Recently an indipendent research on the Finnish SS-volunteers was finished. It was asked to be done by the Simon Wiesenthal Institute in a letter to the Finnish president Sauli Niinistö. The research was conducted by the Finnish National Archive and they concluded, that in light of evidence, it seems more than likely, that Finnish SS-men participated in war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine during WWII.

So far, so good. Then the Finnish minister of defence Jussi Niinistö (not related to the president despite the name) wrote in his blog, that there is no evidence to indicate the Finnish SS-men participated any atrocities or the genocide of Jews. He stated, that as in a court of justice people should be considered innocent untill proven guilty.

panzer

German Panzer

I am not sure wether I should be more concerned about a minister in general having this poor understanding of history and how to come to any conclusions about reality, or just the fact that our minister for defence has no clue as to how military chain of command works.

Minister Niinistö hails (pun intended) originally from the right wing political party The Finns (formerly known as the True Finns), or he was the member of that party when he was made minister. It is a populist party, that broke in two because of what happens to populist parties, that end up in government power and with the responsibility it also brings. Their inner circkle was made into ministers in a right wing coalition government, that did not fullfill all the unrealistic promises the populist movement had made. The other two right-wing parties (one conservative and one liberal) in the same government fell short of their promises too, but that is a nother story. For his party, grown as a protest movement to globalization, immigration, EU-integration, sexual liberation and other things Finnish government has very little say at, in the first place, did not stand for their ministers to keep their promises. Thus was born the Blue Reform party, around the ministers -like Jussi Niinistö – stranded to the government by their own party, that was taken over by the “immigration critical” wing of the Finns party. Since then the Finns party has become a pretty obvious single issue movement for the racists, while they do support all sorts of other conservative nonsense and have the one creationist representative in Finnish parliament as their vice president (who is under suspicion for having plagiarized her finishing work in university – surprize, surprize). Perhaps minister Jussi Niinistö now has a need to appeal to his former right wing extremist voters, as the elections are coming and his current party the Blue Reform party “enjoys” a support of less than two persentages. A poll support so small it fits well within any margin of error.

What ever the reason for minister Niinistö to try to defend the Finnish SS-volunteers, his error is typical to the right-wing value conservative thinking. He jumps to the conclusion that satisfies his pre-existing world view and tries to hide any evil done by men who held the same values he would support even today. I am not talking about anti-semitism as such, even though, from some of the diaries of the Finnish SS-men the research by Finnish National Archive expressed such. What I mean is a more general leaning toward fascism, racism and the world view, that Finland did no wrong in allying itself with Nazi-Germany. A true nationalist seems to appriciate people according to where they were born, rather than what they actually do. I imagine this is because a true nationalist has never made anything very special themselves, so they have to assign value according to some arbitrary method, that makes them feel special by virtue of birth. The least achievement anyone could ever possibly reach.

The involvement of Finland with pre-WWII Germany has been explained and white-washed by Finnish right wingers for decades. Yes, there were historical reasons other than pure idolization of Hitler and the Nazies for Finnish young men from “good families” volunteering for the SS. One obvious reason was to follow in the footsteps of Finnish volunteers who during the WWI joined the German army to learn how to fight, that they could liberate Finland from Russia. Those men ended up to fight in the Finnish civil war in 1918, and were instrumental in the victory of the Finnish White Army against the Finnish Red Army. They were considered heroes by many, who feared communism in Finland between the world wars.

However one incident from the history of the Finnish SS-men who had just arrived for their military education in Germany reveals both their situation within the SS chain of command and much about the value base from wich they were sent to fight for the Führer. On their first parade and inspection they were asked what is it in their chest pockets, that seems to distort the uniform of every man. It was a catechism given to each and every man by the Finnish national Lutheran Church in remembrance that they were sent to fight a holy war against the ungodly Communists and Russians. The books were retrieved from them and burned in front of them in a bonfire (like the Nazies seemed to enjoy so much). The people who sent them, saw them as crusaders for the church and nation, but their German commanders told them that they were a part of the chain of command and their moral would be from the very beginning be that of the German high command subjected to the Nazi-party.

There is little need to try to indicate any particular Finnish SS-men for the war crimes committed by the SS in the Ukraine. We already know that the SS participated in highly organized genocide on all levels of their organization. Even if the Finnish volunteers would have individually thought that those acts were wrong, what would have been their possibilities to refuse. If they had, we would much more likely have a record of it, than what any individual unit was ordered to do. The German SS-men were not any more likely to be born as inhumane monsters than their Finnish counterparts. The SS organization and it’s leaders had no reason to protect the Finnish, or any other foreign units from involvement in the deeds they  engaged in. On the contrary they had every reason to tie these men into their own crimes.

It is sad, very sad indeed, that even today a politician may defend the evil the SS did. Or to make the claim, that the SS-men drawn from his own particular nation were pure of evil of their peers and somehow divorced from the chain of command. I was surpriced how low profile the Finnish press kept about this issue. It may be, that since his party is no force to be considered in the next election this spring, or because there are enough of other more important and current topics at the moment, his comments were mostly disregarded. However, the fact that he got to make his assertions without much challenge reveals a thing or two about our history and the history of Europe not discussed enough. He got to misrepresent history in a serious way. Disregarding evil done, is the first step on the path to do more evil.

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“I can not believe I am still fighting this same s#it.” This was a sign I recently saw in a demonstration against Neo-Nazies. I Think it must have been the sentiment of Luke Skywalker at some point when the First Order appeared.

I like both fantasy and sci-fi. To me Star Wars has always represented the first category. It has absolutely no science element to it, so it is space fantasy, or space opera, if you please. When one has overcome the noise space ships make in the void, one has gone beyond any annoyment about real physics in the suspension of disbelief within the movie.

Imperial stormtroopres

Imperial stormtroopers

I loved the Rogue One. Even despite the rubbery CGI faces of particular characters, it was the best Star Wars has offered as a real movie. The story is the most important element in any movie or other method of telling stories. I liked episodes I,II and III and the second in the original trilogy Empire Strikes Back has been my favourite of the entire series for ages. The new trilogy VII and VIII have been made professionally and offer good entertainment, but in my opinion, the story (and their individual stories) are lacking. The battle and combat scenes are simply toooo long. They lose drama in action. There are interresting new characters, but the backround story makes me feel tired. Because – as in the real world – my sensation is: “Why do I still have to fight this same nonsense?” Have you ever felt it? It might be realistic, for the old characters to have to fight the remnants of the evil Galactic Empire, but it is just sad, that it seems like the rebellion did not achieve much anything after the Emperor died and the Empire fell…

The opression of the system seems not to have gone away with their victory at Endor in episode VI. I hope there will be some sort of Star Wars Story set between the episodes VI and VII to paint a broader picture and explain why everything went so wrong for the Rebellion movement and why they were unable to re-establish the Galactic Republic, or some similar and better means of government. Or perhaps the reasons for the failure of the Rebellion are right in front of all of us viewers. Their system even before the fall of the Old Republic was thoroughly corrupt. Robots are a slave class with obvious sentient minds and real enough emotions (look at C-3PO), and even all the “good guys” in the stories own robot slaves. In the fringens and peripheries of the Galaxy crime lords rule is not disputed even by the Jedi order. Is that not the reason why such a character as Darth Vader emerges? The avenging slave is one of the most ancient story lines in the world.

Conan/Kullervo

Crom!

Darth Vader is in many ways the very same character as Conan the Barbarian, or ancient character of Kullervo from the Finnish national epic Kalevala. All three are men who have suffered the greed of others and been enslaved as children. They all have a revenge to be achieved and after it has been fulfilled a new situation where they have to choose what to do with their lives and to re-invent themselves when their sole motivation and driving force has been depleted.

Conan decides to move on and live on and not to ponder what has passed. Kullervo, after a discussion with his sword, that blames him for becoming the same as those who ruined his own life, takes his own life. Darth Vader, in many senses is the most moral of the three. At least he makes a moral choise to make things right. He decides to stop the evil that led to his tragedy, but alas, he fails miserably, as in his quest for power to stop evil and harm, he is led to a path to do the same and perhaps even worse evil by vague promises of immortality for his loved ones. He loses his humanity in his desperation of losing the few people he loves. He is offered an impossible bargain of evil deeds to save his loved ones.  In the end he redeems himself, as he finally kills the Emperor, who abused Darth as a tool, simply out of hunger for power for the sake of power, not to stop evil.

These are just stories, but if one looks at the world, it is full of good meaning people, who have lost their humanity because of their desperation. People who accept and even engage in all sorts of atrocities, because they have been told they and their loved ones will be saved from, powerty, destitution, death, or fates worse, like burning in a fiery lake for all eternity,  simply by signing in to sick ideologies and divinities with less than suspicious morals.

In general, I think, it is better that people are willing to change their minds about things, if and when new information emerges. Preferably according to the new information and after having made sure it is factual.

Just today there was a news item here in Finland about a chain of shops, the “Halpahalli” wich promotes itself by appealing to Christian values (increasingly poor advertisment exept perhaps to a diminishing group of customers). Since the law about opening hours for shops changed few years back, they have struggled against being open on sundays. They saw this as a violation of the Biblical law, wich demands “you shall not do any work” on sundays. However, as more and more other shops keep their doors open on sundays, so it seems, that the Christian shop has to do so too. Now they have decided to fire some of their employees who do not want ot work on sundays. So, previously they thought, that their god wanted them to not sell anything on sundays, but has obviously changed his mind about how a strict demand this is – according to market economy?

Rest aside the fact, that this descision to fire their employees based on their reluctance to work on sundays is actually against the current Collective agreement and thus against the law. To me, the interresting point is, that how did they determine their god would not mind them staying open on sundays, when just a few years back they were so keen, that their god wanted nothing but for them to shut their doors on sundays? Do their current customers, who come in on sundays, feel strongly affiliated to the “Christian Values” the shop promotes itself by and how have they determined it is OK to shop on sundays?

What are Christian values anyway and who has the right to determine them? What is the process to achieve the knowledge about them? Do these values change, or do the Theists think they are unchanging from an unchanging god? If they do not change, why is it, that this god was previously unable (or perhaps unwilling) to transmit his actual will to the faithfull followers who in good faith have succumbed to the most abominable and inhumane acts? Or has this god changed his mind about working on sundays, or about burning heretics alive? Why? What new information emerged to the knowledge of this god, so that he came to a new conclusion about wether working on sundays, or arbitrary torture and killing of people was no longer a good thing? What did he not know before? If the fault lies in the faitfull who have simply misinterpreted the will of their good willing god, then what good is such a god for? How could anyone even imagine they have the foggiest what this god supposedly wants, when so many who have had the access to the very same method of communication ie. the Bible seem to have failed so miserably? If this god is unable to transmit the most simple moral principles to people who act on what they think this god of theirs wants, then is it not exactly the same, if this god does not exist at all?

 

In the world of politics this idea of binary value bases has been the way we the voters have estimated parliamentary work for generations. The division is mostly between socialist left and anti-socialist right. Both are further divided, but it seems, that where the left has one ideological base, the right is much more divided in wether they are liberal, conservative, or even openly fascist, or all of the abowe (including even something akin to socialism, as in the case of NSDAP).

Liberalism may seem like a leftist ideal in extremely conservative cultures. A liberal may indeed also be a socialist and so on. Indeed, there have even been plenty of examples of very consrevative socialist governments, like for example in the late Soviet Union. So, what is the main difference really between the right wing politics and left wing politics all about, when it can be so mixed up? Nothing really?

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva

Yet, there is this very obvious difference in right and left ideologies. The socialist ideal is -to put it short – that the society should take care of those who can not take care of themselves. The anti-socialist ideology is in many ways fascist, in the sense, that it declares, that people should be responsible for themselves alone.

Ultimately all ideologies, that do not subscribe to the socialist ideal are selfish. They may declare freedom, but it all too often means – ideologically- mainly the freedom to exploit others. Many of the anti-socialist ideals are deeply held values, traditions, and other sorts of excuses for why one is not responsible for the wellbeing of others.

Anti-socialist values include ideals and ideologies, in no particular order, such as:

– Capitalism, wich is basicly an attempt to justify, why one person could own (cheat more than what they themselves really are able to produce) so much, that they practically own the lives of other people.

– Neo-liberalism, wich is pretty much the same, as abowe. Freedom is the declared blatantly obvious excuse to exploit others in this one.

– Neo-conservatism, wich is an oxymoron, if there ever was one. The idea is, that they try to dig into past to find confirmation for their new ideas on how to excuse their selfishness. ISIS may be a good example of neo-conservatism.

-Nationalism, wich is a form of Tribal moralism. The notion is that people should take care of each other, but only the citizens of a particular nation, or otherwise connected to this or that artificial in-group, such as a race, are actually people and others do not deserve to be treated as humans. There are of course all sorts of rationalizations to this immoral and illogical form of thought. As that is the case for all forms of exessive selfishness.

– Racism is like nationalism, in that they both are fed by the fears simpletons have for the outsider, or the out-group.

– Religious moralism, in wich people are again divided into groups of in-group of those deserving chosen of imaginary supernatural entities and those of the out-group who have themselves chosen poorly not to blindly accept to join in the worship (i.e. pay money to a clergy) of a particular divinity. The dehumanizing effect of the out-group is not much different from that of racism, or nationalism.

-Conservatism, wich is all about valuing what has existed up to this point in history as good, because we survived history so far, and all that is new as dangerous, because we have not yet survived it. A true conservative would not accept any new inventions, before at least a generation has survived them. Hence, it does not evaluate what is ethical, nor beneficial to all, but rather tries to preserve the existing priviledges and thus it is the epitome of selfishness.

– Fascism, wich tries to turn the double standards often employed by the values listed abowe, into a virtue. By declaring, that nature is a competition between individuals rather than between species, wich is much closer to reality. This is a typical misunderstanding of reality, by projecting the wishes of the individual (to be selfish) unto the world around, in an attempt to justify exessive selfishness.

What is in common to all of these, other than that they are mostly right-wing political ideologies and values and that they are based on the anti-social selfisness of a psychopat and obscure emotions, such as fear (insecurity, economic and emotional, but also xenophobia), is that they are all alien to reality, other than the reality they themselves create. They are cultural memes, that survive from generation to generation, because they are not harmfull eneough to cause biological evolutionary extinction of the individuals having, sharing and transferring these behaviour models and lies to the next generation. None of them can stand for a very precise ethical observation.

In nature, part of wich we humans – and our cultures – are, one method of survival in the evolutionary chain is to be selfish and a nother is co-operation. The question of political values is a natural one. As human beings we are all selfish and we all have the potential for co-operation as we are a spectacularly social mammal species. Forming communities and communicating our new ideas has been the reason for our success as a species so far. Do we choose to be selfish individuals only interrested in our own wellbeing and that of our “tribe”, or should we co-operate as an entire species? Considering how far we have come, I think it is a high time to become adults and choose to co-operate, rather than regress back to the utter selfishness of an infant.

 

The extreme right wing parties have overtaken many of the traditional conservative parties all over the globe. In Western world especially by appealing to nationalism, Christian cultural heritage and closing the borders from immigrants and refugees alike. Especially the feared Muslims, but anyone with a different tone of skin seems to qualify. Their populist policies have influenced the general political athmosphere, by appealing to a fear of the unknown, the outsider and foreigner, turning the fear of the foreigner into a more and more discussed political issue. In countries like my native Finland it has become “normal” to discuss how Finland could be made into less attractive country for immigration. This is not a very smart long term policy for a country that suffers from low birth rates even though it has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

In reality the world is not going to be devoid of Finns any time in the near future, as we have doubled our number just within a half of a century. That is a very short span of time, even in the terms of human history, not to mention biology. However it is true, that soon there will be a lot of pensioners in comparrison to the working population here. At the moment Finland suffers rather high rate of unemployment. Mostly young adults. But as the big generations born after the WWII grow older, that amount of unemployed Finns will simply not be enough to run the economy as a labour force. Hence, we actually do need the immigrants.

As the amount of immigrants and refugees from outside of Europe has slowly been growing, so have the deportations from Finland back to countries from wich some of these people came from. To me, the entire business of paying tickets for someone to fly back to a country where they do not want to live in, is simply nonsensical. Never mind the fact, that many of those people are infact in mortal danger in their countries of origin. Like for example an Iraqi police officer who had been threatened several times, and when he was deported back, got killed by the very people he had run away from to Finland. What sort of self flagellation the official responsible for making this particular deportation descision has succumbed to since, I do not know. I fear they are too stupid to even understand their own responsibility on using power over the life of a nother person. It is too sad, that people with enough of presence of mind to recognize the higher responsibility of using more power over the life of a nother, do not want thatburden of responsibility and thus the power is directed to people who do not understand such responsibilities and as a result often even want the sensation of power.

The Finns have a high regard of our police and other officials. We have good reason to think they are well paid, highly trained and educated professionals, who have a remarkably low rate of corruption. If the law sets certain parametres as to who is entiteled to live in Finland, the average Finn believes those should be respected.

On the other hand, at the moment our Office of Immigration MIGRI, is found constantly in the news topics from ridiculous descisions they have made to accomodate the new government instructions issued to satisfy the “immigration critical” right wing political populists. For example, there was this man from somewhere in the Middle-East, who had applied for sanctuary as he was a homosexual, and in his homecountry it was not uncomon to stone homosexuals to death. To find out wether his story was true or not the officials at MIGRI had asked him to prove he is a homosexual. How stupid is that? How does one prove such a thing? What did they expect him to do to prove it?

They are even trying to assess, wether some marriages between Finns and immigrants are “actual marriages” or simply marriages of convinience for the married immigrant or a refugee to get a permission to live in Finland. I mean really? How stupid is that? I bet, by their parametres they could have a lot to say about the marriage of president Donald Trump and his much younger immigrant wife…

The right wingers in Finland often appeal to the nationalist feelings by referencing to the WWII, and how Finland stood against the agression of Stalinist Soviet Union. All of us Finns have been taught, that our grandfathers fought for our indipendence and especially for freedom. But the freedom of whom and to do what? To live where people want to live? The Freedom of some particular group defined as Finns, by someone else. What about the people who would want to become Finns? Live in Finland, because this is, or at least used to be, a relatively good country to live in? What was the worst that could have happened to the average Finn, if the Soviets had conquered Finland. To the Estonians, our neighbours, who were invaded by the Soviets, it meant, that a lot of the most richest ones lost good part of their property. That the invaders could impose their power and rule over the individual Estonian and for example deport them somewhere (in Siberia) where they would not want to live, or where they could even be in mortal danger. Have we Finns now employed the rule of Stalin upon the people living in Finland, by providing bureaucrates the power and responsibility to try to decide for other people wether if their marriages are for love or for convinience? Wether they really are homosexuals as they claim to be, or what? Would even Stalin have made the distinction of harrasing people into not living where they want mainly according to their ethnicity. Finland is not making descisions wether someone may live in Finland if they are a born Finn, but for some reason the same rules do not apply, if one has been born elswhere. I find this different treatment of individuals appalling.

TS/<br />Talvisodassa menetetty Viipuri oli elokuussa 1941 jälleen suomalaisilla. Kuvassa 2. tiedotuskomppanian partio, joka on juuri vaihtanut Viipurinlinnan lipputankoon oikeankokoisen Suomen lipun.Vasemmalta tulkkina toiminut sotilasvirkamies Sadri Arifulla, sotilasvirkailija Lehesma, jolla on kainalossaan taistelujoukkojen linnantorniin nostama väliaikainen lippu, sekä luutnantit Jansson ja Myllymäki.

One of the dudes in the picture in their very nazi-like Finnish uniforms, was one of the Finnish Muslims, who fought for the freedom against the Stalinist Soviet union, and at the same time the allied forces of USSR, and in a way GB and USA. By looking at the picture you could not say wich one he is, but if you could, would that make any difference? Would our “immigration critical” voters recognize him as a “true Finn”? Should they have any say on wether this man had, or anyone else has, for that matter, a right to live in Finland? He risked more than any of them on behalf of Finland, but also for freedom wich is a contrary concept to their ideology. Could I ask them even to recognize that much? The moral of the world is not an easy black and white thing. Yet, liberty and freedom to choose where we want to go and live is not such a complex concept. Is it?

Robin Hood is one of the legendary symbols for fight against oppression. A famous and popular symbol of the little people fighting against the greed of the mighty. The story has had many, many film adaptations along the years. Every filmmaker gives their own interpretation of the legend. As it is legend and not an historical story, it is quite malleable, without any good reason to tell people, that is not how it actually went.

Exept, that while art owes nothing to history as such, when a legend is set in historical backround, history is often distorted totally out of proportion when historicity is not an issue interresting to the storyteller. In the 1960’s there was a time where a western movie telling a story about cowboys had a certain look. None of it looked remotely like the 19th century in wich the stories were set. Both men and women had their hair and makeup made according to the latest fashion of the release date of the film and much of what they wore followed the same logic. Infact, one could say, there was a genre of western fantasy and the expectations of the audiences echoed suit. Then some Italian dudes made their own westerns, and because they were poor, they could not afford all the gimmicks and fashions of the Bonanza-style western fantasy and they had a vision of gritty, but realistic poor west. The basic story was always the same, not much different from Robin Hood, where the poor man has to fight for his rights against the magnate. After that all the western movies made before, turned into total camp. The fantasy version of old west, was suddenly percieved as it was – a bit silly.

Now me, I expect, that some day a scriptwriter, a director and a producer will see this opportunity to do to the film industry what the spaghetti westerns did to the western movies in regard to medieval and for example viking-age stories. There have been attempts to make something authentic, such as for example the film Being Human (starring Robin Williams), but as of yet, none of them has prevailed the genre. The day someone does this to the Biblical movie genre, will be a day to remember, but alas – I do not expect that to change anything, because the major audiences of that particular genre are so invested and indoctrinated, that they could not possibly see the difference between an authentic version of what may have happened in comparrison to the fantasy, because to them the fantasy versions are part of their identity. Even though, the fantasy in Biblical stories is quite fansy indeed.

My favourite filmatisation of Robin Hood remains the 1980’s TV series Robin of Sherwood. This even despite the occasional silly bursts of nationalistic nonsense. Though low on budget, they at least tried to make it look like it actually could have happened during the reign of John Lackland in the turn of 12th and 13th centuries. What they achieved was far too often only showing the time of the making of the film. Yet, at least they tried, wich is more than can be said about most high budget movies or TV adaptations of the story. My favourite version too had some mythical elements to it, but at least during the first two seasons, the idea was much, that some events seemed supernatural to the characters who lived in a superstitious culture and we modern viewers were only led to their perception of the situation, rather than that these were supposed to seem like supernatural to us. The characters were well built and grew during the series and my personal favourit still remains the frustrated bureaucrate the sheriff of Nottingham as portrayed by Nicholas Grace.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle robin of sherwood

Well, I was a kid and every generation seems to get their own Robin Hood. I guess the story remains popular as long as people can see the injustice in the abuse of power and the poor man forced to fight it. Just as in the western movies. That sort of injustice has not disappeared from the world, not by a long shot, but do we get many movies about modern day Robin Hoods taking a stand against it?

I am affraid, that most filmatisations from Errol Flynn to Prince of Thieves, through Robin Hood (starring Russel Crowe), to the new movie (of wich I have not yet seen more than the teaser) are so fantastic – and more fantastic by the number- that they have a tendency to turn the historical events behind the legend into a blurr in the minds of the greater audiences. That ultimately as a result of such medievalist fantasy the line between fantasy and history gets more and more bogged. That people will be having more difficulty to understand what is known about history and what is mere legend. Or that the real history actually took place and that we have something to learn from it.

 

The theological faculty at Helsinki University has decided to start teaching the theology of Islam beside their Christian studies. They already teach at least the Lutheran and the Orthodox versions of Christianity. Some of the Finnish politicians from the far right “immigration critical” party the “Finns” (previously known as the “True Finns” party) were alarmed by this new development.

There is this idea of “Islamisation” of Europe and western world, that is at the bottom of the fear for such a turn of events. Fear is a powerfull factor in politics. Sometimes fear is justified. There have been immigration from Islamic countries to Europe for generations and today it is more visible and wider than ever. The reason is of course, that there are many wars ongoing in Africa, Near- and Middle-East. Many powerfull western powers (both governments and capital) have supported this and that regressive form of government in North Africa, the Near- and Middle-East. This has led to a bunch of wars and people are running from the chaos, bloodshed, oppression and poverty. Hence there are more and more Islamic people even here in the norther part of Europe and even in Finland.

 Medieval illustration of a battle during the Second Crusade

This is the reality we live in today, not the time of the crusades. Closing the gates from more comers would be devastating to our own society, as it would send a message to the Islamic people who already live here, that they are being considered as some sort of second class citizens, or even totally unwanted people. This would lead to the radicalization of many of them and would serve no purpose, exept the purpose of the populist rigt wing politician, be they our own fascists, or members of the Islamist radical movement. For they truly are the opposite sides of the same coin. Their goal is indeed the same, to create a barrier between people on the artificial lines of religion and race and to rule people through the fear they themselves have created.

To me as an atheist, the study of theology, be it Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, or whatever is the study of nothing, by meaningles methods. It is ultimately a wasted effort to try to find some super- or otherwise unnatural meaning from ancient folklore alledgedly put there by some form of divine power. Theology only exists in universities because of cultural and traditional reasons. Not because it represents an actual form of science. It is a non-science where the end result of the “nature” of the ultimate study subject has been prediceded and it is simply nothing but magic. This meticulous study of such sources for generations has led us absolutely no closer to any evidence of said divinities even existing, let alone influencing writing work of primitive cultures. At the end, all divinities still demand blind faith, wich is by no means even a remotely reliable method to find the truth about ANY issue.

However, to me the possibility for people to practice their religion and especially trying to study it, is the sign of an open secular society, where all religions are represented, as long as any of them is studied and have followers anyway. Only in such a tolerant culture can the religions themselves develope towards peacefull co-existance and be interpreted in a tolerant way – thus benefiting also us atheists. In this sense secularism is not only the base for a stronger and more inclusive society, but indeed the base for a better society to live in. For everybody.