“The Submission” on the G20 weekend in Hamburg

While tens of thousands are carrying linen banners through a ghost town disrupted by sirens, a few thousand hooded figures force their riot upon the city, a black wall is established in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg.

It's not all black; in the middle is an omission, a hollowed-out cross. Francois, from Houllebeque's “Submission", runs to the wall, right under the cross. After some time, it starts to rotate, Francois climbs into the clock hand, which changes, into a chaise longue, into a concrete mixer, into a hamster wheel. It pauses, Francois climbs out of his coffin, runs up and down the wall, he gets rid of his clothes, he climbs back into the keyhole, whenever the long side sinks. Soon he is exhausted, he needs a table to be able to heave himself up again, a spectator helps him. In the end the cross breaks away, the wall rises in front of a completely black room, Francois, wearing white clothes, enlightened, forms the words of faith of a foreign language. “It would be the chance for a second life. I would have nothing to regret.” After the play, at the railway station, everyone meets and squeezes into the special train: the linen banners, the rioters, the theater enthusiasts and the people leaping aside. saw

Marriage for ... volunteers?

Since the quick decision of the Bundestag, much has already been written about the “marriage for everyone” – by angry Catholics, who ask the state to abolish civil law marriage altogether, if the state no longer wants to hold it under its special protection as article 6 of the constitutional law prescribes, but also by atheist biologists who assume the politicians to be unaware of the biological requirements, and even by old communists, who are irritated about so much parochialism and wonder why gays and lesbians now want to succumb to this reactionary coercive instrument.

Isn't this an ideal time for the Church to remember it's unique characteristic that doesn't want to represent any competition to the state: marriage as a sacrament? There's only one problem: it is not for everyone – but only for those who know what this sacrament is and who absolutely want it with all its consequences. mah

A bishop sets an example

On June 2nd, 2017, Pax Christi published a press statement: “Pax Christi International for the end of the occupation of Palestine” on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

The accusations listed in the statement serve the well-known anti-Israeli stereotypes. The writer and representative of the Jewish community of Linz, Anna Mitgutsch, and two other members of the IKG had already been insulted at an event organized by Pax Christi Austria with the Palestinian ambassador Salah Abdel Shafi. The diocesan bishop, Manfred Scheuer, took the chance to set an example after the report and the press release of Pax Christi on June 2nd. He shares the concerns of the Jewish communities about the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, Scheuer said in his statement of June 7th, 2017: “On the basis of the recent statements by Pax Christi Austria and the incidents related to the event on May 26th, 2017, that I have read about in the church newspaper on June 7th, 2017, I declare my resignation as President of Pax Christi Austria with effect from June 7th, 2017.” anm

Between 13 and 15 years of age

“A behavioural course, a visit to the concentration camp memorial center in Dachau, a first aid course, a theme day for addiction prevention, a forest walk with Greenpeace, an excursion to a climbing garden with a cocktail course ... for boys and girls between 13 and 15 years of age” – I read about that and I think: Sounds good. Lots of reasonable things to give young people a first orientation in our complicated world ... This sounds like Catholic youth work. Possibly a preparation for confirmation?

Then I read on: “...to get in contact with humanistic values ... youth inauguration ...” Oh! I was almost right. However: a miss is as good as a mile. Where is the difference? mas

Indestructible – the need for religion

Under the title “Land Without Faith” the German TV broadcaster ARD shows what remains. In the sad mood of decline beyond the confessional, the documentation disseminates the optimism of social activities by showing the new use of landmarked churches in East Germany for readings with children, café or restaurant business. Then an astonishing new construction project is presented, documenting the indestructibility of the need for religion:

a couple of event managers in the wedding business is building a new church, which is supposed to look like a church but isn't allowed to be one. It has almost everything a church has, only without religious symbols, to avoid hurting anyone's religious feelings or – more accurately – to satisfy everyone. Because the new building only serves the somehow religious need of marrying. When asked, whether one of the vacant churches could actually serve the same purpose, the all-inclusive event manager points out that there are cemeteries around the old churches. There's no need for further explanation in the new feel-good religion: no one wants to be reminded of death during a wedding. The “creed” of her partner should also be regarded as quite general: what he believes in? – his own vitality. The documentary does not show religious desolation within the evaporation of Christianity, but a feel-good swamp, bringing the ancient religious business to a new bloom and producing strange blossoms thereby. ses

People of the book

An antique tomb in the Kidron Valley, the guide translates: “Here the priest Ben Hezir rests with his sons. No gold can be found in this grave. Nobody shall dare to disturb the peace of the dead.” He explains that the inscription in Old Hebrew letters is addressed to grave robbers:

 “In Israel, the grave robbers – thugs, thieves, the scum of society – were able to read and write even 2700 years ago. We are the people of the Book.” mas

Objectivity?

After the public broadcasting corporations ARTE and WDR didn't want to show a documentary on antisemitism, it was broadcasted on the website of BILD for 24 hours and is now available on YouTube: “Auserwählt und Ausgegrenzt" (“Chosen and Excluded”). The reactions illustrate how they can suppress this subject in a very German way:

the critics focus on a lack of objectivity, the reports shown are too one-sided, pro-Israeli and polemical. According to this requirement, the Ku-Klux-Klan position should also be acknowledged in every documentation on the civil rights movement. In a program on the problems of freedom of the press, the dictator's concerns would have to be taken into account and so on. The fact that an objective report on antisemitism is not possible seems incomprehensible. heg

What will happen tomorrow?

Yuval Noah Hararis' "Homo Deus. A Story of Tomorrow" is preciously set up like a Bible for the fully secularized techno-religious and does not quite know: Are we allowed to take more pleasure in the benefits of data exchange, or do we have to fear that humanity will soon become an extinct species. The gap will grow bigger between optimized super-humans and useless masses.

Harari reduces everything to research results and short sentences. Emotions and intelligence are merely biological algorithms, they replace the search for meaning: You should be determined by data. Data exchange is  the salvation. We just need to trust the algorithms. Google is the world's conscience.
Perhaps art will be the last free place of man? But the computers would conquer them, too. According to Harari, Orwell's dystopia of ‘Big Brother is watching you’ pointed out the wrong dangers. What will happen is the dissolution of the individual from within. But is that really such a bad thing? The individual, like the freedom of will and the soul, belongs to the mere fantasy of the old early stage of religion: “Reality will be a mixture of biochemical and electronic algorithms, without clear boundaries and without individual nodes” (466).
What does this book teach, with gold letters in the guise of a new Bible? Science Fiction? Entertainment? Of course today, no one has to pray to a God for food and health. But if each Homo is his own Deus, other people will remain hungry and ill. The hope for research labs, algorithms, and the stream of data is not suitable as a Messianic belief.
If you are born in 1976 in Haifa, have promoted in Oxford, and are allowed to teach world history at the Hebrew University – can you still ignore the fact that the original Bible is not religion but enlightenment? luw

Do India experts know India?

When I was traveling to India recently, I was following the recommendations of various India experts and carried a whole bag full of small toys and sweets for all the begging children who use to surround you as soon as you get out of the car.

I dragged all the stuff for nothing, because I was not just somewhere in India, but in Kerala, the Indian state with the largest share of Christians. Kerala is the state with the highest literacy rate, the lowest unemployment, the lowest homelessness, the highest equality of women. I saw some beggars in front of the churches. But only few, not more than at home. Coincidence? Or the impact of 2000 years of Christianity in a country where it is seen as an unethical intervention to the Hindu divine order to help the poor who lies in the dirt? Fortunately, we visited an orphanage run by Steyler Missionaries, where our little souvenirs still made some children happy. bes

Euthanasia – an unexpected chance for the organ donation pool

According to JAMA, a medical specialist journal, 6.091 people died by active euthanasia in 2016, only in the Netherlands. A group of Dutch and Belgian physicians made the following calculation:

 In 2015, 1,288 Belgians were waiting for a donor organ, 2,023 Belgians died after euthanasia. According to estimates, at least 10 percent (204 persons) could at least have one organ explanted. For example, if 400 Belgians donate their kidneys after active euthanasia, the number of available kidneys would double. You could continue to calculate: What organs are still missing? Who is willing to die by euthanasia? anm

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