20091206

Tolerance??

Spinoza was born 1632 in Amsterdam by Jewish parents that had fled from the Iberian penisula being so called marranos, ie, Jews that publicly were Christian but in the dark retained their Jewish faith. However, due to Spinoza's free thinking he was demoted from his Jewish congregation 1656 with the words: "He'd be damned during the day, and during the night. Damned when he is asleep, damned when awake. Damned would his entry be and his exit. May the Lord never forgive him".

It still matters where you live on Earth but things have improved. I respect people of faith, but, like the Humanists, I have little understanding for the cumbersome dogmatics that one encounters in the standard Abrahamitic religions. It is a wonderful literary heritage but my adoration stops there. As the first posts in my blog "etiketted" "scriptures" clearly show, religion have been countering the development of science and prosperity by reason over the 350 years from Spinoza's departure from the established religion of the day. My faith of today is similar to that of Spinoza. It is a faith free of interference to scientific and philosophical thinking. Perhaps it will be possible for me to write about my faith today. It wasn't for Spinoza.

In the program 'Konflikt' on the radio P1 yesterday the prospective joining of Turkey with the EU was discussed. It seemed that a person speaking for Turkey's entry used arguments of islamophobia rather than recognizing distinctive differences in the freedom of the press and the democratic set-up as the reason for the unlikely entry of Turkey any time soon. I don't think the religion Islam is a problem in Europe as long as it is not political Islam. Faith should be private. It should not be a state matter. It is the responsibility of the Muslims to keep it private.

The decision of Switzerland to ban the minaretes is similar to the de-veiling of Muslim women. There are situations where a veil is not recommended, like in the upbringing of other people's children, but other than that the liberal stance of allowing for Islam and its attributes should encouraged. The sounding of church bells could be as annoying as the howling of a muezzin.

Carl Bildt was interviewed in the radio program. Being a strong proponent for early entry of Turkey into the EU, he argued for the increased safety for Europe in having open doors for Turkey in this direction rather than Turkey opening doors in the other direction. However, it seems to me that Turkey might be able to improve Iran by example, a feat that the West is completely unable to do. There are signals in the literature lately that Turkey already in principle have given up membership in the EU and instead is directing its attention elsewhere. If they really believe in democracy they can influence others, otherwise they will fail. It is a good test. A failed democratic state the size of Turkey in the EU would be a disaster.

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