Hundreds and thousands of refugees flood Europe from the so called third world countries. Some of these people come to seek better income and are not refugees as those who come from countries where there is a war going on. But we no longer speak of war, because conflict seems like a better description of the situation in countries like for example Afghanishtan.

Many of the people who come to Europe are young men. Instead of fighting for one or a nother faction or a cause in their homecountries these young men have chosen to flee the conflict area and leave their families behind. Why? Because they are the ones who can leave, are most likely drafted to to this or that militia to fight for a cause they do not even recognize, or support. In Europe our wars both against other Europeans and the rest of the world have been fought with countless young men who did not have a clue about the cause and were drafted to do the fighting. Sometimes some of them even thought they had a notion of the cause they were fighting for. Most often those causes were quite abstract, like a “Fatherland”, or the “King and country”, or even “The Empire”. If a cause can not raise enough people to fight for it, is it a good enough cause to fight and die for? If it can rally masses to the banner, does that make it a good cause to die for?

Europe seems to be divided, or perhaps even a bit schitzofrenic about how the refugees should be met. Some fear the outsider, or simply have suspicions based on the culture and religion of the newcomers. Some see them as a representation of the faceless threat that the modern times, cultural changes, or even globalization represent. Some view them as humans in need of help, or see their desperation when they brave the Mediterranean with tiny, but very full boats. Most recognize these people as the victims of human traficking.

The European countries try to limit the amount of refugees coming in to satisfy their voters who fear the change the refugees represent. Be that change the fear for increased amount of terrorism, something strange called “Islamization”, or even the amount of cheap labour. In reality, countries like for example my native Finland has an actual problem in how our population is growing older and older.  What terrorism we have had has been domestic and not motivated by extreme Islam. Some of the political violence one could call terrorism in Finland has been motivated by racism and the fear of the outsider. Some of it seems to be a direct result of some populist politicians riding on the fear of the change and of the outsider.

We have a refugee crisis going on. The crisis is not that there are many people coming to our countries. It is a crisis to the people who need to leave their homes and seek new fortunes elswhere. It is a crisis to families, who spend a lot of money to send their young men away from all sorts of militia draft systems just because that is the one person who can leave and they can afford to send to the perillous journey. A crisis to families who pack their few belongings to move to a foreign country, a destination they often know almost next to nothing about just to get away from the war – sorry, conflict. A crisis to thousands of people who get abused and robbed to get to Europe. A very real crisis to thousands of people who have already drowned and drown on their way. A humanitarian crisis to untold thousands who end up in refugee camps mostly at the outskirts of Europe.

The populists of Europe are against specifically Islamic refugees. This should reveal their game to everyone. As if Islam was somehow more intolerant religion than Christianity. It is not. In Europe Christianity has simply been pacified by secularism. The people who come may have their own problems, but it is childish to think we can recognize their specific problems when they come. The terror attack in Manchester a couple of days ago, was committed by an Islamist radical. The previous terror attack in Manchester was made by a Christian extremist. It was made in 1994 by the IRA. Both attacks were motivated, by politics and were done by emotionally unstable people. Let us face it, sane people do not engage in terror attacks. Do they? Not even when they commit such by the commands of some military organization and not even when they use a bomber to deliver the bomb, instead of blowing themselves up with a suitcase bomb.

Finally, I have to say, that the idea of “Islamization” is ridiculous. It is only a threat if the society to wich the Islamic people come to join is not a truly secular. If religion holds any political power and people are segragated according to their superstitions, only then many Islamic people may hold political power in a democracy. Secularism is the cure to extremist religiously motivated violence, not some other religion, as we have so often throughout history witnessed, the most peacefull religions, like for example Buddhism can be distorted to be used as motivation to violence. The extremist Islamist terrorist has exactly the same motives as the neo-nazi. The neo-nazi may even be totally non-religious, but has a similar misunderstanding of reality as that of a Theist extremist. Their common motive is to create division and conflict between cultures, because they can not stand pluralism. They have difficulty to stomach other people not living up to their standards, even when the other people are not stepping on their individual rights. Should we ever again yield to the demands of such lunatics?

This is a wide topic, I admit, but I try to be as brief as I can.

The medieval era from the fall of western Rome to the rise of renneissance was the era of the heavy cavalry in Europe. The Roman legion was made obsolete by more mobile and better equipped heavy catapracht cavalry, that the Romans adopted from their eastern neighbours in Armenia, Syria, Persia and the Scythians, Sarmatians and the Huns of the wide steppe. The medieval epitome of warfare was the concept of the Knight. Armoured, highly skilled and armed like his predecessor the cataphract with a lance and sword.  A knightly culture and social class ruled over rest of the society for some thousand years and went into decline as the infantryman once again surplanted the heavy cavalry as the foremost element to win any battle.

So highly was the heavy cavalryman regarded in medieval times, that often even though armies consisted from far more greater numbers of infantry (of varying quality) their numbers were not even mentioned or really counted when the strength of an army was evaluated. Examples of this can be found from the opposite ends of the European continent. Even in the long tradition of military training and analysis of the Byzantine empire they would often only count the number of cavalrymen, when they made estimations of their campaign forces. When the English met the French in the battle of Azincourt in 1415, the contemporary sources say that the French outnumbered the English three to one, but in reality this only meant that there were three times the amount of French chevalliers and gendarmes in comparrison to some 1000 English knights and men-at-arms. We know, that there were several thousand English archers and siege specialists on the field as well, but we simply do not have any contemporary estimate as to how many infantrymen (crosbowmen and such) did the French bring. Neither the archers or the crossbowmen, nor any of the possible billmen, spearmen, halbardier, or what ever were expected to have any impact on the result of the battle.

One might think that such disregard of the infantry was the result of mere arrogance coming from a sort of espirit de corps -sort of elitist social culture. In part it was that, and as in Azincourt, sometimes this sort of arrogance was proven to be fatal, but there were reasonable reasons for this attitude. The archers and crossbowmen and what have you other sorts of infantrymen were brought to field battles only to give a supporting role to the “real” soldiers of the heavy cavalry. Their main function was to serve as siege troops. To provide the necessary arrow fodder and shoot their arrows to make both assaults on ramparts and their defence difficult, but not to solve any field battles or even sieges. Thre were battles fought where a score of few hundred heavy cavalry destroyed several times stronger armies of infantry, suffering hardly any losses in turn. In comparrison the individual infantryman, hired or levied, had rudimentary education to the arts of close combat, was poorly equipped and motivated. The armoured man-at-arms in effect ruled the battlefield wether if he was mounted, dismounted or stood on the parapet of a castle.

The military ability of the man-at-arms did not only provide possibility for him to set himself to lead the society, it was also seen as a justification for him to stand in that position. The relevance of the knightly class in the medieval society has often been misunderstood and not seen as significant as it was, because such institutions as the church painted a bit different picture and gave other excuses for those who held power than their ability for violence and quite a bit of the contemporary sources from said era were written and preserved to posterity by the priesthood. But the medieval era was far from being extremely religious. It was superstitious and religion gave plenty of moralist excuses for the violence, but this was because the priests almost invariably came from the same social class as the men-at-arms. The priests were born as sons of knights, lords and well, other priests. Medieval bishops often had themselves depicted in armour, rather than in religious vestments. In general it seems religions do not set the moral standards for any society, rather the society sets the moral standards for the religion they have adopted. For the medieval European Christians church was not much else but a method to justify the feodalist social system, just like for the modern US Christian fundamentalists their churches are mere methods to justify their Capitalist values.

This dude in the picture is the archibishop of Cologne from around mid 14th century. His shield has the cross emblem, not uncommon heraldic device for less religious troop types either, and his helmet bears the bishops mitre as a heraldic device from wich his status can be easily recognized on the field of battle.

It has been often presented, that the introduction of gunpowder made the heavy cavalry obsolete, and thus ended the era of the knights. But this is a silly notion, as we know that the heavy cavalry retained it’s elite status on the battlefield even long after Napoleon. There are several reasons why heavy cavalry went into decline and foremost of them is that they themselves started to dismount for combat more and more often during the late medieval centuries.

The warhorse was an expensive asset to loose in combat, so it stood to reason not to waste it in so many frontal charges. While the benefit of the cavalry is the hard hitting mobility, this mobility makes it also an unreliable battlefield asset. If the heavy cavalry decides to retreat, they do it faster than any infantry, and that is one of the main reasons why medieval infantry was considered weak and unreliable, as they had to run away from the field long before their mounted masters decided to, if they did not want to be the ones easily cut down in the chase by enemy heavy cavalry. In the late medieval times some military minds gathered, that infantry could be a lot stronger, if it was armed so that it could withstand enemy cavalry charges on it’s own, without the support of the men-at-arms wether mounted or dismounted. Great national armies began to appear as kings and cantons were no longer dependable on the feodalistic protection racket. With the appearance of the national armies and autocracy slowly the national states appeared as well. And thus the medieval social structure based on the monopoly of violence by the heavy cavalryman crumbled. This in turn released all sorts of new ideas, that led to religious reformation, but more importantly to ideals of human value and enlightenment.

Sadly the history of warfare is not just a straight line of violence and of technological innovation separate from the rest of human achievement, but rather the history of human sociological evolution.

If we are to assume, that the universe may not have appeared by natural reason, and that there has had to have been a creator behind the creation, and if we further assume, that this creator is still around, by the same token should we not accept also, that this creator is responsible for all the suffering in the world?

It does not really matter wether we think the creator entity is justified in creating, or allowing evil, for what ever reasons we could possibly excuse this entity for all the suffering and pain in the universe. You see, wether if someone is justified in some action or inaction does not remove the responsibility of the choise to act, or not.

I have been told, that all the suffering is the fault of mankind for having fallen from the grace of a particular god, by a more or less symbolic act of some of our ancestors. This is a vile and immoral concept, since when has anyone been responsible for the actions of their ancestors? What sort of a person would hold anyone responsible for the actions of their ancestors?

I have also been told, that suffering is the result of our free will, but I do not see how that would be a prerequisite for freedom of choises, nor how that would set the alledged creator free from responsibility of having created us as we are. Many of us are fully capable of making choises between two good things and most of us seem to prefer to choose between such options rather than that our choises were between good and bad. If all choises need to be between good and bad, then the creator entity either made and/or makes choises between good and bad, choosing sometimes bad over good (for the heck of it), or this entity has no free will of it’s own. If we look at the world presuming there is an ultimately powerfull creator entity acting behind the scenes, there is no escaping the notion, that this is an entity who has created evil, and allows it to run amock.

Further more, I have been told that the point of evil existing in our present state of existance is for us to learn compassion. This idea was obviously presented by someone who really needed to learn compassion. A child is capable of learning compassion from imaginary fairy tales, that do not have to involve the reality in wich the child lives in any way. As if the suffering of animals and other humans only existed for the benefit of some individuals who are (or possibly were created to be) incapable of learning compassion through imaginatory stories?

You may ask, to whom would a creator of the entire universe be responsible to, if there are no higher authorities, than this creator god? As in might makes right sort of excuse for this creator being beyond our moral estimation. But I expect you would not ask such a silly question, as you my friend, propably already understand, that such a question would represent regressive authoritarianism. That an adult is responsible to a child to protect the child, because the child is less capable than the adult and not vice versa. Should not the same apply between humans and their gods?

Responsibility means taking care of things regardless wether there is someone stronger to answer to, or not. Not because one has to answer to some stronger authority.

If we assume the universe has appeared and formed to the current state of things through natural processes, we are still fully capable of choosing to be moral, that is to provide ourselves and each other with as good lives we are able to. Are we not? Why would we choose otherwise?

Ultimately, the assumption about the creator entity remains beyond our capacity to prove, provide any evidence of it, or even investigate. How should we treat such an assumption? Or do you have any evidence of it existing?



“Hey guys, I think we have a live one here!”

Many Christians profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus. What do they mean? A personal experience impossible to replicate, if one has not experienced it. It is sometimes even presented as the best and foremost evidence they have to believe in the existance of their god.

What do Christians mean when they say they have a personal relationship with their god entity? It is often described some form of conversing between them and their god. They ask their god for advice in choises they have to make and supposedly this god of theirs answers. How? How do they know, that who ever answers is actually their god?

How does one make the distinction between a particular god talking to oneself within the limits of the inner mind of the person experiencing this, from the normal inner dialogue we have? How does one make the distinction between different alledged supernatural entities talking within our minds?

Or are they referring to hearing voices? Hearing voices is not necessarily a sign of schizophrenia and it is far more common than commonly assumed. Be it caused by such serious condition or not, it is a trick of the mind. The physical brain within our cranium. It is perfectly natural, that when a person starts to hear voices, those voices that are echoes of the brainfunctions reflect the cultural heritage of the individual. Sometimes including their religious beliefs and cultural ideas about the supernatural. The Jesus character in the Bible seemed to think, that sort of experience is a form of coexistance with some sort of demons. This makes the Bible appear very much as a book and the Jesus character in it as a typically superstitious human being of the time when the book was written. Does it not?

If the relationship with a particular god entity is not described as much as hearing actual voices inside your head, merely the natural inner dialogue, perhaps even a muted version of it, it still is necessarily connected to the cultural heritage and culturally induced ideas such as particular concepts of gods. Even if a person later in life becomes convinced, that the connection they had to a particular god was not those of a particular god concept of their own cultural heritage, in order to recognize wich god concept fits the experience they remember having had, they first need to become aware of the cultural notion of a particular god that would fit the bill. God concepts are necessarily cultural constructs. Similar god beliefs have appeared ignorant of each other around the globe, but the very same concept has never appeared simultaneously in different cultures indipendend of each other. Instead the succesfull religious movements all require a form of proselytising.

How could a personal experience, limited between our own ears be evidence of a particular god to exist? Even to us ourselves? Most of these experiences are direct reflections of the cultural heritages and subsequent beliefs people already had even before they had the experience. Putting aside the fact, that the personal experience of an individual is presents very poor evidence for a nother person. The obvious cultural connection of recognition of a particular god depending on the culture and experiences of the particular individual, at very least, puts the evidence value of any such experience to question. In any case it reminds us, that either, if there is a god behind such phenomenons this god is “challenged” in trying to convey who this god is to human individuals, or then there are multiple different gods providing evidence of their existance.

Now, if the god of the Christians manifests somehow differently from other gods, and the “personal relationship” is a concept to describe this, it still means, that it is a cultural concept. As this personal relationship seems more common among particular mutually competing Christian sects, it means, that most Christians are not included in this personal relationship. Most Christians in the world are just normal people who have no personal relationships with anything supernatural. Why?

What if there is something supernatural causing these experiences, and the cultural interpretation was just a side-effect of the phenomenon being transmitted to the rest of us, by superstitious and culturally indoctrinated individuals? Well, perhaps, but how likely is that? According to the Occam’s Razor, the more simplistic model of explanation is the more likely truth. If applied to voices in the head, the inner monologue feeling or seeming like it was between the individual and a god, or just a chance occurance seeming like it was an answer to a question presented by the person inside their head, it is still more simple to explain any of those as tricks of the mind, rather than by anything supernatural, that would still require an external verification to even exist as much as to be a possible explanation to the experience.

I have to admit it, if I ever had any such an experience, I would rather have my head examined, than jumped to the conclusion, that a particular deity was trying to make a contanct with me. But is that just my own cultural heritage and bias? I am not immune to my own culture, or the assumptions it provides me. Yet, my ally is the scientific method. As long as it does not provide any direct information about divinities, I am quite happy to neglect any suggestions of gods as fable. Much the same way I neglect any ideas of demons, angels, pixies, unicorns, dragons and such. Besides, being a researcher of history, I have quite scientific evidence of how the beliefs in the supernatural appear. We have no reliable knowledge about anything supernatural, but we do have reliable knowledge about otherwise perfectly rational people being able to make up fantastic stories, believing them against all evidence and even sacrificing themselves for their faith in the most ludicurous and harmfull beliefs. Like for an extreme example the Nazies.

I was told by a Christian, that homosexuality is “abnormal”. What does “abnormal” actually mean?

I am not “abnormal” in the sense that I was a homosexual, but am I abnormal for being a Finn? Finns are a far more smaller minority in the world than homosexuals. Finns may be a majority in our own country, but being a Finn does not rub of when we leave here. Every Finn knows what tar smells like. Do you? An average Finn enjoys going to a crowded room, only if it is very hot and full of naked people and finds it relaxing if these people whip her/him with branches of birch. Do you?

What is “abnormal” to you may not be that to others. Is it then justified to deny people who love each other a possibility to get married with the person they love because they are “abnormal”, or simply just different in the eyes of someone else?

Is the definition of “abnormal” to be understood simply as a label on any minority? In that case all of us not speaking Chinese belong to a one “abnormal” minority or a nother and all those speaking Chinese are an “abnormal” minority in the sense that most of us speak something else. That would mean, such “abnormality” incorporated each and every one of us.

I do not think, that the use of the word “abnormal” is justified in the case of homosexuality, because it as a term, that also refers to dysfunction and as such misbehaviour and actual harm. In that sense, using the word in the sense, that homosexuality is somehow dysfunctional, is actually itself dysfunctional as it is clearly harmfull when homosexuality as such is not.

What it is, to call homosexuality abnormal, it is immoral. Because it is immoral to imply, that something, that is not harmfull, is harmfull. I wonder what led this Christian person to such a misuse of this word? Why was it not enough for him, that his god deems homosexual men worth stoning to death while keeping absolutely silent about lesbians, but he needed to claim, that homosexuality was somehow abnormal, simply because it is not the sexual orientation of the majority of humans, as if that excused his god alledgedly giving this obviously immoral law to some ignorant people in ancient days? The fact, that he could no more produce a god to back up his claim, than to produce any actual evidence, that homosexuality itself was harmfull, perhaps? Could that be why he resorted to this more or less inadvertent tactics of insinuation? I expect it was not his Christianity itself, that caused it as such, because I know plenty of Christians who do not share his absurd view. Was he deliberately using god as his hobbyhorse to justify his feelings of ikky towards a different sexual identity of others, or was it unitentional and a result of poor moral education? I do not know wether if I should even ask him, because how comprehensable, not to speak of rational response can one even expect, from a person on that level of stupid?

Stalin, Mao, Mussolini and a number of famous atheists who were also leaders of their countries are also known as horrible authoritarian dictators. Was it their atheism, that led them to murder millions? The 20th century was the era of the dictatorships around the globe. Pinochet, Batista, Franco and Hitler were all Christians, so was it their Christianity, that in turn led these dictators to murder millions?

Atheism means the lack of belief in any supernatural deities. Nothing more. It does not mean immoral, because morals is not dependent on the belief in any particular deity. Morals is about human conduct towards others, our selves, all living things and even inanimate objects. It is about the actual harm and potential harm we may cause with our actions. It is about a healthy balance between selfishness and selflessness. Not about following any particular arbitrary rules as set up by any might makes right sort of authority, wether if it is a dictator, religious demagogue, or a god.

However, the likes of Stalin were inculturated into believing, that the “obligation” to do the right thing only comes from a deity, that alledgedly either rewards, or punishes people. Though, not according to their deeds, but according to their faith in the alledgedly everlasting afterlife and a god that promises pardon for anything at all if you just can keep to your blind faith. This can be achieved through two ways, basicly never contemplating or investigating the unnatural claims made by the religious, or by autosuggesting to yourself it is true inspite the obvious lack of evidence for any such invisible, inaudible, tastless and immaterial entities, nor praying to them having more effect on reality than wishfull thinking. When they realized that it is a mere fairy tale, with no actual connection to the reality, did they conclude, that this also made morals a non-existant thing and that they could do just about anything, since there after all would not be an eternal punishment awaiting for them for their non-belief?

If in contrast the religious dictators had a good reason to do the right thing in fear of the eternal punishmet, why did they do all those vile and horrid things? Well, it seems that they had a very twisted view on what is actually good and infact they did have every reason as given from their cultural heritage to believe, that they would be forgiven all the bad stuff anyway, if only they had faith in a particular religious claim, that they had been lucky enough to have as being born into a particular culture. Like so many people believe they have simply been lucky to have been born into a particular time frame, country, social class, race and what not, that somehow entitels them to better lives than others. That is, they felt they had been inculturated into the particular cultural religious movement whose claims they should take at face value and with religious blind faith, and that would set them scott free from all the responsibility of their actions. In addition Hitler thought to have been directly contacted by this god of his culture, and been ordered to go on a rampage of conquest.

Well, we do not know wether if Hitler really believed that, or wether if Pinochet and his death patrols were “real” Christians, since they could have lied about his beliefs, but then again, so could have Stalin and Mao. Assuming that one of these people was a liar about their own admissions on matters of faith may be justified, but none of them was known exactly for their honesty either. So, to remain to our own integrity, we should assume that their admissions on these matters were honest unless we have actual evidence on the contrary.

Immoral people are the victims of their cultures. The meaning of instigating the fear of gods may have been an attempt to make people act morally, despite their inclinations to be overtly selfish, but obviously these have failed. Stalin seems like a victim of religious inculturation, if indeed the loss of belief in a particular god led him to conclude, that anything goes. Did he go unpunished? He died as an abandoned man with the lives of numerous victims ruined and taken at his conscience. Hitler died as a disappointed man on the ruins of his dreams. Pinochet died having lost his honour and accused of stealing money from the national military funds and of crimes against humanity. We can understand them better, if we realize they were the victims too. Victims of circumstances, that made them into who they were. However, understanding them does not mean on any level accepting their deeds.

A new Finnish parliamentary representative of The Finns Party (formerly known aslo as The True Finns Party) Laura Huhtasaari has come out as a creationist. It remains to be seen how this affects her political career, but I did not know people in Finland could be this ignorant. I am not only referring to her, because a single idiot, religious extremist, or other tin foil hattery are not so rare anywhere. Rather I refer to the voters. Granted she did not campaign on this subject, but over 9000 people voted for her. Were they ignorant of her ignorance, or only concerned about the issues she capaigned with, wich were basicly education, keeping the roads in her voting district in good condition and getting more severe punishments to the sexual offenders?

It is surprizing, to say the least, that such a person with these very limited skills in evaluating reality is actually a professional teacher. How did she pass the university? It would be ridiculous, if we were not talking about such a serious matter. Her being a teacher of course explains why she lists education as an important issue. I wonder how she, or more importantly her voters now feel about her, when she has exposed herself to have such a limited understanding on science, and as the government part of wich her party is, has been cutting with a heavy hand from the funding of education, wich pretty much equals to pissing in your pants when it is sub zero. It might save you some money now and make you feel less cold for a second or two, but quite soon you are going to feel the sting of the cold. Especially this is so to a small nation like Finland, that has no other natural resources, than the high rate of education of it’s citizens.

She has since defended her views on evolution, though she first claimed not to comment the subject any further, no doubt in the fear that she actually could not defend such a ridiculous position. However, now as this made some headway in publicity, she made the effort to say, that even if she was not a Christian, she would find it hard to believe, that a man and an ape share common ancestry and that even science grows through doubt. Indeed, it does. Yet, the way she has expressed her reasons not to believe in evolution demonstrate how poorly she has understood the arguments for evolution. She has not put up a single scientific reason why evolution might not be true. She is simply referring to the small number of early human fossils, as if that had anything to do with the theory of evolution in grand scale not to be true. Why is it, that the creationists have so hard time to understand, that the evolution is not something that exists just for the human being to appear? That we are just one more by-product among so many others. Is it because their religious values set humans at the center of “creation” that they have developed this andropocentric and egocentric view?

It shocks me how such a person who has this bad skills in evaluating reality might be there to decide over national issues. This is not the only field where she has shown total and utter lack of understanding and knowledge. She has also claimed that the Roman empire fell because of decay of moral values. Famous pagan writers Cato and Tacitus who lived centuries before the fall might have agreed with her. Is she perhaps referring to the fact that the Roman empire had adopted Christianty as the sole religion just prior to it’s fall? Of course not, she is a devout Christian herself.

Laura Huhtasaari has also suggested brilliantly, that Finland should house the Finnish prisoners in Estonia. Apparently she thought this might be more economic, than to house them here. How shipping prisoners to across the sea would save any money and what the Estonians might think about this quite original suggestion had not crossed her mind before she went public with it.

This bright new political talent has lived in the US and clearly she has absorbed quite a lot from the political and religious life there. Sadly, it seems, only from the stupid end. It did not take long for the Finnish media to name her the Sarah Palin of the Satakunta  – the area from wich she was elected from. (Just for curiosity sake, Satakunta is an ancient name referring to the stora hundare – a hundred and twenty, or so, men of the voluntary leidang fleet of the early Swedish kings). This was not so much in admiration as it was about Sarah Palin seen as a symbol of political right wing stupidity and ignorance.

I guess, this goes to show that not all evolution, is for the better. It is the survival of the “fittest”, not the best. Even in social and cultural respect of the word and not only in biological. She is clearly not the best choise for a parliamentary representative, but I guess she fitted well to her voters…