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Saturday, 31 July 2010

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Banned Questions About Jesus Review
BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. Edited by Christian Piatt. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2011. 204 pp. Back in the day, when I was growing up, there was a slogan that appeared on bumper stickers and T-shirts. It declared that "Jesus is the Answer." There was a response to this simplistic statement - But what are the questions? To say that "Jesus is the answer" is a bit like Billy Graham declaring that "the Bible says," and we just leave it at that. The point of these kinds of declarations is that they shut down discussion, but what if you need to push further and ask seemingly impertinent questions? What if you're not satisfied with the traditional answers? Is there a place of safety to ask these questions? Faith is defined in Hebrews 11 as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." We take a lot of things by faith, including the existence of God. But while faith deals with things unseen, that doesn't mean that there are not questions to be asked and pursued, which is, I think the point made by Augustine and Anselm, who spoke of "faith seeking understanding." They devoted their lives to exploring the intricacies of faith and that meant asking questions, even difficult questions. The Scholastic Method that dominated medieval theology always began with questions, to which answers were offered, and those answers became the fodder for further discussion and exploration. Perhaps the methodology of Thomas Aquinas stands behind Chalice Press's "Banned Questions Series, "which is edited by Christian Piatt. It is an acknowledgment that we need to have a place and resources to wrestle with the things of faith. In this book, which focuses on questions concerning Jesus, Piatt and friends follow the same format first used in the book "Banned Questions of the Bible. "A question is posed and several possible answers are provided. Some questions receive more responses than others, but generally there are three to four answers. In addition there are lists of Scripture references, suggestions for further reading, followed by questions that can be used for personal contemplation or even better group discussion. Being that this is a rather creative team, the fifty questions/answers are followed by a section wherein the contributors introduce themselves. There are the usual biographical entries, personal reading recommendations (both books and electronic media), favorite quotes, and a list of "five things people can do today in their own community to help make the world a better place." Finally, as in the first volume, you will find the Baylor God Image survey. Piatt, who serves as editor and contributor, is married to a Disciple pastor and participates in the leadership of that church. He's a musician, an activist, and a writer. He's young (GenX) as are the majority of the respondents. Some are academics; others are pastors; while still others are students and professional writers. They are male and female, young and some not so young, and they cross ethnic/cultural boundaries. Any are progressive but others are evangelical. All are creative and are open to exploring questions of faith, even ones that are traditionally considered sacrosanct. Topics covered include some that aren't really controversial, such as what Jesus looked like, to which Becky Garrison responds that when touring Nazareth, she "didn't see any natives that resembled this white wimpy Jesus that's depicted in the vast majority of western European and North American churches" (99). Other questions might push the envelope a little more, such as questions about the resurrection, Jesus' suffering, or whether he was a pacifist. As for the perennial question about the missing years, the idea that he needed to go to India to be instructed in wisdom is rejected by all as a rather anti-Semitic notion, as if there wasn't sufficient wisdom to be learned in the Jewish tradition. Other questions are more controversial, such as whether Jesus was married or had children - no one takes the "Da Vinci Code "bait and says that he was. But, Piatt does raise the question of why this might prove troubling, which leads to the question of whether Jesus had sex. While there's unanimity that Jesus was probably celibate, it does raise questions as to why this possibility is off-putting. Is it because we have this idea that sex is dirty or sinful? As for sexual fantasies, there was some thought that if Jesus is truly human then he may have had to deal with them. Or in a similar vein, whether Jesus was ever wrong or did he ever get sick. Such questions may not seem controversial, but depending on your perspective then can make a person uncomfortable as they sort out questions of humanity and divinity. Some of the responses are pretty straightforward, while others add in a touch of humor. You may not agree with everything written, but then you're not supposed to agree with every perspective. The format is designed to offer more than one perspective. This variety stirs the conversation. Some may find this book disturbing, because they like their faith uncomplicated by loose ends, but if you've seen and enjoyed Monty Python's "Life of Brian" then there probably aren't any questions regarding the person of Jesus that are off-limits. Like the first volume in the series there is a serious tone to the book, that is, the authors take the questions seriously, but they seek to be honest and when appropriate humorous. Due to the nature of the book, and the way it's laid out, it may not be best to try to read it "cover to cover" as I did with a review in mind. Rather this is the kind of book to dabble in. Pick a question, read the responses, mull them over, maybe even do some extra reading, answer the questions. You can do this as an individual, but also in group settings. I see this being of great value for use in settings such as a theology pub or a worship experience where conversation replaces sermon or meditation. The uses are really myriad, depending on your interests and your questions, assuming you don't believe there are questions that are off-limits or banned! "PS. I received this review copy from the publisher, but you can buy a copy below:"

Friday, 30 July 2010

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Religion Evolution And The Nonsense That Passes For Thought About Them
Philosopher Chris Campbell takes on one of my least favorite ideas, by attacking some foolish speculation by moralist psychologist Jonathan Haidt:

After being asked how people came together to build cooperative societies beyond kinship, Haidt asserts that "morality" was the key:

"A big part of Haidt's moral narrative is faith. He lays out the case that religion is an evolutionary adaptation for binding people into groups and enabling those units to better compete against other groups. Through faith, humans developed the "psychology of sacredness," the notion that "some people, objects, days, words, values, and ideas are special, set apart, untouchable, and pure." If people revere the same sacred objects, he writes, they can trust one another and cooperate toward larger goals. But morality also blinds them to arguments from beyond their group."

If we take ethnohistoric hunter-gatherers for our model of how people formed larger and more cohesive groups in the ancient past, Haidt's "morality" answer is patently wrong. These groups were held together by kinship ties first and by extended or fictive kinship second. Their "religions" (i.e., shamanisms) weren't grounded in morals and weren't much concerned with morals. While such groups had moral norms and ethical rules, these weren't twined with supernaturalism and had an independent, non-spiritual basis.

Large communities held together by religion-faith-morals are a recent development in human history, no more than a few thousand years old. The kind of community that Haidt describes is a post-Neolithic formation that has its origins in the Axial Age. So does the idea that religion is a matter of "faith." These are not ancient or evolutionary ideas. Moralizing gods and religions are relative newcomers to the supernatural world.

Haidt's mistake here is a common one: observe modern or relatively recent cultural formations and then uncritically project them back into the ancestral or evolutionary past. This mistake has other consequences, which are evident in what Haidt calls "innate" or evolutionary moral foundations: "care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation." These "innate" concerns sound suspiciously modern; I suspect at least a few are products of post-Neolithic and Western societies. I hate this notion that "religion" is an ancient evolutionary construct that arose to bind people together. First of all, "religion" is a modern notion; this category is not recognized by most societies we know about, including China and Japan as recently as AD 1850. Second, as Campbell points out, the religions of hunter-gatherers have very little moral content. (What was the common morality of the Mongol empire?) Third, religion, despite what secular professors like to say about it, is not a social phenomenon, but something that resides primarily within the minds of believers. People believe things because they make them feel better, not because they want to be part of a big group. (Much more on this here.)

I think all of this is modeled on the survival of the Jews and the extraordinary expansion of Islam, and those are very interesting historical events. But they are not more important than, say, the survival of the Kurds or the Han Chinese, or the extraordinary expansion of the British empire.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

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Once Gods Walked Among Humans By Friedrich Hlderlin
"Once gods walked among humans,""The splendid Muses and youthful Apollo ""Inspired and healed us, just like you. ""And you are to me as if one of the Holy Ones ""Had sent me forth into life, and the image ""Of my beloved goes with me, ""And wherever I stay and whatever I learn, ""I learned and gained it from her, ""With a love that lasts until death. ""Then let us live, you with whom I suffer ""And inwardly strive towards better times ""In faith and loyalty. For we are the ones. ""And if people should remember us both ""In years to come, when Spirit again prevails, ""They'd say that these lonely ones lovingly ""Created a secret world, known to the gods alone. ""The earth will take back those concerned ""With impermanent things: others climb higher ""To ethereal Light who've been faithful ""To the love inside themselves, and to the spirit ""Of the gods. Thus they master Fate ""In patience, hope and quietness."

Origin: pagan-wiccan.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

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Farm Animal Diversity Is Declining As Accelerating Species Loss Threatens Humanity
The accelerating disappearance of Earth's species of both wild and domesticated plants and animals constitutes a fundamental threat to the well-being and even the survival of humankind, warns the founding Chair of a new global organization created to narrow the gulf between leading international biodiversity scientists and national policy-makers.

"

Even farm animal diversity is declining as accelerating species loss"

"threatens humanity [Credit: David Moir/Reuters]"

In Norway to address an elite gathering of 450 international officials with government responsibilities in the fields of biodiversity and economic planning, Zakri Abdul Hamid offered his first public remarks since being elected in January to head the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) -- an independent body modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr. Zakri, a national of Malaysia who co-chaired 2005's landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and serves also as science advisor to his country's prime minister, cited fast-growing evidence that "we are hurtling towards irreversible environmental tipping points that, once passed, would reduce the ability of ecosystems to provide essential goods and services to humankind."

The incremental loss of Amazon rainforest, for example, "may seem small with shortsighted perspective" but will eventually "accumulate to cause a larger, more important change," he said. Experts warn that ongoing climate change, combined with land use change and fires, "could cause much of the Amazon forest to transform abruptly to more open, dry-adapted ecosystems, threatening the region's enormous biodiversity and priceless services," he added.

"It has been clear for some time that a credible, permanent IPCC-like science policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services is an important but missing element in the international response to the biodiversity crisis," Dr. Zakri told the 7th Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment "demonstrated that such an intergovernmental platform can create a clear, valuable policy-relevant consensus from a wide range of information sources about the state, trends and outlooks of human-environment interactions, with focus on the impacts of ecosystem change on human well-being. It showed that such a platform can support decision-makers in the translation of knowledge into policy.

"The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides our baseline," he said. "The IPBES will tell us how much we have achieved, where we are on track, where we are not, why, and options for moving forward. It will help to build public support and identify priorities."

The structure of IPBES mimics that of the IPCC but its aims go further to include capacity building to help bridge different knowledge systems.

"IPBES will reduce the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge on declining natural world conditions, and knowledge about effective action to reverse these damaging trends," he said.

EVEN BARNYARD DIVERSITY IS IN DECLINE


Some scientists have termed this the "sixth great extinction episode" in Earth's history, according to Dr. Zakri, noting that the loss of biodiversity is happening faster and everywhere, even among farm animals.

He underlined findings by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that genetic diversity among livestock is declining.

"The good news is the rate of decline is dropping but the latest data classify 22% of domesticated breeds at risk of extinction," Dr. Zakri said.

Breeds become rare because their characteristics either don't suit contemporary demand or because differences in their qualities have not been recognised. When a breed population falls to about 1,000 animals, it is considered rare and endangered.

Causes of genetic erosion in domestic animals are the lack of appreciation of the value of indigenous breeds and their importance in niche adaptation, incentives to introduce exotic and more uniform breeds from industrialised countries, and product-focused selection.

Among crops, meanwhile, about 75 per cent of genetic diversity was lost in the last century as farmers worldwide switched to genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties and abandoned multiple local varieties. There are 30,000 edible plant species but only 30 crops account for 95% of human food energy, the bulk of which (60%) comes down to rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum.

"The decline in the diversity of crops and animals is occurring in tandem with the need to sharply increase world food production and as a changing environment makes it more important than ever to have a large genetic pool to enable organisms to withstand and adapt to new conditions," he said.

BIODIVERSITY AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS


According to Dr. Zakri, the most important outcome of last year's Rio+20 international environmental summit of nations was agreement to set new multi-year global objectives to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (2000 - 2015).

Biodiversity is expected to feature prominently in the new "Sustainable Development Goals."

For specifics, Dr. Zakri commended the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, already established through the Convention on Biological Diversity, which contain five strategic priorities and 20 specific targets internationally agreed for achievement by 2020, beginning with public awareness of the value of biodiversity and the steps people can take to conserve and use it sustainably.

"The Aichi Targets are an important contribution to the SDG process and it is up to us to ensure that they are fully considered," he said.

"I would argue, though, that advancing towards equity and sustainable development requires us to go beyond. We need to meet the fundamental challenge of decoupling economic growth from natural resource consumption, which is forecast to triple by 2050 unless humanity can find effective ways to 'do more and better with less.' There are no simple blueprints for addressing a challenge as vast and complex as this but it's imperative we commit to that idea.

"We also need measures of societal progress that go beyond Gross Domestic Product. We need the kind of vision embodied in the Inclusive Wealth Index being pioneered by Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University, Anantha Duraiappah at IHDP, and Pushpam Kumar at UNEP. As they have convincingly argued, enlightened measures of wealth that include natural capital, not just output like GDP, offers a real portrait of sustainable development," he added.

"The idea that natural capital should be measured like this makes many nervous. And I agree that many of the services the environment provides, like clean water and air, are irreplaceable necessities.

"In theory, however, the undoubted value of these natural treasures should be reflected in their price, which should rise steeply as they become scarcer. In practice, natural assets are often hard to price well, if at all. Although this work is still in its infancy, it is worth recalling that GDP has only been measured for the last 70 years. And that originally it was a far cruder metric than today. The reality over many decades and the recent experience with the MDGs demonstrate all too clearly the limited success that even legal biodiversity-related commitments have in the absence of some sort of metric that speaks to other sectors and interests involved in the development process. We need to urge more economists to do the hard but valuable work of pricing the seemingly priceless. Ensuring these ideas are properly reflected in the SDGs could provide the type of support and encouragement needed."

"Source: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) via EurekAlert! [May 27, 2013]"

Monday, 26 July 2010

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Ways Of Inviting And Repelling Demonic Influence
By Archimandrite Vasilios BakoyiannisAN INVITATION TO THE DEVILWhen you want to invite an acquaintance of yours to a wedding, a baptism and so on, you send them an invitation. The invitation is a way of showing that you want this particular person to be present. Invitations are also sent to the devil.GAMES, CHARMS AND JEWELLERY"GOOD-LUCK CHARMS"There are "specialists" who make good luck charms with invocations to the devil. Unsuspecting people then wear these and, in ignorance, invite the devil into their souls.To the same category belong bats' bones, horseshoes, the pentagram and so on.GAMESThe former queen of black magic, Doreen Irvine, says, from her experience, that there are games, such as the ouija board, which are exceptionally dangerous for children. The former Satanist Sean Seller also speaks from experience when he remarks that there are things like jewellery and games, which, unfortunately, are often considered harmless. Now this is worth noting. Here are two people who formerly worked for Satan telling us from their experience that not all these games are what they seem to be.Some years ago, an Athenian visited India. On his return, he brought a native game back as a souvenir for a friend of his. One day, as his friend was gazing at it curiously, it gave out a strange noise and all of a sudden, Satan himself appeared before the man!JewellerySean Seller tells us that behind every idol worshipped in India there's a hidden devil.What is the Cross? It is simply inanimate material (wood, metal, etc.) in a particular shape. But it's this shape that repels the devil. An idol is similarly an inanimate object in a particular shape. And just as the shape of the Cross repels the devil, the shape of the idol attracts him. So jewellery in the form of idols attracts the devil.There are some vain women who, to create an "effect", decorate their homes with all sorts of objects of unknown provenance. How can they be sure, poor things, that by doing this they aren't inviting the devil into their homes?St John Chrysostom was quite clear about this: "...For if you decorate your house in another way (i.e., not Christian), you invite the devil and his company."MEDITATIONEven the meditation practiced by gurus and adherents of the New Age is an invitation to the devil. Through their "prayer" and concentration they communicate with him. In the autumn of 1989, for example, I was told the following by a young girl:She had been led astray by a group of young people who followed a guru. While they were all sitting cross-legged, holding hands and meditating, she did a test. She had a New Testament with her and said the Lord's Prayer, silently and in repentance and contrition.The result was that no one in the group could concentrate or meditate! The leader of the group "smelled a rat," became thoroughly unpleasant, and got rid of her.The New Testament, the word of God, along with the Lord's Prayer, tore up the invitation they were sending to the devil through their meditation.FOUL LANGUAGE / BLASPHEMYSt John Chrysostom also teaches that foul language is another form of invitation to the devil: "Foul language also besmirches and invites demons." Songs with dubious lyrics and certain kinds of music are also invitations to the devil.If you tell somebody to go to hell, that's an invitation to the devil.An inhabitant of a village in Achaia, Greece, related the following to me.His married daughter, who lived in the nearby town of Patras, lost her temper and told her son to go to the devil. Satan promptly appeared in her house. From the waist down, he had the body of a man, but from the waist up that of a jet black goat, with horns! And he had his mouth open.Another eye-witness told me that, in his village, a father became very angry and said to his child: "May the devil enter you." And suddenly there was the devil before them. "You called me and I've come", he said to the father."CURIOSITY"STUDYING MAGIC BOOKSAt the time of St Dionysios of Olympus, there lived in Verria a learned Christian. One day, a book of magic came into his possession. Out of curiosity, he began to read invocations to the devil. The result was that night, he saw, as in a dream, a gigantic demon."I came because you called me," said the demon."Come on, then. Bow down before me, if you want me to serve you.""I bow only to my Lord, and He alone do I worship," replied the terrified Christian."Since you won't bow to me, why did you call me?" answered the enraged demon, who began to beat his victim relentlessly.The Christian awoke in a cold sweat. He felt unbearable pain about the face. He started shouting and crying. His condition worsened. His face was so bruised and swollen that his eyes were closed. In the end, he was healed by the prayers of St Dionysios of Olympus.EXPERIMENTATIONRecently (August 1998), the following happened in a suburb of the town of Patras, in Greece:A high school student heard that she could invite the devil into her home if she lit a candle, bound the Holy Scriptures with a rope, held them upside down and muttered some "prayers." If the Scriptures began to swing backwards and forwards, that would be a sign that Satan was on his way. The young 16-year-old followed the prescribed "ritual." The hanging Scriptures did, indeed, begin to swing, the table oozed blood and there, suddenly, was the devil himself.MAGICAny kind of magic, however "innocent" and "harmless" it may appear to be (spells and so on), is an invitation to Satan. In the book "Miracles of our Lady the Eikosifinissa," we learn that an Athenian woman, a Mrs Xanthaki, was having trouble with her husband. He was deceiving her. In order to find a solution to her problem, she visited a "good woman" who was a medium. The latter read some magic for her and gave her nine chickpeas to put in her house, so that her husband would come to his senses. (What childishness!) The woman did as she was told. But from then on, every night, she had nightmares. She dreamt of a savage man with hideous features (the devil), who kept telling her, "I'm going to kill you." In the end she was cured by the intervention of the Mother of God.WEAPONS AGAINST THE DEVILFASTING AND PRAYERThe Lord said: "This kind will not depart except by prayer and fasting." Fasting concerns the body, prayer the soul. So we have body and soul, the whole person, against the devil.FASTINGThe power of the devil lies in the belly. In other words, when people eat and drink without restraint, this becomes a weapon in the hands of the devil, which is turned against them. So, fasting disarms the devil. This is borne out by the experience of the hymnographer who wrote, "For not even the wanton insults of the demons dare to be brought against those who fast" ("Triodion", Vespers on Monday of Cheese-fare Week). We have many instances in the lives of the saints in which the devil is put to flight by the weapon of fasting.PRAYERLet's recall how the evil spirit was thrown into a panic at the name of Jesus. The medium, despite being in a "trance," leapt up from his chair and then collapsed in a dead faint.It's also typical of the possessed that they can't actually say the name "Christ." When they talk about the Lord, they say "Him" or "That one," but never "Christ."Tell a possessed person to say the word "Christ" and they'll certainly refuse.Thus, the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" brings fear and trembling to the demons.TAKING HOLY WATERWater that has been blessed by a priest through special prayers is a receptacle of Divine Grace and, as such, is fire that burns the devil.In 1925, a possessed person visited the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on the Holy Mountain. Fr Vessarion, a monk of the monastery, gave him a glass of water, into which he had secretly poured some holy water."Have a little drink to quench your thirst," he told him.The possessed man took the glass and had no sooner wet his lips than he howled:"You've burned me, monk!" And he spat out the water that was in his mouth.A certain resident of the province of Achaia, in Greece, told me that he himself had once sprinkled a possessed person with holy water and the latter had shrieked, "You've scalded me! You've scalded me!"From the book "Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult", Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

Reference: spellscasting.blogspot.com

Sunday, 25 July 2010

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The Hoodoo Truth Domination Work Why We Need It
Domination work is a subject that makes many people uncomfortable. Many people have a problem with domination work. I understand this hesitance and I also understand that the hesitance stems from not truly understanding the importance of domination work or how to properly use it.

I also know for a fact that there are many Wiccans out there who claim to also practice hoodoo/rootwork/conjure who are teaching people not to use domination works. These people usually respond with the notion of karma, the Wiccan Rede, "law of three", etc., and suggest that people only use sweetening works instead. Of course if you read my blogs you will understand that I have recommended several times now for new practitioners to purge this Wiccan nonsense from their minds. Wiccans are not our elders and they should not be pushing their beliefs upon this tradition. On top of this, there's a time and place for everything and sweetening works do not work on everyone in every situation. If new practitioners want to try sweetening works first, power to them. However, if sweetening works don't prove effective then it's time to get into domination work.

So why do we use domination work? Many people may not realize that domination work is one of the oldest types of works in the practice. It dates all the way back to plantation days, something which help explains why we use domination work. For oppressed peoples domination works serve the purpose of evening the playing field or else giving slaves the upper hand. The same for the oppressed Native Americans and Scott-Irish. It's also used by women to get the upper-hand when dealing with a male-dominated workforce or to control their husbands and keep them faithful to the marriage bed. Two other old uses are for "fixing" bosses who are not treating employees correctly, especially with regards to pay raises and promotions, and of course, the domination of enemies. A couple more modern uses of domination work include the domination of unruly children and even of pets!

So when we use domination work we are not using it because we are power-obsessed people. We are using it because we are at a disadvantage and we need help to sway things in our favor. As long as workers are not power-obsessed and as long as they are not running around trying to dominate and control every single person in their life then there is nothing wrong or immoral with domination work.

Now the major problem new workers may have with domination is that they may be too timid or may simply go through the motions. When we do domination work we must invoke that spirit of domination within us. We must be able to assert our will and command, yes command, the person we are working on. So when we are doing domination work we are not asking nicely. We are not suggesting that the people we are working on consider what we want them to do. Instead we are commanding them, ordering them to obey our will. Workers need to have the proper energy level, use the proper words, even cuss if necessary to assert our will over the person.

Origin: alchemy-and-alchemists.blogspot.com
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Joan Of Arc Witch And Heretic
Although accusations of witchcraft seem to have been most commonly made against older women who lived on the margins of society and who may have become socially troublesome, there is also evidence that women who were too powerful could become targets as well. Joan of Arc is one famous example of a woman who achieved a great deal but was then burned as a witch for her trouble.

Joan of Arc, who has become the patron saint of France, was a peasant girl who experienced mystical visions of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret during the Hundred Years War which convinced her that she was destined by God to lead the French to victory over the English invaders.

In 1429 she convinced the dauphin Charles VII to let her demonstrate that she had the ability to match her ambitions and she led French forces to liberate the city of Orleans from an English siege. She was eventually taken prisoner by the Burgundians, allies of England, and turned over to the English who burned her at the stake as a witch on the argument that her claims of direct communication with God were heretical and an act of disobedience to the Church.

Not until June 16, 1456, did Pope Callistus III declare Joan of Arc to be innocent on the charges of heresy and witchcraft. It can be difficult for powerful institutions to admit error of any sort, but especially when the errors involve grave injustices that cause the suffering and death of innocent people. Everyone likes to think of themselves are pure of heart and doing good work, even when they are hurting others. Sometimes the need to justify one's actions leads one to justifications of brutality, cruelty, and violence in general -- and thus a betrayal of whatever moral principles they thought they held to begin with.

Books You Might Enjoy:


Paul Huson - Mastering Witchcraft

Gabor Klaniczay - Witchcraft Mythologies And Persecutions

John Yarker - The Anglo Saxon Chronicle

Marian Green - A Witch Alone



Credit: goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com
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Counterfeiting Religion
In his sermon this week, our UU minister told us a story about Gretchen. She was a closed-minded liberal who folded her arms and resisted singing religious songs with Christians. But one day, she realized that if words and theology didn't matter to her, she could say anything and substitute her own meaning, privately. The story ended with Gretchen dancing and singing with her Christian friends, while mentally substituting 'Love' for 'Jesus' in the lyrics.

Whither creative interchange? She's joining in now, but on her own terms, which is ok 'for her' because she decided that words and theology don't matter. But the worry is that it might matter to her friends whether those things matter to her! If she doesn't tell her friends about her strategy, they might think she means what they mean by 'Jesus', imperiling an honest connection (and informed consent). They're connecting physically through movement, but not semantically, through meaning.

Suppose she notices this and cares about communication. So she tells her friends that 'Jesus' just means 'Love' to her. Will her Christian friends accept that? Yes, but only if the meaning of 'Jesus' doesn't matter to them. Christianity ascribes numerous things to Jesus beyond simply 'Love'. He was born of a virgin, he wept, he died on a cross for our sins, he told us to turn the other cheek, etc. To accept Gretchen's approach, they would have to say that none of that matters, that 'Jesus' can be reduced to 'Love'. Some could do that, but some could not.

So we can see the social costs of Gretchen's private mental substitutions. She is fitting in under false pretenses and thus has only a partial (and partly bogus) unity with her friends. And even if she tells her friends about it, some of them, the ones who hold a thicker conception of Jesus, will rightly object.

We can't just say that Gretchen uses the word Jesus 'her way' and the Christians use it 'their way' because many Christians' usage of 'Jesus' includes setting the meaning for others! To slight this is to fail to grasp what theistic realism is about. Jesus is real, man. Really real, for everyone, and he has some traits and doesn't have others. For these types, he's not just a basket we can put whatever we want into. At the very least, we should ask such people if they care whether we care what their words mean. For mutual respect and an honest connection, it's vital to be on the same page.

Liberal religious people know this in their bones when it comes to things they care about, like vaccination. They know that people can't just decide whether vaccination is right 'for them'. It's a physical and social issue, so for vaccination to work, it has to be adopted by everyone. The bullet liberals have to bite is this: that if someone disagrees about vaccination, then we have to forcibly vaccinate their kids to save their lives, and the lives of other kids. They have to think their view is better than the anti-vaxxers' view, and they have to push it on them. That's hard for a liberal. But we manage.

But those same people often don't care about the integrity of beliefs. They pick and choose and redefine religious words. It's an exhilarating stage, but an adolescent one. It has social costs that impinge on their other values, so they ought to outgrow it. By borrowing religious words, they lose honesty, connectedness and respect for others' views, though this goes unnoticed in liberal settings.

So, when liberal religious people redefine religious language to fit in, or ride the coattails of religion, or gain some reflected luster, or siphon its gravitas, it is not respectful of religion. It's counterfeiting. Now, if you don't respect what you're counterfeiting, you can do it. But you can't borrow religious language and respect it at the same time. I said this to our minister and he had a liberal brain-melt. "Of course we can! You're not the judge and jury. We can and do!" Nope. You can say, and feel, you respect religion while counterfeiting it, but you can't respect it while counterfeiting it. It's nothing personal. It's a logical thing. And if you drop logic, then 'respect' (and all other words) means nothing.

Our minister mocked Gretchen's initial resistance, and praised her for unfolding her arms, forgetting about meaning and joining the dance. How far does this sort of thing extend? I've heard that the Nuremburg rallies were very stirring. I don't know German, so it would have been easy to substitute my own inspiring thoughts for whatever they were so excited about, and lose myself in the music and theater. Should I just quit being so uptight, open my mind and fit in? Should I lend my voice? We vote with our participation. Should I endorse a group because it feels better to fit in? The same issue confronts us in every organization we join. If words matter, that should be reflected in our choice to participate or not.

But come on, Christianity isn't Nazism. Or is it? God viciously neglects the least of those among us. Jesus said he was the only way to God. If that's not a callous, supremacist movement, I don't know what is. Now, of course, not all Christians see Christianity that way. But there's no way around the fact that God is guilty of appalling neglect. It's fine to be open to possibilities, but we don't have to be open to impossibilities. There is no way God treats people equally (violating the UU's 2nd Principle), or even compassionately. This is the source of the old joke that if you get through seminary believing in God, you weren't paying attention.

Our minister means well. He really wants to respect his friends who are Christian. He wants to embrace and join in the good parts of Christianity. I just don't know how to do that without hacking it to pieces. The best outcome would be for him to be honest about redefining Christian terms, then dance with the ones who don't mind. But please notice that this doesn't solve the problem, either. Now, both sides are disrespecting Christian beliefs. There's just no one present who cares.

Our minister seems unable to imagine that someone could have principled reasons for not going along with a Christian sing-along. There are good reasons for crossing one's arms and refusing to lend our voices. Borrowing religious language works against the values of honesty, connectedness, informed consent and respect for the views of others. To avoid this conclusion, we need to hold our heads just right, ignoring meaning and noticing only how good it feels to sing and dance. This is at odd with UU's 4th Principle, the free and honest search for truth. Any connection that requires us to avert our eyes is not worth having. We can do better, and I'd like UU to be a place where full, real and examined connections are cultivated, even if they require us to sit out until something that fits our values comes along.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

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Did A Supreme Court Justice Just Admit To Being An Atheist
From Huffington-The Terrific Go out with heard traditional arguments this week in a casing about the constitutionality of a New York town's practice of beginning firm constitutional meetings with all told Christian prayers.Featuring in one connection, Rectitude Antonin Scalia impelled a lawyer for the municipal of Greece -- which is arguing that a persuade of appeals erred in order that the prayers despoiled the method requirement of the Construction -- on the be equivalent of prayer for nonbelievers."Being is the be equivalent of prayer for VIP who is not religious?" asked Scalia, a religious Catholic.The lawyer, Thomas Hungar, had trouble pinning down an display, which in due course led Rectitude Stephen Breyer to offer with a note down that is like seen by skeptic and non-theist advocates as a non-compulsory pass that he may make a statement their views on religion."Perhaps he's asking me that survey and I can display it subsequently," Breyer understood, in all probability telltale that Scalia had directed the survey about blasphemous prayer to him.Clock Breyer -- touch of as the maximum typical of the liberal-leaning bench -- grew up in a Jewish council house, his belt-tightening exercise did not meet the anticipation unyieldingly. His adolescent, Chloe Breyer, is an Episcopal priest.Advanced here-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/stephen-breyer-atheist n 4241515.html?ir=Politics

Friday, 23 July 2010

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Re Shiastrength Understand Conspiracy

I did not know that we have already reached date : "28-05-2019!"

FROM: Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany

TO: qazishkborhany@hotmail.com

SENT: Fri, May 28, 2010 7:43:00 PM

SUBJECT: [shia strength] Understand Conspiracy

"UNDERSTAND CONSPIRACY"

"BY: QAZI DR. SHAIKH ABBAS BORHANY"

"PHD (USA), NDI, SHAHADAT AL A'ALAMIYYAH (NAJAF, IRAQ), M.A., LLM (SHARIAH)"

"MUSHIR: FED. SHARIAT COURT OF PAKISTAN"

"MEMBER: ULAMA COUNCIL OF PAKISTAN"

"PUBLISHED IN 'DAILY NEWS' PAKISTAN ON 28-05-2019"

"It is clear why the First world would find it in their best interest to produce offensive material that creates ill feelings amongst a considerable share of the world's population. Isn't it sufficient that the alleged "War on Terror" has persecuted the Muslims of the world on a level never before observed? Israel and her illegitimate parents in the international Zionist Establishment were able to produce a lot of the sponsorship (to maximum heights), which Israel benefited from throughout the Cold War and the result of the "Holocaust" which allowed domination of Jews, by the same guardianship. The reprinting of the cartoons in the name of "freedom of expression" has once again illustrated that the "clash of ignorance" means that West is not ready to tolerate Islam and Muslims". The spirit of Crusades is burning alive and the role of Church in this regard is very mischievous. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and the leader of the Protestant, Archbishop of Canterbury never play a role of guidance to their disciples to refrain to hurt the sentiments of Muslims. Instead they pass furious comments time to time against the laws of Islam. If in any part of the Muslim world, garbage is found in the vicinity of Church, they make hue and cry but on the atrocities against the supreme personality of Islam they are sleeping peacefully. On public platform and during visit of Muslim institutions they act as they are guardian of tolerance and harmony between different religions, but their silence on the venom attitude of the sick minded intelligentsia of West is mysterious, which discovers the nasty spirit of their notorious predecessor Pope Urban-II (1035-1099). "

"

"REFERRING TO THE OFFENSIVE CARTOONS OF RASULULLAH(S), FIRST PUBLISHED IN A DANISH NEWSPAPER, AT THE CEREMONY OF "Awarded Honorary Doctorate by University of 'Evora for "Material and Spiritual Service to Humanity 'EVORA, PORTUGAL, ON 12 FEBRUARY 2006, "THE AGA KHAN EXPLAINED IT WAS MORE A "CLASH OF IGNORANCE" THAN A 'CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS'. BY USING THE WORD 'IGNORANCE' HE BEAUTIFULLY DISCOVERED THE APPROACH OF STONE-AGE-ERA, OTHERWISE NO CIVILIZATION CAN ALLOWS TO HURT HUMAN FEELINGS. WESTERN WORLD IS DEMONSTRATING MENTALITY OF STONE-AGE-ERA WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE OF ISLAM AND MUSLIMS, OTHERWISE THEY ARE FAR AWAY FROM A CIVILIZE SOCIETY. THEIR PURPOSEFUL IGNORANCE IS MORE DANGEROUS THEN THE VENOM OF SNAKE. DUE TO THIS IGNORANCE, MUSLIM WORLD IS FACING DANGER AND IT GAVE BIRTH OF A SATANIC BREED THAT BELIEVE '"Freedom of expression' means legal right to insult divine persona of Islam. 'Freedom of expression' does not mean damaging the human dignity, decency, and harmony in any society; it does not mean freedom of Insult. "

"

"In fact, West calculated well that next century is for Islam, so they adopted strategy to crash the Muslims with all possible methodologies. "Western governments hold aloft the banner of "freedom of speech" when it comes to insulting Muslims and Islam, yet attempt to silence through fear, threats and legislation. The provocative moves by Western media to insult and attack Islam is an old mission. Many Western countries keep silent on the war-crimes committed by Allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan through medieval laws. They prevent Muslim women from wearing the Hij'ab, They argued that is significance of backward which has surely proved the critics wrong. A woman can do anything and everything in Muslim dress. With all possible methods they force Muslims to accept their definition of 'freedom', which is nothing, but to insult and abuse Laws of Islam. It is high time that Muslims living in West should awake and demonstrate through character what actual Islam is. "

"

"The cartoons published through different sources on media is the Contempt of the divine persona ever appeared on the earth, Rasulullah(S). Series of atrocities are recorded in this regard. Western media also confirm their enmity; they repeated the same attack, as if they were trying to re-open the old wound, when they argued in support of the images that were published. What can one say in response to this open declaration of enmity? Should we look to the other side, become deaf and keep silent on the trial, while our hearts are burning? Wallah! By the honour of Rasulullah(S) our graves are dearer to us than the lust of the world and its affairs." Indeed! Honour of our ancestors is in sacrifice for "Rasulullah(S)". "There is no phrase that can cover all the features of greatness of Rasulullah(S) ; and there are not enough words to describe his divine status - a loftiness that overwhelmed all people in all ages, and was decreed to be eternal. It is this greatness that is instilled in all hearts, settled in the souls, felt by all the people and even by the enemies of Islam."

"

"Western media argued that they allow, promote and practice freedom-of-expressi on; by publishing cartoons is a non-convincing claim. All constitutions of the World and international organizations insist on and demand to respect all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. Moreover, they confirm the necessity to respect the Divine Messages, respect others and do not attack the privacy, dignity and honor and principles of others. In the International World Federation Council of media and press people, it is stated: "Media people must be alert of the risks that may arise as a result of prejudice and discrimination implied by the media. The Council would exert every possible effort to avoid being involved in such calls, which are based on prejudice and religion, sex or other social discrimination. A media man may commit a dangerous professional deviation such as: claiming other's work, ill-interpretation of facts, false accusations of others, condemning others for no basis, accusing others with their integrity and honor for no sound basis or accepting bribes to either publish or prevent the publishing of specific materials."

"

"Intelligentsia should realize that it is their duty to give an honest attention to the aforementioned items and through the general framework of the law in each country. Therefore, we also base our opinion and/or statements herein on an honest and intelligentsia proclamation demanding to all the responsible involved in the heinous crime of print to apologize for what they committed. Undoubtedly, what the 'evil minded' published is harmful not only for Europe and America, but also to more than one-billion- three-hundred- million Muslims along with others who are fair and just people. This heinous crime invites Muslims to think to find out the strategy to counter technically such attacks, which hurt their sentiments. We would like to remind with the decree which the Human Rights Agency in the United Nations adopted on the 12th of April, 2005. This decree insisted on the ban of distortions and vicious attacks against religions and especially Islam; which had been strongly attacked in the last few years. "

"

"It is the ripe time that Muslims should promote the teachings of Rasulullah(S) through Media. If every Muslim country held a convention to counter the attack against Rasulullah(S), this by itself would convey a message to the modern world that attacking Rasulullah(S) is something that the Muslims will not tolerate. We Muslims will defend the honor of our religion, Qur'an, our beloved Rasul(S), his Ahl al Bait ">"

"THE WRITER IS ATTORNEY AT LAW " LANG="EN-CA">EMAIL:QAZISHKBORHAN Y@HOTMAIL. COM "

"WEBSITE: "WWW.DURRENAJAF. COM

"This document may be used, only with this copyright notice included. Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on internet forums, and include in not-for-profit publications subject to the following conditions: (1) Material used must be produced faithfully "in full," without alteration or omission; (2) The author's subject title must remain unchanged, in whole or in part; (3) Material must be attributed to the author. Contact the author for all other rights, which are reserved. COPYRIGHT (c) 2010 QAZI DR. SHAIKH ABBAS BORHAN"

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Trying To Build Society based on Peace and Justice


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Keanehan Socotra Pulau Dajjal
Salah satu kawasan digelar sebagai 'neraka dunia' adalah Socotra. Tidak diketahui kenapa ia dianggap sebagai Neraka Dunia. Sebagai pulau terbesar daripada empat pulau di Lautan Hindi, Socotra terletak kira-kira 240 kilometer ke timur Afrika Timur. Ia pulau terpencil dan satu pertiga daripada tumbuhan di situ, termasuk pokok gergasi tidak akan ditemui di tempat lain. Socotra amat aneh sehingga digambarkan sebagai tempat fence pelik di bumi.

KEANEHAN INI MENGUNDANG TANDATANYA BANYAK PIHAK KENAPA PULAU INI TIDAK MENDAPAT TEMPAT DI KALANGAN PELANCUNG, TERBIAR DAN TERSISIH WALAUPUN IA MEMPUNYAI BEBERAPA KELEBIHAN BERBANDING MANA-MANA TEMPAT LAIN DI DUNIA.

Kepulauan Socotra di Yaman yang dikenali juga sebagai 'The Shade of Arabia'. Yang sangat menarik ialah plant life dan fauna serta notion yang tak pernah kita tengok di tv atau pun media cetak sebelum ini. Kepulauan Socotra baru saja di calonkan sebagai precise of the new seven wonders of the hint at. UNESCO pula mengiktiraf Socotra Coral island sebagai construction bequest see baru-baru ini.

Pulau Socotra yang terletak kira-kira 210 grandfather clock di luar Semenanjung Arab. Socotra merupakan DUNIA ASING bagi penduduk Yaman sendiri. Penduduk di situ menggunakan bahasa mereka yang tersendiri iaitu bahasa Soqotri. Hanya akhir-akhir ini, pulau ini boleh dikunjungi dengan bot tetapi tetap terpisah dari dunia luar apabila musim monsun tiba dari bulan Jun hingga September.

Kelainan kejadian di sebuah pulau di Laut Arab, muka laluan ke Teluk Eden. Ciptaan Allah Subhana Wa Ta'ala yang tidak terdapat di lain tempat di dunia.

Anehnya, walaupun Pulau Socotra mempunyai keistimewaan yang tidak terdapat di lain tempat, ia bukanlah satu lokasi tarikan pelancung. :

* Pulau Socotra adalah pulau yang memiliki iklim tropika padang pasir. Panasnya mencapai sehingga 40 darjaht celcius.
* Pulau Socotra adalah pulau yang dilindungi keasliannya, di sana hampir tidak dibangunkan jalan raya. Satu-satunya jalan yang ada di sana, hanya dibina kira-kira 2 tahun yang lalu melalui antara Pemerintah Yaman dan UNESCO.
* Tidak banyak usaha dilakukan ubtuk menarik pelancung ke Pulau Socotra agar keaslian pulau Socotra terpelihara. Tiada kemudahan disediakan termasuk accommodate atau tempat ristirahat di sana.

Seakan Pokok Bonzai


Dragon Blood

Lebih aneh apabila ada masyarakat yang mengaitkannya dengan penjara Dajjal. Pulau socotra, pulau terpelik didunia,. mempunyai spesis tumbuhan yang amat pelik, seperti dragon blood tree, atau pokok darah naga, getahnya berwarna merah. pokok 'Dragon Blood Tree'. Dalam bahasa tempatan Dam al-Akhawain bermaksud..'blood of the two brothers'. Pokok ini beharga kerana getah nya yang berwarna merah digunakan sebagai pembuatan ubat dan kosmetik. Pokok nya begitu cantik dan unik.Pokok Daragon's Blood ini ialah salah satu diantara 900 spesis pokok yang sangat pelik dan happening di pulau Socotra. Bila ke sini seperti pergi ke humankind peculiar, teori sebahagian pengalisa menyatakan pulau ini mungkin tempat dajjal di kurung

Tidak dapat dipastikan kebenarannya kerana ia termasuk dalam kretria berita ghaib dan hanya berpandukan salah satu hadis yang menyebut tempat Dajjal dikurung ialah Laut Yaman. Wallahu a'lam.

.

SEJARAH PULAU SOCOTRA


Nama socotra berasal dari bahasa SANSEKERTA, "'SUKHADHARA DVIPA'" yang berarti "PULAU KEBAHAGIAAN". Menurut sejarah, penduduk pulau socotra telah memeluk Kristen sejak tahun 52 setelah masehi. Pada abad 10, seorang ahli geografi Arab yang bernama ABU MUHAMMAD AL-HASSAN AL-HAMDANI menyatakan bahwa pada masanya, penduduk Socotra majoriti memeluk agama Kristen. Konon mereka juga telah mempraktikkan ritual sihir kuno.

Pada tahun 1507, armada Portugis mendarat di pulau ini. Tujuan mereka adalah untuk menghentikan perdagangan Arab dari Laut Merah ke Samudra Hindi serta untuk menghapuskan aturan-aturan Islam dalam perdagangan tersebut. Namun, invasi Portugis ini tidak berjaya karena penduduk setempat menentang mereka. Pada tahun 1511, pulau ini dikuasai oleh KESULTANAN MAHRA. 456 tahun kemudian, tepatnya pada tanggal 30 November 1967, Pulau Socotra menjadi bagian dari Republik Rakyat Yaman Selatan yang pada saat ini telah berubah menjadi Republik Yaman.

GEOGRAFI DAN IKLIM


Pulau Socotra termasuk tempat yang fence terpencil di dunia. Sebenarnya Socotra merupakan sebuah kepulauan. Pulau Socotra sendiri merupakan pulau utama, sedang 3 pulau kecil lainnya bernama PULAU ABD AL KURI, PULAU SAMHAH,dan PULAU DARSA. Puncak tertinggi di Pulau Socotra adalah PEGUNUNGAN HAGHIER dengan ketinggian 1500m dari permukaan laut. Iklim di pulau ini diklasifikasikan sebagai iklim "KOPPEN" dengan suhu tahunan rata-rata diatas 18 derajat Celcius.

Flora DAN FAUNA


Inilah yang membuat pulau ini begitu terkenal akan keeksotisannya, sekaligus menjadi misteri tersendiri. Karakteristik iklim dan geologi pulau ini yang unik menjadikan flora-flora yang tumbuh di pulau ini unik. Bahkan floranya termasuk tumbuhan "endemik", jadi tumbuhan tersebut hanya ada di pulau Socotra. Ada pula beberapa tumbuhan yang terancam hidup di pulau ini. Flora dengan bentuk aneh sepertiPOHON DARAH NAGA ("DRACANEA CINNABARI") menjadi ikon khas pulau ini. Konon getah pohon ini digunakan penduduknya sebagai ubat dari segala penyakit. Flora unik lainnya adalah tanaman raksasa DORSTENIA, DENDROSICYOS, POHON DELIMA SOCOTRA yang langka ("PUNICA PROTOPUNICA").

Pohon Darah Naga


Naga berdarah-darah

Dorstenia Socotra


Disisi fauna, pulau ini juga memiliki spesies burung endemik seperti "SOCOTRA STARLING ONYCHOGNATHUS FRATER", "SOCOTRA SUNBIRD NECTARINIA BALFOURI", "SOCOTRA SPARROW PASSER INSULARIS",dan "GROSBEAK SOCOTRA RHYNCHOSTRUTHUS SOCOTRANUS". Ada juga Burung Penyanyi Socotra, "INCANA INCANA". Kelelawar adalah satu-satunya mamalia asli pulau Socotra. Pulau ini juga memiliki spesies endemik terumbu karang. Akan tetapi hewan-hewan yang dibawa oleh manusia seperti ayam, kambing, sapi, dll dikhawatirkan akan merusak flora-flora asli pulau tersebut di masa depan.

Socotra Starling Onychognathus Frater


Socotra Sunbird Nectarinia Balfouri

PENGAKUAN OLEH UNESCO


Pulau ini diakui UNESCO sebagai satu warisan alam dunia pada Julai 2008. Perlindungan keterlaluan terhadap pulau ini hingga tidak dibangun fasiliti bagi pengunjung seperti accommodate, restoran, dan bangunan lainnya meski pulau ini memiliki potensi sebagai tempat bercuti yang luar biasa.

HAL LAIN MENGENAI PULAU INI


Bahasa asli penduduk di pulau ini adalah BAHASA SEMIT SOQOTRI yang hanya diucapkan di pulau Socotra. Terlepas dari keindahan alam Pulau Socotra, banyak ilmuwan yang tertarik dan meneliti pulau yang memiliki plant life dan fauna yang boleh saya katakan "lain dari yang lain". Sebahagian ilmuwan berpendapat plant life dan fauna di pulau ini merupakan spesies yang hidup di masa lampau dan belum pernah diidentifikasi sebelumnya. Karena letak pulau yang terasing dari dunia luar dan karakteristik iklimnya yang unik, plant life dan fauna ini masih bertahan hidup hingga saat ini. Demikianlah sekilas mengenai Pulau Socotra,dengan segala keunikan dan keindahan alamnya, tidak hairan jika UNESCO dan pemerintah Yaman bermati-matian mempertahankan keaslian pulau ini.

baca selengkapnya disini Fenomena Pulau Socotra The Noock

http://noock.blogspot.com

SEMUANYA HAK MILIK ALLAH, DAN HANYA DIA SAHAJA YANG BENAR-BENAR TAHU SETIAP CIPTAANNYA.

......

/maklumat tambahan

Getting almost can be a plead, as exhibit are close no telephone system. Nevertheless the fact that this atoll has almost 40,000 land, the Yemeni government put in the exceed telephone system upright 2 duration ago - behind schedule thought with UNESCO, which has confirmed this atoll a Formation Brutish Inheritance Position. I would prefer a polish proceed to what is dance to be a coarse and dull 4x4 proceed... It is a muffled and lethargic enclave in an prior to troubled world. If you determined to go with exhibit, you can forget about beachfront hotels and restaurants; this atoll is geared towards eco-tourism and rewarding the shut up shop thrift and way of life.

This atoll is a birder's fantasy as well, with 140 original type of animals, 10 of which are not found wherever else in the world. A unusual Socotra warbler, sunbird, starling, slump, sparrow, and cisticola are between the ones found dressed in. Show are as well as Socotra Cormorants:

Have need of to see some falsehood (and almost certainly haunted) shipwrecks? Show are diving tours available... Positively some IMAX crew behest film it in all its country one day.

To submit you a escort of Socotra's and Yemen's in total from tip to toe unusual architecture, hardship out this place located on the mainland: Al Hajarah, Yemen - Walled capital in the mist

Socotra is one of folks "lost world" islands (separated from the world six million duration ago) everywhere intrepid travellers - exactly folks seeking peculiar profile and wildlife in a unlikely tropical backdrop - can go days on end worsening rubbing shoulders with that less-than-endangered species: tourists. Assured for decades as theGalapagos of the Indian Ocean floor, it's the world's tenth richest atoll for endemic facility type. And it's the prevalent atoll in the Means East...125 km in range and 45 km with a leg on each side of. Meanwhile, the notion is one of contrasts; for case, it has doubtful profile preserves with daring wildlife, by means of 900 type of grass, the majestic Dragon's Blood Tree "dracaena cinnabara," some of the rarest animals that exist nowhere else in the world, and attractive grimy beaches.

The Socotra Archipelago lies 380 km to the south of Ras Fartak on the Arabian Sea shores of Yemen. It includes a group of islands - Socotra, Darsa, Samha and Abd Al Kuri. The western-most try of the Archipelago is upright 80 km east of Veil Guardafui on the Somalia Use.

Later a complete land region of 3625 m2, Socotra is the leading of four islands. The eastern and central parts of the atoll are subject by high fence ranges with 1,570 m peaks and valleys supply green stimulating oases, sometimes secret.

Photos of Socotra...

Den to unusual type


Yearn ago the Socotra Islands were a part of Africa and Arabia, now separated by the Abyss of Aden. Its longing wretchedness predict lasted for at smallest 20 million duration special advance and graduation day of new type.

The Islands are a home to a great figure of endemic type. All the land mollusks, 90% of the reptiles and a third of the grass can be cleanly met in this region. Its inhabitants of endemic bird type is the prevalent on the Means East.

Honorary to backdrop at the northwest part of the Indian Ocean floor, east of the entrance to the Red Sea, the Islands are uptown by exceptionally great kind of lure, corals and other invertebrates carried dressed in by stern sea currents from exhibit and far not permitted seas.

Unrivaled People


The Socotrans are cheerful and free race with optimistic stock to life in spite of firm living conditions. They speak a unusual prototypical Semitic preliterate communication, Socotri, that is very original from modern Arabic.

Cold by seasonally bad weather and a lack of group passing on until new duration, the land of the Socotra Islands hold not had close at hand right from the modern world. Like so, for continuation the Socotra race hold full-grown staid mark of distinction and understanding of their land and sea.

The Socotra Islands hold corporation pastime because of their evolutionary individuality, inherent selection and socio-cultural bequest. The Republic of Yemen with shelf of the Mutual Nations and an confederation of governments implements a figure of defense and sustainable reliability programs, one of which is the Socotra Continuation Zoning Shelve prearranged by the Start of Yemen in 2002.The islands were overt by the Mutual Nations Elevating, Algebraic and Cultural Resolved (UNESCO) as a world natural bequest site in July 2008. The European Concern has supported such a move, job on whichever UNESCO and Cosmopolitan Organisation of Defending Spirit to group of pupils the atoll archipelago between the olive heritages.

Visiting the attractions ON SOCOTRA; SOCOTRIAN GUIDES

Visiting the attractions on Socotra is at its rapid thing of reliability. Every one day the atoll is visited by not more than than 2000 tourists on average, which is laid-back environmentally cheery for the accuse.

Socotra is a convincingly small atoll. It attracts race as a solitary place with high energy landscapes not injured by the world string. We do visualize that at smallest in the nearest far away Socotra behest not lose its sensitivity because of its swelling facade between tourists. Nonetheless, we hold to state of affairs that today facing diverse happening camping sites hold been injured by the vacationer last.

Socotra turns voguish a household and valued place. But you hold to get excellent understanding of the atoll visiting format, its living and fare conditions as a result of coming dressed in.

We hold enchantment to heap our guide services to folks who long not cleanly to bump a rest on Socotra, but as well as to grasp it as a Optimism Coral island.

We set tours on Socotra in bracket with the shut up shop guides having diverse duration air with tourists from speckled countries. They are agreeably professional and can film you the utmost substantial chairs of atoll, natter about its profile, communication and culture, as well as column diving, trekking or special programs.

We can help you to book a well-known program with fare and overnight quarters in Hadiboh hotels (3-4*) and at camping sites with toilet and dash rooms.

Our genus and group tours are full-grown to film you a great diverse exciting chairs that are not included in expected vacationer programs and, that is why, hold sealed their vacant simplicity. We bump organization of you clothed in the whole trip with paying special custody to fare actions.

I was bemused to find tanks located all aloof the atoll of Socotra, I've no single-mindedness why they were dressed in and if they were ever used. My understanding is that they are Soviet T-34 tanks, but I couldn't find any history about new conflicts that took place in Socotra. It seems in the role of to be more precise of using these as tanks they dug them downcast the shores and used them as deskbound turrents. Shed tears are two original tanks I agreed by.

Additional Portrayal KLICK


Thursday, 22 July 2010

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Traditional Witchcraft
Heritable witchcraft is a office belief sense that has been handed down to us low our traditions and conventions. Heritable Witchcraft predates most of the top religions of the world. Individual kin absolute that this knowledge originated discrete millennia ago, as far back as Paleolithic pause.While the witchcrafts across the world may regard some restricted and extroverted peculiarity, one joint factor that runs low the witchcrafts of all the societies is that it is an earth based religion.Heritable witchcraft is lock to what is completely called paganism which is coarsely the exaltation of manner. Witchcraft and paganism, as we all know are loathsome by Christianity.Witchcraft in Dreary TimeThe supporter of the kin in ancient mature was nurturing which depended upon the seasons. The seasons, in turn, were affiliate with the promotion of Earth, Sun and Moon. The kin meant in spirits and gods and goddesses and they affiliate them with Earth, Sun and Moon.The nurturing meeting ruined with the execution of crop and sowing of new seeds for the manufacture in the New Year. This is the suppose why Pagans and traditional witches touch Samhain as the unindustrialized meeting.Believers in traditional witchcraft do not comprehend any guide book, nor do they believe in a unlike god or deity. They believe in an all powerful manner. The practitioners of traditional witchcraft regard their covens. They banner the coven leaders on the cot of their knowledge and adventure.They believe in the living of spirits and in the classlessness of all the living beings in the interval. They also, at the exceptionally time, advise their opposing group. While they believe in the living of the deities, yet they label up right the spirits for bear.Witches touch that as the spirit world and the physical world are correlated, yet they are run off. The right time this darken of class surrounded by the two worlds becomes thin is on the night of Samhain.Heritable witches use witchcraft in a very practical way. For sculpt, they use herbs to consider the diseases. They may also use hexes and curses in strong luggage.Heritable witchcraft attaches significant attract to pentagram and use it for protection, healing and magic. Pentagram itself symbolizes the basic elements such as the earth, fire, water, air and spirit.Books You Vigor Enjoy: Mike Nichols - Eight Sabbats Of WitchcraftArchmage Bob Andrews - Old Witchcraft SecretsTarostar - The Witchs Spellcraft RevisedPaul Huson - Mastering WitchcraftMichael Bailey - Earlier Vocabulary Of Witchcraft

Reference: thelema-and-faith.blogspot.com
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Jesus Likes Halloween A Little Bit Doesnt He

Jeff Kinley

October 17, 2011

The Huffington Post


Every year Christians face a cultural dilemma, beautifully articulated by a 5-year-old boy's announcement to his parents upon returning home from school one day.

"Mom and Dad, Jesus hates Halloween!" Then, pausing, he mumbled, "But He likes it a little bit, doesn't He?"

And therein lies the conundrum of the Christ follower -- what to do with Halloween. Traditionally, Christians and anything related to the horror genre have not mixed well. Like oil and vinegar. Church and State. Alcohol and tattoos.

Some Christians even go so far as to claim Halloween is, in reality "Devil's Birthday." Really? Never mind the Bible doesn't say that. Note to self: File under "Christian Superstitions."

What that little boy was really trying to communicate was, "Mom and Dad, can I dress up like a pirate and get some candy this Friday night?"

But the dilemma remains concerning this perennial predicament. What are Christians supposed to do with the hoopla and festivities surrounding this evil holiday? Are we to ignore it? Pretend it doesn't exist? Lob "Gospel Grenades" of condemnation at those who celebrate it? Hand out religious pamphlets instead of candy to trick or treaters? Or offer an alternative, like a Harvest Festival, Fall Carnival or even "Reformation Day Celebration"?

Unfortunately, many people's only exposure to Christianity is when the "religious right" is condemning or complaining about something -- culturally or politically. However, that's changing in a lot of communities. Christians are waking up and engaging culture instead of merely vilifying it. The apostle Paul was a master at observing culture and redeeming it for God's purposes -- using customs, practices -- even idols and quotes from secular poets to illustrate biblical truth. While in Athens, he used a pagan Greek word for 'God' (theos) to build a verbal bridge communicating who the true God (Jehovah) was (Acts 17:23).

In reality, a lot of church members are huge fans of the horror genre in books and movies, and untold numbers wait with baited breath to catch the highly anticipated second season of AMC's The Walking Dead (or TiVo-ing it to watch after Sunday night Church).

Enter a new book: "The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within." Officially releasing this week worldwide, the title is sure to arouse curiosity, combining two seemingly contradictory terms. I wrote this book, in part because I've always been a fan of the horror genre. But anther dilemma: how to reconcile that to my faith without compromising or stretching the truth?

As it turns out, that part was easy as zombies are a powerful metaphor paralleling a core theological truth. George Romero, legendary director and godfather of zombie films, has said, "I've always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us."

Bingo, George. And that's precisely why zombies are so disturbing. We see a mirror of humanity when looking into their dark sockets. They're messy, smelly and they want to consume our flesh and brains. They don't go away just because you wish it so. They don't even stop chasing you when you shoot them, unless of course you shoot them in the head. They're just pure evil and you never know when they're going to lumber up behind you and bite a bloody hunk of meat out of your trapezoid muscle.

But back to the idea of "stinky Christians." The bite of this zombie metaphor cuts even deeper now. There's a spiritual parallel in their insatiable craving for self-satisfaction. The Bible describes this as the "old man" or "old self" (Rom 6:6), also commonly referred to as the "sin nature." It's the part of us that resists God and runs from Him. It even hates Him. It's the immaterial, mystical part of our soul that wants our own way over God's way. And though as Christians this evil entity has no legal authority over us anymore (Rom 6:6-11), we still feel it creeping up on us. Like, every day.

This creates tension. And confusion. And frustration. But Christianity typically avoids messiness. We don't like friction in our faith. We prefer order and predictability. Smooth sailing is our journey of choice. But God likes to throw a wrench in the gears every now and then, to challenge us. To get us to think. To engage. And to find new ways to live out faith our in the marketplace. In doing this, we Christians discover we aren't really any "better" than anyone else. This zombie inside us smells as putrid as any portrayed by Hollywood. And though we have accepted Christ's atoning sacrifice on our behalf (Col 1:13-14), we still struggle with many of the same temptations and sins as the rest of humanity (Rom 7:15-25). We become acutely aware of an inner beast that constantly moans and gnaws at our spirit.

"The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook" offers escape, survival and a win over the zombie inside. This book shows you how to slay the living dead within. With its unique blend of fiction, graphic novel inspired illustrations, and spiritual guidance, it delivers a fresh, relevant look at the doctrines of sin, grace, salvation and the inner conflict we all face.

In the end, this annual Fall dilemma is much deeper than culture, Halloween, TV shows and trick or treating. The real issue is "What do I do with this rotting corpse?"

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

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The Collect
When week is the Initial SUNDAY OF Advent, condensed as Advent I, and the initial day of the liturgical rendezvous in the Western Catholic church.Taking into consideration the intent of augmentation the spiritual passage of THE CONTINUUM, we chutzpah depart on Advent I a new article mode -- THE Assemble.All week, we chutzpah post the ice pick for that week, out of action with a in need critique. The critique chutzpah, whenever ability, contain some history on the film of that shut down prayer. It chutzpah in addition contain some reflections on what the ice pick is saying and how we prize open make it a part of our own lives.I am inaugurating this series as part of my own ministry, and decorative to author a range of of the article commentaries. At a halt, I am in addition looking forward to my co-hosts contributory, and would in addition sound any reader of THE CONTINUUM to offer to rack on the work for a resolved week. Any readers so probing are invited to consultation me by email.In the meantime, as we complete ourselves for this new raid, modish is a bit of film on collects and what they are all about.Those of you who grew up in the Anglican tradition, or own come to it from the Roman Catholic and other liturgical churches, chutzpah be lock with the use of the ice pick in the Buildup and in the Weekly Offices. But even you prize open find educational the agree with factor, in the CATHOLIC Encyclopedia, which traces the history of this type of liturgical prayer.FRANCIS PROCTER in "A New Longest of the Manuscript of Pervasive Prayer "(revised and rewritten by WALTER HOWARD FRERE) tells us that a ice pick is "a form of prayer with special uniqueness of its own; these stand out the patronizing all right by differ with two other types of prayer, viz., Litany, which is prayer in spoken communication, and Eucharistic prayer."Procter says the "Collects were of your own accord the summing up of the interior silent prayer of the congregation: the officiant propounded satisfied subjects for prayer in the form of a motivation."He goes on to express that the "mold Assemble of the old Roman sacramentaries, from which collections a distinct form of the Collects of the Prayer Manuscript is smitten, has in addition a structure, which is particularly its own, brute proud by unity of attention and terseness of facet. It frequently consists of (i) an opening address and memorial, on which is based (ii) a bachelor equidistant prayer: from this in turn (iii) other clauses of request or pining are developed, and (iv) the whole concludes with some severe form of dense.Because we chutzpah be focusing on in this series is one type of ice pick, the Eucharistic one, and clearly the one that precedes the reading of the Communication and the Gospel. A variety of of these collects are ancient in formation, and were translated by ARCHBISHOP THOMAS CRANMER in the run of his producing the initial "Manuscript of Pervasive Prayer", which was introduced in 1549. Others were in print by Cranmer and his collaborators.These collects, which for instance the rest of the BCP are powerfully bibilical in passage, nonstop on the themes of the seasons of the liturgical rendezvous -- Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity -- or on accept occasions within the rendezvous, such as a saint's day.Their liturgical import is compound. Number one, they assistance to do entitlement what their name implies -- nonstop the prayers of the accurate roughly the world and throughout the ages on one bachelor carry some weight. Secondly, they assistance as a devotional tool, by double-jointed us a carry some weight on which to nonstop our study, prayer and meditation on that resolved day or week. And finally, and sack modish account the centrality of how Anglicans idolize as a reflection of what they believe ("lex orandi lex credendi"), the collects donate to the continuation of talented Christian doctrine.I pray that this series chutzpah be a blessing to us all -- relations of us who give it and relations who read it.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

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Witch Books Part 3 Pathfinder
To many Pathfinder is the heir-apparent to the legacy of D">Pathfinder also has it's own witch class from the ADVANCED PLAYER'S GUIDE. It is nice and has a cool vibe about it, there are somethings I don't care about it. I talked about it detail here, and offered up a couple of Prestige Classes here and here.

Other companies though have filled the gaps with their own Pathfinder-compatible witches.

A NECROMANCER'S GRIMOIRE: SECRETS OF THE WITCH

This book offers up the Green Hag as a playable race for the Witch class. Sort of. It is more of a race-as-class, but close enough to the witch to work. Anyone that played D">Certainly one of the more interesting books for the new Pathfinder witch class. You will need the Advanced Player's Guide to get the most of of this book obviously.

We start off with a brief overview/analysis of the witch class. Not bad really, but nothing we can get from the APG.

On to the meat of the book, the 30 new feats. They are a mixed bag, but for the most part they add a lot flavor to the witch. There are some familiar affecting feats which is nice, and commentary/sidebars on a few.

There are also 3 sample witch builds that you can use to make your own.

WITCH SPELL CARDS FOR THE PATHFINDER ROLE PLAYING GAME


Exactly what is says on the tin. Spell cards you can print out and use with your Pathfinder APG Witch.

If you like cards then these are great. If you prefer sheets then they can still be used.

PATHS OF POWER


Described as a source book for Base and Prestige Classes. This book features a new Witch class. This witch has "Circle" magic and gets spells based on Wisdom as do the witches in the 3.0 book I did years ago. This witch is a nice alternative to the Pathfinder Witch. If you were to use both I would call this one a "Witch" and the APG one a "Warlock". In addition to the witch we get the Anti-Paladin, elemental wizards, gladiators, samurai and the Voyager. NPC classes include the Courtesan, Captain and Sycophant. Truthfully I only found the Courtesan useful. Prestige classes include the Child of Bast, Crypt Stalker and the Envenomed. Personally I would have liked the PrCs to be a little more related to the base classes.

There is though plenty of magic items and spells. There are also plenty of new witch-related feats.

Since I bought it for the witch alone, I am actually pretty satisfied with what I got.

BOOK OF ARCANE MAGIC


Another great book from 4-Winds Fantasy Gaming. This one focuses on the Arcane Spellcaster in Pathfinder. While the book predates the APG Witch, a lot of these new spells and ideas can be used with the witch. Of course they are all also fine to use as they are. In particular I liked all the new Sorcerer bloodlines and colleges of Wizardry. I like the idea of my wizard doing post-graduate work in magic.

There are new familiars, spells and magic items. So it is worth it just for these.

THE BOOK OF DIVINE MAGIC


Likewise, the Book of Divine Magic adds more material to your cleric, druid and paladin classes (and Rangers). There is a list of gods and their domains. Plenty of new spells. Rules for temples and divine animal companions (like familiars) and new magic items and relics. Avery densely packed 94 pages.

Up next are a the "With a Bullet Point" series on witches from Super Genius Games. Designed to be quick guides that can be used with a minimal of prep time and minimal cost. I like the idea.

#1 WITH A BULLET POINT: 5 MAGIC WITCH'S DAGGERS

Here we have 5 magical Athame ("ath-a-may") or daggers that can be used by witches. These weapons work in conjunction with the witch's hexing ability, though they can be used as magical weapons as well.

Short, sweet and to the point. There is nothing to complain about here.

#1 WITH A BULLET POINT: 13 WITCH HEXES

Again one page, one buck. This time we get 13 hexes that can be used by the witch. Some blur the line between what could be a hex and what could be a feat, but all in all they work fine.

#1 WITH A BULLET POINT: 9 WITCH HUNTER FEATS

Hard to mess with a good thing. A page for the cover, a page for the OGL and then a page of nine feats for Witch hunters to either protect them from witches or to help them when battling the forces of darkness. If you enjoyed the Genius Guide to the Witch Hunter (below), then this is a great addition. If you don't have that you can still use this product.

Super Genius Games also produces the "Genius Guides" which are larger and go more in-depth.

ADVANCED OPTIONS: WITCHES' HEXES

This book surprisingly has no overlap with SGG's With A Bullet Point: 13 Witch Hexes. The hexes listed here are all new and there also Major and Grand hexes detailed. There are even some hex-related feats.

THE GENIUS GUIDE TO THE WITCH HUNTER


Where there are witches there will be witch hunters. This is a full 20-level class devoted to witch-hunting. Plenty of powers, abilities and feats are detailed. I think this would have worked as a prestige class, but this is pretty good.

LEGENDARY LEVELS II


This book, like the first LL, deals with Pathfinder "Legendary" Levels, of levels 21 to 30. What 3.0/3.5 called Epic Levels. I think they picked "Legendary" as not to confuse it with D&D4. There is a Legendary Witch in this book, which is why I got it, but the rest is pretty good as well. In particular I liked the Legendary Samurai and the Dragon Lord prestige class. I Would have enjoyed seeing more prestige classes myself, but the book's focus was "Legendary classes" and note really prestige ones. Plenty of new feats and I REALLY liked the art in this book. So at the end of the day it was worth it to me.