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?

The reconstruction of a historical artefact is typically a project, that is easily affected by our modern cultural norms and standards. Standards, that we are often blisfully unaware of. Sadly, having such standards and norms makes us easily blind to the wider world and makes us less than objective about reality.

As my example I have chosen a silly little mistake, that I see all too often and probably (hopefully) I am the only person (or one among a very small minority) who is even irritated by such. I guess, there are far more people who get irritated even by my calling this out as a mistake and I would first like to appologize to people who might get offended by me revealing their misunderstanding. In my experience people are more likely to get agitated by their mistakes being pointed out, than they are happy, that they get a chance to repair any such mistakes they might have otherwise overlooked. Why is that?

Anyway, the waistline, especially the concept of male waistline has changed according to fashion lately, but long enough time ago for us to have become unaware of this radical change. It shows us, how what we may easily percieve as conservative, may actually be quite modern and how often we are blind to the changes in our culture. One of the most radical changes on thinking on what is proper attire for men has happened after the industrial clothing markets have totally taken over with their ready made garments. That change has really pulled the pants down for men. Up until the mid 20th century male waistline was typically considered to be at the level of the navel. At the point where the human body twists the most – largely because of this and because that is where a healthy human individual (healthy enough to do close combat with spear and shield, at least) is the most narrow, so it is only natural to tighten the belt there. Yes, men just like women are at their narrowest at the navel, not at the hips, where the waistline in western culture today is percieved and where fashionable pants today reach. But I am actually pulling far back in time when the westerners did not even use pants yet.

I have seen several attempts to recreate medieval armour and (as in my example) armour from antiquity, in wich the modern reconstructionist makes ridiculously large chest piece, to fit the armour to reach all the way down to the modern low waistline. This causes the armour to not turn with the body easily, along the shoulder line, but causes an irritating at best, restricting at worst twist because it now both hangs from the shoulders, but also rests on the hip. One person who had made this mistake, described it themselves as “chafing on their nipples”, or something to that effect.

I could post several pictures, that people themselves have published, in wich they wear a ludicurously tall chest piece, but because my point is not to shame any individual who has made a common (as is my case) mistake, I shall not. If you are interrested, and do not recognize what I am talking about, I recommend you make a search for this and I promise you shall find plenty of examples of both reconstructions fitting the mistake I call out here, and of very good reconstructions, that have not made this error.

In any case, even if my example was hypothetical and nobody had made the particular mistake I present as an example, I hope you get my meaning. Further more, I do not believe in presenting the wrong example, but presenting the right example and especially in historical research a good source material of the orginal, as the better pedagogical example.

The picture below is from a Greek vase from the antiquity and it shows us how the so called linothorax armour plate is worn. Now, one could make the mistake to think that the waistline of this armour is lower than the navel, because of how it is painted here, and that is part of the problem. Our sources are not always accurate, or so obvious to us, that they would set us straight from our own cultural assumptions and biases. Yet, if we examine the picture closely, we see that the crotch of the man in the picture is just a bit lower than where the pteruges (the flaps hanging from the edge of his chest armour) even reach. If we compare them to the width of his hand, we are perfectly justified in thinking that the pteruges must be at least two widths of hand long. Even given the fact, that the hand width is not an accurate measurement, this leaves very little for us to assume otherwise, than that the lower edge of his chest piece is at the level of his navel and it is certainly not resting on his hip. This will not only allow a greater freedom of movement and wearer comfortability. It also explains why there are only two connection points to close the armour (not only in this particular picture, but uniformly nearly all pictures of such an armour), as if the chest piece was any taller, the twisting motion at the level of the navel would open it when the wearer made any radical movements. That would hardly be very convinient in a battle?

Kuvahaun tulos haulle pteruges

Once more, this is just an example of how easily we jump to conclusions about cultural concepts foreign to us, even in seemingly trivial things. In this case the false notion of historical concept of waistline based on modern fashion, makes the armour reconstruction next to unusable and certainly paints a picture of the ancient people having been idiots for using such clumsy military gear for generations after generations. Think about how a more taboo concept may make us see a foreign culture, we come to contact today, in a completely false and twisted light. This is the very same point, where our ignorance, preassumptions and biases makes some of us see all Muslims as potential terrorists.

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?

https://smccmartin.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/st-martin-dividing-his-cloak2.jpg?w=510

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?

 

A crowd beat up a young woman to death in Afghanishtan. Then they burned her body. The entire episode ended up on video and to the social media. It raised objection throughout the world and demonstrations against such religious violence in many other Islamic nations. The reason why this student of the Koran was murdered and then burned was because of malignant rumour, that she had alledgedly burned said holy book. Now 49 people stand trial for this heinous religiously inspired murder. 19 of those are policemen.

The rumour about her burning a book may have been totally made up, as she had apparently angered some people by telling the crowd visiting a mosque not to buy amulets, as such traditional culture in  is against Islam and those had possibly set about this false rumour. I personally detest burning any books, but killing someone on mere rumour is just wildly mad and murder based on some sacriligious act, be that true or not, is just as insane.

I can see how such barbarous act may bring up islamophobia in the West, but I urge all you Christians to ask yourselves to be honest and remember, that it has only been a couple of hundred years, that the secularisation of western society – not the love of Crhist – has forced such demonstrations of religious devotional violence out of practice in most of “Christendom”.

This is why I find it hard to agree with people who think religions as cultural traits should be left alone and we should let people believe in what ever nonsense they ever want to. Because, left unchecked, they end up burning other people… Apparently, when the imagined ultimate authority of a god is backing you up, you are entiteled to do just about any heinous crime and infact your god demands such as these alledgedly incredibly powerfull gods are totally incapable to defend themselves, or to interfere, if someone is doing something wrong…