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


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

The misery of German catholic anti-judaism

The e-mail of an acquaintance in Israel shows me the Israeli internal view of the diplomatic mishap of the German Foreign Minister Gabriel in Israel, who prefers a meeting with the NGO “Breaking the Silence” over an appointment with the Prime Minister.

In the Israeli public the NGO is perceived as a radical left-wing agitation: it denounces the Israeli army as war criminals and is financed from abroad, mainly from the EU and Germany. The specifics of the financing make me curious. I had expected some bad stuff, but the result of the short research for the German financiers is distressing. The biggest funder in the 2016 financial year is MISEREOR, a Catholic charity for hunger in the world. I feel sick about so much self-righteousness. Drunk from the feeling of a political mission, donations are misused here. Why does MISEREOR gather money in the church benches for a political interference in another country? That's the same as if we had caught a mosque association in Germany financing a dubious German NGO with the goal of denouncing the soldiers of the Bundeswehr on a foreign mission as rapists. ses

The dawn of wisdom

Before Easter, Botho Strauß published an article in DIE ZEIT entitled “Reform of the intelligence”, which flagellates the mentally lazy “kitsch of ideas" that is common today as a “flat relief made of thought-polyesters”. In his article, however, he is not only concerned with mocking the “maculated infertility” of ideological thinking, but also with “ways out of the decline of thought”:

“In cynicism there is a tremendous force that is completely satisfied with itself. The power of self-satisfaction shall therefore be used and turned into majestic humility, amazement, discovering and admiring. You have to be a strong transformer. That would be the beginning." This is his version of the insight into the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom. ses

Show-jumping course towards concerns of the heart

A Christian youth center promotes the project “Concerns of the heart—the game of life”: climbing through a birth canal as a fictional person together as a group; passing stations of the show-jumping course like the baptism, primary school, first communion, confirmation, school graduation.

Climbing, contemplating, hopping, asking, balancing ... thinking with teenage referees for over an hour about: how to make decisions, how to live a Christian life; and as a final gift you get a gingerbread heart with a Bible verse.

There is one single passage in the Bible about the 12-year-old Jesus. His training: He sat among the scribes and didn't give up to finally get answers. He was so determined—as a concern of the heart – that he had even forgotten his family, who had already moved on. pez


The burial church and its tourist hype is something we want to avoid. That's why we ask our Israeli guide, a political scientist, to guide us to the Jewish quarter and to tell us this place's stories, especially from the 20th century. He vigorously declines.

We'll walk into the burial church, is what he says and guides us there. His explanation: You won't understand Jerusalem, if you don't understand this: This city is erected on the mountain Moria, the mountain that stands for Isaac's bond to Abraham's belief, and the mountain Golgotha. mas