Religion and violence

“God is a concept, by which we measure our pain”.

John Lennon had it nailed all those years ago. In such times as ours, we must see this lyric in perspective, because recently many different religious “extremists” are using their divine relationship with a ineffable and infallible deity to justify causing pain to others. I have ‘extremists’ in quotation marks because I cannot quite fathom why violent religious people would be called ‘extremists’. Surely an ‘extremist’ is doing it right, one so devout to their religion that they follow every detail meticulously. The fact they are violent because of this devotion surely says more about the religion that than the alleged ‘extremist’. In which case, because a priest or even the pope are not considered to be extremist, surely they are not qualified enough and well studied to the extent that they can be high enough in the hierarchy of Catholicism to instruct others. By virtue of their degrees of infallibility and stature, both supposedly devout theological figures must paper over cracks when confronted with the validation of violence in religion. Examples of said validation of violence in holy texts comes in the form, in genesis, in which the great prime mover himself says “I will destroy … both man and beast.” This quote was extracted from the story of Noah’s ark, a story of Gods distaste of the current batch of humans and animals that he had created and his desire to destroy them all. And the religious say we could not have morality without religion! This previously mentioned story is one that many primary school students have been subjected to the reciting of, several times during their non religiously tailored primary education. Even as a 6 year old I remember pondering on how a tiny little man called Noah managed to build a ship that successfully housed both cold and warm blooded animals, who all had extremely contrasting diets and sleeping patterns.

Religious war has never been particularly opaque, it has been raging in some form ever since the crusades (various military campaigns validated by apparently infallible popes.) Warfare has included aspects of religion ever since the Mesopotamia city states conflict. The Mesopotamia states being Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, and sections of the Turkish and Iranian borders. A note being that all aforementioned states have become a battleground of religious war as recently as the turn of the century. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but clearly God does, he is seemingly the exact metaphorical antonym. I think the most stellar exemplification of God’s omnipotence is his ability to be on both sides in a religious war, as well as being classed successful no matter the outcome. After all why would our designer only orchestrate one war when he could orchestrate so many more and prevail in them all! Religious war has indeed begun to be re branded as simply war, a testament to the fundamental teachings of peace outstanding contribution to violence over the years, reminiscent of a sports legend having a stadium erect in his honor.

Thomas Aquinas, the catholic priest, hailed by many as one of the greatest Christian and Scholastic thinkers of all time, most well known for being the initiator of the causation argument, conjured seven ways a war could be justified for a good Christian to fight. These dogma have perhaps, unconsciously, been followed ever since. I attribute this to the fact it is so hard to find a war or even any assailant behavior that you could not justify with one of his seven methods.

Aquinas first rule is the least debatable, its premise being that if the cause of war is to resist aggression to remove injustice then that would be the lesser of two evils for all mankind. Reasonable. One would suggest communication but for the barbarianism of Aquinas’ time this rule was relatively morale. Next is the idea of legitimate authority, the notion that war can be justified if a government is initiating conflict instead of a specific military group. Flawed in the fact it looks past context and simply declares a war instigated by a national government, democratic or dictatorship to be just, however some saving grace is that this rule disallows non governmental groups to go to war so surely banishes the idea of civil war. The resulting dilemma is that only one of these seven rules need to be fulfilled for a war to be considered somehow just.

The proceeding statements are where Aquinas’ argument crumbles; by just intention, the reasoning and purpose must be for the ‘greater good’ and a probability of success. Two incredibly subjective statements that tend to be the hiding places for all war. The greater good cannot be defined and is different for all sides of a conflict, therefore fundamentally cannot justify war. The probability of success undermines all vaguely sensical rules in Aquinas’ menagerie of justification for religious and non religious violence, because no state enters war that they do not think they could win. The probability of success therefore allows all war to take place. The remaining three are once again subjective but not on quite the same level as the former: A just proportion of force used, a last resort, and the discriminate warfare ideology. All three cannot be measured however they do convey some basic morality that has been lacking from this quota of death and destruction. Thank God.





Political Leaders

The world is currently watching in shock at the corruption claims being fired left, right and right in Football’s biggest governing body, fifa’s, direction. These are clearly some very shocking revelations, and I must say, hats off to Fifa for having the ability to keep news stories similar to these currently unfolding, in the dark wilderness for all these years. However, amongst all the shock and shame surrounding Fifa’s existence, the responsibility to stand up and clear the air was weighed upon one man’s shoulders, and of course, that man not only stood up, but stood upon the shoulders of a companion, a trusty Grizzly bear. Oh and how refreshing it was, to hear Vladimir Putin question the FBI’s own code of conduct and suggest they may be framing Fifa, just so Russia would not get to host the World Cup. However, the problem for Russia is that they are a truly inclusive country, maybe too inclusive for their own good. Poor old Vladimir does not realize that the World Cup can never be taken away from Russia, due to their cohesive and inclusive attitude to Global Affairs.

Maybe, that is Putin’s downfall, after all the media attention focused on his conscious coupling with Ukraine, one may think that the media had got it wrong. Putin knows that everybody loves a holiday to Ukraine, and by his method of joining hands with Ukraine, he can reduce holiday prices.

If course though, it was refreshing to hear the good old consistent sound of Putin, tooting away throughout any controversy, just to make everyone feel included. Some say he has small man syndrome, but they are confused, he is only small because he doesn’t want others to feel small. Yet another example of his friendly gracious and equal attitude to life.

On the subject staying consistent through controversy, Nigel Farage has been back to himself this week, having the responsibility to fire himself but having the self confidence to reinstate him as the UKIP leader. This is great trait to have and will inspire many children.


History Week 3

Describe the events of the little rock high school, 6 marks

Little rock high school in Arkansas was an all white school all the way up to 1956. In 1957 350 school boards had excepted integration of black people with no problem. On September the 4th 9 black students, who were selected based upon grades and attendance were due to be integrated into little rock high school. However they were not aloud to enter by a riot made up of school children and their parents aswell as state police. The next day the same thing happened. President Eisenhower heard about this in Washington, and on September 24th he put the state police  under national control and also sent in some members of the national guard. This time they were aloud to enter but we’re subject to many racist remarks in the corridors and there was still segregation. After this the school closed for a year, so the southern manifesto was acted up on and the brown v topica board of education case was rendered irrelevant

How does Harper Lee use allusion in To kill a MockingBird

Harper Lee uses a biblical illusion in to kill a mockingbird to both foreshadow and to illude to to how Atticus is like Jesus, that he is doing nothing wrong and having to sacrifice himself for others, and the people that are killing him in this case is the jury and citizens of maycomb, the head judge is god and he has sent his favourite “son” to be sacrificed the quote is “let this cup pass from you eh”



In sport, the main objective is to succeed in what you specialize in. In Amateur sport, the way you do this is often by talent or by pure skill over theirs.In professional sport, however, it’s more about margins of error, the little things you do wrong, but mostly, confrontation. Confrontation, whether this be by sledging an opponent,or by going out of your comfort zone. When being attacked or confronted, the player doing so will always be looking at your strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. In sports like cricket and football, teams pay money for opponents to be analysed, to try and get an upper hand when coming up against them. One example of someone being analysed, would be, a footballer, people like Messi, get analysed all the time! What foot they use, signature tricks, stuff like that.

The one problem for me in this, is that everything gets a little mechanical. Thinking and common sense goes out the window. An example would be, the England cricket team playing South Africa last Summer. At that time, there was a lot of hype going on in the media about it being the no.1 series, as whoever won would go top of the world rankings. As a consequence of this there was a lot of analytical work put in to each South African batsmen about where they we most prone to getting out to, where their comfort areas were. The 1st test was played at the Oval cricket ground in London. The bowlers knew there plans right away, but didn’t make use of the natural resources around them. Great swinging conditions that could of taken the wickets of the under prepared South African batsmen were not utilized as the bowlers bowled in areas that troubled the batsmen in the past in different conditions and different circumstances.

On this occasion the South African batsmen prevailed and England’s hopes of winning the match were left in shatters by Hashim Amla scoring a mammoth 311* as South Africa romped to victory securing the No.1 spot in the world rankings.

One other thing England didn’t take notice of was that the margin of error for some of the targets were very short, and that batsmen can adapt too. A great example of this would be Graeme Smith. Through out his career he has be shown to be tentative outside his off stump. He is a human, and has a brain, so he quickly worked out that he could cut off he angle be moving outside off stump then hitting through leg side. Although these are professional sportsman, they do have some margin for error. An example would be Joe Root, his weakness is just on his legs, but the margin for error is quite high, the angle carries the ball further down the leg side, he can leave it for a wise or easily flick it for 4.

Also, going around the county circuit is this philosophy about comfort zones. The standard philosophy is simple really. The more you come out of your comfort zone, and confront more challenging situations, the more your comfort zone will expand. Another way of putting is your stretch, and skills , your most important is your stretch to expand.

By  Henry Howeld