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Sunday, July 12th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — dark humor — a trifle, in which death turns to springtime ].

Really!

Announcing The Children’s Illustrated Clausewitz!!

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — just too good to miss! ]
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**

I’m delighted to pass along this message from Caitlin Fitz Gerald, who to my mind (and eye and heart) has achieved her audacious goal of putting Clausewitz into verbal and pictorial language suitable for “bright ten-year-olds” and delightful, as well as hopefully informative, to adults — all this with intelligence, skill and wit..

Caitlin writes:

I know many of you already know this, but I wanted to spread the word that the Kickstarter for the Children’s Illustrated Clausewitz is now live! Thank you so much for all of your support over the years. It really means a lot, and I’m so excited to finally see this project in print thanks to my partnership with Nic Jenzen-Jones at Helios House Press!

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to spread the word. The Kickstarter runs through the end of the month.

Love,
Caitlin

**

I’m pleased to note that Caitlin and her publisher, Helios House, have raised more than $40,000 on Kickstarter, with an initial goal of $7,500 — I’ve been waiting for Caitlin’s brilliant work to receive the recognition is so clearly deserves.

Act now to obtain the standard edition for a pledge of £25 or more! And pass the word!

Is this a first? It’s surely significant..

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — who was wondering about this particular strategy a few minutes before encountering this headline.. ]
.

How would cops joining protesters figure in a simple zero-sum game? Impossible, you say? Did ever a white bishop in chess determine the black cause was righteous and declare itself black, allowing the black player to move it? Never, you say? How, then, do we score this move?

**

Source:

  • mlive, Flint-area police join protesters marching to seek justice for George Floyd
  • **

    Is this “c” for “cooperate”? And if iterated?

    Fred Leland? Doc Bunker? John Sullivan? Don Vandergriff? John Horgan? Mike Sellers?

    Religion meets the coronavirus #13

    Sunday, May 24th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — this last weekend was Eid al-Fitr for Muslims, Memorial Day Weekend for those of us in the USA, we have CDC’s suggestions for places of worship, an Indian Muslim reading of the Gazwa e-Hind, and much more — enjoy! ]
    .

    The other day, I overheard a Joel Osteen sermon, which included the following:

    Have you ever tried something and got the results you wanted and then tried the same thing again and got different results? This happened to Moses in the Bible. They needed water and God told Moses to strike the rock. He struck the rock and water flowed out freely. Another time they needed water again, and God told Moses, “Speak to the rock.” Do you know what Moses did? He went over and struck the rock. He thought, “Hey, it worked last time. It’ll work this time.” But it didn’t. God had a different plan.

    The point is that we have to stay open and make adjustments to stay in tune with God’s plan. You can do the same thing the same way you did last time and get different results. It may not be something major, but like Moses, maybe it’s just something small. Sometimes a small tweak, a small adjustment can make a major difference in the outcome.

    Joel was suggesting the coronavirus may be a “downtime” while God is installing new software in us, requiring a reboot — and Moses trying the old, successful way when God had installed new software in him was the reason why he failed on the second occasion. Osteen again:

    Today, make sure you aren’t doing things just because it’s the way you always did it before. Instead, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit of God inside. Follow His leading and stay in sync with the wonderful plan He has for you!

    **

    Still on Christianity, here’s a fascinating excerpt from a longer piece:

  • Ng Zhi-wen, Novel Coronavirus: Lessons on radical charity from the early Church
  • The Antonine Plague (c 165 – 180)

    In the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, John Horgan, an assistant professor of History at Concordia University-Wisconsin, noted: “The effect of the illness was not confined to the military and economy. Marcus Aurelius launched persecutions against Christians who refused to pay homage to the gods which, the emperor believed, in turn angered the gods whose wrath made itself known in the form of a devastating epidemic.

    “Ironically the anti-Christian attacks produced the opposite effect amongst the general population.

    “Unlike adherents to the Roman polytheistic system, Christians believed in an obligation to assist others in a time of need, including illness. Christians were willing to provide the most basic needs, food and water, for those too ill to fend for themselves.

    “This simple level of nursing care produced good feelings between Christians and their pagan neighbours. Christians often stayed to provide assistance while pagans fled. Furthermore, Christianity provided meaning to life and death in times of crisis.”

    Self-sacrificing love isn’t limited to Christians — but today as in the time of Marcus Aurelius, we should stand in awe of its heroic beauty. – I’d say the whole of this essay is very well worth your attention.

    **

    Turning to Islam:

    I posted this in Coronavirus meets extremism, but it belongs here as well.. the clear Islamic rhetoric..

  • Brad Hunter, ISIS, al-Qaida commandeer COVID-19 as a ‘soldier of Allah’
  • ISIS and al-Qaida claim that the virus and ensuing global pandemic are retribution on the wicked West, courtesy of God.

    In typical, flowery al-Qaida style, the death cult released a statement.

    “Allah, the Creator, has revealed the brittleness and vulnerability of your material strength,” reads the maniacal missive. “It is now clear for all to see that it was but a deception that could not stand the test of the smallest soldier of God on the face of the Earth.”

    **

    On a hopefully positive note: Taliban & Kashmir: The taliban reaffirm their interests extending only to the boundaries of the present state of Afghanistan, and their acceptance of India’s claim to Kashmir:

  • WION, Taliban acknowledges Kashmir internal matter of India after fake tweets

    After fake tweets emerged attributing to the Taliban, the group has clarified that it Kashmir is India’s internal matter and they don’t support any Pakistani style “Ghazwa-E-Hind” or Holy war against India.

  • **

    Ghazwa-e-Hind??

    I wrote several posts about the Ghazwa a while back, noting that the relevant hadith explicitly proposed an army with black banners sweeping victoriously from Khorasan {roughly, Afghanistan] down to Jerusalem, accompanied by a second thrust, the Ghazwa, sweeping from Khorasan again, down into India. Some examples::

  • One hadith, one plan, one video, and two warnings
  • So many browser tabs, so little time
  • Pakistan’s Strategic Mummery
  • Khorasan to al-Quds and the Ghazwa-e-Hind
  • Current discussions elsewhere, including that of the Jamiat {see below], seem to take the term more literally as meaning “raid” and thus more general in application than the Khorasan hadith.

    **

    Islamic Theology, the Jamiat version thereof:

  • The Print, Everyone misinterprets Ghazwa-e-Hind, but a Jamiat scholar explains what it really means
  • From Pakistan’s JeM to Veena Malik, from Times Now to Tarek Fateh, everyone has been invoking Ghazwa-e-Hind recently.

    There’s a phrase that Pakistani militant leaders have used against India for decades – Ghazwa-e-Hind or a holy raid of India. Ghazwa in Arabic implies a war that is guided by faith rather than materialistic or territorial gains and is widely attributed to an Islamic concept derived from the hadiths — a set of sayings by Prophet Mohammad. The phrase is used refer to Muslim warriors conquering the Indian subcontinent. [ .. ]
    .
    Now, ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ has made a noisy return among scholars, security analysts and rabble-rousers, especially after the Narendra Modi government’s action on Article 370 and Pakistan’s isolation in the international theatre. [ .. ]
    .
    But what has gone largely unnoticed is that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a leading body of Muslims in India, has already called out the error in this popular interpretation. The group has supported the government’s decision on Kashmir.
    .
    Maulana Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri, a Jamiat scholar, insisted late last year that Pakistan has been erroneously and mischievously linking the term to their rift with India.

    The Maulana, remember, is speaking from within an Indian context: this no doubt influences his interpretation of the situation.

    **

    China vs India:

    When I say I study religions, I mean I study the intersection of cultural anthropology, comparative religion, & depth psychology — areas where depth drivers for surface events are visible — hence my interest in Michael Vlahos‘ work in general and today:

    M Vlahos, How China Can Beat The U.S. Without Firing A Shot

    **

    Islam in India, it was Eid al-Fitr over the weekend, and that means feeding the poor:

  • New Indian Exporess, World’s largest Eid feast: Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna to feed 1.75 lakh people in Mumbai
  • That’s 175,000 people fed, a lakh being a hundred thousand. And it’s to be done ” while adhering to all guidelines of social distancing”.

    **

    There’s the cleaning of the Ganges that’s resulting from a drop in the number of cremations In Varanasi:

  • Deccan Chronicle, Coronavirus caused lockdown is healing the holy Ganga
  • **

    And finally, dated Saturday 23rd, this from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • CDC< Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith
  • Enough: I’m exhausted.

    Coronavirus meets QAnon – conspiracy, terror threat, new religion!

    Thursday, May 21st, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI has already suggested QAnon should be considered a terror threat — now two writers in quick succession suggest it qualifies as, or indeed contains, a new religious movement ]
    .

    I’d like to draw the attention of my New Religious Movement (NRM) friends and those working on extremism to three recent posts concerning the QAnon conspiracy as a new religious movement:

  • Adrienne LaFrance, The Prophecies of Q
  • Marc-André Argentino, The Church of QAnon: Will conspiracy theories form the basis of a new religious movement?
  • Marc-André Argentino, There’s a lot that I couldn’t include so I will supplement with a thread
  • **

    The Atlantic article, by Adrienne LaFrance, is the most wide-angle of the three. Let’s start with her rough description of QAnon, pitched to its political side:

    Nine years later, as reports of a fearsome new virus suddenly emerged, and with Trump now president, a series of ideas began burbling in the QAnon community: that the coronavirus might not be real; that if it was, it had been created by the “deep state,” the star chamber of government officials and other elite figures who secretly run the world; that the hysteria surrounding the pandemic was part of a plot to hurt Trump’s reelection chances; and that media elites were cheering the death toll. Some of these ideas would make their way onto Fox News and into the president’s public utterances. As of late last year, according to The New York Times, Trump had retweeted accounts often focused on conspiracy theories, including those of QAnon, on at least 145 occasions.

    What’s interesting about this article, and will be missed by many analysts and other readers because they are blind to religion, is the religious emphasis present from the title, The Prophecies of Q, through the italicized intro, with its subhead “Genesis”, its talk of “adherents” and a “clash between good and evil” and “Great Awakening” that is coming — shades of the “Great Awakening” that Jonathan Edwards was associated with! Indeed, the eschatological (end times) content is even more explicit:

    QAnon carries on a tradition of apocalyptic thinking that has spanned thousands of years. It offers a polemic to empower those who feel adrift.

    and:

    “There are QAnon followers out there,” Shelly said, “who suggest that what we’re going through now, in this crazy political realm we’re in now, with all of the things that are happening worldwide, is very biblical, and that this is Armageddon.”

    Too, there’s the suggestion that QAnon effectively comprises a system of belief, enshrined in the closing, one line paragraph:

    You know all this because you believe in Q.

    And the next day, the Atlantic took things a declarative stage further, heading a note:

    QAnon Is a New American Religion

    **

    Okay, QAnon Is [according to the Atlantic] a New American Religion. But Marc-André Argentino‘s approach is more tight-focused: he actually attends “ekklesia” [roughly, here, “house church”] services with strong QAnon content over a period of a couple of years, and reports back:

    What I’ve witnessed is an existing model of neo-charismatic home churches — the neo-charismatic movement is an offshoot of evangelical Protestant Christianity and is made up of thousands of independent organizations — where QAnon conspiracy theories are reinterpreted through the Bible. In turn, QAnon conspiracy theories serve as a lens to interpret the Bible itself.

    Here are a couple of samples:

    At a service held on April 26, Wagner and Bushey spoke about a QAnon theory, called Project Looking Glass, that the U.S. military has secretly developed a form of time-travel technology. Wagner suggested to e-congregants that time travel can be explained by certain passages in the Bible.

    On May 3, the theme of the QAnon portion of the service was about COVID-19. Bushey spoke about a popular QAnon theory that the pandemic was planned. (There is no evidence of this.) And when an anti-vax conspiracy theory documentary called “Plandemic” went viral , the video was shared on the HCW websites as a way for e-congregants to consume the latest in a series of false theories about the coronavirus.

    **

    The QAnon ekklesia Marc-André Argentino attended is called the Omega Kingdom Ministry, and quotes Q:

    It’s going to be Biblical

    — where Biblical is intended both literally and metaphorically — enormous!!

    This is emphasized in large letters on a greenboard reproduced in Argentino’s subsequent twitter thread, which is also used for four panels explaining the parallels between the Biblical Passover and “Passover II” associated with QAnon, of which I’m reproducing on here:

    The rhetoric here, “For as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel, so shall this man be” is nicely reminiscent of Romans 8:14, James 2:26, and [forgive me] I Corinthians 11:12, “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman>”

    **

    Whether or not the entire QAnon movement as a whole can be considered a NRM [New Religious Movement], there certainly exists within it an ekklesia and ministry.

    NRM scholars, as well as FBI agents and other terrorism analysts, should keep their eyes on the QAnon phenomenon.


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