General discussion

These folks are our close allies?

Human Rights Watch has appealed to Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a woman convicted of witchcraft.

In a letter to King Abdullah, the rights group described the trial and conviction of Fawza Falih as a miscarriage of justice.

The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read.

Among her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent.

But we take care of our friends, apparently...

U.S. President George W. Bush, trying to counter Iran's growing military clout, made clear his commitment on Monday to go ahead with a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia as he began his first visit to the Islamic kingdom.

The sale appeared to be part of Bush's effort to persuade Saudi Arabia, one of the Arab world's most influential states, to help contain Iran and offset what he has branded a danger to the oil-rich region and to the world's security.

I won't make any comparisons to who we were depending on in the 1980's to help contain Iran, nor point out the nationalities of the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers cause that would be... unpatriotic.

By the way, for all those folks who plan on robbing my house, I keep an extra gun out on the porch for y'all. Feel free to use it in any manner you see fit.

It's time to take the gun we call "oil" and point it somewhere far away from our brainpan. That way, if people want to burn witches and pretend it's all reasonable, we wont have to worry about them using our weapons against us.

Sheesh. Sad

My rant for the day.
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Hey! Those weapons are effective

against witchcraft, too. So it makes perfect sense.


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Whoever told you that ...

Human Rights Watch was a close ally apparently thought you had bells on that leg.

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You don't suppose

Grim was referring to Saudi Arabia as the "close ally"?

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I think Ed was being sarcastic.

But who said Saudi Arabia a was our "close ally"? Would they be more likely to act as we wish if they were our enemies?

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Now you'll question the use of the word "close"...
Things you do for allies, that you don't do for enemies

The more dangerous the weapons you sell them, the closer they are.

?The United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf ? and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late,? the president said in a speech in Abu Dhabi. Bush wants American allies in the region to help revive US-backed peace efforts between Israel and Palestine.

A couple of months ago President Bush and this guy were walking "hand in hand" around the White House.

Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer?
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The word was used, so I question it.

When I think of "close allies" I think of England, France, NATO countries, Japan, etc. And even those countries have done things we find objectionable from time to time.

I don't think we want to determine who we deal with based on their internal affairs too much or we would not be able to have allies at all. Do you think it would be better if the US had no allies in the Middle East at all?

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Yes, I think he would prefer to deprive the US of allies.

After all, he seems to think 'we' should interfere in the sovereign affairs of another nation. It's not enough to condemn bad behaviour. We now must force them to change.

If we did that, the next round of criticism could begin.

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No, I don't ...

even Grimm isn't that naieve ... I hope (although he may be caught up in fairy tales like his "brother").

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Most of us will know witchcraft is bogus but

I would think it unwise and counterproductive to expect those of other culture to conform to US standards of law or morality or lose us as a friend and business partner. This is tantamount to extortion which is against our laws. Once you've broken with someone, you've lost the ability to work to change them. Arm twisting until someones cries "uncle" is not a civilized solution, IMO.

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Remember in WW2 one of our "close allies" was the Soviet Union. I don't think the government had many illusions about their human rights record.

Be nice if we didn't have to use oil, but that day is a long long a=way off.

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That raises an interesting thought....

Is an affirmative belief that witchcraft, an alleged supernatural phenomenon, does or does not exist a religious belief simply because it is based on faith?

I tend to think not but many label all sorts of beliefs based in faith as religious.

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It's at least quasi-religious...

Often cited is, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" Exodus 22:18. I don't know how this translates to the Muslim world.


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From your link:

"Although it could, in theory, be applied to beneficial as well as harmful ends"
The gist of Exodus, from One who has an overview 'on steroids', is that it's always harmful, so he warns us away. ["us" = ReligiousFanaticsWhoBelieveWhatTheBibleSays Happy ]

Another example of 'God says it's bad but I say it's good' is Gen 3:4-6. If you throw out Genesis, you don't need Proteus Library; you can make it up as you go along. A more polite name for this is Situation Ethics. Our modern world is in this camp.
I could be wrong. We could be just the tiniest evolutionary step away from perfection.

How's things in Kenya and Darfur, BTW? Witchcraft- "black" and "white"- is common over there, and the CIA says Sudan is Muslim and Kenya is Christian. Overwhelmingly. They've got it all, so they should be in better shape than the rest of us.

"how this translates to the Muslim world."
Generally, if something is in the Torah it's in Islam. (Think pork.)

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I know if something is in the Torah it's in Islam. I was thinking more how it's viewed in the popular imagination. What is in a religion and what people believe often don't coincide.

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Really? I'm amazed! 'People don't believe what

their religion says' ... imagine that! Happy

In this case it's a safe assumption that the laity believe witches should burn. Unless they're currently using one for whatever. Happy
Say, are horoscopes still running in Western papers?

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Both a belief and a disbelief?

Steve said that we all know witchcraft is bogus and I tend to agree. Is my affirmative disbelief in witchcraft a religious belief?

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if belief in witchcraft is a religious belief, then maybe disbelief in witchcraft is also a religious belief. Or not. Depends on the context.

If you believe the Lord says witchcraft is bogus, is that a religious belief? Is the injunction against idolatry religious?

Seems like a question of semantics.

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I'd agree

It is a question of semantics. There are quite a few that wouldn't agree and that was really the reason I asked.

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I think it's a matter of...

whether one takes a broad view or a narrow view.

A broad view might be that any and all opinions about the supernatural, deities, magic, whatever, pro or con are religious beliefs.

The narrow view would be that only opinions expressing belief in such things are religious.

Does anyone really KNOW?

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purely a semantic game, but

if your dis-belief cancels out his belief, then your dis-belief also cancel that which he believes in....


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(NT) oops! *adding an 's' to cancel*
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Yes and no.
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Definitions of beliefs (pl.) may be in order.

1) "Witchcraft is bogus. That is, there are no people with occult powers. It's a fake."

2) "Witches exist with occult powers to be used for good or ill. Use them at your own risk.".

3) "Witches exist with occult powers. Don't use them; it will always turn out bad for you in the end."

4) ?

#3 is Exodus.
BTW the execution was part of the capital-L Law code. Christians wait for Jehovah to take care of it all at the end. Sometimes it's hard to wait. Hab 1:1-3; 2:3.

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And I didn't see this mentioned, but it's a common

thing to accuse one's family or political enemy of witchcraft.

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The problem I see with getting an answer is

that you'd need to consult a witch to give their side of the story. Suddenly the name Joseph Heller has come to mind. Happy Now wiccans don't count. They aren't the same witches that were drummed up in the minds of the superstitious. They aren't even universal in their own practices. It's more a "make it up as you go" set of practices as I see it but they have taken the myth and tried to create some reality out of thinking anyway.

Now I'm not so sure what your trying to connect about religion and faith. I could surely think any person who does not profess a religious belief could still possess and show expressions of being more of a mental presence than a physical one. But I see religion as faith in the more extreme sense in that it needs to be with you constantly. It's also quite goal oriented as it seeks to eventually prove itself as worth having.

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IMO Faithful belief....
Now I'm not so sure what your trying to connect about religion and faith. I could surely think any person who does not profess a religious belief could still possess and show expressions of being more of a mental presence than a physical one. But I see religion as faith in the more extreme sense in that it needs to be with you constantly. It's also quite goal oriented as it seeks to eventually prove itself as worth having. and of itself does not necessarily mean that a belief is religious. THe first example that comes to mind is a faithful belief that gravity will keep me from floating off into space.

I'm sure there are plenty that would argue that a faithful belief in a supernatural phenomenon like witchcraft is a religious belief. I'd wager the court that found a woman guilty of witchcraft in S.A. holds a religious belief that witchcraft does actually exist. I, OTOH, have an affirmative belief that supernatural witchcraft does not exist and I wonder how many would label that a religious belief in the same way they do strong atheists. IMO, a belief, even a faithful one, does not amount to religion in and of itself since a single belief is not a belief system.
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Sounds quite reasonable

when one breaks the components away from that which makes up a system. But I would think even an atheist could consider the existence of an unseen "force" that could cause harm. They just wouldn't try to explain it as being attributable to an named entity.

I'm not sure your example of gravity and faith is the best one. We have an understanding of gravity. Otherwise, a "belief system" might come up with the notion that, as long as we are in good stead with the gods of the underground, they will continue to hold us by the ankles. Happy

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Not really
We have an understanding of gravity.

We know it exists and we know its strength varies proportionately with mass but we don't know by what mechanism that it works. There are theories of gravitons and some of gravity waves but we don't know if either actually explains the mechanism.
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depends on which witchcraft

this has been discussed before here in SE*:

Wiccans Win Military Grave Battle

All those Wiccans in the military can breathe easy, because the Pentagon has reached a deal whereby Wiccan soldiers killed in battle can now be buried with the symbol of their religion: a five-pointed star. Why all the brouhaha? It seems the military, though it recognized Wiccans as a religion, had refused to allow the symbol on adherents' VA graves.

from one of many sources.

any person who has served knows the military does not move easily in more ways than one

*SE = Speakeasy

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"symbol of their religion: a five-pointed star"

Oh, say, can you see ...
some here objecting to that? Should they?
And if I had said that ... Happy

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