Old Testament-world, ctd

Brunei has just passed a law which enforces Sharia, including death by stoning for same-sex relations and “rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder.”

Because, you know, the world has grown wicked and will be a better place if we chuck modernity and return to the “old ways.”

The United Nations has responded to the nation of Brunei, a sovereign state in southeast Asia, where officials are reportedly set to roll out a new penal code including death by stoning as punishment for same-sex acts.

Other offenses referenced in the revision of capital punishment regulations reportedly include “rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder.”

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Twilight of the Idols, or,
How to Philosophize With a Hammer

Morality as Anti-nature

§3 The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it represents a great triumph over Christianity. Another triumph is our spiritualization of hostility. It consists in a profound appreciation of the value of having enemies: in short, it means acting and thinking in the opposite way from that which has been the rule. The church always wanted the destruction of its enemies; we, we immoralists and Antichristians, find our advantage in this, that the church exists. In the political realm too, hostility has now become more spiritual — much more sensible, much more thoughtful, much more considerate. Almost every party understands how it is in the interest of its own self-preservation that the opposition should not lose all strength; the same is true of power politics. A new creation in particular — the new Reich, for example — needs enemies more than friends: in opposition alone does it feel itself necessary, in opposition alone does it become necessary.

Our attitude to the “internal enemy” is no different: here too we have spiritualized hostility; here too we have come to appreciate its value. The price of fruitfulness is to be rich in internal opposition; one remains young only as long as the soul does not stretch itself and desire peace. Nothing has become more alien to us than that desideratum of former times, “peace of soul,” the Christian desideratum; there is nothing we envy less than the moralistic cow and the fat happiness of the good conscience. One has renounced the great life when one renounces war.

In many cases, to be sure, “peace of soul” is merely a misunderstanding — something else, which lacks only a more honest name. Without further ado or prejudice, a few examples. “Peace of soul” can be, for one, the gentle radiation of a rich animality into the moral (or religious) sphere. Or the beginning of weariness, the first shadow of evening, of any kind of evening. Or a sign that the air is humid, that south winds are approaching. Or unrecognized gratitude for a good digestion (sometimes called “love of man”). Or the attainment of calm by a convalescent who feels a new relish in all things and waits. Or the state which follows a thorough satisfaction of our dominant passion, the well-being of a rare repletion. Or the senile weakness of our will, our cravings, our vices. Or laziness, persuaded by vanity to give itself moral airs. Or the emergence of certainty, even a dreadful certainty, after long tension and torture by uncertainty. Or the expression of maturity and mastery in the midst of doing, creating, working, and willing — calm breathing, attained “freedom of the will.” Twilight of the Idols — who knows? perhaps also only a kind of “peace of soul.”

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Deepities on demand

In case you want to sound just like Deepak Chopra, without the aggravation of making-up and road-testing your own crazy schtick, try here and here.

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Dismal theology tweet of the day

“Boko Haram” means “Western education is sin.” Because, you know, superstitions are undermined when people learn to think.

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Ecumenical tax-avoidance

They may loathe each other’s beliefs, but the Pious of all stripes can agree that their Holy Men are special and shouldn’t pay the same taxes regular folk pay.

Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus may have different ideas about God, but they all agree on a tax break for clergy under attack by an atheist group that says it discriminates against the non-religious.

Interests diverse as conservative evangelicals, mainline Protestants and one group broad enough to embrace both the Southern Baptist Convention and The International Society for Krishna Consciousness filed legal briefs in recent days asking an appeals court to reverse a lower-court decision last year ending a 60-year-old “parsonage allowance” that allows churches to provide ministers with tax-exempt housing allowances in lieu of housing them in parsonages on church property.

This is a no-brainer: Tax breaks for clergy, and their churches, shift their portion of the cost of government to others, and should be discontinued. If a church can’t pay its own way, if it must exact compulsory support from its neighbors, then it should fail — and good riddance.

The tax privileges are all the more egregious when there is absolutely no educated, intellectually serious dispute about the falsity of the dominant faith narratives; when they are explicitly anti-intellectual in a country whose public policy favors public education; when their premises are inherently degrading and injurious; when they flirt with sedition. The religious tax privileges need to end.

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