20161031

Supplication for the Beggars and the History of Protestant Reformation in England (historigraphy)


In this article, I quote from Simon Fish's Supplication for the Beggars.  Then I discuss at great lengths to place the quote within the context of the history of Europe from the 4th Century to the 16th Century CE, only to form my analysis of Fish's Supplication and finally conclude with the Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards, emphasizing its importance with quotes from the Scripture on forgiveness and Christian charity – agapé.


My apologies to all copyright holders that I have quoted.  All the links in the text reference your words. Also my apologies to the Anglicans who might be offended by any irreverence showed in my description of Church of England history.

Any mistakes and omissions are entirely my own.  SHK 2016-10-31



Most lamentably complains their woeful misery unto your Highness your poor daily bedemen¹ the wretched hideous monsters (on whom scarcely for horror any ye dare look) the foul unhappy sort of lepers, and other sore people, needy, impotent, blind, lame, and sick that live only by alms, how that their number is daily so sore increased that all the alms of all the well-disposed people of this your realm is not half enough for to sustain them, but that for very contrient² they die for hunger.” – Simon Fish, Supplication for the Beggars



1: bedemen: plural of bedeman – originally beadsman – a resident of an almshouse in Tudor England. In Scotland, it refers to a privileged or licensed beggar who receives public alms.


Originally, the word referred to a pensioner or almsman who prays for the welfare of his benefactor, when hired to do so, counting the beads on a
rosary. In Medieval English, bede means prayer and is derived from the Old English word biddan. Thus, beadsman means a man of prayer.

In England, the word “bedesman” was long associated with “servant”.


Almshouses are sometimes former bede houses like the Lyddinton Bede House, which was converted to shelter poor bedesmen after 1600 CE in post-Reformation England until 1930. Originally alms are money or services donated to support the poor and indigent out of the tradition of Christian charity. While some almshouses are secular, most of them are European Christian institutions. Establish since the 10th Century in Britain, they provide a place for poor, old and distressed people to live. During the Middle Ages, most hospitals in Europe functioned as almshouses.

2: contrient interdependence: A condition of social situations in which
the actions that benefit some individuals harm others. It tends to
promote competition. [From Latin con- together + terere to rub or
grind + -ent present participle ending + English interdependence]
From: contrient interdependence in A Dictionary of Psychology »

In Fish's England and much of Europe was in an economic crisis by 1529, due to taxation of the poor by the Church. Almshouses were created to deal with the problem. Best known for aiding in the distribution of the Tyndale New Testament, he wrote the anti-clerical pamphlet Supplication for the Beggars, which inspired the English Reformation and the Protestant Reformation proper.


After the Roman Catholic Church condemned the pamphlet as heretical in 1530, Fish was arrested in London on charges of heresy but died of the bubonic plague before his trial. At this time in the Church's history, it was a popular pastime for clerics to burn heretics at the stake after horrific tortures throughout Europe.


In Europe, circa 1517, as a monk Martin Luther objected to church corruption (the selling of indulgences to absolve sin) which led to the Reformation.


As a learned young man, Luther aspired to become a monk, though his father Hans Luther,a rich businessman, wanted him to become a lawyer so much that he withdrew him from the proto-Reformation school run by the Brethren of the Common Life in Magdeburg. Founded circa 1380 by a Dutch
Catholic mystic Geert De Groote., the Confraternity of the Common Life is based on his relations with the German Gottesfreunde (Friends of God), a medieval lay group within the Catholic Church, and the writings of the Flemish mystic Ruysbroek (John of Ruusbroe)c.


In 14th Century Germany, the disruptive reign of the Avignon Papacy had led to the struggle for political power between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Papacy. This culminated in Queen of Naples and Countess of Provence Joanna 1 selling the city of Avignon in 1348 CE to Pope Clement VI for 80,000 florins, uniting Comtat Avignon with the Comtat Venaissin, forming a unified papal enclave whilst retaining their separate political identities.

Almost 50 years earlier, the French lawyer Pierre Dubois, a pupil of St. Thomas Aquinas at University of Paris was the propagandist who wrote in 1300 the anonymous trestise “Summaria, brevis et compendiosa doctrina felicis expeditionis et abbreviationis guerrarum et litium regni Francorum”, a work on the means to shorten conflicts and wars of France.


Sympathetic to French King Philip the Fair, he wrote the anti-clerical and thus secularizing propaganda against Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, “Supplication du peuple de France au roy contre le pape Boniface le Ville, which virulently indicted the temporal power of the pope. His propaganda continued onwards, long after Boniface's death in 1303.


Importantly, in 1305 Dubois wrote his treatise on the necessary conditions of a successful crusade, De recuperatione terrae sanctae.  It would first begin with a state of peace among Christian nations of the West established and enforced by a church council, which the Catholics view as the aim to subdue the papacy, making it easy for the King of France to take advantage of papal influence.


With reform of the monastic (e.g. Dominicans) and importantly the military orders (e.g. Teutonic Knights) and the reduction of their revenues would allow his king to rule over the Papal States and administer them while forcing the Holy See's vassal countries of Tuscany, Sicily, England and Aragon to pay homage to the French king.  In return the king would grant the pope the revenues of the Papal States.

Dubois also advocated the education of young men and women in oriental languages (Arabic, Greek, Slavic, Turkish) and the natural sciences with a view to the government of Eastern peoples.


Meanwhile, despite disputes with the King of Bohemia, the rise of the Cumans in Hungary which led to the excommunication of the Hungarian King
Ladislaus
and his growing unpopularity by the Magyar people under his rule, and the fears of hereditary monarchy by the Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire that culminated in the election of Count Adolf of Nassau-Wellburg as Holy Roman Emperor in 1292,
King Albert I of Germany was finally elected King of the Romans (Holy Roman Emperor) in 1298. Due to his humility and keen sense of justice, he protected the serfs and especially the
Jews, who would be expelled from France in 1306 by King Philip.


Due to Dubois' influence, King Philip attempted to control the French clergy and came into conflict with Pope Boniface but French aims to become a world power didn't stop there. Over two centuries later, in 1536 CE, French
King Francis 1 would make the strategic and sometimes tactical alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent
, the Turkish sultan of the Ottoman Empire, thanks in part to the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmet II and unification of the Middle East between 1516 and 1517 by Selim 1, Suleiman's father. But that's another tale.

In response to the decadence that occurred in reaction to suppression of the French clergy in performing their rites, Ruysbroek's mystical writings were one of many mystical treatises written to encourage Christian charity and love for one's fellow man, which also include the Theologia Germanica, a treatise of German mysticism associated with the Gottesfreunde (Friends of God).

Christian mysticism at this time was inspiring the common people to realize that God and man shall become united by following the path of perfection e.g. the life of Christ.

Martin Luther admired Theologia Germanica so much he published first a partial and later a full edition of it in mid- to late-1510s CE to support his thesis that the German language is as equally suited to express theological ideas as the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages.


In fact, this treatise became so popular among the Radical Reformation and later, of Lutheran and Pietism traditions that the Catholic Church banned its reading in 1612 until the second half of the 20th Century. Yet Theologica Germanica was well read by Catholic mystics.

Meanwhile, back in England, the English Reformation begins when King Henry the 8th wanted to divorce his wife Catherine because Mary was the only child born of her, and the adoption of primogeniture in European royal circles (a consequence of the feudal system in which the ancient Roman custom was adopted from Catholicism and made the law in England) meant
that a legitimate male heir was required to inherit his entire estate (England and Scotland).

With Catherine in her forties, Henry sought a second wife which led to conflict with the Roman Catholic Church when he asked statesman Cardinal
Wolsey
to appeal to Pope Clement VII for an annulment, having sought Anne Boleyn as his new wife, a lady-in-waiting to his soon-to-be former wife Catherine of Aragon.

Adverse to angering Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the Pope refused.


Intrigue on the part of Charles led to his deception of Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry prior to Clement's election as pope. Later, Clement confirmed Wolsey's legateship for life and also gave him the Bishopric of Durham om 1523. Upon becoming bishop, Wolsey resigned the See of Bath and Wells.

As bishop Wolsey showed no personal ambition to become pope. Indeed, he was “more joyous thereof than if it had fortuned upon my person”, which showed his humility.


Now Charles distrusted Henry, so Wolsey opted for alliance with France when the defeat and capture of Francis at Pavia in 1525 made the Holy
Roman Empire a danger to all Europe.

In the Treaty of Madrid Francis lost Flanders and the Artois to Charles.  Allowed to return to France in exchange for his sons, Francis and Henry, once free, he claimed duress led to his agreement with the King of the Romans, thus making it void since his sons were taken hostage which implied that Charles didn't trust him.


Meanwhile, Henry reluctantly made a new treaty with France with Wolsey's aid.  Yet it was making him unpopular in Henry's court due to the jealousy of the nobility because the people of England were hostile towards the taxes exacted to pay for such political power.


Even so, Wolsey had changed the taxation system in England, working with
the treasurer of the Chamber, John Heron to create the “Subsidy.”  By accurate valuations of the taxpayer's wealth, one shilling per pound of income was now exacted.


Given that 20 shillings make a pound, taxation for the Subsidy was 5%. The old taxation system only meant the poor ended up paying as much taxes as the rich. When the new taxation system was implemented, the poorer members of society paid much less.

Wolsey also reinvented the equity court in which the the judge decided the verdict based on the principle of fairness. Both the Star Chamber and the Court of Chauncery concentrated on simple, inexpensive cases and impartial justice. In the Court of Requests for the poor, no fees were required. No longer were powerful people invincible e.g. the Earl of Northumberland was sent to Fleet Prison in 1516 and Lord Abergavenny was accused of illegal retaining.

It is at this point that King Henry's desire to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn led to Wolsey's fall. While he didn't wish the king to marry Anne, he saw Catherine's political influence as Charles' aunt led her to dislike Wolsey's French policy.

His reasoning was that if the religious tribunal decided that the king's marriage to her was invalid, the pope would confirm it.


Once Catherine learned of the King's plan, she prepared to defend her rights as queen. Since she could count on Pope Clement and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to sympathize with her, Henry sent Wolsey to convince Francis to pressure the pope by delivering the pope from Charles who had sacked Rome, hoping for Clement's gratefulness would convince him to grant Henry the divorce.


On Wolsey's return to England, he learned that he was no longer favored by the King due to his failure to secure a divorce. Instead, he had learned Bishop Knight of Bath and Wells had been sent to Rome in 1527 to get Catherine of Aragon's marriage annulled and to make trade pacts, which never came to fruition, mainly due to the fact that the English were never considered a part of the Continent of Europe by the Central European kingdoms.

For ambassador to the Papacy and European kingdoms. Wolsey preferred Jerome de Ghinucci, Bishop of Worcester, since he had a better command of Italian than Knight, who complained that he was old and going blind.

Yet the King still considered Wolsey useful, and the cardinal realized Anne Boleyn to be a political rival.

Despite the pope sending Cardinal Campeggio to try the case in England with Wolsey, the English cardinal realized that the matter was outside of his hands. Because of the serious nature of annulment, Campeggio delayed holding the trial until June 1529 when the court sat at Blackfriars.


Due to the delay of the trial, Anne Boleyn blamed Wolsey and decided to bring about his fall. When the trial failed, this made her scheme possible.

Soon Wolsey had fallen into disgrace and by November 1529 he had surrendered the great seal of England and all his vast possessions.  After suffering at Esher, in February of the following year, he received a pardon and had the possessions of his archbishopric restored except York House, which now belonged to the king.

Allowed to retire to York, he spend the last six months of his life performing his duties as bishop. Henry decided not to patronize his two colleges at Ipswitch and Oxford, and only Christ's College at Oxford survived to this day.


In November 1530 he was arrested on charges of high treason.


Meanwhile Thomas Cromwell became King Henry the 8th's confidant with him handling the break with Rome and creating the laws and administrative procedures that changed post-Reformation England for better or for worse.

Rather than the Pope of Rome taking over ecclesiastical duties over Britain, King Henry the 8th became the head of the Church of England, which broke away from Papal authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the English Reformation, Fish's Supplication was propaganda against corruption in the English clergy, despite the fact that Wolsey's taxation system was much fairer than the previous 15th and 10th taxation which was introduced in the late 14th Century and led to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, due to their unpopularity.

Lollardy must be considered as the political and religious movement that existed from the time of John Wycliffe to the English Reformation as inspiration for the Supplication and the Revolt of 1381 since Western Christianity was certainly in need of reform due to the worldly aspirations of the Avignon Papacy and the corruption within the Church due to the role of the clergy and parishioners in the legitimacy of royalty.

However, it is not like serfdom was abolished then because Fish was agitating for reformation almost 150 years later.  Yet serfdom was a miserable existence because a feudal lord could work serfs unto death without pay.

But feudalism was dying out due to education of the middle and upper class of British society.

It is amazing what a little education can do to expand the horizons of a people, especially the British people.

Historically, the poor of England and Scotland in the 16th Century had probably had experienced more than a few generations of privation due to contrient interdependence and disease, and were considered servants worthy of Christian charity.

Protest against social equality in Medieval England came to the fore in 1395 with the Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards, which was a critique of the English Church in which the Lollards pressed their argument that the Church needed reform.

First, the state of the Church was worldly, due to the Church of Rome's bad
example e.g. the Avignon Papacy warring with the Holy Roman Empire and amassing Papal States to become a power unto itself.

British royalty at the time couldn't help but be involved in this corruption because all the royal houses since Norman times were related to most of Western Europe's royalty through marriage, including the various Norman and later French royalty (the House of Valois and Francis), western German royalty and Hapsburg royalty (Albert and Charles V), and Spanish royalty (Catherine of Aragon). They made treaties with each other to amass more land and collect subsidies from the taxpayers to fund their war-chest.

It was up to the British nobility to organize the peasants to pay the Subsidy to the English government.

Second, the priesthood was criticized because the Bible printed by Wycliffe
indicated that ordination of priests and bishops do not have any scriptural precedent. IMHO this point would the Church's clergy because the religious law that justifies ordination of clergy is a man-made law, not a law that Jesus laid down.

Third, clerical celibacy was a farce in medieval times because clerical celibacy encouraged sodomy among the clergy.  On this point, I would state that the Orthodox view was against clerical celibacy with only monks and the Patriarch being celibate. This preserves celibacy because then the clergy would show a better example regarding marriage.


Fourth, the doctrine of transubstantiation leads to idolatry in the worship of communion wafers which represents the flesh of the Christ while the spoiled grape juice (table wine) represents his blood.


IMHO this would also lead clergy and parishioners alike being tempted for drink, which goes against the temperance established by the Apostles after the Christ's Ascension (Acts 2) e.g. not drinking in the third hour of the morning but instead allowing the Holy Spirit to pour out through all baptized men and women, so that “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams... And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Fifth, exorcisms and hallowings are a kind of witchcraft carried out by the
clergy and thus incompatible with Christian theology.



Sixthly,
it is inappropriate in the higher offices in the Church to also hold
positions of great temporal power e.g. the rich Italian banking
families that followed the Avignon Papacy from Italy (the Medici
etc.).



Seventhly,
the uncharitableness of saying prayers for specific individual dead
since it by implication excludes all the other blessed dead not being
prayed for. Also the practice of prayer requests for the dead by
donating money to the Church is bribery that leads to corruption.



Eighthly,
the practice of pilgrimages and veneration of relics are ineffectual
for spiritual merit and thus idolatry in their worship of man-made
objects. IMHO is it any wonder that the lower classes still practiced
their folk Christianity in private, at least until the oppression of
Puritans by the Anglican church led to an exodus of Puritans to
America.



Ninthly,
the practice of confession for absolution of sins is blasphemous
since only God has the power to forgive sins. If priests did have
that power, it is cruel and uncharitable of them to withhold that
forgiveness from anyone in the world, even if they refused to
confess.



Remember:
to commit sin is human, to forgive divine. Just as the Lord forgave
the Jews and the Romans on the hill called Skull (Luke 23:34), so did
he preach forgiveness in prayer (Matthew 6:1-15) as a good example
for everyone alike to follow.



When
healing the paralytic, the Christ not only forgave his sins because
“the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins.” (Matthew
9:6). Like the Christ, the clergy ought to forgive especially those
parishioners who do not confess of their sins out of charity.



Likewise,
Peter asked Jesus, "Lord,
how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till
seven times?" And he answered,
"I
do not tell you ‘till seven times,’ but till seventy times
seven.” Thus, even if your brother sins against you, forgive him
always. It matters not if thy brother is related by blood or not. If
you are forgiven your spiritual debt then forgive the debt that other
people owe you. By being of a forgiving nature, you will realize that
nobody owes you a debt at all. (Matthew 18, Mark 2, Luke 5)



Forgiveness
ought be on our minds as Christians, for the Lord said “whatever
you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it
shall be yours.
And
whenever you stand up to pray, forgive, if you have anything against
any one, that so your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you
your trespasses". (Mark 10:24-25)



When
your heart is full of charity for the Lord like the woman who wet his
feet with her tears and poured perfume on them, he shall forgive you
too. It matters not if it is five sins or fifty, save the sin of
forgetting God. (Luke 7:49)



Jesus
also said “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who
has offended us; and bring us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:4). By
this he meant that when we ask God to forgive our sins, we also
forgive everyone lest we be tempted to sin again.



It
is clear what Jesus meant when he said, "Be
on you guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents
forgive him.

And
if he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times a day turns
to you saying ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him." (Luke
17:3-4)



Other
instances of the Christ preaching forgiveness include Luke 23:34, and
through Peter resisting Simon the Magi attempted to buy the power of
healing (Acts 8:22) who said “Repent then this of your wickedness,
and beseech the Lord to forgive you this purpose of your heart.”
For the gift of healing through the power of the Holy Ghost cannot be
bought or sold. A good Christian does not let the love of money tempt
him when shares the blessings of the Holy Ghost.



In
the letters of Paul too flow the Holy Ghost as the Comforter that
forgives the offender in 2 Corinthians 2:1-10. Given that the
Corinthians doubted about the resurrection, Paul asked them to
forgive if he was any burden to them (2 Corinthians 12:13).



In
Colossians 3, Paul advised the Colossians on how to be good
Christians, stating that “as
God’s chosen people, consecrated and beloved, clothe yourselves
with tenderness of heart, kindness, humility, gentleness, good
temper;
bearing
with one another and forgiving each other, if any one has a grievance
against another. Just as Christ the Lord forgave you, so must you
forgive.
Over
them all bind on love, which is the girdle of completeness. Let the
peace of Christ, to which also you were called in one body, rule in
your hearts, and show yourselves thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)



Finally,
John says “if we confess our sins, faithful is he and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all wrongdoing” for “we
have a partnership with one another” as Christians, for his
sacrifice at the cross has cleansed us from every sin. (1 John 1)



It
is because the practice of forgiveness is the habit of good
Christians that I quote Scripture to emphasize the importance of
forgiveness as a Christian.



Tenthly,
Christians should refrain from warfare, especially wars justified by
religion, such as crusades. They are blasphemous since the Christ
taught men to love and forgive their enemies. IMHO it is not a
weakness of character to preach love and forgiveness of enemies.
Justice will still demand that their evil acts be punished by law
when their acts break the law. As Christians we have no need of
hatred towards enemies.



How
can a Christian say that what he does is good if he libels his enemy
and generalizes against them, misquoting their scripture, using it to
shame them, thinking that by doing so they are true Christians? Where
Jesus purportedly preaches violence, he did say “that's enough”,
implying that as Christians we follow the Ten Commandments
faithfully, knowing that we as the truly righteous are peace loving
and forgiving.



It
matters not if that enemy is your brother, your sister, your
neighbour, a terrorist, a madman, the poor, the diseased. Truly, in
the depths of my heart I believe this. Should my actions betray my
hypocrisy, I repent of it to God. In the name of Jesus, Amen.






20161019

Islamophobia, Salafi-jihadist Extremists and Millennialism (rant)

Perhaps this is the reason for islamophobia, and inspiration for extremists like those Islamic State militants:

Quran 8:12 
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.

Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them".


However, the verse reads in full:

Your Lord inspired the angels: “I am with you, so support those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So strike above the necks, and strike off every fingertip of theirs.”

Upon reading Quran 8, the Islamophobe has taken the chapter to mean thay it is proof that the Quran is a book of militancy.

I counter that, given that the word Islam means submission to God, the Quran inspires all Muslims to join the greater Jihad of taming the heart so that evil passions including anger, fear, and lust, are defeated by the five daily rituals of cleansing and prayer.

As well, the militants' extremism is evidence of the lesser Jihad which imposes politics upon Islam resulting in the extreme form of Sharia thay aggressively imposes their will on men, women and children whilst claiming it is the will of God.

Yet the Quran exposes these aggressors.
.
Fight in the path of God those who fight you, but do not aggress. Surely God does not love the aggressors. And fight them where you come upon them, and send them out from where they have sent you out, for persecution is a worse thing than fighting. And do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) unless they fight you there, but if they fight you, then fight them back. That is the reward of the rejectors. Then if they cease, so God is All-Forgiving, Gentle. And fight them until there is no more persecution and the religion is for God. But if they cease, so let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. - Qur’an 2:190-193

Though these Salafi inspired extremists have labelled righteous Muslims who fight them and Westerners alike as wrongdoers. Yet Satan blinds the aggressors to their own wrongdoing, which they spin as righteousness.

Truly the extremists follow political Islam, Islamism, not ad a religion but as a militancy that is fascist, millennialist and totalitarian. Contrary to the will of God, their ideology reflects the will of men bent on ushering in the Armageddon that they believe will result in the Second Coming of Christ.

We are dealing with extremists whose goal is the millennialism that is the shared hope of Christendom. Few mainstream media outlets will mention this because it would cause panic among the Christian millennialists, leading to such thing as the unsubstantiated fear that a no-fly zone over Syria will lead to a world war. Right-wing fear mongers even predict that nuclear war with Russia is imminent if Hillary Clinton is elected.

Yet nobody in power will ever discuss this aspect of al Qaeda, Islamic State and Taliban Ideology due to the moral panic it might cause.

References

Understanding the Quran and Extremism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-e-b-lumbard/understanding-the-quran-and-extremism_b_9528766.html

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-17/hillarys-war-drums-confirm-putins-fears-world-rushing-irreversibly-towards-nuclear-s

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/03/18/the-world-according-to-isis/


20161009

Notes on Salafi-jihadism

The Salafi groups—which experts say encompass some of the deadliest organizations today, including Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the violent splinter groups from the Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan al Muslimun)—aim to re-create the perfection of the early Islamic period. Salafism is associated with the beliefs of Wahhabism (fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia) and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam throughout the Islamic world. Such groups advocate the use of violence and emphasize the smaller jihad against the nonbeliever over the more important and larger jihad within each individual. Salafism differs from Islamism in that it rejects any Western ideologies or constructs such as constitutions, political parties, and elections, which Islamists support (as long as Islamic parties benefit). - Mia Bloom, Bombshell

What is Salfism?
Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word 'Salafi' comes from the Arabic phrase, 'as-salaf as-saliheen', which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors. - What is Salafism and should we be worried by it?

If the vast majority of non-Muslims find it difficult to strike the right chord between attacking Salafi-jihadists without being perceived as attacking Islam, the hurdles for the United States and its allies seem almost insurmountable. Therefore, a counter-terrorism approach that highlights the corruption of Salafi-jihadist ideology not on religious, but on secular grounds, is more likely to have the desired effect of weakening that ideology’s appeal.

Rather than highlighting the doctrinal and theological inconsistencies among Salafi-jihadists, the United States and its allies should grasp every opportunity to highlight the disastrous consequences that Salafi-jihadist violence has wrought on the everyday lives not only of Westerners, but first and foremost on Muslims themselves. It is a simple, though not sufficiently emphasized fact that the primary victims of Salafi-jihadists are Muslims, who are killed and maimed in far greater numbers than non-Muslims.

Salafi-jihadists openly justify the killing of civilians, including Muslims, under a logic of the ends justifying the means. It is equally a fact that leaders of Salafi-jihadist organizations hypocritically preach about the benefits of martyrdom, but rarely, if ever, conduct suicidal operations themselves, or send their loved ones on such missions. It is a fact that al-Qa`ida and associated groups offer no vision for Muslims other than perennial jihad—hardly an appealing prospect. - The Salafi Jihad as a Religious Ideology

Islamic State is an example of a Salafi-jihadist extremist group originally associated with al Qaeda that has brought Islamic fascism with a totalitarian spin on Sharia. Because of its extreme form of Salafi jihadism, most of the Muslim world has allied with the West to defend itself from this extremist group.

References

Mia Bloom, Bombshell: the many faces of women terrorists, Viking Canada

Chris Hefelfinger, Radical Islam in America: Salifism's Journey from Arabia to the West

What is Salafism and should we be worried by it?: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/6073/what-is-salafism-and-should-we-be-worried-by-it

Don't Fear Islamists; Fear Salafis: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/dont-fear-all-islamists-fear-salafis.html

The Salafi Jihad as a Religious Ideology: https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/the-salafi-jihad-as-a-religious-ideology

The Islamic State: Mapping Militant Organizations: http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/1

20160920

The Either-Or Dilemma: Child Negligence or a Fact of Life? (irony)

Mother: I have strawberries or blueberries for dessert. Do you want strawberries?
Child: No.
Mother: So, you don't want any then?
Child: [child gets upset] B-but y-you didn't ask if I w-wanted blueberries.

When offered strawberries or blueberries for dessert, and her child says no to strawberries, how does a mother assume her child does not want any?

Can someone tell me what's wrong with a person's cognitive faculty when she acts like this?

One answer is, the child didn't state her preference for blueberries until after she got upset.

The child is upset that her mother did not logically conclude that she wanted blueberries.

This is not expectation of the child for her mother to read her mind. Rather, it's a case of her mother conveniently forgetting that she also offered her child blueberries. The either-or dilemma is not conducive to successful upbringing because it may lead to conflict in adulthood between parent and child.


It may also cause potential conflict between adults.  Take the example of Jim and his friend John who debate the current US election:

Jim: If you are offered a choice between Clinton and Trump, would you vote for Trump?

John: No.

Jim: Then you wouldn't vote at all?

John: (patiently) I'm still voting. Which candidate is left?

Jim: (still stuck on the assumption of John not voting) ...

[At this point, an argument might ensue to pass the time before both friends make peace]

John: (finally) I'm voting for Clinton.


Taken to an absurd level, let's imagine a scenario in which a death row inmate is offered the choice between lethal injection and electrocution.

Warden: so Prisoner 124342, the judge has offered you the choice between electrocution and lethal injection. Would you prefer electrocution?

Prisoner 124342: no.

Warden: so that means you don't want to be executed?

Prisoner 124342: No, I don't want electrocution.

[There might be a moment for the warden to realize what the prisoner wants but only obtuse gentlemen conveniently forget that they offered a choice and don't make great wardens.]

Prisoner 14243: [regains composure] I want lethal injection.

When an authority figure offers the either-or dilemma to his subject, who refuses the first offer, and takes away both offers, is not "playing fair".

To excuse this behavior by saying life is sometimes unfair is to condone authoritarianism.

20160819

Eight Truths I Keep Close To My Heart

  1. Only I know what's right or wrong with me.
  2. I am on my own path in life.
  3. I always am ready to succeed. Success is determined by my happiness, not how rich I am.
  4. I'm useful.
  5. Love is based on truth. Indeed, its fruit is happiness.
  6. Happiness comes from within. It's all about love.
  7. Be true to yourself.
  8. I'm intelligent enough to manage my life.

Journal Entry: August 19, 2016

Sometimes I get anxious over the thought that people lying about me. Repeatedly I will obsess about that thought.

However, I know that it isn't true.

When I think other people are lying about me, it actually is me lying to myself. This is why it's hard to write truthfully about myself, because I don't know if the truth I write about myself is actually a lie or the truth.

Overall, that uncertainty leads me to falsely assume other people are lying to me.

Sometimes when I'm this candid in my blog, a few people might object to it. However, that's their choice.

I am certain that my thoughts are better managed when I write about them. Just thinking about them isn't what the problem is.

By obsessive thinking about a concern until it becomes a worry — that is the problem.

Here is the solution:

Writing about it relieves that worry because of the change of focus from thinking about it to writing about it.

Furthermore, writing about my thoughts requires critical thinking and reasoning. In contrast, thinking when anxious only requires the irrational fear of untruth.

By writing candidly about my thoughts, I am reducing the risk factors associated with anxiety and narcissism.

Self disclosure has the risks associated with exposing my vulnerabilities to the scrutiny of public opinion, but it is counteracted by the narcissism inherent in maintaining a blog.

Thus the benefits of writing about my thoughts and feelings on my blog outweigh these risks.




20160807

The Gods Amongst Us (satire)

When all is said and done
It is like the gods —
These celebrities of the post-modern era —
Walk among us and speak to us
From big boxes connected to the world wide web,
Their fans sometimes willing to do
Almost anything, if only to meet them.

20160714

Android Malware Detection Provides False Security (Technology)


Today I'm going to discuss adware. Adware is contained in software to generate revenue for the software company. It pushes advertisements of apps and other products, which consists of marketing propaganda designed to evoke emotions in the targeted audience, who are technology consumers.

On an Android smartphone, advertisment revenue generated by adware is shared between Google and app developers for apps offered on the Play Store and by third party providers. Play Store also offers apps to detect adware, but sometimes its detection is misleading.

As an example of this, the antivirus app AVG gave a false positive for Play Music on my smartphone. When I checked out AVG Threatlabs for this "threat", it stated: "Beware of Adware! No potential malware has been detected for this android app for the last 7 days. However, active adware was detected. ( Last updated: Jul 14, 2016 )".

Gee, thank you, AVG; I know all apps have active adware.

As an AVG subscriber, my use of AVG and AVG Zen (a Device Manager clone) provides the company with monthly and yearly revenue, just so they can tell me adware is active on my devices.

It sems as though I'm paying for a false sense of security. So the easy fix is to cancel my subscriptions to AVG and avoid clicking on ads that seem sketchy.

According to the AVG Threatlabs website, Play Music contains active adware: as part of Google's marketing scheme, it is also being included with other useful software for smartphones (Android and iPhone) and desktop computers.

Yet Android adware is included in almost all apps on Google Play Store. Therefore the AVG Threatlabs message that warns me to "beware of adware" is a scare tactic used by the company to influence users of the AVG products to subscribe to their service.

My, how subtle is the marketing propaganda for AVG is.


Here are optional instructions on how to turn off access to unknown sources of Android apps and how to opt out of ads targeting you. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for what you do after reading these instructions.

Only two things need to be done:

1) Turn off access to third party providers Unknown Sources) of Android apps by turning that setting off in System Settings: Security under the heading Device Administration. The Unknown Sources option should be deactivated. If it's not, then I am going to assume you know what you are doing.

Optionally, you may want to control what ads you see.

2) In System Settings: Google: Services: Ads, you may opt out of interest-based ads and click on Ads by Google which will run Chrome, loading Ad Settings.

Note: Opting out won't completely stop ads — the Android Central article about Android Malware Scanners article provides details.


Android Central: Android Malware Scanners: Should You Use One?