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Despre iertare – intre nadejde si imposibil

Ma preocupa in ultimul timp, subiectul iertarii. Intr-un sens si ca reactie la modul superficial, ieftin si americanesc in care este tratat de catre crestini. O sa revin in viitorul apropiat cu propriile mele consideratii. Pana atunci, va propun urmatorul articol. Explica, oarecum, de ce am ajuns la concluziile la care am ajuns. Sursa, aici.  Autoarea este Edna Fernandes.

Face to face with General Butt Naked – ‘the most evil man in the world’

It is 1982 and as day breaks in Liberia, the Krahn tribe prepares for the initiation of its high priest. Against the sound of the drumbeat, he is taken to an isolated area, led by a man in a carved black mask. The priest stands before an altar, naked. The elders bring a little girl, unclothe her and smear her body with clay. The priest slays the child. In a ritual that spans three days, her heart and other body parts are removed and eaten.

In the course of those days the priest has a vision: he meets the devil who tells him he will become a great warrior.

The devil says to increase his power he must continue the rituals of child sacrifice and cannibalism.

The initiation is complete and the priest is now one of the most powerful leaders in West Africa. The priest is 11 years old.  As prophesied, the boy priest grew up to become one of Liberia’s most notorious warlords: General Butt Naked.


He and his boy soldiers would charge into battle naked apart from boots and machine guns.

The initiation sacrifice that he carried out aged 11 was the first life he took out of the 20,000 deaths for which he now claims responsibility. His rivals dispute the number of deaths as impossible to prove. Yet what is indisputable is that during Liberia’s 14 years of civil war, the man became known as one of the most inhumane and ruthless guerrilla leaders in Africa’s history.

After the former General Butt Naked confessed his past to Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2008, one internet blogger asked: ‘Is this the most evil man who ever lived?’ His crimes included child sacrifice, cannibalism, the exploitation of child soldiers and trading blood diamonds for guns and cocaine, which he fed to boy soldiers as young as nine.

Yet today he says he is a reformed man. In July 1996, the warlord had ‘an epiphany’. Having spent 14 years holding nightly conversations with the devil, he had a blinding vision of Christ who told him to end the killings and convert. This was a Damascene conversion like no other: the former tribal priest and warlord is now known as Pastor Joshua Milton Blahyi.

Aged 39, he is married, a father of three and lives as a Christian preacher. He says if he can change, anyone can. He also calls for the tribal religious practice of child sacrifice and cannibalism to end, saying it still goes on in Liberia to this day.

Liberia’s TRC, set up to investigate the war’s atrocities, reported in 2009 and called for a pardon for Blahyi on the grounds of his candour and remorse.

Now in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Blahyi says he is willing to go the International Criminal Court at The Hague and be tried for war crimes. He lifts the lid on Liberia’s secret societies that conduct child sacrifice and cannibalism, as well as his role in the war  –  and his desire to change. His interview paints a terrifying portrait of one man’s descent into Hell and his quest for redemption.

It is a confession that will leave many asking whether such crimes can ever be forgiven. It is a question he asks himself.

Along with Ethiopia, Liberia is the only African country without roots in European colonisation. It was founded and colonised by freed American slaves in the early 1820s.Yet its recent history has been blighted by civil war.Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia’s inter-tribal war killed 250,000 people, displaced one million and led to one in five children becoming soldiers. During the course of the conflict, this corner of West Africa became a nexus for the trade in blood diamonds and cocaine, gunrunning and laundering the funds of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. The instability emanating from this one country posed a danger far beyond Liberia’s border, as far as our shores. 

General Butt Naked was one of the leading warlords, fighting guerilla groups including that of Charles Taylor, who later become president of Liberia and is now being tried for war crimes at The Hague.

I meet Blahyi for the first time in the dusty courtyard of Hotel Zeos, 45 minutes’ drive from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.He has chosen this deserted spot because, after his confession to the TRC, he became the subject of assassination attempts.He strides towards me, arms spread, smiling widely. ‘Welcome to Liberia.’ It had taken months to find Blahyi because he went underground after the last assassination attempt.

In the end, I obtained his number from a Liberian film director living in New York. I remember calling his mobile for the first time. The voice that answered was initially wary. But once satisfied of my identity, he became warm, even friendly and would ring my mobile in London at random times for a chat.

Interest in the General has renewed since his evidence to the TRC and, of course, his dramatic conversion to evangelical Christianity. He is the subject of an American documentary at the Sundance Festival next year.

The filmmakers’ interest was the same as mine: could a man who claimed to have done such evil truly change or is he just a brilliant trickster?

Over the days spent with him in Liberia, I get to know a man who is many things: genuinely sorry; tortured by the knowledge of his actions; frighteningly honest about his atrocities; and at other times vulnerable and desperate to please. Lucid, compelling, charismatic. But a damaged man, nonetheless. 

The first thing you notice about the General is his bulk. He left armed combat more than a decade ago, yet his physical presence remains intimidating.

The second thing is his eyes  –  everything he has done is held therein.

We take a seat in the gloomy bar. Against the buzz of traffic we talk, him sipping a bottle of malt drink.His shoulders and arm muscles strain against his khaki T-shirt. When agitated by a particular subject, he gesticulates wildly, his face reliving every moment. At one such moment, he knocks his bottle off the table. Without taking his eyes off me, he catches it a split second before it smashes to the ground. The soldier’s reflexes remain as sharp as ever. 

I ask him how his life was as a child. He describes how he was told first by his father, then by his tribal elders that he was born to be a warrior. On the orders of the elders, he was conceived and taken from his mother minutes after birth. Aged seven, his father handed him to the elders who tutored him in the rituals of the priesthood. When he was initiated, he became a powerful figure as every tribesman now bowed to him.

In 1982, as the high priest, aged 11, Blahyi remembers performing black magic rituals at the presidential palace to protect the then Liberian leader, Samuel Doe, from enemies. Doe had been a member of the Krahn tribe and came to power in a violent coup in 1980. In 1990, Doe was seized in the presidential palace and murdered by the troops of a rebel leader  –  an act that led to an escalation in the conflict which raged for another 13 years. 

During the whole time, Blahyi was a high priest. One of his most important jobs was the performance of sacrifice rituals and cannibalism.

In Liberia today, 75 per cent of people are Christian, 20 per cent are Muslim and the rest follow the tribal religion that performs these sacrifice rituals. But during the war, experts claim many more practised the tribal faith. In his book The Mask Of Anarchy, Professor Stephen Ellis of Free University, Amsterdam, wrote of the rituals practised by various tribes in Liberia and used during the war. ‘Of the countless atrocities carried out by various factions, perhaps the most appalling was the eating of human flesh. This was a practice with a long history . . . after 1991 it became common to encounter traumatised refugees who witnessed such events.’

By 1994 the Catholic Church was so disturbed by such reports it officially condemned the practice. But Blayhi maintains it still goes on in secret in the villages. As a priest, he says, he would have a vision about a chosen child. He would tell the elders the child’s village, the family name, and certain secrets of that child known only to the family. The elders would then lead a procession to the child’s house, known as ‘the House of Honour’. The child would often remain oblivious until the moment came where he was taken away from the village to the altar, where he would be stripped and covered in a type of mud. ‘As priest, I said the invocation. The child is killed. His body has different, different parts taken off.’ Were you alone during this time? ‘I was the only one with the body.’ Does this still happen in Liberia? ‘It still happens. If you went to my village now and spoke of this, they’d kill you. Since my conversion, I know witchcraft is wrong. I know “eating” is wrong. I must speak out now.’ During his days as a tribal priest, Blahyi says, the rituals were for the good of the tribe.

But once he became leader of the Butt Naked Brigade, Blahyi would sacrifice a child before every battle. In this case, there was no religious significance for the tribe. Blayhi has an appallingly clear recollection of how he sacrificed children before battle  –  and the cannibalism involved. The belief was that by killing and eating children, the soldiers would be strengthened and purified for the battle.

The worst aspect of all was many of the Butt Naked Brigade were children themselves. It was not the only guerrilla group to use child soldiers. Aid workers estimated that as many as 20,000 child soldiers were recruited by rebel and government forces during the last war.

The Butt Naked Brigade had a sideline in drug, weapons and diamond dealing. The Liberian coast was used as a drop-off point by Mexican drug cartels. The General’s men would do a trade. ‘I was not giving cocaine for arms, I was giving gold and diamonds for arms and cocaine,’ he explains. What did you do with the cocaine? ‘Gave it to the boys. Mashed it into their food.’ From the age of nine? ‘Yeah.’

His voice drops as he bends his head into his chest. The diamonds came from territory captured by the Krahn tribe factions. The guerrilla groups would use captured civilians to mine the diamonds and then use the gems to finance their war, just as was depicted in the 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond, set in Sierra Leone.

It was the diamond-funded drugs  –  sold to finance conflicts and bankroll warlords and diamond companies across the world  –  that helped push many of the younger rebel soldiers across the boundaries of humanity.

The naked dress code proved to be a terrifyingly effective military tactic. ‘The fear principle was behind it. The first thing you want to impose on the enemy is that you’re an animal, not a guerrilla.’ For years Blayhi was priest and warrior for his tribe. He coerced his brigade of 80 boys to kill without pity. Although his figure of 20,000 deaths has been accepted by Liberia’s TRC, others accuse him of wild exaggeration, saying the total is impossible to verify.

‘How can he know?’ Liberia’s Information Minister, Norris Tweah, asks me. ‘Two hundred and fifty thousand people were killed in the 14-year war. He is using this to make himself sound like a great warlord.’ But sitting with Blayhi and listening to him describe his personal depravity in forensic detail, it seems clear that he, at least, believes every word.

Yet the turning point came. It was the summer of 1996 and his clansmen were caught up in a ferocious battle. It was decided that a sacrifice was needed. As the rockets rained down, a mother brought her three-year-old daughter to him. Something about the child struck the pitiless General and for the first time in his life he hesitated. As he relives the moment with me, his face becomes contorted.

‘The child was very unusually beautiful and kind. Most of the children are brought to me by the elders, they’re crying, they’re fighting. This child was peaceful,’ he recalls. ‘I thought, “This child must not die.” I struggled. ‘Of all of the thousands that I killed, I wish I did not kill that little girl . . . ‘ his voice trails off.

He is close to tears for the first and only time. ‘Right after killing her, I had my epiphany.’ He claims he saw a white light in the shape of a man. A voice told him, ‘repent and live or refuse and die’. He believes it was Christ. The impact was immediate. From that day the killing, the sacrifices and cannibalism ended and Blahyi entered a period of turmoil that led his men to believe he had gone mad.

Within months he had left the Butt Naked Brigade and by the end of September 1996 he was baptised in the sea near Monrovia. By now the sun has set. Blayhi looks wasted from describing the encounter with the little girl and its impact. The confession has left him consumed by guilt.

The next day he is due to preach to a congregation at a church 15 minutes away. We arrange to take him there. As we leave, the hotel manager checks that Blahyi is going for good. In the eyes of others Blahyi is not just a pastor: he is still seen as the murderous General and cannibal. His reputation and name still strikes terror into Liberian hearts. We cannot talk in public places, we cannot sit in busy hotels, we cannot be seen eating together.

As we drive to the church, Blahyi sits in the front. I sit behind, watching him. He’s wearing a red suit and black shirt and his shoulders loom either side of the seat. He is singing hymns.

‘Did you sleep well?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ I lie. ‘You?’ ‘Very well.’ ‘You seemed upset at the end of our interview,’ ‘I was. But I always sleep well. No matter what.’ He jumps out of the car and greets the local pastor, who is wearing white winkle-picker shoes. His battered old, red Mercedes with a numberplate reading ‘Be Holy’ is parked outside. A band is playing and the 300-strong congregation is clapping, singing and dancing. The church is at the site of a former Liberian army barracks and Blahyi has been invited to address the ‘deliverance service’. As the drums and synthesiser grow louder, the crowd chant ‘Jesus, Jesus’ as if at a rock concert.

When Blayhi takes the microphone, the place erupts. He is electrifying and sinister at the same time. His sermon ranges from the dangers of fast food to the devil’s ways and to the inappropriate dress sense of singer Beyonce. An hour later, sweating in his red suit, he leaves the building to sit alone in the shade, praying.

Preaching is now his mission and part of that is saving former child soldiers. Later in the week, Blayhi takes us to a rehabilitation centre he runs for ex-combatants in the bush outside Monrovia. The photographer and I realise Blahyi is our only guarantor of safety. As we turn up it is clear all is not well. There is a split in the camp as half the boys complain of getting too little to eat  –  one cup of rice a day. They live in two or three brick rooms with no running water or electricity. Blahyi remains the adored father figure. But the reunion turns sour.

Nana Gbolor is the most angry. He is 26 and had been a soldier since 18. ‘When the war ended, I moved to a ghetto called Solale. I slept in a cemetery among the bodies. Then one day the pastor came for me, he wore a T-shirt that said “God Bless Liberia”. He didn’t give up on me. Now all is want is more than one cup of rice a day and to learn construction.’ Unless boys like this are saved, many fear the past could return. Liberia is a country with 80 per cent unemployment. Eighty-five per cent of its 3.9 million population live on less than 78p per day, according to UN figures. Inter-tribal warfare brought Liberia to its knees.

The TRC report on Blahyi is just one part of the clean-up.  It also called for 49 individuals to be banned from political office for 30 years, including the current president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former World Bank economist who has been dubbed Africa’s Iron Lady. The TRC states she was a former supporter of Charles Taylor. But she has been widely credited with helping turn around the troubled nation  –  by securing the cancellation of £3.7 billion of debt to the World Bank. Her government looks in no hurry to implement the TRC’s demands on prosecutions.

Could victims really go back to living alongside their persecutors? I ask Information Minister Norris Tweah. ‘Everyone’s a victim here,’ he says. ‘Everybody lost somebody. In a country where everyone was complicit, everyone has blood on their hands, where does the blame end?’

Blahyi is in no doubt that saying sorry is not enough. Talking to him inside the shade of an empty church, he says he feels forgiven by God. But forgiveness on Earth is another matter. ‘I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me.’ Would you be willing to be tried for war crimes at The Hague? ‘Yes. I would say I am guilty and if the law says I should be jailed for war crimes, then jail me. If the law says I should be hanged, then hang me.’

Blayhi tells me he still struggles to cope with the enormity of his savagery. At times it threatens to break him.

Did you think of suicide?

‘Many times.’

Before we leave him, he goes to a second – hand shoe shop and spends £6 on trainers for his boys and his children. Carrying them in a black binliner, he says his goodbyes and for that moment he seems alone. He heads for the bus that will take him home. Home is not where his family is; they live in hiding in Ghana. His greatest fear now is not death, but losing his own children  –  an irony not lost on him.

For me, our week together has been like being with a split personality. Describing his past life is a painful and violent catharsis, leaving him and those around him drained and traumatised.

Then there’s the other side: the reformed pastor dispensing a bag of doughnuts to local schoolchildren, telling the story of Jesus and the loaves and fishes with great warmth and humour. We all get caught up in the laughter, until I suddenly find myself recoiling with the memory of all he has told me.

This is his fate from now on: for as long as he lives, no matter how much he reforms, he will never be able to escape the horror of his past.

The story of Joshua Milton Blahyi is more than a story of Africa’s bloodshed and savagery. It is also a story of a man struggling for redemption and change. His victims cannot forgive him. He is more likely to face a bullet in the head than the day in court he says he wants.

But his story is evocative of his country as it struggles to leave the demons behind and look to a future of prosperity and peace.



Ganduri pe marginea mortii

Suntem unici. Aceasta unicitate face ca disparitia unei fiinte umane, odata cu moartea ce survine si-l smulge pe celalalt de langa noi, sa fie absoluta si de nevindecat.

Sigur, amintirile palesc dupa un timp, durerea se atenueaza, viata isi continua cursul. Insa golul ramane la fel de mare, desi doare mai putin.

Universul este complet, intreg, desavarsit, doar daca toti cei chemati la fiinta isi traiesc aceasta fiintare. Un singur om care lipseste face ca unul din sunetele divinei armonii sa ramana nerostit. Si nu conteaza ca sunt miliarde de sunete, niciunul nu-l poate inlocui, lipsa lui nu poate fi trecuta cu vederea.

Piesa este schioapa, simfonia incompleta, panza alterneaza pete de culoare cu albul ce se cere acoperit.

Lipsa e o realitate insa ea se apleaca catre speranta si impreuna vorbesc despre prezentul nedesavarsit si anticipeaza viitorul prezentei depline, cand toti se vor alatura marelui tot si vor forma impreuna icoana rostirii finale a lui Dumnezeu.

Cuvintele Crezului vorbesc despre asta, chiar la incheiere: “Astept invierea mortilor si viata veacului ce va sa vie”.


La finalul unui drum de tara

Astazi am primit vestea mortii matusii mele.

Nu a fost o surpriza, desi am sperat ca poate, totusi…

Am mai scris despre ei aici.


Ne-am rugat pentru vindecarea ei, insa Domnul nu a ascultat rugaciunile noastre. Inca o dovada in plus (daca mai era nevoie), ca optimismul violent si manipulativ cu care ne presaram dicursurile, este fals. Da, uneori Dumnezeu nu face ceea ce ii cerem in rugaciune. Ceva face, totusi, ceva mult mai adanc si mai aproape de vesnicie, decat daca ne-ar da pur si simplu ceea ce-i cerem. Insa acest adevar este contraproductiv marketingului religios cu care incercam sa aducem oameni la un fel de christos care este mai degraba o combinatie de mos craciun si automat de cafea.

Matusa mea a fost o femeie foarte simpla. Nu a stiut sa scrie si sa citeasca si si-a petrecut cea mai mare parte a vietii in satul ei. Lucrurile s-au scurs linear si fara complicatii in ceea ce o priveste, desi viata nu a fost deloc usoara pentru ea.

A trait alaturi de Mos Costica mai bine de 50 de ani si atunci cand ma gandeam la o casatorie frumoasa, exemplul lor imi venea in minte si nu al vreunei familii de pocaiti dintre cei stiuti de mine.

Daca ar fi sa o caracterizez in cateva cuvinte, acestea ar fi: bunatate si simplitate. Ambele mari si frumoase. Viata a luat-o asa cum i s-a dat: cu bune si rele, cu greutati multe dar si cu bucurii simple si mai ales a trait-o in curatie si in frica de Dumnezeu.

Mi-am petrecut alaturi de ei vacantele de vara pe vremea cand eram elev si mai apoi student, iar apoi am continuat sa-i vizitez. Intr-un sens, mi-au fost ca niste parinti, in special dupa ce a murit tatal meu, cu atat mai mult cu cat ei nu au avut copii.

Daca este sa ma gandesc la ultimele luni, ma simt tentat sa spun ca viata a fost nedreapta cu ea. Un cancer suportat fara anestezie, pana la capat. Adica luni de suferinta, o agonie care s-a amplificat cu trecerea timpului, pana cand noaptea si ziua s-au contopit intr-un continu travaliu.

Mi-am dorit sa fi avut macar parte de calmante, insa sistemul sanitar in metastaza din aceasta tara i le-a refuzat. Hatisurile birocratice au fost mult prea complicate pentru un om simplu si care de cateva luni incoace nu a mai  fost in stare sa se deplaseze. A trebuit sa rabde totul pana la capat.

Intr-un sens, as putea spune ca moartea a fost o usurare. Nu stiu… Chiar si in astfel de situatii, ea ramane totusi vrajmasul care-si asteapta infrangerea finala dar care, pana atunci, continua sa secere.

Mi-e teama pentru unchiul meu. Nu cred ca va face fata singuratatii. Golul lasat in urma de disparitia sotiei sale este mult prea mare. Toata aceasta perioada l-a frant, noptile in care ajunsese sa doarma 2 – 3 ore, neputinta de a o ajuta pe cea pe care a iubit-o si care se chinuia sub privirile sale. Si de asemeni, sanatatea lui mult prea subreda…

Ma gandeam zilele astea cat de superficial si interesat interpretam pasajul acela cu: “Domnul nu ne da mai mult decat putem duce”. Dupa care facem o lista cu acele lucruri pe care le consideram dincolo de ceea ce am putea noi sa suportam si excludem potentiale le nenorociri care ar putea sa ne loveasca, pentru ca sunt, evident, mai mult decat putem duce. Ne cream un gen de crestinism care transforma viata intro chestiune de preferinte ce devin nu doar posibile ci asteptam sa se si implineasca si de limite ale nenorocirii dincolo de care suntem siguri ca nu vom fi obligati sa pasim.

Aiurea…Domnul ne da, si nu de putine ori, mai mult decat putem duce. Dar undeva, acolo, in El, este forta care, daca o gasim, ne poate face sa trecem prin lucruri dincolo de putintele si imaginatia noastra.

As vrea ca Mos Costica sa primeasca o frantura din imensitatea harului lui Dumnezeu in vremea asta… si sa mearga inainte, pana cand Dumnezeu o sa-l bata si pe el pe umar, chemandu-l pe nume de dincolo de hotarul dintre lumi.

Ramane nadejdea, chiar si acum. Nadejdea invierii, cand trupul acesta, curand semanat in tarana intru putrezire, se va ridica in inviere si neputrezire, pentru eternitate.

Pana atunci, odihneste-te in pace, Matusa Ileana.

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Mituri Evanghelice – Omul Simplu

Omul simplu…. De vreme ce detestam aroganta, inseamna ca admiram, apreciem si eventual promovam modestia, nu? Si cine este mai modest sau…hai sa spunem: mai smerit, ca sa ne incadram in “limbajul duhovnicesc” clasic, decat omul simplu, nesofisticat si eventual nescolit.

El nu tine teorii lungi si complicate despre credinta ci pur si simplu o traieste – asta nu inseamna ca nu vorbeste mult, ori de cate ori I se da ocazia. Iar cand nu i se da, o ia singur. Relatia lui cu Dumnezeu nu trece prin cap ci prin inima, in ideea ca ultima este mai consistenta decat cel dintai.

Omul simplu nu are nevoie de teologie. In fapt, o dispretuieste si o detesta. Fara sa o inteleaga, evident. Sau poate…tocmai de aceea?

Pana la urma nu scrie Biblia ca printre noi nu sunt multi intelepti in felul lumii? Si ca Dumnezeu a ascuns lucrurile Sale de cei intelepti si priceputi si le-a descoperit pruncilor.

La omul simplu mergi ca la un oracol. Te uiti in cerul gurii lui asa cum te uiti la cerul de deasupra atunci cand te rogi, asteptand Mesajul, cu majuscula. Cand debiteaza ceva, trebuie sa-i iei cuvintele ca venite de sus si sa cauti sensuri si adancimi spirituale marete in spusele sale, oricat de plate si de banale ar fi.

Omul simplu detesta scoala, dispretuieste diplomele si-i agreseaza pe cei pe care, intuitiv, ii simte ca fiindu-i superiori, pentru ca mediocritatea se apara de valoare incercand sa o injoseasca pe aceasta, mai degraba decat sa se straduiasca sa se ridice pe sine.

Omul simplu despre care vorbesc se deosebeste, in fapt, de omul cu adevarat simplu, adica de cel sarac in Duh, pentru ca ignoranta care pretinde, se expune si se impune, este diferita de modestie, smerenie si bun simt.

Adevarata simplitate stie sa aprecieze ceea ce nu are,  sa-si cunoasca si sa-si accepte limitele. Am intalnit ignoranti pe care-i respect, pentru ca nu au putut si nu au avut ocazia sa fie altfel. Si altii, care si-au promovat ignorant drept dovada, semn si rezultat al sfinteniei.

Exista nestiutori care n-au cum sa stie, insa stiu asta,  si altii care-si afirma agresiv nestiinta si incearca sa ia locul celor ce stiu. Sunt ignoranti care tac si altii care se exprima zgomotos, incercand sa-si acopere ignorant prin tupeu agresiv.

Dumnezeu nu lucraza prin omul simplu decat in masura in care-si aduce nestiinta, simplitatea, ignoranta, inaintea Lui, renuntand la orice pretentie si abandonand orice efort de promovare personala.

Omul cu adevarat simplu nu poate fi arogant. Omul simplu si arogant face parte dintr-o alta categorie: cea a prostului.

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Omul nu este niciodata atins si afectat suficient de cunoasterea starii sale smerite decat atunci cand se compara pe sine cu majestatea lui Dumnezeu.

(Jean Calvin – Institutele Religiei Crestine)

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NT Wright

Din pacate, NT Wright nu este foarte cunoscut in Romania, cel putin nu in afara grupului (minuscul, de altfel) al celor pasionati de teologie. Din cate stiu eu, doar una din cartile sale a fost tradusa in romaneste (Mesia) si este inca disponibila in librarii. Omul nu bate apa in piua, adica nu vorbeste doua la leu. Asta nu inseamna ca trebuie sa fii de acord cu tot ce spune, insa spune destul de multe si o face suficient de bine, ca sa merite efortul, atat al lecturii cat si al ascultarii, daca este vorba de conferinte / seminarii – si sunt destul de multe online. In engleza, evident. Mai jos un articol pe care l-am citit recent:

If the church is hypocritical about sex, the media are hypocritical about hypocrisy.

There are two alternatives to hypocrisy. Either you set high moral standards and keep them absolutely. According to Christian teaching, only one person has ever done that. Or you set standards so low that they aren’t really standards at all: you simply “do what comes naturally”. Angels aren’t hypocrites. Nor (I think) are animals. Granted we are none of us in the first category – the only way to avoid hypocrisy is always to follow instinct: do whatever you feel like at the time.

Articolul poate fi citit in intregime aici.

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Un alt articol anti-prostire – “Despre campania anticreştinism, antiştiinţă, antiistorie, antibun-simţ”

Am gasit acest articol in Revista 22. Citind-ul, mi-a venit in minte faptul ca au inceput sa apara prin Timisoara diverse afise in care se vorbeste despre cat de nociva este religia si se pune sub semnul intrebarii predarea acesteia in scoli. Si am inceput sa fac legaturi. Sursa articolului este aici iar autorul se numeste Dragos Paul Aligica.

Valul uneia dintre cele mai nesimţite şi obscurantiste campanii imaginable în istoria contemporană a atins spaţiul virtual populat de limba şi cultura română.

De ceva vreme, suntem bom­bar­daţi pe Internet cu o furibundă campanie anticreştină. E ceva de inspiraţie occidentală. Îmbracă, în special, o for­mă anticatolică, dar, în realitate, când ajunge pe plaiurile noastre, nu dis­cri­minează doctrinar sau confesional, căci purtătorii ei sunt incapabili de astfel de nuanţe conceptuale şi is­torice. La o pri­vi­re mai atentă, nu este însă o cam­panie doar anticreştină. E o cam­panie antiştiinţă, antiistorie, an­tibun-simţ.

 O chestiune de cultură generală, nu de religie

Mostră. Ţi se arată două sim­boluri: crucea şi svastica. Sub ele scrie:

Unul dintre acestea este sim­bolul celei mai mari organizaţii criminale din istorie, care a co­mis genocide şi a oprimat prin abuz psihologic şi ameninţări pe cei ce gândeau altfel. Timp de mulţi ani, milioane de oameni, inclusiv evrei, homosexuali, bol­navi etc., au fost masacraţi. Ce­lălalt este simbolul nazismului“.

După care urmează o salvă de co­mentarii de tipul: „Creştinismul, cu braţele sale înarmate, mi­sio­narismul şi inchiziţia, au ucis, în cei 2.000 de ani, mult mai mulţi oameni decât celălalt mons­tru, nazismul“.

Prima reacţie în faţa acestui asalt la adresa bunului simţ este să spui: cineva trebuie să le explice acestor indivizi că această chestie pe care o distribuie e o im­be­ci­li­tate. Produsă fie de nişte im­be­cili, fie de nişte canalii de pro­pagandişti care ştiu bine ce fac. Şi că cei care o dau mai departe nu fac decât să participe în ca­litate de „idioţi utili“ la o imensă bătaie de joc, în primul rând faţă de ei înşişi.

Indiferent dacă eşti religios sau nu, aici e vorba de cultură ge­ne­rală, noţiuni elementare de is­torie şi de bun-simţ. Nu e vorba de religie, e vorba de altceva. Dar ce aşteptări avem? La şcoală nu mai ai ocazia să înveţi istorie. Spiritul ştiinţific este pentru mulţi o dogmă – predată ca atare -, nu un principiu de gândire. Iar bunul simţ e prima victimă în fa­ţa ignoranţei, dogmatismului şi pro­pagandei.

Bun. Acestea fiind spuse şi lăsând la o parte reacţiile imediate, tre­buie să clarificăm totuşi natura pro­blemei. Ce poţi face în faţa unor asemenea afirmaţii? Te miri. Dar şi mai tare te miri să vezi că sunt indivizi care o iau de bună şi sunt gata să polemizeze în sus­ţinerea ei, făcând apel la ştiinţele istorice.

Să o privim deci ca pe o pro­blemă de istorie. De competenţă epistemică.

Ai, aşadar, două poziţii. Una este a acestor indivizi. Pe de altă parte, sunt mii şi zeci de mii de lucrări de istorie: antică, me­dievală, modernă şi contemporană. Plus lucrări de me­todologia şi epis­temologia istoriei şi gândirii istorice.

Te duci la bi­bli­o­tecă şi deschizi un manual de is­torie medievală. Medieval Eu­rope de C. Warren Hollister. Ale­gere nu chiar la întâmplare, pen­tru că e ediţia a opta a unuia din­tre cele mai utilizate manuale în universităţile americane. Deci ce­va ce se afirmă şi e acceptat ca legitim şi justificat în chiar epi­centrul corectitudinii politice – intelectualmente locul cel mai ostil din univers creştinismului, religiei şi formelor de moralitate social-tradiţionale. Deci, ediţia a opta, repet, a unuia dintre cele mai răspândite manuale în care se tratează factual, istorico-şti­inţific problema noastră de in­teres. Scris de un istoric, me­die­valist respectat, considerat unul dintre cei mai buni din lume.

Ce spune omul la pagina 427, în concluzia unei lungi discuţii des­pre Papalitate, Biserică, Im­periu:

Trecând peste zgomotul şi pra­ful ridicat în jurul disputelor vremii, rămâne faptul că Bi­se­rica a sponsorizat naşterea uni­versităţilor, un număr mare de şcoli şi spitale, aziluri pentru bolnavi, handicapaţi şi refugiaţi, orfelinate pentru copii. Sub di­rectivele papalităţii, dreptul şi doctrina au fost rafinate şi dez­voltate şi au apărut sisteme teo­logice care au pus pe baze ra­ţionale şi raţionaliste explorarea misterelor existenţei şi creaţiei. În aceste moduri şi nenumărate altele asemănătoare, Biserica Me­­dievală a servit, modelat şi formatat Civilizaţia Europei Oc­cidentale.

Lucrurile stau exact invers de­cât susţine o întreagă mitologie: Biserica a ajutat raţionalismul mai mult decât l-a subminat, a subminat autocraţia şi ab­so­lu­tismul mai mult decât le-a sus­ţinut, a afirmat demnitatea uma­nă mai mult decât a încălcat-o. Impactul Creştinătăţii medievale asupra lumii moderne este prea profund şi complex ca să poată fi măsurat. Oricum nu poate să fie doar o simplă coincidenţă fap­tul că civilizaţia care a trans­format faţa globului terestru s-a născut şi a crescut în sânul unei societăţi care a avut cel mai ela­borat, integrat şi rafinat sistem de gândire şi practică religioasă pe care umanitatea le-a cunos­cut vreodată.

Bun. Deci am afirmaţii ca cea de mai sus şi altele asemenea făcute de sute de savanţi, istorici, so­ciologi, economişti, politologi de-a lungul timpului. Şi am afir­maţii ca cea de şi mai sus făcute de o reţea globală de pro­pa­gandişti imberbi, plecaţi de acasă cu pluta, cu sau fără conştiinţa a ceea ce fac, de ce fac şi pe unde au ajuns. Pe cine să cred?

Întrebare retorică, evident. Aş încheia discuţia aici, căci mare lucru nu ar mai fi de spus pe această linie. E o chestie de sim­plu bun-simţ în faţa evidenţei istorice sau, dacă asta e inac­cesibilă gradului nostru de edu­caţie şi cultură, e o chestie cla­sată din simplu respect în faţa acelor minţi care s-au ocupat se­rios şi profesionist de inter­pre­tarea trecutului şi care ne spun că trebuie să fim foarte atenţi când ne aventurăm să facem ast­fel de afirmaţii.

 Câteva note

N-avem ce discuta sau polemiza. Nu există temă de polemică. Abe­raţiile se clasează ca atare şi se execută, nu se discută. Mitologie şi propagandă în faţa ştiinţei şi istoriei. Punct.

Totuşi, să mai adăugăm câteva no­te într-un alt registru:

1. E interesant că exact aceiaşi in­divizi se dau mari susţinători ai ştiinţei în faţa obscurantismului re­ligiei. Dacă i-ai vedea cât caz fac de evoluţionism ai jura că au deschis în viaţa lor un manual de biologie. Poate. Să se uite la poze. La partea cu anatomia organelor reproductive. Pentru că iată-i în faţa testului. Istoria e o ştiinţă. Ra­finată, venerabilă şi profundă. Are metodele ei de stabilire a fap­telor şi o vastă şi sofisticată tra­diţie de analiză şi interpretare a evidenţei istorice. Ce fac în faţa istoriei aceşti indivizi?! O calcă în picioare cu lozincile, pro­pa­ganda şi atitudinea lor obscu­rantistă şi obscenă.

2. E interesant că exact aceiaşi indivizi ce se dau mari susţinători ai libertăţii de conştiinţă şi mari luptători pentru cauza uma­nis­mului fac ce fac şi îşi aleg ca ţinte exact ceea ce e facil şi lipsit de pericol. Nu-i vezi făcând pe eroii şi deştepţii în vreo moschee fun­damentalistă islamică. Sau luând cu asalt vreo teocraţie maho­me­dană. Sau confruntând verde în faţă un mare dictator. Nu. Ţintele lor sunt grupuri şi instituţii re­lativ benigne din Occident, care nici nu vor, nici nu pot să răs­pundă cu violenţă. Laşitatea aces­tor indivizi este dezgustătoare.

3. Remarcaţi. Zic indivizii ăştia: „Creştinismul, cu braţele sale înar­mate, misionarismul şi in­chi­ziţia, au ucis în cei 2.000 de ani mult mai mulţi oameni decât celălalt monstru, nazismul.“ In­teresant. Despre comunism ni­mic, nimic… Oare cum se face că nu iese la socoteală deloc, de fie­care dată când se face un astfel de inventar, barbaria organelor co­muniste faţă de homosexuali, evrei, bolnavi etc.? Sunt şi astea bine documentate, nu? Profesorul Tismăneanu tocmai a scris pe această temă o lucrare receptată stelar în mediile academice şi in­telectuale. A prezentat meticulos simetria comunism-nazism ca for­me ale răului în istorie. E ac­cident că el însuşi e ţinta ata­curilor venite exact de la cei ce împărtăşesc profilul ideologic al indivizilor mai sus pomeniţi? Nu cred.

4. Pe măsură ce valul de ob­scu­rantism corect politic, anti­ştiin­ţific şi antiistoric de sorginte oc­cidentală prinde rădăcini în ţări precum România, devine şi mai evident cât de mult lipsesc din peisajul intelectual al României istoricii şi oamenii de ştiinţă. E o discuţie separată, dar să notăm aici că România, dacă va su­pra­vieţui marilor mutaţii istorice ce urmează în acest secol, va su­pra­vieţui doar pe doi piloni: (1) co­munitatea oamenilor de ştiinţă – singura care va putea să menţină România racordată la dinamica economică şi tehnologic-politică a mileniului trei şi (2) comu­ni­tatea istoricilor şi a oamenilor de cultură – singurii care vor putea asigura rebranduirea şi via­bili­ta­tea identitară a „românismului“. În jurul acestor doi piloni ar trebui să se regrupeze mediile eco­nomice, politice şi structurile de siguranţă naţională. Restul e demagogie şi aflare în treabă.

 O dublă presiune

Ne aflăm în faţa unei presiuni du­ble. Prima, din afară, din Occi­dent, doctrinele de factură corect politică. Ele vin şi nivelează to­tul, istorie, tradiţie, ştiinţă, în funcţie de priorităţile lor politice şi ideologice. A doua, de la baza socială şi culturală a însăşi na­ţiunii: o deteriorare rapidă fără precedent. Parlamentul şi sis­te­mul de educaţie actuale din Ro­mânia sunt evidenţa incon­tes­ta­bilă. Să mergi prea departe în se­colul XXI, grupat, ca naţiune, fă­ră a putea răspunde acestor forţe şi fără a avea capacitatea de a le ţine sub control e imposibil.

În fine, am dat într-o discuţie de sine stătătoare. Să ne oprim aici. Mai sus, doar nişte gânduri răz­le­ţe, provocate de momentul în ca­re valul uneia dintre cele mai ne­simţite şi obscurantiste cam­pa­nii imaginable în istoria con­tem­po­rană a atins spaţiul virtual po­pu­lat de limba şi cultura română. //