Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And Justice For All

I read today that an Islamic court in Malaysia will reconsider the sentence handed out to a mum for her heinous crime of drinking beer. Her punishment was to be six strokes of the rattan. According to the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, the sentence is too harsh. No kidding. This story comes on the back of the case involving Sudanese woman Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein,who is facing forty lashes from a whip for wearing indecent clothing.She wore a pair of trousers in public.

At the other end of crazy, is the story of Portsmouth serial menace to society, David Moore, who has collected 103 driving offenses including nine counts of driving under the influence and 24 convictions for driving while banned. He was sentenced to just six months in jail because that's the maximum penalty available under the law.

Some people tell you that everyone knows the difference between right and wrong. They say that morality is universal. Even allowing for the extreme nature of these cases, it doesn't require Einstein's intellect to figure out that something has gone wrong with human notions of decent behavior and justice. Rational people gasp in astonishment when they hear of this madness, but rational people made these laws and rational people imposed the sentences. Are we all mental?

Western laws are based on the Ten Commandments while Islamic Law is obviously based on the Quran. Very nice ideals are presented in these great books but perhaps they are too hard to attain, too much for mere mortals to achieve. Somewhere along the line, the theory of justice has been flushed down a toilet of relative morality. The practice of justice can be a truly terrible thing in the hands of fragile fallen humanity.

What punishment would you give to David Moore?
Forty lashes from a whip
Six strokes from a cane
Six months in jail
10 years in jail
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Other Side

Life after death. Heaven or hell, or nothing. What's on the other side? What do you believe is there? Does what you believe about what is there or not, actually change the reality? What is real? Where's your evidence that what you believe is real? How do you know what is true? How much of what you believe is based on irrefutable evidence? How much is based on what other people say? How much of what you believe is just stuff you want to believe?

If you see it with your own eyes, is it true? Hear it with your own ears? What if your senses deceive you? How can you know for sure? Maybe somebody else saw it. Is one witness enough to convince you? How many would be enough to prove it? What about the credibility of the witnesses? Do you believe them? Do you trust them? Do others trust them too? Who is right and who is wrong?

Answer all these questions, then tell me if you know everything. You don't know everything, so some things which you don't know are possible, aren't they?

What's on the other side? I don't know because I've never been there but I do know what I believe is there and my faith gives me strength.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What Really Matters.

I've worked out what is wrong with the world. There are of course many things wrong with the world and everyone knows it except those people who choose to ignore blatant and omnipresent evil and talk about how beautiful the spirit of humanity is.

Put simply it's all to do with priorities. The things people are passionate about and into which they pour themselves. Most of us are devoted disciples of someone or something despite protestations about how independent and clever we are. There is no such thing as a self made man or woman. To make such a claim about yourself is extreme arrogance. But I digress.

The things we care most about are the things into which we invest most of our resources; time, money and skills.They are our first choice topics of conversation and the things which aggressively occupy our thoughts.

Somethings in this world are worth that investment. Others are not. The problem with the world is that too many people are throwing themselves into worthless and trivial pursuits. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against trivial pursuits. I surf the World Wide Web for at least some part of every day of my life. I listen to Heavy Metal and I watch cricket and sitcoms but would I die to save Heavy Metal? Would I cry, or worse kill myself if my favorite band split up? If my favorite TV show was pulled off air? Am I disturbed to the point of insomnia that T20 cricket is perceived by some as threat to Test cricket? Would I slash my wrists if I lost my internet connection?

Bring it closer to home. Does it matter if my wife can't bring herself to park the car in the garage? That my teenage son's idea of cleaning his room is to toss all his clothes into the wardrobe and shut the door? That my daughter would rather stand in a dark corner of the living room than sit at her well lit desk to do her homework?

In the song, While You Were Sleeping,Casting Crowns says, "we are sung to sleep by philosophies of save the trees and kill the children." Get the point? While I know that millions of children are being abused and exploited in the most horrific ways imaginable, I can't bring myself to give two hoots about the death of a whale and if someone wants to chop down some trees, well good luck to them.

What matters to you, and what should really matter to you?