual behavior in young women."

"First of all, so what if it does? What’s wrong with that? If women choose to have sex, it’s no one’s business."

"Birth control should be easily accessible so that if they do choose to have sex, they can do so without worrying about the risk of pregnancy."
by Quaker Campus

Quakers don't have a collective view on the rightness or wrongness of contraception. Many Quakers do use artificial methods of birth control."

Officially, Catholics leaders still claim that artificial control of the birth of children is morally wrong--
that it is interfering with the natural order, playing God, and contrary to the will of God.

A loving couple ought to welcome as many children as God gives them.

What is intriguing, shall we say shocking, however, is that most Catholics, in contrast to other issues, don't obey this teaching of the Church. 86% of Catholics in the U.S. view artificial birth control as acceptable! That's only slightly behind the 90% of all respondents.

But who then are the 10% rejectors of the "all"?

Probably conservative Mormons and fundamentalists such as the "Quiver-full" movement; both also oppose birth control and emphasize large families as the direct blessing and will of God.

And in contrast, even Roman Catholic leaders at times seem to bend their own rules, or at least their natural law rhetoric.

For instance, the current controversial Pope, St. Francis, said that couples don't have to breed "like rabbits."

On the other hand, many Protestant leaders before the 1960's, also, opposed birth control. An anti-birth control article was published in the Baptist Standard.

One Christian leader, William Bell Riley, called birth control a "menace to humanity." "When the primeval lust of the beast is the basis of union, the divorce mill is sure of its grist," he warned.

Presbyterian Professor James O. Buswell told ministers "not to practice birth control." James M. Gray, President of Moody Bible Institute, also, opposed artificial control.

Moderate Baptist J.C. Massee stated, "Pleasure without children is legalized concubinage" and a "blight."

The infamous Bob Jones Sr., president of Bob Jones University, (which refused to admit "colored" students for many years) condemned, "husbands who hellishly limit the size of their families because they are too damnably mean and selfish to raise children."
Selling the Old Time Religion by Douglas Carl Abrams, University of Georgia Press

"Being pro-life...its about opening ourselves to the risk and mess and uncertainty that accompany any God-sent guest we allow into our lives. The least we can do is leave our doors unlocked."
Agnieska Tennant, an Editor of Christianity Today

And, some leaders still associate birth control with abortionist Margaret Sanger. Professor Albert Molher of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote we have "unwittingly aided and abetted that moral revolution by an unreflective and unfaithful embrace of the contraceptive revolution."
Religion News Service

Molher has stated, "I do indeed believe that the development of the Pill 'has done more to reorder human life than any event since Adam and Eve ate the apple', sexuality, and reproduction are so central to human life, to marriage, and to the future of humanity."

"The Pill turned pregnancy — and thus children — into elective choices, rather than natural gifts of the marital union. But then again, the marital union was itself weakened by the Pill, because the avoidance of pregnancy facilitated adultery and other forms of non-marital sex."

"In some hands, the Pill became a human pesticide."

Since these views are all from religious conservatives, many might think that the whole issue of birth control is only a medieval hold-over.

However, it so happens that the famous atheist psychiatrist Eric Berne, founder of Transactional Analysis, emphasized in his book Sex in Human Loving that openness to procreativity in sexual relations is best. Dr. Berne states that his reasoning is biological.

Contradictorily, some current secular thinkers think that a woman getting pregnant is to be infested, having a "parasite' living in her.
(More later on this shockingly negative, almost nihilistic, view of pregnancy).

Professor Peter Singer supports infanticide, as sometimes moral.

He argues that born infants aren't persons and thus may be killed if the parents choose to do so!

According to this modern ethicist, a professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, some animals have more value than human infants.

So, see like in many ethical topics, humans' attitudes and outlooks toward birth control are very different.

What do you to say about birth control and sexuality and children?

What is your perspective on these very important ethical topics?


My own view is experiential, not especially theological or philosophical.

On both sides of our extended family in the past, the parents having more than a limited number of children seemed to lead to favoritism and neglect of at least one child. I don't think that had to be, but at least it occurs fairly frequently in large families.

When parents are hardworking, and they have a number of children, it seems that not all of their kids can get an equal amount of quality time, attention, and guidance.

Yes, I know there are famous families who claim this doesn't have to be so.

But consider that in one such well-known poster family, the Duggers, where everything was supposed to be wonderful and sacred, it turned out that the happy facade actually hid deep troubles.

How or why one of their older teens could end up molesting his younger sisters isn't clear.

But probably such a large family made unethical actions easier to commit and to hide.

In contrast, recently, I took an elderly woman to the doctor who has 16 children, 48 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. At 82 years of age, she is still a bundle of joyful energy, said she enjoyed everyone of her children.

It would be insightful if one could interview all of her children and see if they agree. But no doubt there are many happy large families, besides our own example of not.

In my own case, having 3 children while working 60-70 hours a week in my career as a teacher, I found it difficult to give to give each of my children time and interaction.

One of them points out now, that when that he/she desperately needed my time, I was too busy. I deeply regret failing that child.

If I hadn't subscribed to birth control, how could I possibly have been there for 6 or 8 or 10 children?

That's the practical, very real, very important quality point for why birth control is so important--it opens the door for a deep meaningful relationship with each child.

Another hugely important value in this topic is that restricting pregnancies gives a woman better health, longer life, and more time to develop her own talents and interests. A quick review of history will show how no birth control often had disastrous and deadly results for women of the past.

Theological and philosophical questions and reflections will have to wait for a later article.

To be continued--

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Living in Skeptical Hope

Is that possible?

Given the sufferings, tragedies, and horrors of history, especially the last 100 years?

Millions of humans slaughtered many millions of other humans...

Millions more died and are dying from disease and famine and abuse...

Millions despairing...

To be hopeful for the future, seems an impossible dream though a wonderful idea.

Yet how does one choose to hope, while not being willfully blind, not being deluded and eluded
from how the cosmos really was, really is, and appears really will be?

How can we live above and beyond our all too common selfishness,
in-group dynamics, ethnocentric focus, nationalistic perception, and religious/secular
intolerance so characteristic of nearly all of us humans, to one degree or another?

I realize it does seem almost completely doubtful.

But where there is consciousness, awareness, the transcendent sense
of what ought to be rather than what is and what has been, then we can yet
choose to defy the stars and our own sometimes selfish nationalistic-centered ways.

If we do choose with courage—no matter what--there is hope’s possibility.
We through hope in the transcendent Good create what goes counter
to natural selection, the downswing of indifferent matter and energy.

Insightful human leaders from Buddha to Jesus to William Penn
to Elizabeth Fry to Levi Coffin to Lucretia Mott
to Martin Luther King Jr.
to Thich Nhat Hanh have demonstrated this truth.

Hope and creativity and change and new ethical choices are always open despite
the juggernaut of human selfishness, greed, and oppression.

Step#1 Practice skeptical insight.

In my view, skepticism is usually best thought of as a mind-rinse, a mental Listerine,
daily, probably hourly, mindfully gargling, to rid oneself of modern gargoyles,
intellectual germs, social and religious viruses, and delusions.

To protect ourselves from confirmation bias, prejudice, illusion, deception,
finite-itis, cultural and social assumptions, givens, instinctual urges.

Yes, skeptical thinking is a stringent rinse/wash needing done constantly, at least 3 times a day.

Read, reflect, eliminate, and spit;-)

Then drink in the life-giving water of hope.

Step #2 Don't focus on the negative.

This often happens to us humans. We discover false beliefs, delusional errors, even plain mistakes,
and we major on the negative, identifying with what we oppose rather than
with what we hope for in the future.

We become like the hypochondriac who never lives in hope because he is always
fixating on the danger of illnesses out there that he may get.

He becomes so sickness-germ-avoiding obsessed that he fails to think of how not only
the cosmos was, is, will be, but even more importantly, how the cosmos ought to be and could be!

We don’t stop drinking rum or wine or beer or tea or coffee or hot chocolate or milk
and water because sometimes they might be contaminated.

We are just very careful.

So don't identify as central what you reject. Don't fall for pessimism, total skepticism.

Step #3 Focused on what is good, what is true, what is beautiful, what is just, what is right, and
what is compassionate.

Seek new ethical truths not yet discovered.

Live for transcendent values.

Step #4 Keep aware that hope isn't proof.

Immediately there will be critics who will demand the
impossible--that we prove hope exists,
prove that ethics
exist, prove that humans are more than "bags of chemicals," “wet robots,”
"puppets," or cosmic chaff.

While I think there are reasons for hope, and reasons to think creativity, chance,
and human alternative choice exist, there's no proof that transcendent values are true.

If one looks back in natural history, or nature today, one can see that "survival"
seems to be the only reality before extinction.

Hope can't be proven any more than any other philosophical hypothesis.

Philosophers have argued for thousands of years over this sort to idea.

Step #5 Be aware of false choices such as determinism.

About a thousand years ago, Muslim scholars became convinced that determinism
is true, that no human can make alternative choices, only Allah ordains all.
And after that, Islamic countries suffered a shocking decline in education, creativity, discovery, etc.

There were likely many factors which caused this not only the Muslims’ fatalistic
philosophy, but the latter has been noted by a number of historians as to why
so many Islamic countries are backward, unproductive, intolerant, and stagnant.

“Allah wills” as the constant refrain of every conversation isn’t skeptical by a long shot.

And think of how Hinduism's rigid interpretation of karma, caste, and the concept
of eternal return inhibited Asia from leading in science in the past.

After all, if one is convinced that everything is illusion, and that Brahma causes
all events to happen in his cosmic dance, of what point would there be
to look for new concepts and actions? That would only be deluding oneself.

And, more recently, one can swim in the dark waters of postmodernism, where even
the most basic concepts of realness are questioned. But then no one has a leg to stand on.

And, of course, there are the horrific examples from Christianity.

Yes, one needs to be both honest, skeptical, and hopeful.

It seems that a specific miracle claim—if available for study—can be disproven
(or supposedly proven, though none ever have been), but how could one possibly
prove or disprove
that consciousness, reason,
logic, mathematics, aesthetics, the “laws” of nature, etc. are illusions or are real?

This becomes a philosophical battle between the empiricists and the rationalists.

Allegedly, we can’t even prove that existence is real
because we have to assume that our senses
are reliable, that reason and science aren't fooling us.

And we must highly value honesty, not deception.

While both methods work in nature—methods of deception have been
highly successful in nature—scientific discovery depends on complete and meticulous honesty
in one’s scientific findings.

Think of how many studies in science have been shipwrecked by over eager
scientists who have jumped to conclusions or even a few times
intentionally fabricated lab results to help produce wanted conclusions.

I’m opting for the opposite view,--that is my presupposition--that the Enlightenment view of existence is true,
that humans have choice,
that reason is reliable,
that the scientific method does find actual real characteristics
of a real world and cosmos out there,
that the good, the just, the right is real.

So here goes: A Skeptical Worldview of Hope

To be continued--

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, July 13, 2016



not dumbing, not plumbed down,
not dumbwaiving for godot,
no snare

but God inspired;
no theological
smart aleck dolt,
no horrific tulips
of the poisonous
calvin’s sort

no foreordained inscrutables
no despairing dilemmas

instead that everlasting jolt
of infinite compassion

fearless locutions from the heart,
--not verbal or literal executes--

generous movements
of comfort and actions for the lost,

the needy, the hurt,
all those who suffer,
and even those who surfeit;

all inclusive, all in one,

walking with the sun on the water
of the moment


-Daniel Wilcox

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Parable of the Imam and the Young Men

Now in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Yemen…
Again righteous battle--

Turning Owen’s Parable to Speak to Islam:

The Parable of the [Imam] and the Young Men

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac [and Ismael] spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youths with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and [tunnels] there,

And stretched forth the knife* to slay his sons.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lads,
Neither do anything to them. Behold,

A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of them.

But the [imam] would not so, but slew his sons,
And half the seed of [the Middle East], one by one.

-Wilfred Owen, original poem
written against the Great War

*"Palestinian Nights of the Long Knives"

*Palestinian President Abbas: "Jews have no right to defile the Temple Mount with their filthy feet.”

Wilfred Owen’s Original

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

--Wilfred Owen

Lift up Muslims, Jews, Christians and Atheists in the Light.

May they turn from their ideological pride.

May they humble themselves
and reject revenge and killing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Money for Murder--Please Write Your Congressperson!

Arabic on the poster in part reads, "Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, celebrates its martyr hero Mohammed Nasser Mahmoud Tarayreh." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

What did Mohammed do?

Mohammed broke into 13-year-old Hallel Ariel's bedroom and stabbed her to death in her bed.

What a hero!

Then he attacked another Jewish person, but was shot.

Rataj Tarayreh, a sister of Mohammed Nasser Tarayreh, is looking
at a poster with pictures of her "martyred" brother,

Yasser Arafat and President Mahmoud Abbas,
at the family house, in the West Bank village of Bani Na'im, near Hebron.

The family is now eligible for $350 a month from a Palestinian “Martyrs’ Fund"--a Palestine Authority method
of rewarding the families whose family members such as Mohammed Nasser Tarayreh murder innocent Jewish civilians!

Relatives of the murdered Hallel Ariel

Please write your U.S. congressperson to divest all the millions of dollars being given to the Palestine Authority, until this travesty, horror, and injustice is stopped.

In the Light which shines through this world's ocean of darkness,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, July 8, 2016

DAYBREAK IN...the world

"Daybreak of Peace" by Martin Luther King Jr.

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight
of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality."

"...nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time
...nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for
social transformation."

"Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live
together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into
a creative psalm of brotherhood
...which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love."

"I refuse...a militaristic stairway into the hell...I believe that unarmed truth
and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."

"I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.
I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature
makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness"
that forever confronts him."

"I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom
in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events
which surround him."

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind
is so tragically bound to the starless midnight
of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace
and brotherhood can never become a reality."

--Martin Luther King Jr.
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1964

Every person,
every individual,
every human is of inherent worth, is utterly unique, is so valuable!

We need to oppose those in Christianity, Islam, and other ideologies which demean, oppress, and harm others.

We need to reach out to those who are misguided, troubled, deceived...

Live in the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Saudi Arabia and the UN Human Rights Council

From Amnesty International:

Take action now: Suspend Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council.

"We are writing to share with you a joint statement by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch
regarding the position of Saudi Arabia on the UN Human Rights Council..."

"...Urge the United States to support a resolution at the UN General Assembly
calling to suspend Saudi Arabia
from the Human Rights Council on the basis of its commission of gross
and systematic violations of human rights
both domestically and in Yemen.

In November 2013, when Saudi Arabia was elected as a member of the Human Rights Council, it pledged
among other things “to protect and promote human rights”...

...and to “support the human rights bodies and mechanisms
of the United Nations and cooperate constructively with them.”

It made additional pledges during its Universal Periodic Review in 2014,
including to consider ratifying the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights
and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
and abolish
the system of male guardianship over women.

However, since becoming a Council member, Saudi Arabia has committed gross and systematic violations of human rights
both inside the country and as part of the military coalition it leads in Yemen.

The credibility of the UN Human Rights Council is at stake.

Since joining the Council, Saudi Arabia’s dire human rights record at home has continued to deteriorate
and the coalition it leads has unlawfully killed and injured thousands of civilians in the conflict in Yemen.

To allow it to remain an active member of the Council,
where it has used this position to shield itself from accountability for possible war crimes,
smacks of deep hypocrisy.

It would bring the world’s top human rights body into disrepute.

Saudi Arabia’s conduct demonstrates a persistent failure to live up to the solemn requirements
of membership of the Council.

There is no evidence of serious effort on the part of Saudi Arabia to address these violations;

indeed it has used its position to effectively obstruct independent scrutiny and accountability.

Resolution 60/251 provides that “the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, may suspend the rights
of membership in the Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

We urge you to act now and encourage President Obama and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to take leadership on these issues and support a resolution
at the UN General Assembly to suspend Saudi Arabia’s rights of membership in the Human Rights Council."


Please send a letter or email to your congressional representative.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Tyranny of Certainty

Certainty—at least the intense feeling, the passion for that state of mind, that mental obsession, that human idol—is a dear longing, seemingly in nearly every human.

Probably, maybe, it was the devil in the bloody details which led at least 3 smart, fairly rich, well-educated young men in Bangladesh to slaughter civilians in a café for Allah.

#1 A handout picture released by the King Faisal Foundation on March 1, 2015 shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz left, presenting Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, with the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in Riyadh. (AFP/King Faisal Foundation)

One of the jihadists, Rohan Imtiaz, in the Dhaka restaurant attack last week put up a Facebook message of Zakir Naik's statement about Muslim jihad:

“If he is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him. I don’t know him personally. If he terrorizing America, is the biggest terrorist, I am with him."

"Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorizing a terrorist, he is following Islam.”
Zakir Naik

#2 Yet the Muslim leader Zakir Naik, like other Muslim leaders, claims to be against killing!

How does that figure?

Because most Muslims believe they have a duty to kill or punish those who have “created corruption in the land,” a vague phrase that can mean a wide variety of actions, as any study of Sharia Law in Muslim countries shows.

Check out the news of the 700 lawyers working for the death penalty for individuals accused of demeaning the name of Muhammad:

"Leader of the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat Lawyers' Forum, a conservative alliance of lawyers offering free legal advice for anyone filing a blasphemy case, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry poses for a portrait at his office in Lahore, Pakistan February 22, 2016."

"The stated mission of the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat Lawyers' Forum and its leader Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry is uncompromising: to use its expertise and influence to ensure that anyone insulting Islam or the Prophet Mohammad is charged, tried and executed."

"Whoever does this (blasphemy), the punishment is only death. There is no alternative," Chaudhry told supporters crammed into his small office behind the towering red-brick High Court building in the eastern city of Lahore."

#3 Eric Hoffer, author of The True Believer, has answers:

“Absolute faith corrupts absolutely."

"The true believer is apt to see himself as one of the chosen...who is destined to inherit...heaven, too."

#4 Naik is a medical doctor who has become a very popular media speaker for Islam, has more than 100 million viewers,
and has been called the “rock star” of Islam.
However, he has been banned from public speaking in United Kingdom, Canada, and Malaysia.

#5 The list of café killers includes Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam, and Shafiqul Islam.

Why did they lay aside their college educations,
their relationships, their families,
their social life, their friends,
their fun activities,
their interests, their passions,
their ethical intuitions,
even the usual understanding of religious ethics
that one isn’t to kill women?

After all, Muhammad, when he had at least 500 Jewish men beheaded, didn’t execute the women and children but had them sold into slavery.

Yet so many thousands of Muslim young men, now, many of them from middle or upper-class background, and well-educated, have gone off to jihad and killed hundreds of thousands of other humans!

They abandon what most humans want--
LAY all that down!

And often commit war-suicide, before they have hardly even begun adulthood,
in order to kill for Allah, for the God of 99 names,

to destroy young men and women at malls,
in heretical mosques,
in churches,
anywhere non-orthodox Muslims live.

#6 After shouting “God is Great,”
these 5 ran in and asked individuals

if they were Muslims
and demanded they recite the Quran.

If not, they hacked them down.

#7 The killers seem happy, totally guilt-free,
indeed, proud and dutiful.

They are technologically smart and upload photos during their attacks!

How could this impossible, horrific, tyranny of murder possibly happen?

Do these smart, happy-looking individuals look like the sort who would kill innocent civilians eating at a café?

#8 Eric Hoffer gives answers:

“Absolute faith corrupts absolutely.

To be in possession of an absolute truth is to have a net of familiarity spread over the whole of eternity.

There are no surprises and no unknowns. All questions have already been answered, all decisions made,
all eventualities foreseen. The true believer is without wonder and hesitation.

The act of self-denial seems to confer on us the right to be harsh and merciless towards others.

The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude.

No doctrine however profound and sublime will be effective unless it is presented
as the embodiment of the one and only truth.
It must be the one word from which all things are and all things speak.

The impression somehow prevails that the true believer, particularly the religious individual,
is a humble person. The truth is that the surrendering
and humbling of the self
breed pride and arrogance.

The true believer is apt to see himself as one of the chosen...who is destined to inherit...heaven, too.

#9 Three of the innocent slaughtered by the Muslim killers:

He who is not of his faith is evil; he who will not listen shall perish.

There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.

…a mass movement, particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self.

A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.

There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem.

[The true believer’s] innermost craving is for a new life - a rebirth - or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by identification with a holy cause.

An active mass-movement offers them opportunities for both. If they join the movement as full converts they are reborn to a new life in its close-knit collective body...

Or if attracted as sympathizers they find elements of pride, confidence, and purpose by identifying with the efforts, achievements, and prospects of the movement.
A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.

It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective, a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in.
We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. source of a mass-movement’s unity and vigor, is a sacrifice...

To know a person's religion, we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.

The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.

The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.

Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

Here, as elsewhere, the technique of a mass movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure.

An effective mass movement cultivates the idea of sin. It depicts the autonomous self not only as barren and helpless but also as vile.
To confess and repent is to slough off one’s individual distinctness and separateness, and salvation is found by losing oneself in the holy oneness of the congregation.

...whether or not [religions such as Islam] develop into mass movements depends less on the doctrine they preach and the program they project than on the degree of their preoccupation with unity and the readiness for self-sacrifice.

We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility…"to be free from freedom”…Had they not joined…in order to be free from responsibility?
We are ready to sacrifice our true, transitory self for the imaginary eternal self we are building up, by our heroic deeds, in the opinion and imagination of others.

We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength.
Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.

There can be no mass movement without some deliberate misrepresentation of facts.

The act of self-denial seems to confer on us the right to be harsh and merciless toward others.

To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief of the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure.

They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.
Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.

He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride — the explosive substitute for self-esteem.
All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.

Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically part of us, while self-esteem derives from the potentialities and achievements of the self.

We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions.
There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising.

Activists of Pakistani religious group Sunni Tehreek demanding executions of court sentences given under the blasphemy law...

The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.

A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves.

The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self.
We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world.

To find the cause of our ills in something outside ourselves, something specific that can be spotted and eliminated, is a diagnosis that cannot fail to appeal.

To say that the cause of our troubles is not in us but____, and pass immediately to the extermination of the____, is a prescription likely to find a wide acceptance.

To know a person's religion, we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.

Unlimited opportunities can be as potent a cause of frustration as a paucity or lack of opportunities.”
--Eric Hoffer

Think and reflect on those wise words of Hoffer.

Is it probable that these smart, well-educated, fairly rich young men somehow felt insecure or guilty or uncertain?

And so latched onto Islam as the absolute, which it claims to be, as their one certain salvation?

Did they kill the women Tarishi-Jain and Abinta Kabir because they weren't veiled, or because they couldn't quote the Quran?

I don’t know the answers.

However Hoffer's answers are probable, unless one really thinks that the Quran is true, perfect, and eternal.

But we do know that all absolute religions cause slaughter,
intolerance, injustice, harm, persecution, inequality, and so forth
in the name of certain truth.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox