Saturday, 3 November 2012

My beautiful way to work.

I have about 5 Swedish miles to drive to work. That is roughly 31 English miles.

A Lot of my colleagues think that is too far. They can’t understand that I love driving my beautiful road to and from work. Don’t get me wrong I do not like the actual driving, but I do love the rout I drive. Very often I stop at the lake and take some photos. I get to se some beautiful animals. Once I met a fox. He crossed the road and then stood at the side of the road looking at me. I had my camera ready on the dashboard I lifted the camera aimed an shot, well that’s what I thought I did, but no I pressed the button that switches off the camera. I have never forgotten him.



I love this willow tree.

The tree is so beautiful and from here I can take photos of the various birds without disturbing them. I have found that taking photos is the most mindful thing I can do. I get so absorbed with taking photos that I probably could get run over by something with out noticing. I love flowers and I love the sky with clouds and beautiful scenery, but the thing I love the most is wild animals in there natural habitat. I’ve never had the urge to go to Africa, although I must admit I wouldn’t say no given the opportunity. It’s not the exotic I’m after it’s the ordinary; those animals we take for granted and hardly bother to learn about.


One may think that a common bird is easy to photograph but they are not.

Take a magpie for instance, you see them everywhere and think that taking a good picture would be a piece of cake. You couldn’t be more wrong.  A magpie is a very wary bird and is not afraid of a moving car. Oh, but should you stop and roll down the window or open the car door it’s gone. I have yet to take the perfect picture of a magpie and I have understood that doing that takes a lot of planning, like animal pictures often does.  Once or twice you do get lucky. Like this geese chaos that was purely a mistake but turned out quite fun. I was trying to sneak up on them while they were having lunch on a meadow opposite the lake but tripped on something and made a noise and that was it. Remember, I am strictly an amateur


My true love amung birds is the Red Kite

 I can not help it, they fascinate me tremendously. They are intelligent, opportunistic and ruthless scavengers that have come very close to becoming extinct just for those reasons. The kite is also very vulnerable to environmental toxins. Sweden has taken the led to help them recover by feeding them in different places through the hard winter months. Archaeology believes that Kites have been living in Sweden for thousands of years. We now estimate that we have around 2000 couples. In days gone by the kite was a migratory bird and the old people say it came with spring to the south of Sweden around the 20th of March  Now it seems to have changed its habits and only the young birds migrate and the nesting couples stay. 

Below is a link to a very interesting article about the kite project in Sweden. It’s in Swedish but I’m sure you can Google translate it and make something out of it.  

                                        One of my darlings who made me fall deeply in love

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Is there such a thing as Secular or atheist Muslims just like the Jews? Could Islam transcend practice and become an identity of a people, a tradition, and an experience?

One could answer a strict no on this question.
Yes one could argue that religion is religion and if you do not believe you are neither this nor the other, but I don’t think it is that easy to escape your ethnic and religious context even if you stop believing.
A person is born into the Jewish faith.
Judaism is inherited from the mother's side. Their belief is that God chose the Jewish people to be his people and therefore they can not escape being Jews even if some have become secularized and others have become atheists. If God exists he has treated the Jewish people very badly over the centuries and this can be the reason why some of them have lost their faith. Others have lost faith because they need evidence and as there is no evidence that will hold up scientifically they can not believe. This is the same for all religions remember religion is a belief.
Faithful Jews can not stop believing in God even if they feel badly treated because they don’t know why God does what he does. He just might be educating them or testing them in some way. God is their destiny no matter what.
Jesus (Isa) was also a Jew
It was only after his death, or after he vanished if we take the Muslim point of view, that they began to organize the religion called Christianity. They had a meeting and decided that this was something new and all who wanted to join should be welcome, not only Jews. Jesus talked equally to both men and women and some researchers argue that Mary Magdalene had a prominent role as one of Jesus disciples. Unfortunately this provoked the men who over time greatly dimmed her actuell role.
Around 600 years later Mohammed had his first revelations
. He reformed very much that was wrong at that time and in the society in which he lived. He tried to get people to think about the poor. He himself had experiences of being poor and of loosing his parents at an early age. He wanted to create harmony between the tribes. Harmony makes it easier to trade. He used a lot of Jewish texts and rituals to accomplish this. He wanted to raise the morale standards and unite the community in Mecca, which in addition to Judaism and Christianity also was greatly influenced by polytheism. The evil of polytheism has often been greatly exaggerated in Islam. Yes there were some promiscuity but there were also elements of asceticism and celibacy.
Jesus as God
If you believe that God came down to earth in the shape and form of Jesus and you believe the love that Jesus preached and that Jesus conquered death through the resurrection then that makes you a Christian and you can join the faith by being baptised. If you are born into the faith you are usually baptized as an infant and as a teenager you can strengthen your faith by becoming confirmed. There are many different forms of Christianity, there are Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Coptic and many others just like there are different forms of Islam in different parts of the world.
If you believe the love that Jesus preached and that he was a very important prophet born by the virgin Mary, and you don’t believe in the holy trinity because only God is God. And if you believe that Mohammed was Gods last prophet and that the Koran is Gods final words then you need to speak it out loud preforming a shahada and become a Muslim. If you are born into a Muslim family you learn from your family and as a teenager you can strengthen your faith by performing a shahada.
In Sweden we have been Christian Protestants since the 16th century. The king wanted to become the head over the church so he could have access over the church wealth and use it to pay his debts. The church and the stat have been walking hand in hand until their divorce on 1st of January 2000. The church has had a strong influence on the Swedes in all aspects of life over the centuries. Reading was important for Protestantism. Their idea was that everyone should be able to read God's words and by doing so every one should be able to believe and se the logic in the Christian faith. This is why illiteracy is nearly obliterated in Sweden. The thought seems to have back fired. According to a Gallup poll from 2009, Estonia is the least religious country in the world closely followed by Sweden where there are only 17 percent who said that religion is an important part of daily life. Attributed to this, you will find churches everywhere and worship services are celebrated with only a handful of participants. Despite the failure of religious practice, people in Sweden are very conscientious and honest and they will turn to the church in times of great sorrow and major disasters. Swedes celebrate Christmas because it's a family occasion and sometimes the only opportunity to meet the family and experience childhood memories. Some atheists even confirm themselves for traditional reasons. Easter is celebrated less frequently but is still considered a major holiday which employers have to pay extra for. In Sweden you start to study religion, and this means all the five major religions Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam and some natural religions when you are around 10 years old and up throughout high school. This education is compulsory and you can not deselect it.
Religion in a context
The various religions have different regions where they are prevalent. The communities have ages of very old traditions. This has shaped the various societies and their laws. The divine was obvious in both the Bible and the Koran and was seen as an absolute truths which could not be contradicted. As a Muslim, your faith in God is just as important as it is in Christianity, but society is also formed around you. Spending time within a religious culture helps to keep you on track. Reading has been important in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but if you can read one text it means that you can read other texts and with knowledge comes questions about old truths. Societies evolve and change. Being an atheist or an agnostic does not mean that you are evil or feel the need and want to live a promiscuous life. It is more about that you feel in your heart and what is the right believe for you. Sadly there are as much prejudices about atheists than there is about any other believes. People who believein in God feel that they have the right to tell you what will happen to you after you die, as if they know.
A belief is a belief
Can we be Christians or Muslims, and at the same time, secular, agnostic or even atheists? Faith-wise, we can not but on the other hand your faith is personal and something that is a matter between you and your God. Have you lost your faith well then you have. This does not mean you need to refrain from staying with your loved ones or that you may not participate in traditional ceremonies and it does not mean you should not dress in hijab if you have a cense of belonging and want to wear it. Often women want to wear the hijab just because it has become stigmatized. The interesting thing is that you often see young women in very tight clothes wearing hijab. Loose-fitting clothes have never been the topic off discussion and therefore they do not feel the need to wear them. The question is how much society around you forces you into the ranks. This is the hardest part and that is why many keep a good face, even if in their hearts they do not believe. The collective is more important than the individual in most Muslim and Christian societies. Religion is about being together and feeling a bond with family, friends and the surrounding society. Not all people are prepared to loos this and why should they. But we can not live in the past, we use medical developments that did not exist in Jesus and Muhamed time. We use technologi that did not exist in Jesus and Muhamed time. Why is it wrong to use results from gender research? There will probably come a time when Muslim and Christian society will have to face up to Muslim and Christian feminists and what they demand, because if they do not I think Islam and Christianaty will be in for a rocky future.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Is it ever right to kill another person?

Can the different religions give me a valid answer on this topic?
The Qur’an links together murder and committing adultery with breaking the first commandment. The first commandment is the most important in all religions descending from Abraham. This is probably why I find blasphemy among the crimes that deserves death and, or eternal damnation, a very good way of obtaining blind and unquestioned obedience. All these three religions address the issue of taking someone’s life and condemn these crimes and those who commit them to the wrath and curse of God, but then they contradict themselves in some way. This leads me to believe that these different religions canon are man made and that the heavenly Qur’an is still held in heaven. Hinduism and Buddhism address the topic in a slightly different way. But still, even here it’s up for interpretations
Note that I do not doubt that the heavenly Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. And yes, you may accuse me of blasphemy if you feel the need, but please remember, if I am guilty it is between me and The Almighty and I alone will risk the eternal damnation.
we go Old Testament and Torah
The book of Genesis forbids murder and the reason for this is that we are created in the image of God. But all killings are not defined as murder. Murder is only defined as murder when it is premeditated and intentional. To kill a murderer is allowed: "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6) , There are numerous references to a death penalty in the old testament of the Bible, which in large parts are the same as the Torah. This is oddly enough the reason why countries calling themselves Christian, like the USA, have not abolished the use of capital punishment. Jewish law interprets the same texts with a different outcome. Death is a harsh penalty indicating the seriousness of the crime. Some Jewish philosophers stress that the point of having capital punishment is to remind the community of the severe nature of certain acts. This is why the death penalty is more of a principle than a practice in Jewish law. Killing in war is permitted. God allowed the Israelites to engage in warfare and he even gave them instructions about waging war according the Deuteronomy 20:1-20. If Christians want to go strictly Old testament adultery is also a crime that deserves the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22-24). So if the republicans wins…well, you never know.
Jesus and the Qur’an
One would think that Christians would pay more attention to the New Testament and Christ himself. In the New Testament you can read: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Repay no one evil for evil... do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I Will repay," says the Lord." (Rom. 12:14) In Mat 6:15 Forgiveness is essential. "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." The most beautiful words describing why, thou shall not kill and why you should try to save lives, is found in the Qur’an. It says that to kill any human being is as if that person has killed all of humankind. And in reverse, when someone saves the life of any human being, it is as if that person has saved all of humanity (5:32)
Exception, exception, exception.
If you look at the exception found in the Qur’an they are found in the dispensation of justice as a punishment for murder or in confronting those who spread violent mischief in the land, meaning treason. In this exception you will find why the Syrian people are suffering so hard now. The rulers in a country will always lean on this exception to crush an uprising against them. They interpret the uprisings as treason and as such it is punishable by death and because of this they justify the killings of civilians. The act of Murder could according to the Qur’an be punished by death but the family of the victim can show compassion and this is considered the best choice.
It is not quite clear if Buddhism allow capital punishment or not. Chapter 10 of the Dhammapada states that “everyone fears punishment; everyone fears death, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill. Everyone fears punishment; everyone loves life, as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill.” Chapter 26 is the final chapter of the Dhammapada and it reads: "Him I call a brahmin who has put aside weapons and renounced violence toward all creatures. He neither kills nor helps others to kill. Buddhist allow lethal self-defense. This is based on the prevention of greater suffering. To prevent suffering some violence can be tolerated. One should always strive for the benefit of others according to Buddhism. It is not uncommon that Buddhist governors refuse to sign a death sentence due to his believes.
In Hinduism you can find teachings that both forbid and permit the death penalty. One form of Hinduism preaches ahimsa, non-violence
. This is what Mahatma Gandhi preached and practiced. Hindus believe that the soul can’t be killed. Death is limited to the physical body. When you die the soul is reborn into another body.
My conclusion
To me there can not be any exceptions, you can not kill, ever, it does not lie in our hands. All exceptions to this must be man made because man has vast difficulties understanding and excepting that revenge is wrong and that it is not in mans hand to hand out the death penalty. All exceptions to this create problems. Why, because exceptions will be abused. Man is not almighty and we are known to do wrong. Mahatma Gandhi said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" This is pinpoints how wrong vengeance is. Leave vengeance to a higher power it is not our job. We do not have the right to kill but we do have the right to remove a murderer from the society and hold him in solitary confinement but we can not kill. You should save lives not take lives, it is always worthwhile and remember what goes around comes around.

Monday, 6 February 2012


We have now advanced into the second month of the year 2012.
I worry about what the world will come to. What will this new year bring us? Will there be more wars, uprisings, bloodshed, poverty, famine and refugees seeking help? It does not look good. The military has not left the power in Egypt and people are still dying there. The people of Tunisia are still suffering. Syria is suffering hard under the hand of their dictator and people are dying every day. African countries need help and when we sit around talking, trying to figure out the best way of helping, mothers abandon their children and leave them to die. In Europe we are forcing Greece to cut costs. Everybody is saying that it is the right thing to do. But everything is relative. If you are rich and want your invested money back then that way is the best, but if you are old and sick and your pension gets cut in half what do you have to live of? If you are young and there is no future in your own country you will leave your country. A country without its youth will die. Where will this leave Greece and their investors? There is a cold spell spreading its frost through out the world now. In countries like Ukraine, Poland, more than 200 homeless people have died. Is this the right path to walk? When you are out off a job you don't get any benefits and you are sent out in the cold to die and nobody cares. Our Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt seems to think along these lines in his talks about the work line. I think that the cold spell is reaching peoples hearts and brains. If you ever wonder about your reason for living on this earth I can tell you. It is to help other people. We are dependent on each other and we need each other. You can not help every one but you can help someone. When you die you can not take your worldly goods with you. Your kindness, good deeds, good feelings, your experience, and your knowledge are gifts that will stay with you always. These are features that you can not give away but they will multiply where ever you go. People are people where ever they are, they may think a little different than you and have other values but that comes from their experience. Deep with in we are all the same so love your neighbour and reach out a helping hand.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Bang! Bang! Winter came

We have had an absolutely lovely autumn this year. It went on and on and on throughout the whole of December and continued to the middle of January. I was praying that we would not have a winter but who am I kidding? Winter has arrived at my doorstep. I’m only slightly upset. It’s not as bad as it was last year when I had to endure from November until April.

In my last post I told you about my new job but I did not tell you about the beautiful roads I drive to get to work. It takes me about three quarters of an hour to drive. I drive through farm country, beautiful beech woods and a lake. I see a lot of animals on my way, mostly farm animals but I see a lot of wildlife also. I have seen foxes, different kind of dear, squirrels, badgers and a lot of different kind of birds. My favourite bird is the kite. Its flight is so wonderful and effortless.

I have a couple of days off now and I am braising myself before the bitter cold and the snow storm that they say is heading our way. The temperature is creeping down and it’s now -10°C.
Hopefully it’s better when I go back to work again. My darling little dog doesn’t get a lot of exercise now because I do not like to go outside. He has to make do with a little run in the field outside our house. And oh, I just remembered I must not forget to feed the birds.