Is religion becoming a handicap?

Religions should evolve along with pursuit of social, technological evolution. Religion should have a temporizing and balancing effect, or else, we have to consider it running not in tandem with evolving civil society or possibly getting obsolete.

I believe, as a society, we are evolving with a handicap of religious dogmas that are tied to ideology, rituals and practices that were relevant to the times when these were formed. Religions should evolve along with pursuit of social, technological evolution. Religion should have a temporizing and balancing effect on the young mind, rather, it drives the motivated, frustrated and those with available training and access to arms, to   Kill and create an act of terror.

This evolutionary process was well ingrained within Hinduism. We lost that trait over a period of time or rather, we froze those value system, monopolized and negotiated to the advantage of those who dominated the system. With my inadequate understanding of other religion, I do feel that some religions have shown partial traits of incorporating evolutionary ideas, whereas others so religiously bound to their ideology, to the extent of being bigots. It’s is alarming to see how frustrated, motivated, trained and those with access to weapons, can cause havoc and create a sense of fear. When we analyze events from last few years, we see several such examples. It’s really noticeable to see, similar segment of frustrated people from other religions are not involved in such carnage. Despite the vast number of highly civilized people with character, Islam does have propensity to tap radicalized folks to drive them on the path of social destruction.

As CNN editor Stephen Collinson wrote “last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, was a terrorist attack by a couple who had gone down the “dark path of radicalization” and embraced a “perverted” form of Islam”.

Driving radicalized individuals towards perverted practices to attest their cause, if not unique, is very common to Islam. I am not a Christian but I do see extreme right wing Christians dedicating themselves to proselytization and working in remote poor communities and countries to espouse the cause of their religion.

Can Islam not tap the same segment towards constructive cause? We have geographic swaths of regions where humanity and industrial civilization has not reached. Only motivated folks can do that. To achieve this, fundamentally, we need to unplug religion from politics and power, or simply speaking any vagaries and trappings of material attachment.

Jesus, the child of Virgin Mary

No one killed Mark Hay and the families of Aarti Prasad are still living peacefully without prosecution. No one thinks this as religious assault. Like this article, can other religions not have an open mind and scientific inquiry about religious dogmas?

(Excerpts from an article from Mary Kay)

Stunning and iconoclastic read from Mark Hay. No one killed Mark Hay and the families of Aarti Prasad are still living peacefully without prosecution. No one thinks this as religious assault. Like this article, can other religions not have an open mind and scientific inquiry about religious dogmas? Excerpts below, read full text by clicking the link below the excerpts.

Although the religious meaning of Christmas was long ago neutered, replaced with the secular joys of eggnog and mall Santas, at its core December 25 is still a celebration of Jesus Christ’s virgin birth. With that assumption, the go-to scientific explanation for the virgin birth has long been that Mary somehow achieved human parthenogenesis, a process by which some animals reproduce without mates.

Parthenogenesis is also surprisingly common in healthy populations living in the wild. And while researchers are still trying to figure out what triggers parthenogenesis, the fact that it happens across so many species means it’s theoretically possible that Mary could have given parthenogenetic birth to Christ.

In 2004, Japanese researchers showed that they could alter imprinting genes in mouse eggs to create an artificial but fully parthenogenetic and viable baby. In her 2012 book Like A Virgin,science writer Aarathi Prasad offers a couple workarounds. One possibility, Prasad theorizes, is that Mary could have been a genetic chimera—meaning, formed from both male and female embryos—which would have meant she had Y chromosomal material that could have been absorbed into her theoretically self-created Christ child. Alternatively, Prasad offers, Mary could have been intersex—having both female and male genetic characteristics. Specifically, she could have been born with ovotestes, a condition in which a woman gets an X chromosome from her father that contains a sprinkle of Y chromosome, leading to the development of a hybrid ovary-testes organ. If Mary only manifested her male material in her gonads and, again, had a perfect balance of masculine and feminine tissues and hormones, her ovotestes could have produced sperm and eggs simultaneously, sending them down the fallopian tubes together, and resulting in fertilization and implantation within her functional uterus.

Sorry, wasn’t able to add hyperlink. Google “The Science Behind the Virgin Birth” by Mark Hay.

China and Global Oil – Economy in snap shot

Everything just changed for Chinese companies

“However, there is no formula on how much credit risk China’s financial market can handle by itself without plunging into a full-blown crisis,” she added. China is walking a tightrope, in other words.

http://www.businessinsider.com/china-announces-bankruptcy-measures-2015-12

Brent oil hits 11-year low as global supply balloons

Global oil production is running close to record highs. With more barrels poised to enter the market from nations such as Iran and Libya, the price of crude is set for its largest monthly percentage decline in seven years.

Brent’s premium over U.S. crude narrowed further after President Barack Obama signed a law on Friday that will lift a 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

http://reut.rs/1S6kToO

Oil will go below $30-John Kingston

John Kingston President of the McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute talks about why oil prices continue to fall, and what he believes will drive prices even lower in 2016. Bobbi Rebell reports.

http://reut.rs/1kd0WPr

The global economy is in the doldrums, and China, the world’s biggest oil importer, appears plagued by structural political and economic problems that it may or may not overcome in the next few years. Energy agencies have therefore lowered global oil demand forecasts.

What usually happens in such circumstances is that Saudi Arabia attacks the supply side — that is, it cuts production to boost prices. But the Saudis have decided (most recently just two weeks ago) not to do so, probably because they believe that low oil prices have still not done enough to undermine the North American energy boom and hurt their nemesis, oil-rich Iran.

(The above blog was written on Dec 21, 2015 and uploaded to this site in Oct 2016)

 

Wow! It’s small gift!

Though rare but Norway’s receding of claim over this piece of land is an outlier and may serve an example for countries like China, which had been expanding its geographic footprint, politically, cartographically, reclaiming unclaimed land or simply pushing its boundaries.

Norway: Campaign to give mountain peak to Finland

Prologue: Please refer to the news item from BBC by clicking hyperlink above.

Many Finns commenting online welcome the novel idea as a sign of warm neighborly relations. “What a noble idea – we will remember it for a thousand years!” says one person on the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper website. “Makes me smile!” writes another user. “We can have a wonderful celebration if this goes through. And it won’t be a big loss for Norway.”

Not everyone is impressed, though. “Too much paperwork,” one user declares. “We’ll have to renew all the maps, and count all the elks and wolves again.” Perhaps inevitably, one person would like the option to exchange the gift for something a bit more profitable, asking: “Can we swap it for just one oil well?

Human beings and for that matter, all living creatures are territorial. Having our own territory is akin with our identity. History and mankind have essentially lived a life fighting for identity and existence. Identifying, safeguarding, expanding and consolidating, exchanging/losing/winning has been the life cycle.

Despite a trail of cognitive and evolutionary acts, humans have rarely displayed values different than their herd behavior in relinquishing territorial claims. Only few have risen above animal instinct and accommodated others.

Being territorial, is a fundamental trait of asserting and trying to consolidate their stake.  Few people from Norway are diametrically opposite, and they are trying to give their piece of land to Finland. Though monumental, land acquisition is often thought as strategically important, even if it is a remotest mountain peak. Reneging

Though rare but Norway’s relinquished its claim over this small piece of land, though an outlier it may serve an example for countries like China, which have been expanding its geographic footprint – politically bullying neighbors, cartographically reclaiming unclaimed land or simply pushing its boundaries recklessly.

Despite being one of the biggest encroacher in recent history, China cannot be singled out. Recent occupation of Saichin glacier by India and Pakistan are another example. However, it has to further work upon evolving another solution to resolve Kashmir.

Barring reactive territorialism (from Pakistan), India has set series of excellent precedence by resolving border issues with neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal in a peaceful manner. India has shown maturity in resolving land disputes with all neighbors including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan etc. That does not however, mean it should bullied by Chinese cartographic aggression.

(Updated Feb 3, 2017)

On Oil, Christian Crusaders and History

Recent Muslim aggression is primarily centered on a fundamental tenet based on their religion being victim and under attack. Somewhere, deeply, they feel, their religion has been meted injustice and they are being subjugated. Frankly, there is no basis to this notion. American presence in Saudi Arabia was capitalized by Osama Bin laden as a conquest of their Holy Land. Added to that, George Bush Jr talked about crusaders during the Iraq war. All these consolidated the notion of crusader. This blog will provide an insight on the outsiders who actually the conquered and currently rule the Holy land of Makkah and Madina.

If we take away the religion angle and evaluate the history of the holy sites for the last 100-110 years, we realize that Makkah (aka Bakkah) amd Madina, both are located in the Hejaz area of current Suadi Arabia. Hejaz (ruled by Hasmim royals) and Nejd (ruled by House of Saud present day Saud family aka Quyarash), primarily from Riyadh.

Historically, Hejaz has always seen itself as separate from the rest of Saudi Arabia. Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia with 35% of all Saudis living in Hejaz. Saudi Hejazis are of ethnically diverse origins. Hejazi Arabic is the most spoken accent in the region.

In 1925, Saudi Arabia conquered and annexed Hejaz. People of Hejaz still maintain a distinct identity and feel alienated from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is predominantly composed of a geographic area called Najd. Hejaz and Najd don’t go well at all. So, in a way, Saudi Arabia are the current crusaders. If you visit the history of this region, you will notice that successive Ottoman and Egyptians rulers have always tried to conquer this part irrespective of their religious faith.

At the Treaty of Jeddah in May 1927, Ibn Saud’s realm was recognized by the United Kingdom, and was addressed as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd. Eventually, the House of Saud, consolidated the other remaining regions and by 1932 formed the so called current Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Petroleum was discovered in 1932 in Saudi Arabia. Treaty between Saudi Monarch and Great Britain dates a few years back. It was not opportunism by Britain but a coincidence that high quality oil was found with an ally.

So, if it is outsiders ruling the Holy sites, it is the House of Saud, which has been dominating the Hejaz. In fact, House of Saud practices the extreme form of Islam, called Wahabism unlike the practice of the locals from Hejaz (where Makkah and Madina are situated and Islam was practiced originally. Real invaders are House of Saud (again, I have no concerns or issues about their local politics) but it’s wrong to call Christians as Crusaders of the land.

Any ruler would look for synergy with an ally, you may call it opportunism as well. Just because they are Christian doesn’t mean they are crusaders. Christian Crusaders is an Al-Quida dominated view of that local opportunistic alliance and the expression of that is Talibans. The modus Operandi of protest was practiced in India by the Pakistanis and refined and exported to all extreme form of protest in the peaceful practice of Wahabism.

“On Oil”:

As of today, America is self-sufficient with Gas and mostly with Oil. Yes, there were times when America found cheap and high quality Oil and developed a strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia. It was Britain, who was the first to establish followed by other nations, coincidently, these nations were majority Christians. However, countries where majority Christians did not develop alliance with Saudi Arabai, simply because they had their own Oil. Venezuela, Russia are examples.

With the recent discovery of better refining techniques, US and Canadian have become self sufficient and flooding the market with Oil that will eventually supplant Saudi Oil and that’s the reason for the slump is Oil. Oil, like agriculture (and associated rain) has a fundamental effect on Economy. Many countries are so acutely dependent on Oil that they need a minimum threshold of barrel cost to sustain their economy. Russia and Venezuela are examples in this category. Yes, India is gaining from this Oil slump, because our dollars are staying home (imagine a barrel of oil costing $35 as against $114). Almost, a third of dollar outflow has stopped. That has direct implications for the currency.

Summarily, Western World is friends with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East because of the 60% Oil, that is high quality and cheap, not because of any imperialistic attitude. Calling them as Crusader is misnomer. Let the Oil get over, and the alliance will change if not stop working.

Just a small correction, use of Crude Oil was prevalent in many parts of the world for the last 2-3 centuries, Burma, present day Myanmar, UK, Europe, China will show anecdotes of such presence and use.

It was around 1850 that filtration of crude oil was achieved in Britain. Automobile industry 1890-1910) and vast expanse of American continent and modern machinery found better use of crude and refined oil. Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia around 1932.

It’s not an invention associated with Middle East, just that they are seating or sleeping over abundant lakes of Oil. That oil is huge in quantity, has more octane and needs less energy to tap with low residue.

On Christian Crusaders:

Ottoman, and how can you forget Istanbul, the name itself has Muslim connotations, was interchangeable ruled by invaders and local who were sometimes Muslims (Remember Genghis Khan, the Mongol ruler, a nomadic warrior, who accepted Islam) and other times by Christians. These were often at loggerheads with the rulers of the land now ruled by Saudi Arabia.

The same Istanbul, called Constantinople, when ruled by Christian (Catholics), attacked this region and ruled for a couple of decades. These crusaders did a whole lot of injustice (atyachar) on the local populace that cannot be supported at all. That was in 1054 AD. What’s the connection with that 1000 year history with current economic and geopolitical compulsions? On injustice (Atyachar), why don’t we remember what Britishers did with us for 300 years? We were just freed 68 years back. Our potential (and deficiencies) have got us where we are but can we not focus on nationhood? Can we not understand our identity as a nation? How can we insist on being non pleural when that is bred within us for centuries, ethnically, genetically and culturally?

On history:

History is for learning, being proud about good moments and not making the same mistakes.

Why spend time and screw up present with ostensibly old archaic history, that too the records of which might have not been captured or caught rightly? Can we march forward? Do we have the option of going backwards? Undoing what has been done. Stopping similar mistakes from recurring? History of mankind is very flimsy and brief. Of the 60000 years of Homo Sapiens stage, we hardly know 8000 years of our story. It’s definitely not trivial but definitely not reliable, at best incomplete.

On Crusade, Sam Harris and …

The Crusades were a “reaction,” he laments, and in any event, holy war was a “late, peripheral” development within Christianity. This ought to be news to the flayed bodies and burned heretics and massacred dissidents put to death by Christianity’s sword. Muslim empires were authoritarian, as were Christian empires. Muslim clerics gave fatwas declaring jihad, and Pope Urban II gave his own decree explicitly calling on Christian subjects to take up arms and reclaim the Holy Land from the Mohemmadans. Why Sam Harris feels the need to take sides in the fanatical squabbles of our barbaric ancestors eludes me.

Link on crusaders below

http://www.historytoday.com/jonathan-phillips/crusades-complete-history.

(Above article was written in December 2015 and uploaded to this site in Sept., 2016)